Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2009 - His Holy Name Challenges

The theme in 2009 for the Faith Sisters scripture challenges will be "His Holy Name". I am looking forward to this new study series which has a great format for getting me in and around my bible.

This past fall at church worship team leaders Hannah Busse and Paul Lefeber introduced a song they had written called "Your Name" - and I immediately had a vision for this layout. When Patter announced the scripture challenge theme, I knew I had to scrap the layout. But time gets away as is usual. Last Sunday in church I realized the year was almost to an end and the new theme challenges would start soon. I knew I needed to scrap the layout, but had no idea where I had filed a copy of the lyrics. THEN as God would have it, the 3rd praise and worship song we sang was "Your Name". I just had to laugh at God's sense of humor, and I am sure I was getting a kick in the behind to get the layout scrapped. (LOL)

On Friday mornings (since beginning my new job in September) I meet with three other gals to go over the scripture challenge for the week. I extended an invitation the other day to other ladies I know in the community and around, who might be interested or who may be free on Friday mornings. I am thrilled to see that two more ladies are interested in joining us as they are able.

I love how the challenges keep me in the Word and help me to grow in my relationship with Christ. "Growth" is going to be my key word for 2009 - more on that another time. If you are interested in GROWING in your relationship with Christ I encourage you to participate in the Faith Sisters scripture challenges. Subscribe on their blog to receive the challenge, posted start of each week. What I typically do is take the key word and look it up in the concordace of my bible. I look at each one and pray that God shows me the lesson I am to learn from the challenge. Often his message is very clear and the scripture that jumps out meets me right where I am in life. If you are looking for a non-threatening study, or one that is not demanding of reading a chapter in a book each week, or work sheets, I encourage you to try the scripture challenges. I do recommend you keep a journal to write down the verse that God has put upon your heart. I have grown so much through this, and I hope that you will grow in your faith journey as well.

Credits for the digial papers go to Rowena Fields and Krystal Hartley, grunge overlay by Kara Jones, and alpha by Melissa Bennet.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Rescued Kit Finds Family for Christmas

Did you all have a wonderful Christmas? I was glad to see Christmas day arrive, as it meant I had the homemade gifts finished - although I was still putting the final touches on Abby's ornament at 1:30 a.m. (yawn!!)

Kjoi is having a Christmas Sale-bration. Visit the store now to find great deals on your digital favorites. The sale runs December 24th-28th with over 20 designers having their shops on sale for 25% off. So, if you get a little shopping loot for Christmas, stop on buy and get a little more for your $! There are also got some really great new kits and awesome new freebies up in the shop.

Today's featured layout uses Stacey Crossley's Christmas Classic kit and her grunge overlay group - found in the Kjoi shop. I love the snowflake overlay - originally in black just change it to white in your photo editing program by dragging the brightness bar all the way to the right.

This cute little kitten is a survivor - found in a ditch (tossed in a bag) near a horse farm out of town. Littermates were not so fortunate. Our friends have a horse crazy teenager who helps out at the farm. The folks knew our friends had just lost their beloved cat of many years and asked if they would take in the kitten. Not sure they were beyond grieving, they took in this cute kitten who has come to adore their special needs son and he loves her. Can you see how God has worked in all of this? This little kitten needed a family for Christmas and this family needed some purr and fuzz to help them with their recent loss.

Just a reminder that there is hope for the lost and God will never leave or forsake you. I hope the spirit of Christmas will remain in your hearts throughout the year!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Basic Grey - Homemade Album #2

Teens can be hard to shop for. Usually they end up receiving gift cards, but as our pastor mentioned on a Sunday in early November, how memorable is that? So I opted for the homemade album approach.

Teens live busy lives. They have friends, extracurricular activities, sports, youth group events.... A lot is going on in their lives, but seldom is it recorded. High School is often a fun time for many. This album allows my niece to add her own photos to remember her young years always.

When I was told her favorite colors are blue and brown I knew this Prairie line from Basic Grey was the perfect choice. I covered hard board album covers by Zutter, and used my oh so handy Fiskars craft drill to drill holes and add rings to bind it all together.

The inside pages are simple. Some have a spot for one 4x6, others have mats for 4 2x3 photos. She can crop photos to fit the spaces, and of course I gave her adhesive to add her photos in. There are also journaling boxes so she can write about the photos.

My niece happens to be a good artist and she really enjoyed her homemade gift. As you can see, I kept the inside pages simple, and pretty much flat so the album closed nicely. Next time you have a teen to shop for, don't rule out a homemade item. Many kids have no one to scrap for them, and they will love that you put time and effort into their gift.

Have a wonderful Christmas eve - we are praying the snow holds off so we can attend worship service and go over the creek to grandmother's house.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

BoBunny - Homemade Coordinates!

Two days left! How are you all doing? I did manage to complete the 3 8x8 mini albums I wanted to make for nieces and a nephew. Today I thought I would share a technique for bringing together fabulous grungy guy paper by BoBunny with inside album pages. The BoBunny X-treme line has been out for some time now, and all that was really left at the LSS was the design with X-treme printed on it. Thus I was inspired to create an album for our nephew Ethan - called Extremely Ethan.

