Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Cars, cookies, and unfrozen waffles

Here I thought the stress would end when I got home from CHA, with many events done and over with. But wait, there’s more!

The Monday I got home Visa called to say there were suspicious charges on our credit card, they canceled it and would send a new card. I only have one major credit card, and that was it, so no school shopping last week. Saturday I was out and about getting some supplies for my altered project when my car up and died on a busy road. Guess who still doesn’t have a Visa in her purse? DH came and rescued me, along with his business credit card. I told him, while we were waiting for the tow truck, to turn off the hazards on his car, the cop had the traffic under control for the 10-15 mins – make that 40 mins - for the tow to get there. No, its fine he says.

The car was towed to a chain auto repair place. I’m a dealership repair person, but that was not an option apparently, the tow truck driver didn’t want to go that far. Heck, I get sweaty and uptight getting the oil changed. My early days of driving beater cars put me on edge with every quiver of the gauges on the dashboard, and I prefer to be able to hold someone accountable for my misery. Car failures are enough to commit me to the insane asylum. Strap on the straight jacket, sit me down in the padded room and serve the all-chocolate diet.

My mom came over on Sunday to hang out and go to the new Whole Foods while DH and Spunky went to see Batman at the movies. DH is not one to check up on me, but he called while we were in Costco, all ‘where are you, what are you doing?’. His car was dead at the theater. We hustled out of Costco as fast as you can hustle out of Costco on a Sunday afternoon and attempted to jump his car, which remained dead. We all crammed into my mom’s car, us, the dead battery and the box of 60 frozen waffles that didn’t fit in the cooler and were no longer frozen. $85 later he put a new battery in his car and it started up like a charm.

I suppose I am lucky, the car is repaired and seems to be running fine, gas gauge included, and I even found an online coupon for $50 off the repair. And my mom was not only available to save the day, but happy to be of service, in return for some pool time and dinner. Luckily DH’s car decided to poop out on Sunday, instead of Monday, which made my existence infinitely better. They would have had to tow me away too. I think its time for extra cookies!

Thursday, July 24, 2008


Good Golly, I've been MIA! Well, not really. I spent last Wednesday through Sunday at CHA with Spellbinders. We had a great show, and I met lots of wonderful store owners and artists that had to see all the new products and all the Sneak Peek artwork.

I was able to drive back home last Thursday night to attend Spunky's Championship baseball game, his 8th place team played the first place team. The game was close, but Spunky's team lost in extra innings by one run. All in all, a great season with great coaches and great kids and supportive parents. I can't ask for more!

Nothing soothes the soul like a trophy and a Krispy Kreme after a tough loss.

Since getting home from CHA late Sunday I've been catching up on sleep, and trying to find the kitchen counter tops and the laundry room floor. It seems trolls broke into the house, unbeknown to DH, Sparky, Spunky and Cindy, and ransacked the place pretty good. This has happened before, and I'm sure its the same band of trolls as the last time.

I'll have more art up, and more Cindy stories soon!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Monday Morning and a Bracelet

Good Monday Morning! What did you think of the Sneak Peeks? Which die(s) are your favorite? For me, its got to be the Labels 1, we've been asking for that one for a long time. I tend to favor the more general shapes that are versatile, instead of the more specific. I also like to use dies beyond their obvious shape. I used the Labels 2 die as an object, not a label, in a project for this week's show, I'll be able to post that picture next week.Today I'm sharing a bracelet I made using shrink plastic and Spellbinders dies and stamps, Copic Markers and Krylon leafing pens, among other trinkets and baubles. I found the bracelet base on sale at Kohl's a year ago and have kept it in my stash waiting for inspiration. Some of the items are 7 Gypsies (oh, do I love 7 Gypsies!), a typewriter key, and watch parts.

I used my Wizard to smash the bottlecap, filled it with loose watch parts and filled in with Glossy Accents. I punched the hole with my Crop A Dile. I used tags and rectangles to cut the shrink plastic (Lucky Squirrel brand), stamped the Spellbinders stamps with pigment ink and colored in random spots with Copic Markers. The stamps I used were parts of a butterfly, the wreath stamp and one from the clock set, going for more of an abstract pattern than actual shapes. I shrunk it with my heat tool and colored the backs and sides with Krylon paint pens to make it look more like metal. While the Copic markers go on semi-transparent, when shrunk they look much more intense.

I'm off to clean my house and get myself ready for CHA in Rosemont IL this week. If you are attending, please stop by the booth to see ALL the artwork from the Sneak Peeks, ALL the new dies, including dies that were not included in the peeks, and a few of the artists, including me! Spellbinders is booth 3909.

Friday, July 11, 2008

And the Winner Is...

