Sep 8, 2018

Dallas: The First Week: Does Mike Want a Divorce?

Sunday: Drove in (Mike) at the end of the day and moved into Apartment #1. Don't remember much as I was taking Ativan to cope with everything (only when I travel).

Monday and Tuesday: Looked at houses. Bought a little food just to get by. Nightmares from my childhood.

Wednesday: Signed a contract to buy a house. I wanted this house; Mike another. Compromised by me winning this round.

Dreamt Mike wanted a divorce.

Thursday: Went grocery shopping and filled the refrigerator, freezer, and pantry with enough food and drink for a couple of weeks.

Dreamt Mike wanted a divorce.

Friday:  Woke up covered with bugs biting me (not Mike). Ran around like crazy, jumped in the shower, got dressed and packed, leaving behind anything that was anywhere near the bed. Packed up all our food and clothes and (Mike) hauled it to the car. Drove like a bat out of hell to Apt #2.

Lugged (Mike) all our stuff, including food (beer is heavy), and 4 suitcases up a flight of stairs to Apt #2. Unpacked everything (me). Cried at the scary apartment. dump we were living in. Felt guilty for not appreciating the apartment.

Went to lunch. Came back and packed up everything, including the frozen tater tots we bought to celebrate buying a house (cheap date), and drove like hell out of that really scary garage.

Went to hotel. Kept some stuff in trunk of car, but brought in all food and about 1/2 our stuff.

Dreamt Mike wanted a divorce.

Saturday:  it's only 1:00 -- give it time! 

MOOD WHEN DONE:  I want my life back.


Sep 6, 2018

Crossing That Off the List

Got to Dallas on Sunday.
Bought a house on Thursday.

(It's a house we've looked at online for the last 3 months).

Feeling very grateful.  Hope to be back to stamping sometime before November!!

Sep 4, 2018

Dallas!

Our house went to settlement on Friday and we immediately hit the road in our 2003 Prius. The only traffic we encountered on the Friday before Labor Day was (naturally) in DC.

We got to Dallas on Sunday and immediately had car trouble! Nevertheless, today we hit the road (courtesy of our realtor) to start house hunting. This should be interesting.

We are very much looking forward to settling into a new place. I seriously NEED my stamping supplies out and about and Mike needs everything in its place!

I'll keep you posted, but right now nothing but house hunting on the horizon! 

Aug 6, 2018

What's Going On


Figured I'd give a little update on what's going (and not going) on in my life:
  • We have a contract on the sale of our house and are scheduled to go to settlement at the end of August.
  • Bought a quart of milk and checked the expiration date. Realized that we will be in Texas by the time the milk expires. Teared up in the grocery store.
  • Going to many goodbye lunches and dinners. As I leave, I wonder if or when I'll see these friends again.
  • Realize once again how much I miss stamping. Without my craft supplies, I'm half lost. Mike agrees!
  • We spend a LOT of time looking online at houses in Dallas. There's a huge variety in both cost and style. Gorgeous options. Have a realtor lined up. This is fun.
  • Excited to be living near our son, and Mike's brother and his family. That's the prize I'm staring at.
  • With all this time on my hands, I thought I'd be reading and writing like crazy. Found that I cannot concentrate longer than a few pages and my mind is pretty much a blank when it comes to writing. 
And that's it!!  

Hope your summer is a good one. 

Jul 24, 2018

This Pillow


We all have habits -- we sit at the same spot at the table, grab the same spot to watch TV, etc.  This is my spot to watch TV, use my laptop, and read.

Sometimes, particularly in the late afternoon, I may have a tendency to doze in this spot. And when that happens, my head sometimes snaps back and bangs into the brick wall. Banging the back of your head into a brick wall is never a good idea, particularly if you take a blood thinner.

So today, after I was finished preparing dinner, I came back to the sofa and found this pillow sitting behind my spot. I asked Mike if he put it there.

"Yes."

"So I wouldn't bang my head if I fall asleep?"

"Yes."

When you're in your 60s, this pillow is love. 


Jul 3, 2018

Review: Fun Stampers Journey New Catalog

Disclaimer: I'm not a demonstrator (they call them coaches) for Fun Stampers Journey and I have no affiliation with the company but I need something to do so why not opine on this catalog?  




Our house is going on the market next week and, with all my prized stamping supplies packed up and in storage, I've got time on my hands. And one of the things I've been doing, other than constantly looking online at houses in Dallas, and turning off the TV, is keeping an eye on the stamping industry.

I saw a link to the new Fun Stampers Journey catalog (it went live on July 1) on Laura Williams' blog. Laura is not a coach for the company, but does design and concept work for it. Her blog is full of beauty.

So back to the catalog. Don't know about you but I love a stamping catalog just for the fun of paging through it. I remember getting the Stampin Up catalog and putting post it notes all over. It went everywhere with me -- car pool line, doctor's waiting room. I miss those days.

While I don't have the FSJ paper catalog (yet) I took some time to browse the online version. There's a lot to like!  Here are a few of my favorites:

BDay Wall  $14.95 p. 186  I love sentiment stamps that fill up an entire card front. The font in this one is fun, and I love how the sentiment bleeds just slightly off the page. Plus, the price is only $14.95 for a full size stamp. If I could only buy one thing in the FSJ catalogue, this would be it. In fact, I will buy it if we ever get to Dallas. 