I cut the paper down to 8x8 for the size of the album, which also allowed me to put it through the printer. I selected a grungy font for "extremely", tactically positioned. I used a grungy font to print out his name on olive cardstock and cut out each letter, using chalk ink to grunge the letters more. An old piece of hardware cloth was lying around and I used that along the bottom, but not before using it as a mask to stipple and spray paint over the Magistical Memories star, creating a subtle mesh pattern on the star.

For the inside pages I used craft cardstock and acrylic paints. I found a piece of bubble wrap that had some bubbles popped. This was great as it provided a distressed look when used as a stamp. Iron oxide acrylic paint provided a perfect color match. I drybrushed paint onto the bubble wrap and stamped each piece of cardstock on both sides. Once dry I distressed even more with olive, charcoal and black chalk inks. This provided a custom patterned paper used throughout the album as my base. Since I was working with primarily 4x6 photos all I had to do was mat the photos on black cardstock and add journaling spots printed on olive cardstock.

For the page inside the front cover, however, I wanted to make it more special. I downloaded the definition for "extreme" from and pasted it into an 8x8 document. I took my margins out as far as would be allowed. I did switch some of the definitions so that those less applicable were covered by the matted 4x6 photo, and more desirable definitions were at the end to be in full view. The end result is an awesome piece of patterned paper and I totally intend to lift my idea and create a page for our son.

I hope you enjoyed this little technique and will give it a try. Next time you find a great paper collection with only a few coordinating sheets left, look upon the designs and consider what might be lifted to create additional coordinating papers with paint, stamps and whatever else might be in your stash!

Still making gifts? Take a deep breath and try not to stress too much. It seems I sprained my back so I am simply trying to do what I can and rest plenty inbetween project steps, ie. waiting for Diamond Glaze to dry. (LOL)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Friendship Xmas With The Littles

Before I get into my post - there is a REALLY BIG SALE going on at K-Joi with lots of the designers there marking their WHOLE stores at 50% OFF!!! That includes commercial-use items, too! It starts on Thursday, December 18th and only runs for 4 days... so get over there for the big savings!

I love Magistical Memories border shape called The Littles. This cute boy/girl boy/girl piece is a perfect accent for pages about friendships. With our daughter in kindergarten - The Littles are a great reflection of what it means to be in a new life chapter. Abby is making so many friends in school, and on the bus. It seems she knows everyone!

There is a small private internet group of which I have belonged to for what must be at least four years now. I had a layout published in F&W Publications idea book "Fabulous Friendships" about these gals - we "chat" almost daily giving one another feedback about our projects. But much more than that - we are there for one another through all of life's trials and celebrations. This year I wanted to send them a Christmas card that celebrated our special friendship - and a border of The Littles was perfect. To fit in a standard #10 envelope I did cut off one boy and girl from each border. I will use one to make an ornament for Abby, to celebrate all the new friends she is making in her first year in at public school. The other pairs will be great for friendship pages.

The image above shows a close up of Magistical Memories chipboard treated with a special recipe offered by Tim Holtz from his 12 Tags of Christmas. I simply mixed one dropper of Brick Red distress ink, with an approximate 1/8 teaspoon of Ranger Perfect Pearls into one of Tim's misters, and filled the remaining with water. In effect you are making a homemade version of Perfect Pearls or Maya Mist. Bring these treated pieces into the sunlight and you will see the sparkle!

I kept the chipboard treatment very minimal as I do want my friends to reuse their chipboard shapes in their own scrapbooking projects. In essence, the card bore the gift. Depending upon the paper chose you get very distinctive looks. Using Basic Grey I achieved an almost vintage Christmas feel on the first card, shown below.

Utilize a brighter, whiter, fun polka dot paper and the card just screams Christmas joy and fun! Especially with a kickline of kids! As you may guess, I dove into my stash of Christmas papers to create this card. The Littles really do take center stage and one barely notices the paper, so I chose to use my stash.

I used Staz On inks to stamp little words onto the "Littles", and carried the theme through to the greeting inside, which is also my wish for you this Christmas.

I pray you find peace in knowing God - even through difficult times, passion in Christ, joy in the Spirit, wonder at the great things He has done, hope in His eternal promise, and love in your heart. May your new year be filled with health, happiness and blessings.

I also pray safe travel for those of you hitting the road for family gatherings. My brother and his wife left from California this morning - and will be driving right into a storm front! We are supposed to get 5-10" of snow tonight. I know the kids will be disappointed if school is not cancelled. It had just started when I got home from work, some sleet, so I predict that the weather forecastes predicted more than we will see. I really want safe travels for Saturday when my family will gather to celebrate Christmas. Stay safe!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Auction Winner and Amish Friendship Bread Tips

Congrats to Vicki from Texas!! A fellow Fiskateer -Vicki had the highest bid on Snowflake, the one-of-a-kind white bear that has graced our daughter's bedroom for the past several years. Before Snowflake heads to Texas I had to take a photo of Abigail with the bear, so I can of course create a layout about auctioning him off to benefit the Jones family.