Pam Davis of Colorado! Yeah Pam, you'll bet getting the Daisy Border Grand Die! You'll have to show us what you make with the new die!

Congratulations Pam, and Good Luck to everyone else entering today's drawing at Holly Craft's blog, tomorrow at Donya's, and Sunday at Trudi's.

I'm off to Spunky's playoff baseball game, have a great Friday evening!


You are all so sweet for visiting and leaving comments on my projects and Cindy story. I was really nervous about this! I would love to give everyone a prize, but I don't think my DH would love that, so instead I baked you some cookies. Feel free to take as many as you like, they're not just for breakfast anymore, and cyber cookies are fat free!

I will announce the winner of the Daisy Border Grand as soon as I get the word. Thank you again!

In the mean time, the Sneak Peeks continue, be sure to go see Holly Craft's blog today!


Tuesday, July 8, 2008

July 9, 2008 Spellbinders Sneak Peek!

Introducing the Daisy Border Grand, S7-003 from Spellbinders. The die cut measures 12 inches long and 2.5 inches wide at the widest part and retails for $19.99. This is a true 12 inch border and is the perfect partner to Daisy Patch Edgeability S4-043 die, both by longtime product designer Toni Kelly.

For instruction on using Spellbinders dies, I have downloaded the YouTube videos to my blog, see below, or click here to go to YouTube.

For supplies today I am using Spellbinders Premium Craft Foil, which is 12 inches wide and 36 inches long, $8.99 US retail, an awesome price! It doesn’t matter which color I use today, because I want the silver side. It comes in 5 colors plus pure copper, each color has silver on the back, except the pure copper. I used a tag from the Ribbon Tags Trio S3-150. The paper is Worldwin’s ColorMates in Deep Awesome Aqua, Deep Totally Tan, Light Heritage White, and Inkjet Printable Translucent Vellum, the Perfect Printing Pouch, photos are my own, font is Bickley Script, velvet ribbon is Basic Grey, sheer ribbon in white and yellow, and black acrylic paint. For adhesive on the metal, either a liquid glue or red line tape is preferred.

Feeding a 12 inch long die on 8.5 inch long mats is easy. Use the Spellbinders die cut sandwich, when stacked from your table up: white mat, white spacer plate, die, cut side up, material to be cut, white mat. A little tip, if you are concerned your material will move off the die, you can use a small piece of removable tape. It won’t harm the die, and it peels off the paper easily without damaging the die cut.

Feed this into your Wizard. With a 12 inch long die, part of the die will stick out the back end, and that is fine. Only the part of the die that sits on the Spacer Plate will cut, but it won’t leave a line or crease where the spacer plate ends.

After the first pass, lift the top mat, turn the border die 180 degrees so the uncut portion is on the spacer plate, replace the top mat and feed it in exactly the same way as before.

You can remove the excess cut foil from the outside of the die.

Embossing is done the same way. Leave the die cut in the die. Remove the spacer plate from the sandwich so the die sits on the bottom mat, place the tan embossing mat on top of the die, and cover with the top white mat. The tan embossing mat is 6.75 inches long and should cover half of the 12 inch border. Feed the embossing sandwich through the Wizard.

To emboss the other half, turn the die 180 degrees, cover with the Tan mat and white mat and feed sandwich again. The die will not have lines or creases or any indication that you do not have 12 inch plates.

What? You want 12 inch long plates? OK, twist my arm! They’ll be available at the 2008 Craft and Hobby Association Summer Show and at your favorite Spellbinder’s retailer in August!

Now we get to play with the die cut. Make sure that you are protecting your work surface, I use wax paper. After cutting and embossing, paint the entire die cut with black acrylic craft paint.

Paint it evenly, and be sure to get paint into all the nooks and crannies. Let it dry slightly.

Using a dry paper towel, wipe the paint off the embossed areas. Be gentle, but you don’t have to be perfect.

Do not wipe the paint out of the crevices, you want it there. You can always add more a little more paint if you took too much off. You can always take a little more off if you put too much on.

Allow the paint to dry completely, that will depend on the brand of paint you use, read the label for drying time. Cut, emboss, paint and wipe the smaller flowers in the Daisy Patch S4-043 die and one of the Ribbon Tags Trio S3-150.

I love to photograph the flowers in my yard, and I waited not so patiently for my daisies this year, they bloomed just in time to share with you! Photo editing was done with Photoshop Elements. The poem is The Daisy Field, by Ann Taylor, found on the internet.

To make this layout, I cut, embossed, painted and wiped a second daisy border. I matted the photos, arranged the borders and photos, wrapped the layout with multiple ribbons, and assembled as shown. Pull the ribbons over the tag, through the holes and attach to the back side of the page. I see this as a layout with clean lines and basic matting. The detail is in the die cuts.

