Monday, September 15, 2014

Another Way to Say Thank You

Another way ....... in another language.  Polish to be exact.  When I saw this Memory Box die in Ellen Hutson's store I immediately put it on my wish list.  My mother is Polish, my father was Dutch, so I am Dolish or Putch, whichever way you choose to look at it.  My mother speaks Polish, as did my grandparents whom we lived above growing up.  There are a handful of words that I know in that language and Dziekuje (Thank You) is one of them.  I thought this would be nice to have on hand for cards I might make for my relatives (and friends) who speak a little Polish.  And as a note, the person I sent this card to was so tickled to get it.

What you see below is not a card, it is a page for a scrapbook that HWNSNBP needed for work.  One of the cafeteria workers that was with his company for many years is moving to Florida and they wanted to put something together from all the employees to wish her well and thank her for her cheerful service to them all these years.  We decided a beach scene would be good and he wrote something on the line of ..... I hope you enjoy many sunrises and sunsets in your new home.  

And speaking of sun ..... the Sunshine group from work sent me a card signed with messages from them all and a gift card to use while I'm recuperating.  Of all the times to be out of work this has probably been the worst time - the start of the school year.  There is so much that I am responsible for getting set up and though I'm trying to help out from home, I know it's the little details and extras that I do that are getting missed (which some of the messages reminded me of) and I feel bad about that.  

I made this center of the sun by punching out a circle in Daffodil Delight and then covering it with Washi tape in the same color.  Then I covered the whole thing with Crystal Effects and sprinkled diamond dust on it to give it some sparkle.  

As if I needed one more thing to deal with, I have a tooth that started acting up over the weekend and have to make a trip to the dentist today.  My least favorite place to go.  Keeping my fingers crossed it will be an easy fix!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Blue - Spotting Your Own Photo

I happened upon this challenge called Spotting Your Own Photo which proved to be quite a diversion for me.  You see, you have to go through photos you've already taken which is kind of the opposite of most photo challenges that I've seen.  Most times I've seen prompts posted and then you go out and find something to photograph to fit that prompt.  In this case, you're given a prompt and then have to go through your files and find pictures you've taken that would apply to that prompt.  

Having only seen this last week, I missed the prompt for August which was "Show Your Love For Animals" which we all know would not have been a problem for me to find pictures of animals.  I know for a fact that I have more pictures of animals than I do of people.   

So I was ready to jump in with the September prompt "Photos of Your Favorite Color".  I don't think any of these pictures were taken solely for their color, though I will admit that I am attracted to blue flowers.   I had fun combing through my files but then I had to "educate" myself in making a photo collage.  Thanks to PicMonkey I figured it out.

The Story of Blue

Once upon a time there was a little girl who lived in a very small apartment with her parents and her two sisters and two brothers.  She had to share a room with her two sisters and they slept on a trundle bunk bed, her bed being the trundle.  

This little girl had a cousin who had no brothers and sisters and who was treated like a little princess. She had beautiful new clothes, no hand-me-downs, toys and a room all to herself.

Every once and a while the little princess' parents would ask the little girl to come over for a visit and she would stay in the princess' room both of them sharing her giant bed.  

They would play with all the dolls and go exploring outside.  The little princess once even told the little girl that there was a giant who lived in the field full of beautiful blue morning glories beyond the trees in her backyard.  

One day, as they were playing outside with another cousin they started talking about favorites.  The visiting cousin asked "what is your favorite color?".  The little girl said "green" but she was immediately told by the little princess that she could not have green as her favorite color because the little princess' favorite color was green.  The little princess told the little girl that she must choose another color or she would never be allowed to come over and sleep in the big bed or play with the beautiful toys again.

The little girl didn't want to choose another color but she also did not want to be banished from visiting the little princess.  Remembering the story of the giant who lived in the field full of beautiful blue morning glories beyond the trees - a place of fear and wonder to the little girl - she thought of those beautiful blue morning glories and chose blue.

Blue was the color of the bike she bought with her communion money. Blue was the color of the velvet dress her mother made for her to wear to her first family wedding. Blue was the color of her first car.  Blue was the color that she painted her bedroom when she got married.  Blue was the color of the dress she wore to her son's wedding.

Blue was and still is her favorite color.  And even though all these years later some would say she was bullied into choosing it, she is happy she chose blue.  