I am in the final days of the homemade Christmas marathon! I have two 8x8 albums finished and the 3rd well started. I went in to work for just a bit today -coming home in the snow emergency conditions took some time!! Kyle's band concert was cancelled for a second time - so I spent the night baking (OMG - forgot about the last two - ran to rescue from the oven!!) a dozen loaves of Amish Friendship bread. You know - the yummy bread for which you receive a starter from a friend (as you cannot make it from scratch), and when the ten days go by and you have 4 more starters to give away you can't find homes for them. Especially this time of year. On the first go round I threw out the extra starters. The next go round I kept two starters, determined to figure out how to make use of ALL of the batter.

I did just that tonight - I measured one cup of new starter into a bowl, and measured the amount left of which I was to make and bake the actual bread. This equaled two cups of batter. That plus the 4 one cup new starters translates to 6 loaves of bread if you want to use it ALL up and not pass along any starter or keep another going.

From all of that I decided to make mini loaves, and happen to have 8 pans as I gave mini loaves out to friends and service workers years ago. A tip if you have the large Pampered Chef scoop - 3 scoops of batter into a mini loaf pan pretty much divides up the 2 loaf batter quantity into 8 mini loaves. I baked the mini loaves for 35 minutes.

All this baking has left my kitchen a I must tackle that project next. Which should leave my Wednesday (originally slated to bake in the morn before work) open to album making. I better get to it!

(BTW - I have yet another starter ready to be made into bread. Anyone want some starter!?)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

4 days left to auction!!

Hi All! The silent auction on Snowflake the bear is in full swing! We have a very nice bid so far! To make it easier I moved my profile image to the top left sidebar of my blog. Just click (move your cursor and it will highlight) to go to my profile, and from my profile you can go to CONTACT and click on "email" to email your bid.

I received another update from Nancy - she is in such bad shape this evening. Please keep her in your prayers, as well as John and Belle. She sees a doctor in the morning and she may end up hospitalized.

Thanks for coming by - I hope to share another project soon, but don't want the Snowflake auction post get too far down before the deadline to bid, which is December 15th at midnight - coming soon, please pass the word and help get more bids in!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Snowflake - an Auction for Christmas Love

This morning my day did not go as planned. I had a “to do” list. One was to do the dishes. Of course it is Christmastime and everything seems to be breaking down. First the dryer, now the dishwasher, the well tank, we barely get any hot water flowing out of the kitchen faucet, and the toilet has needed replacing and continually runs water (wasting electricity, etc.). There are a lot of repairs, and I almost feel guilty for spending my personal savings on a camera. Almost – but not enough to return it. I saved for years, and the last time I saved I bought our family a bathroom sink and couch. It was do it or never achieve my goal.

None the less… the dishes are still piled high. Instead, I tackled our daughter’s room. Time to return the large plastic Little Pony castle that she never plays with. Time to look around and see what else might be given away. There is a nice wooden bench –perfect to line up the shoes, or for dolls and stuffed animals to sit upon. But hey – it is small room and we always seem to be searching for her shoes anyhow.

And then there is Snowflake. Snowflake is an awesome bear, hand-crafted with love by a local talent and made for our daughter when she was adopted. He measures 21” from tip of his ears to bottom of his foot paws when extended. His body is about 14” with the head. He is made of quality fur – I cannot remember what kind (but if I look harder I am certain he came with a card describing his materials and craftsmanship), but I remember his maker naming off a number of furs – all sounding quite exquisite, and all quality materials. He has glass eyes and a stitched nose. Frankly, Snowflake is adorable.

He is jointed, and fun to pose, but Snowflake has been a showpiece rather than a loved and squishy toy. It is time to let Snowflake go, and it is a tough decision.

Snowflake waves!

I got to thinking, Snowflake was given to Abby in celebration of her adoption. Her new life, her new home. But there are so many children who have no home, and I thought of the children at McKallie’s Home of Future and Hope. Perhaps Snowflake could be auctioned off for the benefit of these children. We have a local guy in town who sells things on e-bay for people. Sure, he gets his cut – but the remainder could all go for the orphanage, and maybe he would take less, especially since I have taken the photos and he only needs to list and watch the auction. This was my plan, until I came down to the computer.

A new update from my dear friend Nancy Jones. She is so very sick again, and has been ill for many years, mis-diagnosed and finally given the diagnosis of MS this year. Right now she is lying in bed with a reaction to meds that could very well close her throat again. Nancy’s current condition is so very sad. Even more sad is that Nancy has a daughter the same age as Abby, named Bella. Bella is frightened that her mother may die, spurred on my a childhood friend whose mother died a year ago. The family friend went in for breast cancer surgery and never came home from the hospital. Bella’s friend, innocent as 5 yr olds are, offered the thought to Bella that her mother may die as did hers. How sad is that?! It brings tears to my eyes, and Bella is not doing well in school with all the stress and trauma of having a very sick parent.