Sign up for more information from Spellbinders

Thanks for stopping by!

*If you wish to be included in further communications from Spellbinders, please go to their homepage and sign up: http://www.spellbinders.us.

This is the album I mentioned earlier, put together as a Scrap For Hire Job for my friend and owner of Bags N Blings, a retail and home party company. I decided to make the album from scratch in the form of a purse. Using chipboard, Fibermark paper, a zipper, ribbon purse handles, album refills, an acrylic page, and my Bind It All, along with some girly rub-ons, pink paper and plenty of bling, I came up with this. I sure hope she likes it!

She allowed me to photograph the purses and bling and other goodies, and supplied me with a key photo and some of the advertising and brochures.

Thanks for looking and don't forget to come back on Wednesday for my Spellbinder's Sneak Peek!
Good Tuesday Morning, and thanks for stopping by again! Thanks for your comments and subscriptions, it keeps me from tapping the microphone and asking if this thing is on.

Cindy's story has a lot more to go, but it gets better and better. She's a silly girl and I have plenty of anecdotes and pictures that will make you smile.

I'm finishing up a project for a friend, I do some scrapper for hire work and I've made an album for her business. I'm sure she won't mind me posting here before I deliver it, so stay tuned for that later today!

How do you like the Spellbinder's Sneak Peeks so far? I think they are amazing! I have seen all the dies already but I am still delighted to see the artwork each day. MY DAY IS TOMORROW! That means I'll be hitting the Starbucks to keep my eyes open so I can post at midnight. All I can say is, are you ready for something completely different?

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Cinderella Story Part 2

Buster had sisters, Peanut and Gracie, 2 small kittens. He never meant any harm to them, just wanted to sniff them. He liked Peanut, and he let her sleep with him and share his food. Peanut was a little slow, let’s just say the elevator didn’t go to the top floor, but we loved her. Gracie was definitely a cat, and she always a bit suspicious of Buster. Gracie certainly didn’t want that big ole snoot sniffing at her so she always kept her distance. Buster lived to be 9, and the cats lived to be 14 and 15.

Shortly after Peanut left us the inquisition started. I think it was the next day, actually. “When can we get a new dog?” “We need a new Boo Boo.” “Please can we get a dog? I promise to clean up the yard and walk the dog and play with it and, and, and (breathe, child!)…”

Correspondence with the local Bull Terrier Club informed us that no puppies were available, and none were expected soon. I checked the national breed site and looked up rescue dogs. There were a few on the site, at a location about 3 hours from us. We emailed back and forth about specific dogs available, and decided that on our vacation, we would drive down to “let a dog choose us”. The dogs had various stories, but most had been removed from abusive situations like puppy mills.

Cindy was the first dog we met. She wagged her tail and responded positively to all of us, but wasn’t overly excited. She took advantage of the opportunity to run the yard and then we met a few other dogs ready for a home. Fancy was led in and rolled over immediately for a belly rub. The other dogs did not make an impression on us, or vice versa. For the rest of our vacation we discussed pros and cons of these 2 dogs. We decided we wanted both. No, we can’t have both, they said. A couple more days of discussion later, and we decided on Cindy, knowing that Fancy would find a home soon, with her happy little disposition. Cindy had been in rescue for 9 months, much longer than most other dogs. She liked us, and she needed a home. When we returned from our trip, DH hopped in the car and drove down to get her.

When DH brought her home, he walked her around our yard, she immediately chewed the brand new leash I bought. He walked her to the back yard and she barked at the neighbor dogs, he led her to the back door, and she barked at her reflection in the glass. She barked at her reflection in the oven door, the dishwasher, and the fireplace glass. She barked at the ceiling fan. Her barking was of fear and self preservation.

Cindy was a blank canvas, so to speak. She was an almost 3 year old full size, 43 pound dog that had never had a chance to be a puppy. She had never been inside a house, but was crate trained.

We were never told how many puppies she had produced, but we knew that those puppies were taken from her shortly after birth to be nursed by another dog, so the birthing dogs could restart their cycles sooner, producing more puppies. We know the date of her rescue, because the next day is the first time she saw a vet. We know the USDA raided the puppy mill, brought in a truck, and filled that truck with as many dog cages they could fit on it, and distributed the dogs to their breed rescue homes. Of the 7 Bull Terriers at the puppy mill, one had to be put down and the rest were removed. The animals needed veterinary attention. Dogs should not be neglected and/or abused.

Cindy has scars. One is on the top of her head, small but visible. One on her flank, about 1 inch long. She has scars on her legs, where the calluses were, from lying on concrete every day, all day. The calluses are now healed and hair has grown over parts of them. When we see a new vet at the clinic, they always ask about the scars.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

What's better than Cookies for Breakfast?