Tropical Beauty  $14.95  p. 42 This beautiful image also fills up an entire card front at a great price. It requires no coloring and should make a gorgeous card. I think it would work particularly well for a sympathy card. On my list.

Thread Sketch $14.95 p. 115 This is a fun background. I love the idea of embossing it and watercoloring it with different colors. If you already have a set with wonky circles you could make your own background, but this is an fast and easy way to get a fun background.

Enchanted Cat   $18.95 p. 93  This fresh set also comes as a bundle with a set of dies and the price of the bundle is $39.50. (I waver on buying matching dies because they are so expensive and how many times will I use them?) So I'm not sure on the dies, but the stamps are on my definite list -- love that cat and the flowers and the sentiments. It's different from anything else I have. Those flowers would make a great background or one alone could carry a card.

Journey Glaze and Applicator Tips  $9.95 and $5.95  Ok, so I have a pet peeve. Glossy Accents and everything else similar I've tried clog and I end up throwing the bottles over the side of our 4th floor terrace. I finally stopped buying any shiny glazy thing. But it's a great product. So I'm willing to try this one -- at least Fun Stampers Journey tells you up front that your bottle may clog and here are some extra tips you can buy when that happens. Thank you for your honesty!

I'll let you know if this is worth it but I figure since I've already invested $10,000 in Glossy Tossy Accents and its progeny, what's another $20??

__________

As I said at the beginning, I have no affiliation -- just helping to feed the beast! If you are interested in buying anything from FSJ, you'll need to find an FSJ coach (search on its website).

Jun 26, 2018

The Hanger Situation



Please stop reading, get up, and go look in each of your closets. What is your hanger situation? 

*****

Don't worry, I have a plan.

THE HANGER PLAN
THE PROBLEM

1. Dry cleaners put clothes on hangers.

2. Brick and mortar stores leave the hangers on clothes and you walk out the store with them.

3. You watched HSN or some other TV show about 20 years ago and bought the Joy Mangano Huggable Hangers (now widely available in many places), and, since they are awesome, you bought dozens and dozens.

4. Your kid gave you a set of satin covered padded hangers because they were affordable and looked like something Mom would like. You said you loved them. So he did it again and again. And again.

5. You inherited someone else's hangers.

6. Hangers breed. It's a scientific fact that wire hangers + wood hangers = a very ugly hybrid hanger. If you doubt me, empty out a closet and leave only one wire and one wood hanger and leave them very close together. Turn off the light and shut the door. Wait 24 hours and there will be a new hybrid hanger that takes up more space than its parents. 

10 STEPS TO A HAPPIER HANGER LIFE

1. If you think you are smarter than I and didn't look at your closets when I told you to do at the beginning of this article, then I cannot help you. Close your laptop, log off my blog, and go live in your hanger hell. 

2. Ok, good. Now it's just those of us who get it. Breathe -- it gets better.

3. Take out all the hangers from your closets that do not have clothes on them. Put them** in a bag to toss, give away to someone who does not get it, or use the hangers for some "bless your heart" type of crafting.

Note: most recyling centers will not take hangers because they mess up their machines. My research indicates that hangers are an environmental nightmare. However, most dry cleaners are more than happy to take back wire hangers. Speaking of which ...

4. Remove all clothes from wire hangers because WIRE HANGERS ARE AN ABOMINATION. Luckily, there is historical precedent for this statement (watch the first minute or so; the rest is actually too sad to watch):


5. Take a moment to be glad Joan Crawford wasn't your mother.

6. Take the clothes that were on the wire hangers and put them on your bed and apologize for how you've treated them.

7. Select one type of hanger that you like for tops and dresses and one for pants. Get rid of all your other hangers. MATCHY/MATCHY is ESSENTIAL.

8. If you need to, buy new hangers that match the type you've selected and rehang your clothes on them. **Under Step 3, you many have thrown out some of your favorite hangers. Go back and get them. If you don't want to buy new hangers, then pack away the clothes that do not have proper hangers because that's the price you will pay for being stubborn.

9. You WILL hang your clothes in the same direction on the same type of hangers. You WILL put them on the closet rods in some logical order -- color, size, whatever.

10. You now have happy hangers. You are happy.

You're welcome.

Jun 23, 2018

Good and Decent

It's early in the morning of another scorching hot and humid day in Harlingen, Texas. I step outside onto the deck of my late mother in law's mobile home, seeking to escape the non-stop air conditioning, but even at 6 am the humidity is so thick that I run back inside.

Harlingen is tucked away in south Texas close to the Mexican border. It's a hard scrabble kind of town, with few pretty places, the obvious presence of the Border Patrol, and way too many fast food shops. It rarely rains, but it's got a real airport, is about 40 minutes to the Gulf, has a very low cost of living, warm winters, and a Cracker Barrel. Retirees from cold places in the US and Canada, as well as many transplants from Mexico, live there. It's the friendliest place I've ever visited.

I'm here because my in laws chose to move to a mobile home retirement park in Harlingen about 20 years ago. After my mother in law died last month, the family decided to hold a memorial service here, and use the time to clean out her house to get it ready for sale. A lifetime of books and CDs and clothes and crossword puzzles and cat figurines and movies and pictures were parceled out to family and charity and neighbors. It was an honor to be part of it.