The Jones family have been on our prayer list. Medical bills are huge, and insurance is not covering them. Because of the diagnosis disability aid is being refused. It is total nonsense, and I pray that Nancy’s senator is working on their behalf. This family cannot become homeless in her condition. I just cannot fathom all this family is going through.

Which brings me back to Snowflake. I am sure that Snowflake can only be auctioned off on e-bay for an official non-profit organization. How might I help Nancy’s family? Do you know any bear lovers? If you do, please have them visit my blog and take a look at Snowflake. PM me with a silent auction donation. The highest bidder can send their check directly to the Jone’s family. I so want to make their Christmas a little brighter than its current dismal outlook. Our family ship the bear (continental U.S. only please) UPS ground service. I hope this is ok to do on my blog. If not, I will go back to the e-bay idea for the orphanage. All I know is that I would like to make Christmas a little brighter for another child, whether it be a sole child fearing her mother’s passing, or for orphans in the distant land of Malawi, Africa. I will leave bids open until midnight December 15th.

Broken dishwashers, faucets and toilets - so what? These are so very insignificant when I look at the big picture. Merely inconveniences. We have so much! This Christmas please consider the children who don’t have family, or health. There are so many opportunities – Toys for Tots, Koats for Kids, St. Jude’s Hospital or a local children’s hospital in your area, Salvation Army – the list is endless, and your donation, no matter how small, can make a difference. More importantly, give thanks for your blessings, and pray for those who are less fortunate. I pray Snowflake will help make someone’s Christmas a little brighter. He is definitely a one of a kind, hand-crafted treasure of a bear. Thanks for sending friends to have a look at him.

Auction Recap
1. Email me (click profile) with auction bid
2. Minimum bid $20
3. Highest bidder to send payment to Jones family
4. Nancy will contact me when rec'd and bear will be shipped UPS ground (continental US only)- won't she be surprised!
5. Bids close at midnight Dec. 15

Monday, December 8, 2008

Christmas Movie Quote Challenge

So how are you all doing? Are you in the Christmas spirit? We decorated our tree this past weekend, and I must say it certainly does make the home more festive. We downsized - our living room had become too crowded since taking in a friend's piano and permanently taking in my grandmother's old buffet, which I love. Our living room is only 14x16 - so each Christmas it has been like sardine's and my husband wants me to wait as long as possible to put up the tree, and take it down by New Years. He likes open spaces.

We have a wonderful 7 ft. scotch pine, my favorite Christmas tree, with a pretty large girth. I remember getting that tree about 5 yrs ago as I was so tired of our scrawny little 4 ft. tree we had had since we wed. The new tree was majestic, very real looking, and adorned with the angel on top and the many special ornaments - well, it was lovely to just sit in the dark and look at it on a snowy night.

Our new slimline, 6 ft. fancy fir, however, although more expensive than our large tree - not so majestic. When I first put it up it seemed like a Charlie Brown tree to me. The pre-lit feature is nice - we did not have to hassle with lights, although I added a string of clear as it needed more. I had to wonder how we would get all of our ornaments on this year.

My favorite tradition
- decorating the tree with the ornaments and watching the kid's excitement as they open up their own ornaments. I have my own collection of special ornaments given by friends in years past. This down-sized tree, however, was pretty packed after the kids ornaments were hung. I squeezed in a few musts - such as the nativity, the star fish that my brother brought back from a trip to the coast, a few I had made. But sitting in our red/green storage tote is a shoebox of special ornaments for which there was no room. I put our large tree on Craig's list, but honestly, if it doesn't sell I know that someday the piano will return to it's family and we will have more room to navigate. Maybe I will get used to the small tree, and someday the kids ornaments will be gone and this smaller tree will suit us just fine.

Today's digital layout was created using Stacey Crossley's Classic Christmas collection, which you can download here at Kjoi Studios. The collection has a nice mix of papers, frames and embellishments, in a more subdued Christmas pallete. I have to give photo credit to my sister, Teresa, who is a nurse at a wonderful nursing home in Evansville, WI. Mr. and Mrs. Santa are area residents who have been bringing joy to nursing home residents for many years - what a fun ministry they have!

Do you happen to recognize the quote in my layout? I won't say who said it - that is your job! This month my inspiration challenge at Kjoi Studios is to encourage you to use quotes on a page from several favorite Christmas movies. I also plan to post the challenge at Magistical Memories and elsewhere. If you create a page - be sure to share a link!

The fun in this challenge
, however, comes from identifying the names of the movies from which the following quotes come. The first person to answer will all correct will receive a prize of their choice: a $5 gift certificate to the Kjoi Studios digital prize vault, or a couple of Quickutz Holiday Cookie Cutter dies and I am sure I can find some Magistical Memories chipboard to give away. (LOL)

Here are the quotes, remember - be the first to answer all correctly to win!

1. "Remember no man is a failure who has friends."

