Monday, September 28, 2009

Keeping True..... the analogy of being under construction, this project of getting my office in order is taking longer than it should, LOL!! Seriously, I do see the light at the end of the tunnel. But I've run into a couple of snags. First: Trying to replace the baskets that were used on the shelving that I'm recycling with shelves. Seems that the first Home Depot didn't have ANY shelves for the system (they have the system....just no shelves). Which means I now get the fun job of hitting all the somewhat local Home Depots and Lowes to find the shelves.

Second: I was looking for a better system to store all my various and extra ink pads. I have this wonderful storage system on my desk (a birthday/Christmas gift combo (yeah....I'm a Dec. baby!) from DH one year), but was not thrilled to spend as much $$ this time around. I wanted something that would kinda match the shelves that I am using, be affordable, yet sturdy (don't ask for much!!). I think I found the solution here. I ordered the Pro value package as I was needing something to store my ever growing collection of punches also (currently, they are just lined up in front of my stamps in the closet....kinda out of sight, which means I don't think about using them as much as I need too!!). I considered getting the ribbon storage unit also, but have my ribbons already on these ribbon bobbin thingies and just need to figure out what type of container I want to store them in (currently, they are in THREE different types which does not make for nice and neat stacking). Unfortunately, this system won't be here for 2-3 more weeks.

I also ordered the Stack and Store from SU and some more paper storage. I'm REALLY trying to do this right so hopefully, I won't have to worry about this for another few years (hahhaaaaaa!)

So~ what I am wondering is: what is YOUR favorite storage/organizational product or tip?! As this room is still not done, I am open to ANY and ALL suggestions for making this room a more efficient place of creativity!!

BUT!! Never fear!! I WILL be creating something before this room is completed! LOL!!! I just need to sweep off the piles that are on my desk so that I have room to stamp. My guess is that they will just become a pile on the floor again (sigh).

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Disaster Zone

The construction zone has now become the disaster zone. all seriousness (is that an actual word?!) I AM gaining ground in my office/creative space. This is a job that needed to be done a couple of years ago and I am paying the price of my excellent procrastination. I'm slowly getting out of the endless spiral of trying to put stuff away with what I have without knowing where it will go/how it will fit or if I need some other type of storage. Did I mention that I HATE this type of cleaning?!

Hang in there with me folks!! I actually HAVE to get this done soon as I have a project that needs to get done.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Under Construction

I thought that maybe I lost my mojo in the mess that I call my stamping area. So I got the wild hair to clean it up and see if I could rescue mojo.
Guess what?
~I've now got a BIGGER mess.
~I'm wondering where all this JUNK came from ('cause heaven knows I didn't store this stuff!)
~I have actually found out that I CAN throw away craft stuff (aka junk) without having a heart attack.
~Did you know that sample boards (from a side trip into faux painting) do you no good if you don't put the recipe on the back?!
~I have also confirmed that I HATE THIS TYPE OF CLEANING (ok....I hate any type of cleaning...but REALLY HATE this type)
~I SWEAR that I will never let stuff get this bad again
~I also know that I'm lying when I say it will never get this bad again
~I am wondering how many more random thoughts I can come up with just to avoid going back to the job at hand
~ETA: came up with some more:
~I think I need a different type of storage boxes (ones that stack better) but how can I go buy stoarge boxes when a) I'm not sure where the stuff is going to go
b) I'm not sure WHAT I need until I get stuff put away
~how can I put stuff away if I don't have the right storage?
~I am in a vicious non-productive circle right now.
~Did I mention that I HATE this type of cleaning?!!
~Maybe I should just pitch the whole room and start over.

sigh......ok.......back at it. All of this misery just so I can find poor mojo. He had better come up with some pretty awesome stuff when I find him for all this trouble that I'm going through.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

What's a Mom to Do?

Been a long week here. Between the long weekend, working unexpectedly and trying to put in some miles on the bicycle there really hasn't been much time to sit down and create. And when I did sit down to create~~ guess what?! Somehow the ideas (that were totally awesome, btw) in my head were MUCH MUCH better than what was coming out on paper. Totally frustrates the heck out of me when that happens.

Being the organized, on top of things Mom that I am (insert some dripping sarcasm here____), I needed to make some thank you notes for the youngest who celebrated his 9th b-day the first weekend of this month. Since I had used the Extreme Skateboarder from SU on his card, I had it in my head to continue with that same theme. Now~~ here is where it gets tricky. First off: I had it in my head to make this card as a double challenge card (mistake number one). The CAS challenge this week on SCS was to use pop ups or dimensionals on your card. Great! I can do that!! Then I had it in my head to combine THAT challenge with Thursday's Way to Use it challenge, which was to use red (mistake number two). In my wonderfully creative mind (haha) I had the skateboarder in front of a graffiti wall, grinding on a rail of "thanks". But in reality ended up with this:

First off: I forgot how SMALL this image was, which required the card to measure 4x4. I had in my "vision" a more realistic graffiti background, using some reds, blues, greens (you a wall that all the taggers love). Obviously all of my attempts at that never produced something that I liked. So I just went with stamping the Gratuitious Graffiti background in versamark onto Whisper white paper. Like how it shows up kinda with a brown/dirty tint? That comes from having your stampin' scrub pad being dirty. What can I say? I felt it worked for the grungy graffiti wall so I grabbed a sponge dauber that had been used mostly with browns and lightly tapped it onto my Black Soot distress ink pad and sponged around the edges of the card.

