Jan 17, 2019

Advice for Cardmakers from a Non Stamper

Me:  "I don't know what to do with myself. Everything I make lately ends up in the trash."

Mike: "Go online, find something you like, and steal it."

I've seen worse advice.  All righty then.....

Jan 14, 2019

I Heart You

Used a "LOVE" die from The Stamp Market to make a stencil, and then used the stencil to make a pale blue on white card background.



Stamped flowers and leaves from Altenew's Adore You (my all time favorite floral set) onto to watercolor paper with Versafine Onyx, embossed in clear, watercolored, and hand cut.

That cute little "i heart you" sentiment is from a set that is free if you buy a minimum amount from The Stamp Market. I could buy everything that company makes -- the owner is so talented.


Although I practiced stenciling the background on typing paper, I ended up tossing the original. I had used Distress Oxide Weathered Wood -- a pretty light blue/grey, but the oxide ink came out too heavy on the stencil. I wanted a very pale background and ended up using Distress Tumbled Glass.

See that little make up brush?  Rather than get it from a craft store, I reached out on Facebook and asked if a cheaper option existed. Why yes! I got mine here. I know they make some that have flat bottoms so that they can stand up, but I'm fine saving money.

MOOD WHEN DONE:  Happy! Now time to clean up the mess I made.


Jan 12, 2019

Shaker Thank You

This uses a Memory Box die that has been in my stash for years. I cut it on a piece of leftover watercolored paper. Made a shaker card. The base of the card is aqua cardstock colored with Pistachio** Distress Oxide ink. It's more of an ombre that the photo shows.  



** Speaking of pistachios, I made some killer dark chocolate/pistachio nuts bark for Christmas this year. Melt Ghiradelli Dark Chocolate wafers*** in the microwave or in the top of a double boiler over barely simmering water. Throw in some nuts. Spread on a waxed paper lined cookie sheet. Chill. Break apart. Put in bags (and/or eat).

*** Do not use the Wilton chocolate wafers. I used some of those and it was a mistake.

MOOD WHEN DONE:  I'm doing all right. I like this card, but it's not my fave. I made many others with this die and I'll post them as soon as the sun provides some good photography light. 

Jan 2, 2019

Got Goals?

Happy 2019!

Hope the new year is kind to you and your loved ones.

We had a quiet start to the year -- playing board games and cooking. Not bad, and better than I expected as 2018 ended with a short hospital stay for me (I couldn't walk due to sudden new leg pain). But I'm fine now (medical stuff is truly a mystery) and they found what is wrong (for which I am so grateful). Looking forward to avoiding that type of pain in the future!

So I have some goals for 2019 (the common thread is to get out of my rut), and thought I'd share and come back next year and see if I met any of them. Would love for you to share yours!

1. Try out a new recipe every week.  

My son gives me cookbooks for my birthday and Christmas (this year a new cheesecake pan and soup and cheesecake cookbooks.) I used to make fun of my mom for making the same 5 meals her entire life, but I've fallen into that same habit, so I think he is sending me a message. 

Let's see if I can make 52 new-to-me meals. I started New Year's with a great Mulligatawny Curry Soup recipe. It was a fair amount of work, but worth it.  

2. Do something positive in the political realm. 

I'm tired of listening to myself complain about politics and want to do something to move this country in the direction I think it needs to be going. Not sure where to start, but anything is better than nothing.

3. Reach out and do something nice for someone once in a while. 

The other day a wonderful couple came over and brought me flowers because they knew I had been in the hospital. That's the type of thing that I wouldn't have thought to do. I might have sent flowers or a card, but it took time for them to buy them, text me, and drop by. So kind, and it meant so much. I need to think of others more often and then follow through.

4. Go someplace new in Dallas every week.

The city is full of places to go and I'm hoping to venture out every week. We've barely scratched the surface of this city, and we need to push ourselves to get out more. 

That's it for me. I have no stamping goals, other than to continue to enjoy the hobby. 

How about you?

Dec 21, 2018

Last Post for 2018: Sending Love



I'm sending love and gratitude to all of you who continue to read my blog or otherwise connect with me on social media, or in real life! Stamping and writing continue to make me happy and you are part of that. Thank you.

If you celebrate Christmas, I hope it is a peaceful one, full of love and good times. For those of you struggling with difficult times -- illness, loneliness, financial stresses, etc. I hope you are able to enjoy the holidays and have a better 2019. 

And to all, here's hoping 2019 is kind to you and your loved ones. 

***

This Hero Arts Color Layering Bouquet is darling, easy to layer, and versatile. Plus, that little bow! It's a keeper.  