2. "The imagination is a place all by itself."

3. "Christmas isn't just a day, it's a frame of mind."

4. "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men."

5. "The true spirit of Christmas lies in your heart."

Thank you all for playing along!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Feeling a little hyper tonight!

Praise the Lord!! My name is on the list at Magistical Memories for the 2009 DT! I am SO excited! I admit how nervous I was to open the post that announced the DT -scared I wouldn't be there.

Another little toot - my Family Tree project was just posted here as an inspiration feature. What a great honor this is!

I had so much I wanted to get done today, but oh well. The dryer repair man showed up this morning which pretty much took care of any thoughts of cleaning my scrap table. Me and the boys just finished watching Prince Caspian - such a great movie!
I need to draft a letter yet, and then perhaps to bed before midnight. Saturday is filled with tree trimming and decorating, and I do hope to get started on an album for one of my nieces.

I feel like I have been on overload today - too much caffeine? Possibly - a coffee, cappacino and latte went down today! (LOL) So many ideas in my head...I had this very clever idea coming home from work. Man, do you think I could find paper and a pen in my car while driving? No! I really need a voice recorder so I can just pull it out and tell myself notes when I have those eureka moments. I also have a vision for a great mini album of my childhood Christmas memories, spawned by a challenge by my super talented friend, Julie Overby, who is a GDT for A Cherry On Top this month. Her challenge is to scrap one of your own childhood memories. I went digging and found an old photo, took a digital picture of it and hope to improve its Polaroid quality. (LOL) I have so many ideas, but nope - can't scrap them as I need to make Christmas gifts. AND now that work at an LSS I am sure that homemade cards are expected of me. No time to scrap these fab ideas until after Christmas. Better find my mojo journal and write and sketch the plans or I won't be able to sleep tonight.

Thanks for reading my happy news and will blog again very soon!

Plans, Hope and a Family Tree Project

December 5. Lot’s going on today. Today I plan to clean my scrap table. I plan to cut down all the papers for at least one of those 8x8 albums I plan to make. I plan to create a digital layout this morning for Kjoi Studios. It’s time to buckle down on those homemade gifts – 20 days until Christmas, but hey –only 15 to the first family gathering for which I need one album done. YIKES!

I have lots of plans. Always have been a planner – if you know me, you already know that. However, some things I cannot plan for. I would love to be on the Magistical Memories Design Team come January, but I can’t plan for it – only hope. Today we find out who moves on to the next round in the DT contest.

Today I want to share a project with you that has been brewing in my head since October when I received Magistical Memories Autumn Splendor Leaves Book. Seeing other chipboard shapes in my stash the idea brewed itself into a project my whole family loves- our own Family Tree wall hanging.

It begins on top with a Jumbo Scallop Circle and a tree from the Happy Trees collection. The circle frame was painted chocolate brown with an application of crackle paint as a second coat. The third coat applied was Making Memories Ruby Glaze, for a beautiful effect. Earlier in the week I showed you how I embellished the Happy Tree with paint and alcohol inks. Bella Blvd.’s new Family Tree paper line was the perfect choice to compliment this project. Chipboard alphabet and Bella Blvd. cardstock stickers, and a few button embellishments finish off the Jumbo Scallop Circle wonderfully.

Did I say this project begins with a Jumbo Scallop Circle? Well, I suppose I first should tell you that there might be some exercise involved if you want a really cool, and gnarly, tree branch. I chopped ours off the crab apple in our front yard – didn’t have far to go. You do want to prep your branch and ensure you are not bringing mites and such into your home. I began with throwing the branch in the tub and washing with soap and water, using an old toothbrush to get in all the nooks and crannies. Be careful not to break off too many branch nubs, as it adds to the beauty and natural look of the project. Once washed, it was soaked for 15 minutes in water and bleach solution. I only put a little water in the tub, and used a pitcher to get the whole branch coated. The ratio is 10 parts water to one part household bleach. After 15 min. rinse thoroughly and then “bake” in your oven at 250 degrees for 15-30 minutes. (I assure you this process comes from 10 yrs of raising parrots and the procedure is one directed by our veterinarian when bringing in branches for cage perches.) Once the branch is dry it is optional to coat your branch with mat mod podge, or spray with Krylon protective coating. I opted not to as I like the natural look. (You may note that the size of your project will depend upon the capacity of your oven.) LOL

I used 2 sets of the Autumn Splendor Leaves Book (setting aside the large maple leave in each for future projects). Covering each leaf with mod podge, and placing on top a piece of Bella Blvd. paper roughly cut to cover the leaf. I then tore around the edges while the mod podge was very wet, which made the paper flexible and easy to tear. Once torn I distressed edges with Rubber Stampede Coffee Brown ink. The photos were matted with brown cardstock. But as you may notice, the paper for “Abby’s leaf” is mostly brown. In order to offer contrast I decided to cut up a pair of olive twill pants that were not only too short for Kyle, but the zipper had just broken. I don’t fix zippers, and instead, look to salvage fabric in my scrapbook projects. Waste not, want not! (I think my dad always said that!) Not only that, but these cargo pants have huge pockets on the pant leg, and my very first thought was to do something with those pockets – have some ideas and cannot wait to cut them off the legs and use them. (LOL)