In the middle of the time pressured chaotic cleaning, someone found all of my mother in law's belts and put them on the bed. I went over and separated them, looking at narrow belts and 2 inch wide leather belts and every other kind of belt. I couldn't remember my mother in law ever wearing a belt -- like many aging women she chose the comfort of elastic waist pants. These belts told of a different time, when I imagined her dancing with my father in law, her waist cinched in a wide belt, her skirt twirling with the music. Those days passed; my father in law died, and the belts eventually hung in her closet waiting for the moment when someone would take them away.

My mother in law told me once that she couldn't imagine living without my father in law. But she did, spending much of her 10 years as a widow volunteering at the local food bank and the VA medical clinic, playing cards and bingo, and going to dances at the mobile home park. Even without a belt, she always found someone happy to take her out for a spin on the dance floor.

Now her belts and almost everything else are gone. The house is empty. My sister in law is still asleep. It's just the two of us now. I sit here listening to nothing except the heavy hum of the air conditioner. My father in law's jokes and outlandish statements and my mother in law's no nonsense laughs and hugs are gone. The TV, which used to host the Sopranos, and eventually was set almost full time to the Game Show Network, is quiet. I miss my mother and father in law.

Couples, like my in laws, who stayed together through the best and worst of times, lift up all of us. We all know couples like my in laws -- the early black and white pictures of thin, dark- haired people leaning together, dressed in their finest, gradually turning to heavier frames wearing funny t-shirts, and then, graying hair and shrinking bodies, smiling from their twin recliners. These couples built a life on hard work and the knowledge that life owed them nothing. They were good and decent people who left behind good and decent children who, hopefully, will find themselves smiling from twin recliners some day.





Jun 7, 2018

The Sweetest Moment

Thanks for the comments on my earlier post. I love reading how our lives parallel. It's a good reminder of our shared humanity.

My son was 2 when my mom moved in with us. She was in her sixties and healthy. She watched our son while we both worked, did the grocery shopping, and generally was a huge help to us. As the years moved on, as my long time readers know, things shifted. My mom was no longer helping us; we were helping her. When I look back on those long hard days, I am grateful we decided to take care of my mom in our home as long as possible. But I also regret taking care of my mom in our home as long as possible.

It's taken me decades to figure out that our life decisions are rarely black or white. Almost everything we experience has an upside and a downside. Our moral compass and love compelled us to take care of my mom, but it came at a high cost. It affected our son, who witnessed one too many ambulance arrivals at our home. It affected my husband and our marriage and our family in a million ways -- finances, time, and stress.

For over 5 years we had very limited ability to travel away from our house for more than a few hours. That "always on duty" was exhausting. And if you were reading my blog, or were part of my real life, you heard all about it. While millions of families go through this care-taking, it doesn't feel that way when you are in the middle of it. It is a solitary experience and there are times when it is sweet and fabulous and times when it is awful and maddening.

But now we are in another phase -- we are the "older" family members. I'm now the age my mom was when she moved in with us. For years our son cautioned us that he could never do for us what we did for my mom. We 100% got it. We assured him that we would never want him to be in that position and made plans to ensure that he won't. But as my mother in law's health failed and death looked more and more certain, our son suggested we move down to Dallas so that we could all be together again. He said "I don't think I could do what you did for grandma, but I could give you a ride to the doctor if you needed it."

Dude, we're fine!

But, it was the sweetest moment. Our son had lived through watching how to care for his grandmother and now was there for his other grandmother. And at that moment his thoughts were to pull our family closer. For the first time I saw the upside of his being there when taking care of my mom was so hard. He learned, too, that it was both a blessing and a curse.

The reality is that my heart is getting a little worse. I'm basically fine, but am now dealing with some relatively mild congestive heart failure. Fluid builds up and makes it harder to breathe, particularly when walking up stairs. It's a common condition and I keep it under control by watching my sodium and through medication. But, it's progressive and we can't help but wonder about the future.

So, when the sweetest moment arrives, you seize it, not knowing for sure what's around the corner, but confident that seizing it is the right thing.

I'll keep you posted!

Jun 4, 2018

Change


"Change is great. You go first."  (from Dilbert)

About 2 months ago we got the word that something was wrong with Mike's mother's health. We spent large chunks of April and May with her and other family. Sadly, she died towards the end of May.

We spent a lot of time with Mike's family and our son during this time and it reminded us how important family is. We have no family in the DC area and, at our son's suggestion, have decided to sell our home here and move to Dallas where he (and Mike's brother and his family) live. We will also be closer to family in California.

It's going to take some time to get our house on the market, sell it, and relocate. Needless to say, the realtors took one look at my stamping room and announced that all of it had to be packed up. I hope to make a few cards over the next day or two so I can post them over time, but basically things are going to be very quiet here on the blog.

MOOD WHEN DONE: Happy and freaking out...

May 21, 2018

Two Hellos!


Fell in love with the Stamp Market's Chunky Alphabet Set and the accompanying Outline Chunky Alphabet set.  I bought them from Ellen Hutson when they were on sale over Mother's Day. I had been waiting for a sale as these alphas are pricey.

Made two quick cards and just changed up the colors. The first card I purposely offset the solid stamp and used bright Distress Oxide inks. The second one uses soft inks from Altenew. 

I set up the design on the MISTI, stamped it on copy paper to make sure it was straight, and then stamped on white cardstock.

MOOD WHEN DONE = Good!

I've been traveling a lot this spring and am off to San Diego tomorrow for some family time. There will be more silence on the blog. I'm leaving Mike behind and asked him to stamp and post for me, but for some reason he's declined.