Then I stamped the skateboarder in Black Soot onto some scrap Whisper White. And cut him out (Again....what was I thinking?!! This guy is TEENY TINY!! And I have EIGHT of these to make!! My hand just ACHED by the time I finished cutting out all those little guys!).

Then the sentiment. Here is where my "mom" dilemma comes into play. I originally stamped the "Thanks" in red. Using a different font. Great!! Fits both challenges. When I show it to the Toad and the boys, they say "cool, but that font doesn't really go with the whole look". Oooookaaay!! So I drag out another "Thanks" in a different font and try again. That particular font was too big. Not a great response from the critics. The Toad suggests using the same alphabet that I used on the original card (see above link). Sooooo, I drag out that set and stamp "Thanks" once again. DS (who, is very particular about how things should be in his creations/my creations for him~should be) says "It goes better with the background thingy, but I guess it is hard to read". GREAT. Now what?! Pull out yet ANOTHER "Thanks" and stamp. FINALLY!! Everyone says that that is the best one. BUT!! (you know there had to be a "but" in there somewhere!!) DS decides he wants the sentiment in BLACK. Ok....I personally think it has a little more "pop" with the red. But the Toad is looking at me and lifting his eyebrows says "They're HIS thank you cards. Make them how HE wants them". (sigh) Fine. So what is a mom to do? Make the card so that it fits "her" idea for challenges or make the card so that it fits her child's idea? Obviously, my child won.

I then popped up the BLACK sentiment on dimensionals and then cut down more dimensionals so that I could have the skateboarder "grinding" on the thanks (which, btw~The Toad just informed me that this "thanks" doesn't look like I stamped it, but rather that it is a 6th generation "copy" off the computer. GREAT. Thanks!! I am SO NOT doing those AGAIN!!

Overall rating: *** 1/2 out of ***** (because in my mind it was just SOOO much better!! hehe)

Thanks for dropping by. I really hope that it doesn't take me another full week before I come up with another card. Cross your fingers that my body adapts better this week to all the riding that I need to do. I've been coming home just worn out from the rides and have no energy/creative juices flowing (outside my head that is).

Have a good one and hoping I'll be back in the next day or so!!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Exploring New Paths

Life is funny. It likes to sucker punch you just when you are least expecting it.

A little over three years ago I was introduced to Stampin' Up. Now I had "dabbled" in some stamping but nothing serious. By this time I had kinda set my scrapbooking aside as I just found it too overwhelming with two little ones who wanted to "help" whenever I pulled out my pictures. I need to do something creative. It is just in my genes. Then a friend invites me to a Stampin' Up workshop. GLORY BE!! How much fun was this? In a short matter of time, I could quench my creative thirst and have a completed project to show for it. PERFECT. So I justified spending lots of $$$ for my mommy sanity. My friend kept pushing me to become a demo for the discount (gotta luv friends who look out for your wallet!!). But I fought it. I had no desire to "sell". I just wanted to create for the joy of creating. FINALLY I signed my name on the dotted line and became a demo three years ago (tomorrow will be my anniversary date!). Now, let me clarify: I DID NOT sign up to be a BUSINESS demo. I was making my minimums all by myself very nicely, thank you very much.

THEN~this same friend (now my upline) introduced me to Splitcoaststampers. Let's just say I found HEAVEN!! OHHHHH!!! The creativity!! The resources!! The challenges to push myself!! All the enabling to buy more fun stuff!!! I was in my dream heaven!! I found myself so excited about all the different techniques I was learning that I wanted to share. So I held some workshops and invited some friends. And I had fun sharing all my toys and the cool things that I was learning. And as an added benefit, my friends liked what I was sharing and ended up making some purchases from me. Bonus. Not expected, but nice!

But as time went on, I found that Stampin' Up was not able to meet all my "creative" needs. I like snarky cards. I like the grunge look. I like trying new things, hehe!! Stampin' Up started me on a new creative path, but I was finding that while my tastes (and that of my emerging tween boys) were changing~~Stampin' Up was still in their "cutesy, flower and "nice" mold. (Now before you die hard SU fans/demos start to flame me~~this style fits a lot of people. But it no longer fits ME). I needed to explore other things that fit MY CREATIVITY.