To embellish my project I used copper wire to wrap around the tree branch here and there (I just love the warmth of copper!), found some copper bookplates in my stash to include important family tree information, and a mix of letter stickers to add our names. All in all, although it may look rather involved, it is a simple project. Prepping the branch probably took more time than all of the other details combined! (LOL)

So what do you think of this project? (I have to note that with this project hanging in your home, there is no excuse to forget birthdays or an anniversary.) LOL
I hope those judging the Magistical Memories DT entries sees how much fun I have with chipboard and put me in the next round – I would love to continue designing for this awesome chipboard manufacturer. It's going to be tough though - the talent submitting for the DT have created some of the most awesome projects I have seen!

Well, I said I had lots of plans for today, right? I better hop to some of them and make progress before I go to work. Hey – did you know Narnia - Prince Caspian is now available on DVD? We picked up our copy Wednesday night. Kyle has been resting before I get home from work so he and I can watch some of it – being that it is a school night and all. Tonight, however, we can stay up late and finish it. No school on Saturday and I have a weekend off. I loved the first Narnia movie, and the effects in this one may even be better. If you have neither, both Narnia movies would be an excellent choice for family viewing (of all ages I might add!). Get your copies today and, I promise, you won’t be disappointed! Here’s to plans, and hope – AND to peace when the plans we make go awry. That peace comes from knowing Christ – the true reason for this season. Until next time – may you find peace in the hustle and bustle of this season!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


Crystle is having a birthday - and to celebrate Magistical Memories is having a sale!! There are many retired items and exclusive past kit items and some special items and kits at awesome prices that you will be able to take advantage of during Salebration*!! Some of the items you'll find on sale:
Trading Card Blanks $1.50
Fleece flowers $2.00
May Basket Book $1.25
Crochet Flowers $1.50
Chandelier $1.50
Crazy Daisy Frame $2.00
Mushroom .75
Folk Star .75
Dolphin .50
Chipboard Sheets .25
Caution Curve .75
Borders .50, .75, $1.00 & $1.50

And many more, don't miss out on your chance to stock up!

Quantities are limited
*While Supplies Last Expires 12/15/08
~Free Shipping on orders of $50.00 or more. Coupon Code: FREESHIP50

Now will be a good time to stock on wonderful photo frames for those holiday pictures - my favorites are the Christmas tree and holly frame! Check out all the wonderful shapes for the season, including Judaic, just click on seasonal in the shop and you will be pleased to find many shapes to help preserve your holiday memories!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Playing with Mixed Mediums

Acrylic, water based paint and alcohol inks – you can achieve different results by allowing the paint to dry completely or dry not so much.

I love to use alcohol inks on clear acrylic to get the tie-dye effect. Simply apply a drop or two of different colors and turn and rotate your acrylic shape to allow the inks to merge and create a third color - adding different ink colors as desired.

One recent afternoon I was playing with Magistical Memories chipboard and decided to pull out the alcohol inks. As I was playing I realized I would soon have to go to work – so rushed my project a bit. Not waiting for my acrylic painted chipboard to totally dry I applied a drop of Ranger alcohol ink and watched as it fanned out into very tiny “fingers” into the slightly wet paint. I loved the effect – and decided to go with it. This is how the flowers for “Born in My Heart” were made, although on some flowers the paint had had chance to dry more thoroughly than on others.

I am a fan of tie-dye effects on my scrapbook embellishments. I truly feel like a kid again as I run the inks together, turn my piece to control the flow of the inks up, down or right and left. It is simply a blast to do!

Sunday I decided to try something new. I wondered what effect would be produced if I did not allow the acrylic paint to dry at all before adding drops of alcohol ink. I worked on two trees, with the first being created much like the flowers I had done earlier, as shown below.

On the second tree I was quite generous with my coat of paint – a far cry from my usual dry brush technique. With the thick paint still wet I placed a drop of alcohol ink on top. The paint prevented the drop from fanning out, and in fact created an almost perfect circle. As I continued to squeeze one drop at a time onto the wet paint, each made a circle – and I had a tree topped with alcohol ink dots. I admit – the circles were a little too perfect for me and I began adding drops to disfigured them a bit after the paint had dried a bit more, allowing ink to spread. Then I realized I should stop, take pictures and share this look. You can still see pronounced circles with this sample. I can think of several patterned paper lines in which a dotted tree would look so cool.

I hope you give this a try sometime when you are playing with alcohol inks. They are a blast to work with, although be forewarned – your hands may be a bit stained for a few days.

Hope Through Giving

Giving. When we think of Christmas do we think about giving? Let’s be honest, most of us think of “getting”. I would love to GET a gift certificate to my favorite clothing store. I would really, really love GETTING my Nikon dream camera for Christmas. Our son wants to GET a video game, and our daughter hopes to GET toy horses. We think about things we might GET for Christmas, don’t we? I know I do.