Disclosure:  I worked hard to pay for all this stuff!! HA

May 15, 2018

Stamping Again!


Continuing to keep it very simple -- I always start with the sentiment. Then I stamped a flower and a center with Mermaid Lagoon and Lemonade Distress Oxide inks onto Ellen Hutson White Linen cardstock. Everything's from Altenew's Floral Garden.

And the same card, with Picked Raspberry and Twisted Citron Distress Oxide inks:


MOOD WHEN DONE: Super happy to be back home and I love these bright colors. Hope to stamp and write more soon!

May 5, 2018

Absent!

Thought I'd explain the blog silence to come.

I'm away from home helping out with Mike's mom, so there won't be any posts here for a few days or more (not sure).  And my monthly column with Right at Home will be delayed. 
 
Life happens, doesn't it?

Before I left, I did a "deep clean" of my craft room. So satisfying. Found just a few things that I have no memory of buying, didn't not find my missing scissors (they must have landed in my wastepaper basket at one point), and found one missing clear stamp. To a non stamper this is crazy stuff, but for us, this is big! 

Set aside a large pile of things to give away, so stay tuned for that.

I'm missing Mike, whose home guarding my supplies. Otherwise, I'm good. Hope to be back with cards and talk soon!

Apr 29, 2018

Hello Gorgeous


All of a sudden I've noticed, and fallen in love with, a ton of stamps from The Ton (HA). The first set that caught my eye is an older one, Marvelous Perfumes. Now I have a wish list that's way too long.

Paired one of the perfume bottles in the set with a classic floral set from Altenew, Adore You. Gold embossed and watercolored on some hot press watercolor paper. Hand cut the flowers and leaves and popped up some of them.

Used Hero Arts Indigo liquid watercolor for this card. I need to spend more time figuring out this product.



MOOD WHEN DONE: Happy! While the flowers need work, I love the color combo. This card is already in the hands of its recipient.

Apr 27, 2018

Visible Image + MISTI Blog Hop


Welcome to the Visible Image + MISTI Blog Hop. These two great companies joined forces this month and I'm thrilled to be part of the fun. Plus, there are prizes (details below)!




I'm sure that many, if not all of you, are familiar with the must-have MISTI from My Sweet Petunia.  It really was a stamping game-changer. I use it with almost every card.

But Visible Image stamps and stencils may be new to you (they were to me). They work really well with mixed media projects. Well, guess who doesn't do mixed media? So I adapted Visible Image products to my way of stamping. Once I got started, I fell in love with these unique designs and couldn't stop making cards ...

1. Mom


Stamped one of the flowers from Imperfection is Beauty in Versamark and embossed in white.  Added a sentiment from Essentials by Ellen. Colored with Distress stains, adhered to a yellow card, and added crystal Nuvo jewel drops. Very easy and fast, particularly since the MISTI helped me tuck that sentiment into just the right spot.

2. Vivid Sunset



Isn't this sentiment fantastic? It's from Your Vivid Colors.

Dropped some Adirondack dye reinkers onto watercolor paper that I had spritzed with water. After the paper dried, I thinned some gold acrylic paint with water and painted onto the card to add some depth to the design. Stamped the sentiment after the card dried and then added Gold Jewel drops and adhered to an A2 card.

3. Fibers Stencil Love


Cut typing paper to 4.25 x 5.5. Die cut heart. Placed the typing paper over an A2 white card and then placed the fun Fibres Stencil horizontally over the mask and sponged some gold, pink, and orange inks. Popped up a sentiment from Altenew and added gold Jewel Drops.

4. Be the Reason



Love this sentiment from Reason to Smile! Used the MISTI to stamp 3 circles in the center of a white linen A2 card and then stamped the sentiment in just the right spot. Again, super fast and easy, thanks to the MISTI.

5. Butterflies and the Fibres Stencil




Stamped the gorgeous butterflies from Own Kind of Beautiful with Distress Oxide inks and added a little water. After it dried, I ran the panel through my Big Shot with an embossing pad and impressed the Fibres Stencil pattern onto the panel. Stamped the sentiment and added some sequins. Finally, popped up the panel on an A2 card.

I had so much fun using these products -- proving (I think!) that you can use these gorgeous images in a variety of ways. Can't wait to see how the other stampers used them.

Prizes!




Two lucky commenters from the hop will win one of two prizes: a $50 shopping spree at My Sweet Petunia and a $50 shopping spree at Visible Image. In order to be eligible, you must comment no later than Monday, April 30th, at 11:59 PM central time. Winners will be announced on Tuesday, May 1st, on the Visible Image and My Sweet Petunia blogs

The Blog Hop

Here are the links to all the talented participants in today's hop. 

Joan Bardee  --> me!
My Sweet Petunia

Disclosure: I bought my MISTI eons ago (although My Sweet Petunia kindly sent me a smaller version). Visible Image provided all the stamps and the stencil to me for use in this hop. Thank you to both companies!

MOOD WHEN DONE:  Delighted to be part of this hop. I fell in love with these products. On the other hand, my craft room is a disaster. All this "quick" and "clean and simple" stamping left a mess of epic proportions in my craft room! 

Apr 19, 2018

More Birthday Balloons and Falling Off the Wagon


Now you are probably thinking -- this is simple. Must have been fast to make.

Au contraire.