-Impressions Obsessions gingham background (white embossed on gray cardstock).
-Inked up a scrap of white cardstock to make the Ruby Red paper lining the top and bottom. 
-Tonic Nuvo Crystal Glaze in the center of the flowers and clear sequins in the bouquet.
-Popped up bouquet layer with foam dots.



MOOD WHEN DONE:  Happy! It's been an eventful year. I'm looking forward to spending time with family, baking, and crafting! 

Dec 12, 2018

Things I Like

If you are looking for ideas to buy a gift for someone (or for yourself), here are a few of my favorite things. No marketing here -- I paid full price for everything and get nothing if you buy. Links are suggested places to buy -- you may find lower prices elsewhere.

"Beauty" Stuff

Aquage Uplifting Foam -- My hair always needs "uplifting" -- it's very fine and flat. I blow it dry and it has body for 5 minutes (1 minute if I go outside). This is the only mousse that leaves my hair puffy all day long. Just be sure to dry your hair completely.

Dove Dermaseries Dry Skin Relief Face Wash -- Once I got old (HA), my skin got very dry and always had an uncomfortable tight feeling. The only thing I found that left my skin soft was Estee Lauder's Tender Creme Cleanser. It was expensive and my family would give it to me for Christmas and my birthday, but then Estee Lauder stopped selling it. I tried a LOT of skin cleansers since then, and finally found one that works. My skin is not tight! And I get it at the grocery store.

Dial Marula Oil Body Wash -- Same issue with the rest of my skin! This is great stuff, but I always make sure to let the water in the shower run an extra few seconds so that the floor is not slippery. Another grocery store find.

Books 

I'm reluctant to recommend books because our preferences vary so much, but here are a few just in case you are looking...

The House of God by Samuel Shen 

This classic, irreverent, novel does to medicine what MASH did to the military. Written by a real intern at a real hospital in Boston, it is both comic and tragic. If you want to know (and you may not) what it is really like to be a doctor in training or a patient at a big city hospital, read this and get ready to laugh (and cry).

When the author, who uses a pen name, finally revealed who he is, the academic medical community shunned him. However, as the years went by, it became a must read for all medical students.

The Chosen and The Promise, by Chaim Potok 


The first, The Chosen, is a coming of age novel about two boys growing up in New York City in a tight ultra orthodox Jewish community, and their struggles dealing with their respective fathers and the secular community. The Promise continues the story into their professional and personal lives. I fell in love with the two boys. I've read these books many times as the characters, plot, and information about the Hasidic Jewish community are fascinating. I think it's time to read them again.

Rosie's All-Butter Fresh Cream Sugar-Packed Baking Book  My mom's theory on knitting was that, if she was going to take the time to knit something, she might as well use the best yarn she could find. That's my theory on baking. If I'm going to make cookies, cheesecake, etc. I want real butter, real everything.

Every recipe I've tried is fantastic. Two are standouts -- Cream Cheese Poundcake and Brownie Cheesecake. The latter is my family's favorite dessert. I've make it so many times I don't need to read the recipe anymore!



Miscellaneous

Azul  It's a board game using tiles. We love it and everyone we've played it with loves it as well. Easy to learn and play, hard to beat my son!

Simple Houseware Microfiber Cleaning Cloths  This is such a small thing, but I really like these so much. I use them every day for something -- including cleaning my stamps.

For stamp cleaning, I use water or rubbing alcohol. Inks will stain the cloths but the stains don't affect their use. BTW,  I've used rubbing alcohol (very cheap) for years to clean my stamps and all my stamps are fine. HINT: try cleaning your stamps the regular way and then clean them again with rubbing alcohol and see all the dirt on the cloth.

I also use them for dusting, washing kitchen counters, sinks, etc. I use them to dry the glass shower door and the tiles after a shower. I use them all day (I need to stop cleaning.)!  After I bought these, I cut my use of paper towels by about 75%. The towels are soft, cheap, and can be thrown in the washer and dryer.

*****

Would love to know if you have anything you'd like to recommend! 

Dec 7, 2018

DC v. Dallas: Smackdown!

I lived in the DC area for over 40 years and have lived in Dallas for about 3 months. Seems like enough information to do a smackdown, right?

FRIENDLY PEOPLE

If you are the chatty type, and I am, Dallas wins. By a lot.

The first time I walked into a supermarket, the cashier turned around and started talking to me. I couldn't understand why she was talking to me. Our neighbors talk to us. My doctors chat about non medical stuff. The waitresses and hair dressers chat. I enjoy all the friendly strangers. Breaks up my otherwise quiet life.