But what about the GIVING? One of the greatest scenes in the Christmas story is the arrival of the Magi, bringing gifts to GIVE Jesus. Although the commercialized view of this event is rather off in timing, what is important to “get” from this story is that the visitors brought gifts to honor the King.

We can also honor Jesus when we give of ourselves, because He gave us SO MUCH. John 10:28 “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand.” There is no greater gift than that which we have received freely from Christ, and because of that we are to love Him with all our heart, mind and soul. When we love we want to serve, and that is what God has called us to do this advent season. This week's scripture challenge word from Faith Sisters is "GIVE". Think about this word, and look it up in your concordance.

Please think about how you might give of yourself this advent season, if you have not already done so. I’m not referring to the time you sacrifice to go out and shop for gifts for family and loved ones, but in serving those you do not know. There are so many opportunities – whether it be ringing the bells for the Salvation Army, participating in a Giving or Impact Tree that many churches and communities offer, volunteering at a local food shelter or help center…so many ways to give - could be one hour or life changing! And you can do it after Christmas - giving has no time constraints!

When our church first presented the Advent Conspiracy I had to give some thought as to how we could participate as a family. Now that I work retail I have had very little free time in November and December. As far as spending less…well, my family has had a very modest Christmas since I began working at a church 8 yrs ago. We established a 3 gift tradition for our kids – to correlate with the story of the Magi. One gift always includes books, and one is something they ask for as long as it is well under $100. Our extended families began a name exchange many years ago – so as far as spending less, we already were spending well below the average U.S. household (the figure for which blows my mind!).

We couldn’t spend much less, but we certainly did want to GIVE to very special causes this season. When I explained to our 6 yr. old, enjoying a nice clear glass of water, that there are children in the world who have no clean water to drink she was quite surprised. Even more so when I told her they did not have toilets, washing machines, and bath tubs. It was a good teaching moment, and she has talked about it several times since our initial conversation.

As a family we wanted to raise money to help build new wells in Peru. 24,000 children die every year because of unclean drinking water. This is one of the mission outreaches that Blackhawk Church is collecting for. The other cause we wanted to give to is McKallies Home of Future and Hope, an orphanage in Malawi, Africa of which we have had heart connections with since the first brick was laid. We needed to be creative, and decided to make Apple Serving Trays (a project posted about a month ago and since sent to Paper Crafts for publication) to sell to family and friends. We had orders for six trays.

My one weekend off in November was set aside to make the trays. As you can see - it was a family affair. Both kids and my husband all helped with the prep and priming of the trays. I took over on the artistic painting and adding in the patterned paper and ribbon – and completed the project on Monday. The trays turned out beautiful, and almost all have been delivered. The kids will actually be the ones counting the money and dividing it up between product cost, Peruvian wells, and McKallie’s home. We want them to see the fruits of their labors, and when the pitchers are passed in church on December 14th I want them to be the ones who put their love offering inside.

The love offering brings HOPE. Hope to children who drink from rain puddles and dirty rivers. Children whose parents have died of aids, and rely on the orphanage for survival and education. This, in my opinion, is really what GIVING is all about. Sure, we can give loved ones a new stuffed animal, slippers or a video game – we get a warm, fuzzy feeling inside. But that feeling doesn’t last all that long - I am not giving thought to the slippers or game I gave come January.

However, GIVING HOPE to impoverished children – this is something I will remember, and so will our children. Psalm 37:21b reads: “The righteous give generously…” We are not a wealthy family, but we are rich in Christ. We live to please Him, and follow in His ways. We cannot give $100s but we can give of our time, and did so to help make a lasting impact. I so look forward to the day when Pastor Chris tells us how many wells were built in Peru through Advent Conspiracy giving.

A bit about the gift tag above – it was created so that those receiving the trays might know why the tray was made, and perhaps cherish it more for the impact it helped make than its function. Perhaps they will even visit the web-sites and give an additional sum to our family’s chosen cause. The tag is a hybrid project, using patterned papers by Susan Blanton downloaded from Kjoi Studios. The “children border” was created by photographing The Little’s chipboard border by Magistical Memories, removing the background and shrinking The Little's it to fit on the tag. I totally loved the look of the border, and by leaving the chipboard raw one can just imagine children from all over the world of different nationalities and color.

Did you watch the new video I added to my blog? I apologize if the video brings tears. I honestly set out to look for a wonderful Christmas song, “Hope is Born Again” by Point of Grace, but came across this video by Sara Groves. It moved me so much, and it is such a reminder of the ABUNDANCE we have. I hope that it moves you as well, and inspires you to give the gift of hope this Christmas.

Hope is the expectation of fulfillment - it is something all Christ followers have. In a world that seems hopeless in many ways, those with Christ in their hearts have peace and joy, because of the knowledge that this is only one step in the journey. We can bring hope to others by giving, and showing the love of Christ so that others may come to know Him through our actions. I leave you with this scripture from Matthew 10:8b: “Freely you have received, freely give.”