Watercolored the panel (watercolor paper) with a wash made with an blue Adirondack reinker. Let dry and stamped the sentiment. Hand drew the balloons and watercolored them purple.

Purple balloons?

Made a huge mess withe purple, and the balloons were too small, so I drew some balloons on some scrap watercolor paper that I had already painted yellow. They were still too small. So I did it again. Added an orange wash over the yellow balloons, cut them out, and adhered.

Then I decided that I should have drawn the balloons on unpainted watercolor paper so that white peeked out, not yellow, but by then I was like "I'm done; it is good enough." Sometimes you just have to stop ruining paper and let it go.

Wanted the tie around the strings to be orange, so I dabbed some water over it and lifted off the blue ink, and then colored it with the nib of an orange Tombow marker.

MOOD WHEN DONE:  I'm good! Hope you are too. Have a good weekend! My craft room is a complete disaster. I've kept it relatively clean for awhile now, but I fell off the wagon. 

Speaking of falling off the wagon, did you know that that phrase comes from a time in Merry Olde England when they were carting people off to the gallows on a wagon, and people would line the streets offering them liquor. The doomed would literally fall off the wagon to get a sip. 

And really, it is time to call it a day.

Apr 18, 2018

Watercolored Balloons




Started out watercoloring some circles, but they ended up as birthday balloons! Loosely watercolored with Distress Oxide inks.

Added "strings" with a pale gray Tombow marker.  Squint and you can see them! Sentiment from Altenew.


The watercolor paper is Canson Moulin Roy hot pressed. I bought it when we were living in Belgium and I've used up almost all of it. Hot pressed watercolor paper is super smooth and expensive. I'll be running an errand later today right next door to a real art supply store. I feel a splurge coming over me...

MOOD WHEN DONE:  Happy!! Learning that when it comes to watercoloring, goofing around is better than trying hard.


Apr 16, 2018

Monday Crafting Adventures and a Thank You


Crafty adventures on a Monday morning:

1. Knocked over a cup of water on my craft table. Twice.
2. Unknowingly dropped my Versafine Onyx ink pad on my Score Board. Found out after I ruined a card.
3. Misplaced the huge W R Memory Keepers glass mat that I used 10 minutes ago. Must be somewhere.
4. Due to 1 and 2 and a bunch of stupid stamping ideas, this is the 4th version of this card! Persistence.



So, about this card...

Fell in love with the new Right at Home set, Thanks a Bunch, as soon as I saw it. I love the font and the cute little sayings. So I bought it.** Those teeny stars are from a Hero Arts set called Color Layering Ice Cream.

Used Hero Arts Strawberry liquid watercolor to make this background. I was lucky and won the entire set of 8 liquid watercolors. Based on very little experience, so far I love these watercolors. They come in a bottle with a dropper.

I put one drop on my glass mat (which I now see leaning against a bookcase!) and sprayed a bit of water away from the drop. Mixed with a brush and applied to damp paper (Bristol Vellum). The color went on very easily and, after it dried, the color did not bleed when wet (see knocking over water cup above).

Do we NEED these liquid watercolors? No. Are they fun? Yes.

By the way, the Bristol Vellum paper buckled a lot. It is not a watercolor paper but it's white and can handle a decent amount of water. Adhered the layer to an A2 card and ran it all through my Big Shot and, voila, a flat card.

MOOD WHEN DONE:  This card makes me happy. My house is a mess, but my heart is happy.

Thank You:  Got so many wonderful comments on my first column on the Right at Home blog. I really appreciate every single one.

** Disclosure: Paid full price for the Right at Home set. Hero Arts sent me the ice cream set last year.

Apr 13, 2018

Some News and My Absence

Sorry I've gone radio silent for a week. I got a call last week that my MIL needed help dealing with some issues, so my SIL and I both dropped everything and within 2 hours were in the air. The unexpected week in southeastern Texas ended up being hard but good. I don't see my family as much as I want to and I was sad to leave.

But while I was away, a REALLY FUN thing happened!! Look:




My first post for my new monthly column with Right at Home Stamps (named right at home with joan) went live on April 10th. I am thrilled to see my writing someplace other than my own blog. A huge thank you to Nicole for agreeing to my idea.

I'll be writing about crafting and about myself --similar to what you see here, although every post will be craft related.

If you haven't already seen the column, it would mean a lot to me if you read the column and took the time to post a comment. And if you have any suggestions for topics please let me know!

Thanks so much!! 

Apr 4, 2018

HUGS and The Summer of 1969


Another card with just paper, ink, and stamps. Love the big bang of color! It goes well with the big font.

This has to go in the mail!

Uses White Linen cardstock (which is so white it is becoming my favorite), The Stamp Market's Double Take stamp set, Lemonade Distress Oxide ink, and Versafine Onyx ink.

MOOD WHEN DONE: Pensive!

*****

This card took me back to 1969, a fantastic and troubling time.

The summer of 1969 was like no other summer. I was in high school, and earlier in the year a student travel group had come to our school to promote a trip to Europe that they were sponsoring in the summer. It was billed as an Art Study trip -- for six weeks, the students would travel from London and then down to Europe and visit the major cities, ending up in Paris.

When I came home from school that day, I told my mom about the trip. I was happy to get out of a math class for the lecture and had no expectation of going. We were not poor. We lived in a single family home and seemed just fine, but we had never gone on a family vacation or anything like that. Even the idea of driving to New York to get to the airport was beyond my imagination -- going to Europe was not in my vocabulary.