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Jingle Belles - Baby It's GOLD Outside

Can you guess what our prompt is?  I bet you can.  GOLD.  One of the trends going on in the stamping/scrapbooking world is to use gold in your designs.  So I headed to my paper trove and found all the gold I could work with and came up with...........TAH DAH

My ornament is a Memory Box die called Lydia ornament that both cuts and embosses what you see on the top layer.  I did not purchase the die that makes the back of the ornament choosing to just trace around the edge of the die onto the texture gold paper and cutting it out with scissors.  I did have to use an Exacto knife to get the hole in the hanger part, but it wasn't difficult.  The most difficult part of using these intricate dies is gluing them down.  It's so easy to put too much glue on the back and glue smears show up terribly well on foil cardstock, but I think I managed to avoided any big messes.

I used a rectangle of gold glitter paper and the sentiment is in gold foil paper again using an Elizabeth Craft die.  The vertical ribbon is a favorite that I found at Mike's a couple of years ago, but checking the holiday ribbon selection a couple of weeks ago they have it again.  It too is a bugger to glue down, but in this case I made sure that the ribbon folded over the top and bottom of the top panel so I could use sticky tape on the back to adhere it.  Taping the glitter panel over the top also helps secure it in place.  

The top panel was embossed with a Cuttlebug embossing folder - forgot the name - and when I first added that panel to the card backing I immediately regretted not putting in another layer of gold. Fixed that however with a gold gel pen - v e r y   c a r e f u l l y.

The picture below is in normal light and don't you notice the difference in the shades of gold?  The whole card has a warmer look to it and not so brassy as when under photo light.  

I just checked my box of Christmas cards against my Christmas card list and I am sadly lacking enough cards so I think I will do this card again in another color combination.  Or maybe the gold again, but have the top embossed part of the ornament in white this time.  

Let's see how the other ladies came along with their Midas Touch beauties - click here.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Blossoms, Birds, and a Pie Review

I finally tried my SU Blendabilities and put some of my try-outs to good use on some needed cards this past week.  The above card is an anniversary card for my cousin and her husband.  She loves pink and to keep it from being too feminine I used that triangle background paper in green.

A close friend of my cousin just underwent hip replacement surgery for both hips.  I have been fortunate enough to have met her on a couple of occasions and wanted to wish her well in her recovery.  That big Blackberry Bliss flower above was for her.

Below is another bloom in Calypso Coral shades for our very good friends who are also celebrating their anniversary this week.

I added two little wooden birds (thanks Sabrina) to the burlap trim.  

Here is a sampling of the blooms that I colored.  I tried coloring them both ways, light to dark and dark to light and I don't really see any difference.

Oh, except on this last one that highlights a new technique called Etching.  You use a fine-tip marker to add mucho lines to the petals on the inner surface as well as the tip of the petal leaving a white space in between to look like light reflected and thus giving the petals some dimension.  You could do this in any color on any color paper, but I chose to try black and white first.

Last weekend HWNSNBP wanted to go for a walk in one of the local parks.  Luckily I had brought along the camera just in case I saw anything picture worthy and I was very glad that I did.

Along the road of the park entrance I had been looking at the field of wildflowers/weeds when my eye caught this guy below.  I asked HWNSNBP to turn around and come back down the road so I could capture him with the camera.  

In the picture below we were right alongside him but up the road embankment.  He looked a little cautious and was starting to move away at this point.

On our short walk through the park (it was very hot and I'm still rebuilding my strength) we saw these plants growing in a ditch along the pathway.  They are called Jewelweed or Spotted Touch-me-not and the indians used this plant to combat the effects of poison ivy.  

The next picture is a little blurry, but inside the flower you can see the red spots.  HWNSNBP wanted to know how I knew these things as I was pointing out other "flowering weeds" in the ditch and I reminded him that I had a field guide that I used many, many years ago to identify some of the flowering plants that were growing in the area around our neighborhood.  Some of them, like the Jewelweed, have disappeared having either been consumed by the deer or cut down by homeowners. 

 I find this sad in a way, because some of those flowers, like chicory and tickseed sunflowers (wild coreopsis) were so pretty even though they are considered weeds.  