So I struggled in trying to show Stampin Up products in workshops because I was excited by "the dark" side and wanted to share THOSE products and ideas! Ahhhhhh!!! Enter the land of blogging!!

This blog was to share creativity. It was never about selling SU. I deliberately omitted all indications that I was a SU demo off of it. I found joy in sharing links to products or different challenges that inspired me. I hoped that maybe someone would find inspiration from it too.

Last week, SU announced a change in the demonstrators agreement. While overall, I can understand where they are coming from as a BUSINESS, I cannot sign the agreement. WHY? Because on section of the "contract" states that I cannot promote/acknowledge other companies, even ON MY PERSONAL BLOG. Now, I'm not PROHIBITED from using "the dark side's" products. But I can no longer provide links. I am suppose to use generic terms like "die cuts, designer paper, large retail store", instead of listing names like "Quikcuts airplane die, Basic Grey "Granola" designer paper and MICHAELS (just in case none of you realize that you can get stamping supplies there!). But I feel that if I use the products, if I find creativity on a blog site that sells "the dark side", I should give credit to those companies/owners/designers that are providing me with the inspiration, the tools, etc., to create my projects.

This blog is NOT a BUSINESS blog (as I have stated and will continue to state, I am NOT a business minded demo). This blog is a CREATIVITY BLOG.

Now, in all honesty, I would have quit being a demo very shortly. But I was struggling with the decision. Not because I was hesitant to cut my ties with SU, but rather, because I was hesitant to cut my ties sharing in person, what I love to do~~~create. This new contract pushed me to make a definite decision that would fit ME. But it also opened up a new window of possibility.

I realize, that I DON'T have to sell a product to share what I love. I share my ideas/creative thoughts (with the occasional family pratter.....) on this blog. I CAN continue to do the same in "person". The details are not all in place, but the idea is gathering momentum in my head. I'm kind of nervous, but in a good way. I hope that I can make it work.

Whew!! What a struggle to try and put into words my reasoning (hmmmm....maybe that is an indication that my reasoning doesn't follow straight paths!! LOL).

I hope that all of you will continue to join me as I take this different path and EXPLORE.

Baked Alaska

The Toad's grandfather turned 82 last week. Believe it or not, I got a card done in time for the family celebration (notice~I did not say in time for his actual birthday!).

Hmmmmm......this is not the greatest picture! But obviously, the card has been given away and the so-called photographer cannot take another 15 shots to try and get something presentable!!

The image is from Gina K's "You know your old when...." set. I stamped the image in Jet Black Stazon then colored it with my favorite coloring medium of late~~my copic ciaos. Originally I had thought to do a single layer card, in the style of Hallmark's own "Maxine" (who, btw, I absolutely LOVE!! hehe). But I need to replenish my 120# Pure Luxury paper (also from Gina K) which is the absolute BEST for one layer cards (there is NO bleeding on the other side when coloring with markers). So I cut and embossed the image with my Spellbinders nestabilities die. I then covered my base of River Rock with a sheet from the Basic Grey "Granola" paper pack. The beginning part of the sentiment was stamped on a strip of Red Riding Hood Red in craft chocolate chip and the image layered on that.

Now, the buttons (which are also from the Basic Grey "Granola" line) are a hit/miss. I really felt that the whole layout needed SOMETHING and I've been trying to figure out how to use buttons. I sewed some red thread thru the loops and then adhered with glue dots (because, of course, I did not think about buttons and sewing until after my DP was adhered). I don't know. The buttons fill in the space but not in a WOW way that others use buttons. Maybe buttons are just too close to sewing and that is why I can't get them to work (because I AVOID sewing like a plague!!). Inside the rest of the sentiment "Your birthday cake looks like baked alaska" was stamped in craft chocolate chip. Overall personal rating: *** 1/2 out of *****. Supplies: Stamps: Gina K. Paper: Basic Grey "Granola", SU River Rock, Red Riding Hood, 120# Pure Luxury. Ink: Jet black Stazon, craft chocolate chip. Accessories: Copic Ciao markers, Spellbinders nestabilities, Big Shot, Buttons (Basic Grey's Granola), glue dots

Thanks for stopping by again today! I hope you all had an enjoyable but safe long weekend!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

What a WEEK!!

HOLY MOLY!! Pull up a comfy chair cause this could be a L-O-N-G one!! And yes, there are cards involved!!

