Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Learning New Things...and Other Internet Fun

I was blog-hopping the other day, and came across a great video tutorial on Tracy's Treasures Blog, where she showed how to make a really cool double slider tag...I loved this idea, and totally ran with it, using it on several layouts and projects I did over the weekend. Here is a tag I made for a contest over at Scrapbook {Express}ions:

As soon as I finish all the final details on the layout...I will post it here so you can see how the tag looks on the page.

Check out Tracy's tutorial...really cool idea and really simple to make! I love learning new things!

Monday, February 22, 2010

2 Gallon Tubs of Margerine...and Other Costco Goodies

Well, bigger isn't always better...but sometimes Costco's over-sized products are fun...for example, you can have your pictures printed (in about an hour) up to 12" X 12"...

A friend of mine told me about the over-sized prints a few years ago, and ever since, I love picking out my favorite pictures and printing them really big!

Sometimes scrapping these pictures can be a challenge... and other times the large size gets the old muse a working...here is a layout I did a couple of weeks ago for a Challenge at Scrapbook {Express}ions:

The owl was printed 8"X12" and hand-cut...

And here are a couple from my Alaska trip album:

The picture of Hubbard Glacier on the left edge of the left-page was printed 8"X12" and the one on the right edge of the right-page was printed 8"X8".

The whale's tail on the far right of the layout is an 8'X12" picture (trimmed down to 4" wide)

The far right picture was printed 8"X12" and cut horizontally into strips

And finally, here is a layout I did using 12"X12" photos as the background 'paper'...

Checkout my flower post from last week...a lot of those layouts also use oversized Costco prints.

Hope you enjoyed!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Great Customer Service....and Other Rarities

I bought a Silhouette SD cutting machine, oh...about a year ago. I was sort of happy with with it, sometimes....but mostly frustrated that the cutting was so poor. I assumed it was just me and the nature of the machine. I tried replacing the cutting mat and the cutting blade...but to no avail...

Finally, after reading several things online about how much Silhouette owners just loved their machine, I got to thinking maybe it wasn't me..so I called the customer service line and left a message.

With in 30 minutes, they called me back and discussed my problems with me. They were so helpful and really nice, ensuring me that it wasn't user error and they wanted me to love my machine. They sent a small replacement part for me to try, and in a snap...the machine cuts perfectly! I guess it pays to ask...

But really, in this day and age I was surprised at how easy dealing with their customer service was. I mean, am I wrong, usually you can't even get a sales person at a store (high end or low) to help solve a problem face to face...I could grip about customer service all day (usually) but today I am happy that my machine cuts heavy cardstock like a knife through warm butter.

Here is a quick layout of Rooster I did using my Silhouette to cut the title and hearts...enjoy!

And because I am feeling guilty that Rusty is the only fur-baby not yet posted here, here is Rusty (ain't he a doll!):

Taking Notes...and Other Anal Things

Sometimes I am the messiest, sloppiest, laziest person (think finishing laundry) and other times I am so anal, it is scary (think I just went back and corrected the typos in Wednesday's post).

I am a notorious note-taker....I find if I write it down, I will remember it (probably without ever needing to look at the note again)...I have notebooks and lists everywhere! Lists for shopping, for unfinished projects, for things that need to be cleaned or completed at work, for ideas on new projects, for what needs to be done in the yard, for scrap-related contest deadlines....and on....and on....and on! I opened a box in my office yesterday only to find several notebooks (partially used) and lists of thing that needed to be done before Christmas 2008...and yes, everything was neatly checked off.

Several months ago I was at a local stamping store (Mainely Stampin'...they are so awesome in there!) and saw a super cute handmade notebook on the counter made by one of the employees there, Martha. I almost immediately went home and made one up for myself to keep track of my scrapbooking supplies. It includes lists of the inks I have, the embossing plates for my Cuttlebug, embossing powders, paints and so on.

This past January my friend asked for one of these notebooks for her birthday. It is a pretty simple, but super cute idea...simply take several large shipping tags and bind them together between two chipboard covers and there you have it, notebook heaven!

Here are some pictures of the finished product for Foxyscrapr's present (hers turned out much nicer than mine (the anal side of me may have to remake mine!):

This is the outside chipboard cover, covered with patterned paper from SEI and distressed with Tim Holtz Distress inks. The center medallion is cut from white cardstock, stamped and embossed with several stamps. I coated the entire cover with Crackle Accents from Ranger Arts. It is hard to see clearly in this picture, but the medallion and cover are glossy with and aged cracked finish. The notebook is held together with two rings that are tied with various ribbons.

The inside 'pages' are tags I cut with my Silhouette. I hand-drew the lines and added stamping at the corners.

Here is a close-up of the stamping (I am still perfecting my stamping technique).

And here is one of the pages "in-action" with a list of the Distress Inks Foxy has...

And finally, this is the inside cover with an important note...Remember to Play Everyday!

So there you have it...Thanks to Mainely Stampin' for giving me the idea and inspiration!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Daffy-dils...and Other Signs of Spring

I am definitely a winter kind-of-gal. I love cold weather (preferably rainy), turtlenecks, wool sweaters, hot coffee (actually coffee at any temperature is good), and snuggling on the couch with all five of the four-legged babies. But I will admit that the first signs of Spring always make me happy.