A few of you asked to let you know how my buttermilk pie turned out.  Well, it tasted pretty good, however, I made quite the mess trying to put it in the oven myself (I'm not supposed to be bending yet).  I will confess that I did not make the crust from scratch.  HWNSNBP picked up a package of frozen pie crusts for me and after I let it thaw, I pinched up the edges, but apparently not enough.  There was more batter than would fit in the pie shell and wanting to use as much as I could I filled the pie crust to the brim.  Needless to say, from the counter to the oven it started to escape and run over the edges and continued to do so in the oven making a big mess.  At that point I turned off the oven and had him pull it out and we waited til the oven cooled off a bit so he could clean up the mess on the bottom that had already started to burn.  I removed some of the filling and put some aluminum foil on the cookie sheet to catch anything that might escape after that, but none did.  I think I would definitely use a bigger pie shell the next time.  Oh, and because there was lemon juice and grated lemon in the batter, it tasted mostly like a lemon custard pie on the verge of coconut.  I think I will add some coconut next time and cut back on the lemon a little.  

And while I'm at it, this is a picture of the peach butter on some toasted English muffins and cream cheese.  It's a little more syrupy than I would like but it tastes delicious!

And finally, we got to see some of the "white birds" this weekend.  Boy was yesterday hot.  The hottest day of the summer so far and humid way past the point of comfort.  

If you could have heard the noise that went along with this picture and the way that they seem to be partially lined up you might have thought that this was a chorus line and the cormorants were getting ready for practice much quicker than the egrets.

Wouldn't it be great to see them do a pinwheel?

I hope you had a lovely weekend.  We are going to have some cooler, less humid days this week that I am looking forward to.  I do my "laps" in the early morning and early evening when it's not as hot around a portion of our backyard that used to be half a basketball court.  You should hear the bluejays yell at me when I get too close to the suet feeder.  I just tell them to come back when I'm done!

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Saying Something Besides Thank You

Some friends came to visit one evening last week and we ordered Chinese food which HWNSNBP volunteered to go pick up so we could have more time to talk.  They brought me a gorgeous plant and we had a lot of laughs together while catching up on what's been going on in our lives.  

I wanted to thank them for the plant but more importantly, for the visit and sharing the laughter and memories.  So I perused my stamps and came up with these two sentiments for the front of the cards.  I'll add a handwritten note inside letting them know how much they lifted my spirits.

The other plus was using some products I had not yet gotten to.  

Okay, for the particulars.  The top card uses SU's Perfect Pennants stamp set, Fresh Prints DSP Pack, Real Red, Coastal Cabana, Whisper White, and Baked Brown Sugar CS.  I used Real Red ink, my banner dies, triangle punch, little flower punch, and the centers of the flowers were from the bird builder punch, with a little red and white baker's twine bow.

On the second card I used SU's Honeycomb Hello stamp set and the Hexagon Hive thinlit in Hello Honey cs.  The dsp is from the Moonlight stack and the card base is Blackberry Bliss.  The hexagons were stamped with Blackberry Bliss ink and then I used the thinlit to trace around them and cut them out by hand.  I have a hexagon punch, but the punches were too big for this.  I popped a few of those hexagons up with dimensionals.

Today we (I say we because I can't lift anything over 5 lbs. yet so I needed HWNSNBP's muscle) attempted to make peach butter.  I found the recipe on Pinterest about a week or so ago and serendipitously came upon the jars while on a little shopping excursion last weekend and since it is still peach season, though it's coming to and end soon, it looked simple enough to give it a try.  I haven't canned anything in at least 25 years, but I (he) was able to find the canning pot and insert.  

The jars are cooling on the counter and so far I've only heard 5 of the 8 make that popping sound, but I could have been elsewhere when the others did.  I'm not supposed to press on the lids to check until tomorrow when they're totally cool.  The recipe said it makes 10 jars, but I guess I cooked my peaches a little longer or started out with less than the 5 lbs.  My kitchen scale is a little dicey and could use a replacement.  Oh Santa - did you hear that?  Or maybe I won't wait until Christmas and use the remaining peaches to make another batch.  Of course I licked the spoon when the jars were all filled and sealed and it was pretty tasty.