Last Saturday we headed to Legoland to celebrate youngest DS's b-day (both my kiddos were "blessed" with holiday b-days.....oldest is Memorial weekend (hit/miss) and youngest is Labor Day weekend (hit/miss again, and yes, I know the irony of that one!!). ANYWHOOOS! So we load up both boys, youngest's best friend and his older brother and the grandparents and head out. We were at the park shortly after opening (about 10:30ish). Did you know that it takes approximately 7 hours and 15 min for boys between the ages of 9 and 12 to decide that they've had enough of Legoland? But the close to 2 hour drive home was QUIET!! LOL

The "Birthday" boy, Chace~soon to be 9, *G, oldest DS Grant and best friend *J

Soooo, Sunday, I'm TIRED. I know that I have to think about making DS and his great grandfather b-day cards by Wed and Thurs. No big deal. I'll just take my time and kinda putz around with it. Until I get a phone call. "Oh good! You're home!! Did you know that Oak Glen is on fire?!" Uhhhhh.........Here is what I saw from my driveway:

Great!! Some mental yahoo decided to see how challenging it would be to start a fire when we are surrounded by drought conditions. Now where this is burning in on a icky steep hill called Pisgah Peak. We have a "loop" that we will ride our mountain bikes on this miserable hill when we feel we need some type of punishment. Round trip from our house is about 10 miles. This is somewhere between 3-5 miles away. Within 2 hours 300 acres had burned. Moving fast. Decide that I need to get all my pictures in one place JUST IN CASE since I have heard that there are mandatory evacuations happening less than 2 miles from our neighborhood. The state pulled in the big guns early on this fire:

Along with numerous helicopters and crop dusters, we got the DC 10. This shot does not begin to tell you how LOW this was (imagine: small p&s camera, zoomed in but not all the way!! That's how low this was!).

MONDAY: FOUR mental teenager yahoos decide that there isn't enough going on and decide to start another fire in our drought conditions. But this time....they started it basically in someone's back yard (which just happened to be a friends house....melted her windows, but the house was saved). This is what we saw from our front driveway:

As the crow flies, this is less than a mile away from our neighborhood. I had many friends who were evacuated (in addition to the ones who had been evacuated the previous day~~yep...we got two fires within mere miles of each other!). We were under voluntary evacuations. By now, my truck is loaded with all our pictures and have bags packed with some clothes. NOT FUN. But!! No mandatory evacuations ever came about.

TUESDAY: SU makes an announcement that has everyone up in arms (more about that later). So now I am spending WAAAY too much time reading all the hoopla about that.

After a couple of days of going the L-O-N-G way home due to road closures, everything was fine. Everyone was allowed back home Wed and roads were totally open by Thurs.

MEANWHILE: It is now Thurs and in addition to everything else, I've not made my birthday cards. Yeah....what a great mommy I am!!! We celebrated DS's b-day and I came home and FINALLY finished his card

I had in my head that I wanted the extreme skateboarding to look like he was grinding a rail down the stairs. Spent too much time trying to make a rail. Finally just moved on and just had him "jumping" the stairs. I used the Stair Step Fold Tutorial found on SCS and modified it by cutting off the "top" stair. I didn't realize how TINY this stamp was! This guy looked like he was in the land of giants with that top stair. I stamped the image once on chocolate chip paper with craft chocolate ink and clear embossed. I stamped him again (just regular ink) on a scrap piece of chocolate chip paper and cut both of the images out (did I mention that this image is TINY?!!!). I then took a thin strip of transparency and using glue dots sandwiched the strip between the two images. I cut off some of the extra transparency so that the strip was just noticeable along his leg.

Originally, I had wanted to do the wrinkle free distress look for my stairs. Just could NOT get the mojo to flow with that one (I think the grunge look requires you to be in a "hey dude~~whatever~~ mood". Too many bad vibes with everything else. You can't force grunge. It has to flooooow). I then pulled out some designer paper from my pack from Me and My Big Ideas. The designer paper was stamped with the Extreme Elements to add a more "grungy" look. I had thought to use the collage alphabet and make the "X"treme look more like the "X" games. Uhhhhh, yeah. The "x" in that set is TEENY TINY. So not happening. So "Extreme IX!" was stamped with chocolate craft ink and clear embossed. Supplies: Paper: Baja Breeze, DP from Me and My Big Ideas. Inks: Chocolate chip, chocolate chip craft, baja breeze. Stamps: Extreme skakeboard, extreme elements, collage alphabet (all SU). Accessories: clear ep, heat gun, Scor-Pal, glue dots, glue glider pro.

Overall rating: *** 1/2 to **** stars.

Thanks for stopping by today!! I will share the rest of my week and another card tomorrow. I need to s-p-r-e-a-d out all the fun! LOL

Be safe this weekend!!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Incredibly Frustrated

Believe it or not, I have a card to show you. I also have photos to share of why I haven't been stamping this past week. But guess what? MY STINKIN' COMPUTER WON'T READ THE CAMERA CARD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (trying to take deep breaths). Which means that I have to find the cords to the camera and try it that way. But I don't have time for that right now. I have another card that I have to make NOW.
I HATE computers.