On the other hand, if you like to be left alone, live in DC. There is mandatory silence on the subway. Eye contact is not a good thing. Everyone minds his or her own business as everyone is assumed to be a serial killer until proven otherwise. 

CRAZY DRIVERS

DC "wins" in a landslide. In the DC area, a red light is an invitation to plow faster through the intersection. If you are first in line at a traffic light, do not go into the intersection when the light turns green. You must wait for the intersection to clear (and that can take a while) or risk death.

In Dallas, people tend to stop at red lights. Yes, I've been cut off in Dallas by a couple of rude drivers, but nothing like I experienced in DC. Then again, I don't drive on the Dallas highways, so maybe I'm missing out on the crazy.

CARS

Speaking of cars, IMHO, DC wins. In DC people tend to drive smaller cars. Our 2003 Prius ($15 a month in gas) is a joke here. It can take forever just to back out of a space in a parking lot in Dallas because I'm surrounded by really big car/truck things!

MORE CAR STUFF

I'm comparing Virginia to Texas now. Virginia wins.

Virginia's Division of Motor Vehicles has won awards for its efficiency. In Texas, you have to go to a different place to get your car registered, get a driver's license, pay property tax, get an inspection, etc. I still don't understand it as Mike took the lead.

NEIGHBORHOODS

Dallas wins. The residential areas we've seen are gorgeous. Lots of older homes with old trees laid out in easy to navigate grids. And they are conveniently located -- retail and commercial and medical spots are easy to get to. I'm impressed. And the suburban neighborhoods are very nice too -- many beautiful homes at reasonable price points in convenient locations.

Of course there are many beautiful neighborhoods in DC and the suburbs. But the DC area is so expensive and DC itself has a lot of "traffic circles" a/k/a death circles.  Even I, a tentative driver, am navigating Dallas.

CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS

Dallas wins. I've never seen so many houses decked out with so many beautiful lights. Seriously, get on a plane and drive down my street!
BUGS

Dallas wins and by that I mean loses. And that's all I can say about that ... .

COST OF LIVING

Dallas wins, but not by as much as I expected.

Real estate and rentals are cheaper. There is no state income tax in Texas. Restaurant meals are cheaper. And it looks like we are paying less for the repairs we are having done on our house than we would have paid in DC. 

On the other hand, car and property insurance is 3 times the cost with enormous deductibles. Utilities are high (I'm sitting in the dark as I write this!) Property taxes are also much higher.  And, sales tax in Texas is much higher than in Virginia. 

MUSEUMS/BOTANICAL GARDENS

DC wins the museum category but Dallas wins in the Botanical Garden sweepstakes.   

RUNNING TRAILS

Dallas wins. At least, that's what Mike says. (How would I know?)

FALL FOLIAGE

Dallas wins. A couple of weeks ago our neighborhood exploded with color. This was a surprise as several people had warned me that Dallas' trees went from green to brown. Nope. I was thrilled.  

PRESIDENTIAL MOTORCADES AND MONUMENTS

HA (Although we live about 5 minutes from the President George W. Bush library.)

AIRPORTS

Not sure. We live about 20 minutes from Love Field (Southwest Air) and that is so convenient. Plus, it is much easier to get in and out of Love compared to the airports in DC. However, I'm totally drugged up when I fly so I really can't compare the actual airports themselves...

SPORTS

High school and college football are huge in Dallas. So if you love that, Dallas wins. Both cities love their pro teams. We're not into any of it at the moment as our football team, the Giants, are horrible and we haven't made the transition to baseball yet. We enjoy baseball and expect to become Texas Rangers fans.

WEATHER 

No one wins.

Winters are milder in Dallas and I love the prospect of no, or almost no, snow. I hear we get ice, but since we live in the city, it's significantly warmer than the north suburbs, so hopefully we'll escape that scourge. DC's a crap shoot in the winter -- the Northern VA suburbs can get significant snow. 

DC summers are hot and humid. Dallas' are much hotter and just as humid. I have no intention of going outside from May through September and apparently will pay a small fortune to run our AC!

Don't move to either place for the weather.

AMOUNT OF DAYLIGHT

Dallas wins. There's over 30 minutes extra of daylight in Dallas in the middle of December. We LOVE that. Such an unexpected and welcome surprise.

FRIENDS AND FAMILY

DC wins the friends category, but Dallas wins the most important family category.

We are still adjusting and are a little homesick. Our friends and everything we know is in the DC area. It's harder to transition at our age than we expected, so it's going to take a while for Dallas to feel like home. 

However, we see our son every weekend, and see other family (Mike's brother and his family live here) often. 

So, Dallas wins.