And tomorrow, I'm going to attempt to make a buttermilk pie.  Why?  Well, yesterday on Good Morning America they mentioned a news story about a woman who made a buttermilk pie in a baking contest and was being called under scrutiny for using a store-bought pie crust.  The GMA panel hadn't heard of buttermilk pie before and neither had I, but I just so happened to have half a carton of buttermilk in the refrigerator leftover from some banana muffins I made two weeks ago, and it's still good, so we'll get to see what a buttermilk pie tastes like.  I'll be using this recipe and let you know how it turns out.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Jingle Belles with a Dash of Festive Friday

Our Jingle Belles challenged us to make a card for a winter holiday not Christmas.  My go-to sentiment for a holiday card intended for someone you're not sure celebrates Christmas is "PEACE ON EARTH"  or just "PEACE".  Rachel always asks me to make her cards that can go to anyone.  I took my inspiration from the Festive Friday Challenge photo below.

I love this image from Comfort & Joy and embossed it and the sentiment with black EP.  I wanted a very crisp look to it.  

I added a silver foil snowflake under the sentiment to match the embossing in silver I did for the background using my Amuse Starry Night background stamp.  The ribbon was a last minute find at Michael's last week.  

I have been able to do a few little "shopping" trips but I'm finding shopping is a little tricky.  I get a cart because I shouldn't be carrying a basket in case it gets too heavy, but then I find that I can't get the items out of the cart if I put them in the basket part because I'm not allowed to bend yet.  So either I remember to use the kiddie seat for my items or, since I'm still not driving, text my driver to come in and help me check out (if they're not in the store with me already).  And then there's the items that are on the lower shelves.  I pretty much am ignoring them.  And heaven forbid that I have a case of fumble-fingers and drop something on the floor. I hate to be one of those customers that just walks away, but if no one is around I have no other choice.  But you learn to make your accommodations.  Now if I could just remember not to twist from side-to-side when looking at the shelves!  As my PT says "your nose points where your toes point"! 

Don't forget to visit the Jingle Belles and Festive Friday blogs to see what everyone else has cooked up this week.   

Sunday, August 24, 2014

A Plethora of Thank You's

The first card above I actually tried to do for a Ways to Use It Challenge on Splitcoast.  The challenge was to spritz and I did use a paintbrush, my fingernail, and some watered-down Lucky Limeade ink on Crumb Cake cs.  I masked off the center and just did a frame on the base.  The spritzing at that point looked a little wanting, so I took a dauber and rubbed some more of the Lucky Limeade into the frame.  The spritzing is still visible but blends in so much better.  The Bashful Blue piece was a leftover piece that I had used the banner die on.  I embossed that with the Tiny Triangles EF and masked the frame of the card to add the chevron striping from Work of Art embossed with white EP.  I had picked up a pack of wooden arrows that was on clearance and used one of them in the center of the chevron banner, adding a Beautiful Wings embosslit butterfly and rhinestone to that.  I decided to add the strip of Lavender Lace on the side that I used my, oh geez, what are those scissors called!!  The sentiment is from Pretty Petites.

The card below was inspired by on of the DTGD challenges.  I had been pulling the labels off my blackberry containers, sticking them to a piece of lightweight paper, and then trimming them into strips.  I used the strips to make a frame.  I added clear glitter to the darkest of the blackberries and when the frame was place over the Thank You panel, I used some Martha Stewart purple glitter to outline the frame.  I don't know whatever possessed me to use glitter.  I don't have a particular fondness for the stuff and had to drag out the vacuum cleaner when I was done.  Thankfully I did this before my surgery, though I was a little concerned that I was going to have stray glitter somewhere on me for days.  

I thought those label strips would be great on Blackberry Bliss cs.

A one-layer sealife thank you on Crumb Cake cs below.  I colored those sand dollars with my aquapainter, though I don't believe they actually come in pink, these just had to be pink.

And lastly, a beach scene - one that I've missed this summer.  The image is a HouseMouse stamp and there should be two little mice acting silly with shells on their noses imitating the beak of the bird.  I masked out the mice and watercolored the scene with inks and markers.  I added highlights of sand and sea glass from Mud Puddles - something I picked up a few years ago in a scrapbooking shop and truthfully, I never used it and it's dried up quite a bit.  

These thank you's are for a bunch of friends who have helped me out before and after my surgery bringing by food, taking me to the doctor when HWNSNBP couldn't and even driving us to the emergency room.  I am so very thankful to all of them for their love and caring.