But, my mom picked up the phone right then and there and called my father. She asked him if they could use the money from a car accident to send me on the trip. Someone had smashed into our parked car and the insurance company had given them $500 to replace the car. The trip cost $840 and would cover all costs. I'm not sure where they got the remaining $340, but they sent me on the trip and just continued to drive around a smashed up car.

The trip was amazing. I went everywhere and ate food and saw art and talked to people that were so different from what I was used to. I saw the Alps and rode a gondola in Venice. I viewed the Sistine Chapel, the Pieta, the Mona Lisa and Big Ben. I ate pastry in Paris and pizza in Rome and schnitzel in Vienna. I watched the moon landing in a hotel lobby in Italy. I read headlines about Chappaquiddick and viewed the coverage of the US civil rights movement and the Viet Nam war from Europe.

But most of all, I escaped.

It had been a difficult year -- my father had voted for George Wallace, which crazed me; my mother was furious with me for opposing the war. At one point, she stopped speaking to me for 2 weeks. It wasn't just us. At the time it seemed like every family, and the entire country, was unravelling.

In any event, when I returned from Europe, I went to my room to unpack. When I l had left 6 weeks earlier, my bedroom had the Apple Blossom Pink paint my mom had used when I moved into that room 8 years earlier. When I came back, the walls were bright yellow -- just like Lemonade Distress Oxide ink. She had painted the room, and had sewed a black and white bedspread, dust ruffle, and curtains in what I now realize was a classic toile pattern. She (of course) had even covered the lamp shades with fabric. It looked fantastic, much more grown up than the pale pink.

It was only when I was older that I realized how hot it had been up there that summer. We didn't have air conditioning and my room was upstairs and got the afternoon sun. Painting up there in the heat couldn't have been fun. I suspect now that the trip to Europe and the room redo was a peace offering from my mother. This was her way of saying "I love you even though you 'support communism' and think blacks should be able to live in our neighborhood."**

Sometimes when I am banging my head against the wall watching the news, I think back to that summer and the years that followed -- the demonstrations, the riots, Watergate, etc. Our country got through some hard and deep and angry divisions and came out ok.

I like to think that if we could do it then, we can do it now.

** My mom would go on to vote for Jesse Jackson in a Presidential primary, and Barack Obama for President. We never lose our capacity for change.

Mar 31, 2018

The Little Things


Love this sentiment!

For most of us, regardless of what life gives us, there are many little things (and some big things) to enjoy and for which we can be grateful. Among the little things I'm enjoying at the moment is the sun shining into my craft room, and some strawberries and home made angel food cake waiting for me!

The sentiment (and the berries) are part of Altenew's Beautiful You set. The sentiment has had a border that I didn't like, so I trimmed off the border.

Stamped with Memento black ink and colored with Altenew alcohol markers.


MOOD WHEN DONE:  Happy! Hope your day is filled with lots of good things.

Mar 29, 2018

Quick Card


A quick card for a sweet friend.

Altenew Botanical Garden stamped in Memento and colored lightly with Altenew Alcohol markers. Stentiment from Technique Tuesday. Added some paint splatters and it was done.

MOOD WHEN DONE: Happy! 

Mar 28, 2018

3 Recommendations - Two Crafty, One Cookbook

I've got a different kind of post today. I'm recommending a class, instagram, and a cookbook.

1. Big Picture Class -- On Trend, by Taheerah Atchia.  I'm a huge fan of Taheerah's cards. If she makes it, I love it. When I see her cards, my first reaction is usually "why didn't I think of that?" Plus, I've had the pleasure of meeting Taheerah twice. Once when she visited DC, and once when I was in London. She's a fun and nice and takes cardmaking seriously!

So when I saw that Taheerah was teaching a class I jumped on it. Big Picture Classes charges $9.99 a month and there are a ton of classes you can take during the month. They offer a free try it option -- sign up, give your credit card, and you can cancel within 2 weeks and will not be charged.

I took the class over the past couple of days and loved it. Taheerah explains trends -- something I've always found mystifying -- and translates them beautifully into the papercrafting arena. All the classes, except for one, include a video. The videos are great and the cards included are stunning. Taheerah walks through her thought process and gives a ton of great tips. I could listen to, and watch, Taheerah all day.

The class has given me a few new ideas for spotting trends and translating them into cardmaking and a few other cardmaking and design tips. Two thumbs up!

2. Instagram!  I know a lot of my readers shy away from social media or understandably do not want to devote more time on the internet. But, instagram is a great place to see a ton of paper crafting. You have to get the app on your smart phone.  You can use a fake name for your account, and you don't ever have to post a thing. You can just look! There are a ton of giveaways and sneak peeks, and it's a great community of crafters.  It's also a much faster way to look at a ton of cards without reading blogs (except mine, of course...), and you can provide feedback much more quickly than posting a comment on a blog. If you decide to join, I'm there as "Dear Paperlicious".

3. Finally, I'm recommending an awesome cookbook -- Love and Lemons by Jeanine Donofrio. My son gave it to me for Christmas and it's a hit. There are lots of "healthy, seasonal, whole food" recipes with no meat that taste fantastic and aren't crazy complicated or difficult.