A NEW WIZARD for Breakfast! Yes indeedy, Brown came through for me this morning! And what to my surprise did I see when I opened that box? My artwork gracing the top of the box! That's my card, the leaf card in the middle. I heard a rumor it would be there, but I wanted to see it with my own little eyes. Pardon me while I happy dance!

Ok, on to the rest of it, I lifted the colorful box carefully from the shipping box and ripped it open. Inside I found a pristine raspberry colored Wizard, yes, the very same machine you are entering to win. Being on the Design Team sure does have it's perks! I photographed the contents, so you know what your $99 US retail buys.

You get a User Manual, an instructional DVD, a die (this is a new addition to the box, it never used to come with any dies!), a Wizard, of course, and all the mats you need to cut and emboss every die on the consumer market. Be sure to check out the videos I uploaded from YouTube, you'll be a cutting and embossing pro in no time.

I also want to tell you what each mat is for.

See those 2 mats on the left? They are the largest mats in the package. Those are the top and bottom mats, or the Cut and Emboss mats. The white mat on the right is the Spacer Plate, it is used as a shim when you cut dies from Spellbinders and Quickuts, and any other thin chemically etched dies. When using Cuttlebug, Sizzlets and similar dies, with a plastic back to them, you don't need this Spacer Plate. The square mat in the front, on the angle, is the Universal Cutting Mat. That is for the Original Sizzix, and other thick dies. I can't forget the Tan Embossing Mat. Its the tan rubbery mat on the right. That is used to emboss Spellbinders dies, emboss brass stencils, emboss with just about anything. I'll have more details on embossing in the future.

I can't wait to run my new Wizard thru her paces, but first she needs a name. And I need to eat ribs at our local festival! And I'm going to have a frosty cold one, because today marks the end of my first 2 weeks on the South Beach diet. Hey, I lost 6 pounds! Just a couple more and I'll be happy, but first I want a Triscuit like nothing else. And a cookie.

Be sure to enter Wendy's drawing for her Sneak Peek die, and get over to Heidi's, the bar keeps getting set higher on those projects! I'm shaking in my shoes here, I hope you will love my Sneak Peek on the 9th as much as I love the projects you've already seen.


Tuesday, July 1, 2008

This is inspired by Sid Dicken's Memory Blocks, I have a few of these and love love love them. I constructed a set of my own blocks with a bit of foam, paper mache, modeling paste and the Architecture Column Spellbinder's Die (S4-122). I used some foam that was packing material, cut it down to size, covered it with newspaper and paper mache. When dry, I added texture with modeling paste, but left some of the newsprint revealed. When that was dry I painted the whole piece with Twinkling H20's, you can't really see the glimmery effect in the photo, but IRL its there. I stamped with an Autumn Leaves swirly set.

The word JOY is cut from Amaco Pewter and chipboard. I edged the chipboard with black ink then glued the metal letter to it. The font is Spellbinder's Caesar Font (L1-01), one of my favorites. I also backed the column with chipboard in the same way.

Working with Pewter is great fun, but be sure to wash your hands afterwards. The wonderful thing about embossing dies is that you can do so much with so many materials. First I cut and embossed the pewter in my Wizard. Normally with metal, that's all you need to do to get a beautiful crisp emboss. But pewter is a soft metal and it stretches if you work with it. I left the pewter die cuts in the die after I embossed it and grabbed a stylus tool. I set the front side of the die on top of my tan embossing pad (included with your Wizard) and from the back side of the die, using it as a stencil, I traced the embossing outline into the pewter. No need to "color" in the inside of the embossed area, just going along the outline will stretch the metal. Turn it over and you will love the result. Assemble by adhering to the chipboard, then glue the chipboard to the block and you are good to go!

As in the license plate on the Almost 13 layout below, I knew I was taking this to CHA and I wanted to protect the pewter from curios hands. Before attaching the pewter to the chipboard, I filled the back side with liquid glue and allowed it to dry. The glue hardens and fills up the embossed areas and keeps people from pushing fingers into the embossing.

If you need some photos of the steps, leave a comment and I'll get some shots. I'm between cleaning and baseball today, but I will check back!

Thanks for looking!

This Nestabilities Birthday Party has been so exciting! If you didn't get to Debbie's blog yesterday to see the new dies (drool alert), you can still go there today and sign up, you have until midnight Central time to do so. Then check out Jennifer's Sneak Peek, her project is so clever! You have until midnight tomorrow to sign up to win Jennifer's die set. The links are right over here ---->

I'll plan to post some more projects in a bit!