Last Fall, on a particularly hot day, I planted tulips and daffodils around the base of the trees in our front yard.Fast forward four months...and up come the first of the daffys. The first official opening was late last Wednesday, and by Saturday there was a riot of yellow flowers in the front yard. Now I wish it hadn't been so hot back in October, because I would have planted hundreds more! They are such a nice welcome home after work!

So the lovely daffys got me to thinking about all the scrapbook pages I did last year from the trip I took with my Mom and her friends to Butchart Gardens in Victoria, B.C. ...and I thought I would upload a few here to share (if you mouse-click on the pics, they should enlarge so you can see the details, and just use the 'back' button on your browser to get back to this post):

Black Eyed Susans

The Italian Garden

The Sunken Garden



Spider Mums

And, just in case you are wondering...the tulips haven't but hardly begun to peek out from the soil...I have never had much luck with growing tulips in the ground...I guess we will just have to wait and see what pops-up!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Too Many Cooks in the Kitchen...and Other Spicy Stories

So...I don't really like to cook. Please don't confuse that with me not liking to eat...that, I love. So I cook only because I like to eat. I'm not really good at cooking, but I haven't made anyone sick by it (yet)...so I guess that says something.

I am notorious for under-seasoning my cooking. And turkey soup is the worst. I love turkey soup, and it always taste comfy, but usually mine tastes very flat.

So this weekend, I defrosted a turkey frame left-over from Thanksgiving, and made another stab at it. When I set the frame in the pot, with some veggies from the fridge (carrots, onion, celery and some on-the-verge-of-throwing-out spinach) I decided to be bold and add quite a bit more seasoning than I usually do. I added loads of salt, garlic powder, turkey seasoning, basil, bay leaf and oregano. I set the stock to simmer for a few hours and told my sweetie that when the stock was done and the soup coming together he should taste the stock and we would decide if it needed anything more. And then...off to the studio I went to get some projects finished....

A few hours later, I strained the frame and mushy veggies from the stock....and was left with something that looked a whole lot like beef stock. Very dark, almost red, in color. Well, I thought, maybe that was because of the spinach...

I had my sweetie come in and look and he came in (with a very sheepish look on his face) just as I was tasting the stock....

Oh my stars! The stock was like a three-alarm fire! I couldn't imagine what I had done!

And then the confession came out...sweetie (darling dear) had added a bit of seasoning to the pot...a lot of paprika (hence the red color) and a ton of red pepper flakes!

Well, in the end, the soup was still pretty good...definitely not lacking in seasoning...and we have found the perfect cure for a stuffed nose!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Love is in the Air...and Other Valentinesy Things

Well, another busy weekend is coming to a close. Valentine's weekend at that...I gave my sweety his matchbox frame, and he really liked it..thought it was very clever (and that is saying a lot for him! A huge compliment!)

I also got a lot of scrapping and card making done this weekend...not to mention a FULL container of weeds pulled from the backyard...tiring, but very rewarding!

One of the cards I finished is for Caardvark's Get Published contest...(isn't Caardvarks just the cutest name for a blog about making cards!...Some people are so witty!) So here is my submission for the contest, a wedding card:

I tried to make something a little different for me...no distressing! I used three shades of cardstock (black, light gray and dark gray) for the background and used my Silhouette to cut the title and Chinese character, both of which I coated with Glossy Accents. The velvet ribbon is recycled from a package I received and the rhinestone swirl is from a company called Want2scrap.com. I used a Martha Stewart edge punch for the lacy edge on the dark gray cardstock...love this punch (especially since I have finally learned the quirky way you need to press in order for the punch to work!)

Pretty simple card, but I am really pleased with how it turned out!

Wish me luck!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Stretching a Dollar...and Other Daily Exercises

So, my ban on buying crafting supplies has come to an end (as of midnight Sunday, February 7th). I thought Michael's would have been my first order of business come Monday, but I still haven't gone...hmmm.

I actually found it nice to really go through all of my accumulated supplies and 'shop' at home. I finally used some of my patterned papers that have been sitting on the shelf...for who knows how long!

So the final stats on the no-buy campaign:
Cards completed: 24 (4 sets of 6)
Layouts completed: 9 (all one page each)
Misc. Projects completed: 2 (matchbox frame and a notebook)
Knitted Scarves completed: 3
Knitted washclothes completed: 4
Supplies depleted: none (not surprising!)
Money spent $0.00

I have impressed myself, if no one else!

So even though the spending freeze is over...I think I will stick it out a bit longer, and try not to shop just for shopping's sake. (I think I have grown...sigh!)

On another note...I submitted to nine scrapbook calls, contests or challenges in January...didn't win any, but I'm still plugging along with several more to do for February.

One of my favorite layouts submitted was to the Page Maps page call I mentioned last month...well, I didn't win...but the upside is I can post my layout here for everyone to see.

So with that said...I'm off to the studio to get some more work done!