I used to like to cook, but for the past few years I've been in a cooking rut. Even Mike, who will eat anything I make, wondered if maybe we should put a few new dishes into the rotation. Plus, recently, I've started to need to limit sodium so I've been looking around for new ideas. (The cookbook is not low sodium -- I just adjust the recipes.)  A few weeks ago, I got out the cookbook, and started to chop and dice.

So far, I love everything I've made. In particular the Roasted Cauliflower Tacos with Chipolte Cream (greek yogurt) were fantastic. If you are looking to branch out and eat healthy, but don't want to buy the cookbook, or just want to test some of her ideas, the author has a blog that includes a ton of recipes. Let me know if you try any of them and what you think of them.

That's it! Hope you are having a good week. It's cold and gray here in DC. What happened to spring?


Mar 27, 2018

Grid Background: National Craft Month with Right at Home


I'm a big admirer of Right at Home and its owner, Nicole. She's an uber talented college student who also runs a fantastic stamp company. Not sure how Nicole does it all, but she does, and she does it very, very well. Even the banner (above) she designed for today's post is gorgeous!

So, I'm delighted to be collaborating today with Nicole as part of Right at Home's National Craft Month series of challenges (there are prizes!). You can get the details here. (Her card for today's challenge is fantastic.)


The challenge was to use a background stamp. I have one Right at Home background stamp, so my choice was easy!!  (I've got a few other RAH background stamps on my wish list. The Watercolor Background is at the top of that list.)

Stamped the Grid Background Stamp in Versamark ink onto white linen cardstock and embossed with white powder. Die cut with a Penny Black die. After masking, I blended Distress Oxide inks over the flowers and the leaves and adhered it to 3 more die cuts. I love how the grid design pops up and adds interest to the flowers and leaves.




Notice that black frame?  It is hard to see in the photo, but it has a great woodgrain pattern. It's from a cool set called Letterboard Love. The sentiment is from Tiny Sentiments.

And just for fun, here's a second card I made with the Grid Background. This also uses the popular Script Greetings set.



If you haven't checked out RAH and its products, I hope you do so. Nicole has a gallery set up with inspiration for each set and it's full of great ideas.

Disclosure:  RAH sent me the Tiny Sentiment set last year. I paid full price for all other products.

MOOD WHEN DONE:  It's National Craft Month. Everyone get in a good mood!





Mar 26, 2018

Rebel in 6th Grade




Bold can be a compliment.

"Oh, I love that rug. It's so bold and bright." It can also be an insult. "Look at that rug. It's so bold and bright. Ugh."

I suspect that folks looking at this card are going to fall into one those two camps.

However, Bold was always bad when hurled by your 6th grade nun/teacher.

The Beatles had arrived, and wearing long hair and bangs was IN. While I knew I would never be part of the cool kids clique, I, didn't want to be mocked for having short bangs, particularly since my mother cut my hair and did so with no skill, but utmost confidence.

So I took a risk and let my bangs grow out beyond the top of my eyebrows, which was the line we couldn't cross. The rest of the country was on fire protesting civil rights. I was protesting bangs. Sure enough, Mother St. Joseph** called me to the front of the class. "You are being bold. Go home and cut those bangs or don't come back."

From that moment on, I kept my bangs at exactly the line of demarcation even if they were crooked at times. I'd see Mother St. Joseph checking out my bangs and I would sit up a little straighter and almost dare her to challenge them.

I still love bold colors and design.

For this card, I used various images from Texture Two by Flora and Fauna and Distress Oxide inks to make a bold background. The Distress Oxide inks have great coverage, but dry chalky and matte. I may stamp this with a true dye ink and compare the results.

The original version of this card had a fair amount of white and it was distracting and hard to focus (kind of like when your bangs are to long...) on the sentiment. So I used a pale pink (Worn Lipstick) ink and filled in some of the white spaces after the die was already adhered, and that helped focus the eye on the sentiment. The thanks die is from Memory Box. 


MOOD WHEN DONE: I'm good! Hope you have a good week.

** Our nuns were called "Mother Saint .. " rather than "Sister .. ." 



Mar 21, 2018

Didn't See This Coming


Just when you think your life is on an even keel, life throws you a curveball.

You get through the finale of This is Us, survive heart surgery, endure a pulmonary embolism, accept that your retired husband is going to clear the kitchen counter 17 times a day (where's that spoon I just put down?), and then - BAM! - you learn the devastating news that Ranger discontinued its line of Distress Stains.** Of course, Ranger still sells Distress ink pads, paints, crayons, grit-paste (??), markers, glaze, sprays, sprayers, and cole slaw, etc., but no stains.



Do you know why they discontinued the stains?

Me either.

Despite this setback, I managed to use a tiny bit of my now to-be-hoarded Twisted Citron Distress Stain to make this card.


Embossed the beautiful image from Reverse Confetti's Something Wonderful onto white linen cardstock and then just ran that dauber over the image. No paintbrush, no water, no mess because of the STAIN THAT NO LONGER EXISTS.  5 seconds and done. But soon those days will be over.



MOOD WHEN DONE:
irisparr.com

Still in shock...

** The stains are still being sold in some places. Buy now or else.

Mar 20, 2018

Reverse Confetti & MISTI Hop





Welcome! If you are following this blog hop, you should have come from the talented Kelly Lunceford's blog here.  If you are new to my blog, I post easy-to-make cards and life stories. If you are not new, a thousand thanks for coming back!

I'm all Reverse Confetti lately, particularly since this post is part of a blog hop/collaboration between Reverse Confetti and MISTI and because Reverse Confetti keeps making stamps I love. 



I've made several cards using products from both companies, but I'm only posting 2 of them today. You can see the others here, here, here, and here

Prizes!

Two lucky commenters from the hop will win one of two prizes: a $60 shopping spree at My Sweet Petunia and a $60 shopping spree at Reverse Confetti. To be eligible, comment no later than Sunday, March 25, 11:59 pm central time. The winners will be announced on March 27th on the Reverse Confetti and My Sweet Petunia blogs.  (Hey, I just won a pretty big prize from a blogger, so go for it!) 

1. Stamping a Background



I'm terrible at putting together individual stamps to make a nice bouquet, so when I saw the gorgeous Banner in Bloom set I was all over it. 

Stamped a simple pattern with the cluster of flowers from Banner in Bloom** and colored with alcohol markers. And by "colored" I mean I stayed in the lines. (The beauty of small images is that that is pretty much all you have to do.) Using the MISTI meant that I could carefully place the image exactly where I wanted it and could restamp if the image didn't come out clean the first time.

When I was finished with the card, I sat back and said "I need more Reverse Confetti stamps," and promptly placed an order for the Tall Blooms stamp and die set** I used in the next card.

2. B&W With a Pop of Color



Painted watered down Mermaid Lagoon Distress Oxide ink onto a white linen card, using as little water as possible. 

Stamped the sentiment from Tall Blooms. Die cut and stamped this pretty sprig from that set using the MISTI. I die cut a few more and glued 4 dies cuts together, tied some twine around them, and adhered to the card. Fast, simple, easy to mail. 

Blog Hop

Cannot wait to see what this talented group has made.

Joan Bardee -->  me
Lydia Fiedler --> thank you for inviting me to the hop!

**Disclosure Reverse Confetti sent me the Banner in Bloom stamp and coordinating dies. I purchased at full price the Tall Blooms stamp and coordinating dies.

MOOD WHEN DONE: I stamped; therefore I am happy!!

Mar 19, 2018

Stencil Embossing


Put a Hero Arts Bold Floral stencil through my Big Shot with an embossing mat and dry embossed. Came out great, so -- of course -- now I want more $tencil$. 

Blended Distress Oxide inks onto the card (Wild Honey and Abandoned Coral). Using softer colors and a different sentiment and this could make a nice sympathy card.

Stamped a sweet sentiment from Reverse Confetti Posted Notes (which does not appear to be available any more), and added a few black Nuvo drops. Trimmed and popped up on a white card.

MOOD WHEN DONE: Been spending a lot of time crafting, which is always a good thing. My husband is running around organizing and decluttering our house but he's banned from my craft room so, so far, we remain married!

Mar 18, 2018

Used Math to Make This Card




People, I had to use MATH to make this card!! And if you know me, you'd know that is problematic! It's a miracle I got through learning long division without a calculator. Actually, in my last job I had to use math. I pretty much just had to multiply, add, divide, etc. using a calculator, and would still get it wrong. Darn decimal points. Good thing there were smart people around me.

Trimmed out the XOX from the Reverse Confetti Big Notes set. Yes, I cut a stamp. Then I cut 5 strips of cardstock to exactly 3.75" x just a tiny bit more than 1". Using the seriously incredible MISTI, stamped XOX 5 times in Versamark and embossed in white. I'm about 3 years late to the ombre trend, but I still like it.

Adhered to a piece of 3.75" x 5" cardstock and then popped up the panel on an A2 card.

And then I said to myself, "now who is worthy of this card?"

MOOD WHEN DONE: I'm stamping like a crazy woman and ignoring the piles of crap accumulating in my stamp room and the dirt in the rest of the house. In other words, things are great.


Mar 17, 2018

Green on Gray


I found a piece of pale gray textured paper in my stash (no memory of getting it!) and decided to pair it with dark green and white.



The Altenew Evergreen ink came out almost black when stamped on gray, but I love the look with the white Nuvo accents.  The leaf image and the sentiment are from The Stamp Market's Succulent stamp set. 

MOOD WHEN DONE:  Happy! I sent out a bunch of cards last Monday and over the course of the week I heard from the recipients. Such good feelings all around.

Mar 16, 2018

Totally Graphic


A friend of mine, a doctor, was explaining to me how hard doctoring is nowadays. She hates sitting in front of the her computer checking boxes and not looking at her patients. She hates arguing with insurance companies and hates being pressured to see more and more patients. She's tired.

She told me that she rarely gets a thank you card from a patient, but loves when she does.  So, I said to myself, hey cardmaker, how about making and sending a thank you card to your doc?

Whenever I'm sending a card to someone who isn't crafty, or doesn't already tolerate my crafty cards, I want something homemade, but not too crafty. I hope this makes sense.

So I did what I always do when I'm stuck, and stole an idea from someone else.

In this case, I stole this great card from Almost Makes Perfect.  I didn't want to just print it out, so I used Altenew's Invisible Alphabet Set to make my own. After I made the black and white one, I used various Distress Oxide inks to make a rainbow colored version.

If you want to create something like this, plan it out on a stamp positioner or block, and stamp a sample on scrap or copy paper to make sure you like where each letter is placed. Otherwise, super simple.

MOOD WHEN DONE:  Fantastic. Having a good week and looking forward to a simple weekend. Hope yours rocks.