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Time is running out! Hurry to enter!

November - wow, did it fly past! There are 24 hours, as I type this, to get your layout entry into the Magistical Memories contest for a chance to win fabulous chipboard shapes!

All you have to do is create a layout about a person and list 5 things about them for which you are grateful -AND use a piece of chipboard of course, but keep in mind it does not specify Magistical Memories brand if you don't have it.

Look at how fun chipboard is - even in seconds you can dress it up. I was on the PC much too late last night. I hopped over to Create My Keepsake and looked at a challenge sketch. Instantly inspired to meet the challenge, AND get a layout done for the MM contest. My layout turns out to be totally different from other projects I was considering doing for the contest - but I whipped it to together in 30 minutes or less. I knew my Piggy Tales stash had papers with the color blue of my hubby's sweatshirt, and I love their 2nd generation barndoor - which allows me to put a private, mushy message inside.

Ink is always a fast answer to dressing up raw chipboard. I used Brilliance Coffee Bean by Tsukineko, and as an after thought - swiped some Colorbox Fluid Chalk Ink on the chipboard for contrast, in the bright blue. It adds a lot more interest than had I left it with the brown colorization only.

Speaking of contests, there are 24 HOURS to vote at FocalPress
If I could secure 2nd place I will be in the drawing for the Nikon D60. Pretty pretty please help me out and vote. You do have to register at the site, and it seems you can vote more than once. Feel Free! Believe me, you would not be the only person doing that. Again, my photos are the bluebird, baby robin's in nest, and hands clutched in prayer -and they are found on page 21 of the entries in the contest. Have to say "pray" is my favorite in keeping with the LIFE them. That is my hand holding one of my dearest friends while she lay in a hospital bed. I wasn't sure she was going to make it - we prayed fervently! God is so faithful, heard our prayers, and a year later my friend is still here with us. Praise God!

See that? My friend Debby gave me a blog award today - she is so sweet! And I will add she "runs with big scissors" as one of the very special Fiskateer of the Year recipients. You can visit Debby's blog here:

And here are other blogs I totally love and owner with this award! If you are listed here please snag that award icon and post on your blog. Link back here and add 7 others you love to visit. FUN to share blog love!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Please vote - LIFE photo contest

I just found out about a photo contest - and learned the winners of contests held throughout the year, including the 1st and 2nd place WINNER OF THE NOVEMBER contest are eligible to win a NIKON D60!!! Since I have been saving for a couple of years now and it may yet be awhile - I would love to win this camera!!

There are only a FEW days left in November. If you would be so inclined to visit:
FocalPress Contest. However, it does not look like my submitted entries, shown below, are uploaded to the site yet.

And please vote for my photos (if you like them best) I would be so appreciative. I think you may have to register to vote. Note the cutie patootie in pink - obviously my biggest competition. She has lots of friends and family going to the site to vote. (LOL)

Coming in at the end of Nov. I have a very slim chance (with so many away from PCs for the weekend) of getting 150 votes, which is what i predict I would need to win. I am sure you can vote more than once, and probably entering three pics instead of 1-2 hurts my chances as I realize now it reduces my odds. Oh well... vote for your favorite. I am hoping my choices appeal to more than family and friends visiting the site.

The photos I entered are called "pray"-hands, "open wide"-baby robins and "sing a new song"-male bluebird.

Vote here if you have a moment - and do pick your favorite.
Thanks to all of you! I hope you had a very blessed Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

The Thankful List

Happy Thanksgiving to all my family and friends in the U.S. and happy blessed day to all! The bread maker is baking, potatoes are cooking and the turkey, cooked yesterday, is ready to be reheated in the roaster. Shortly family will arrive and we will play games until later today when we gather around the table to thank God for another year of providing for us.

I couldn't post without some sort of project for you, so chose a gift bag I created that features Fiskars "Leave it to Weaver" border punch. It would be a great way to offer homemade bread or preserves to someone you are truly thankful for.

I hope each of you take time today to reflect upon the blessings in your life. I thought I would share a bit of my thankful list – which will be added to The Blessing Box that we get out each year (published in Creating Keepsakes last November).

First, nothing brings me greater peace and joy than knowing for certain that I will be going to heaven when this earthly journey is over. Because Jesus died for me all of my sins are forgiven. I don’t need to contribute X amount of $ to a church, I don’t need to work laboriously to earn my way to heaven – GRACE IS A GIFT GIVEN FREELY BY GOD FOR ANYONE WHO ASKS JESUS INTO THEIR HEART.

So tops on my list, I am thankful for:
1. Jesus and the gift of everlasting life
2. My husband, who is an awesome man of God. He is cooking more and working so hard on our behalf, and is just the best dad ever.
3. Kyle, who will soon be taller than me - pitching in and cleaning the house and getting good grades.
4. Abigail who is the sunshine in my life- I love to laugh with her about silly things that girls laugh about.
5. Health – we have been so blessed with good health and as friends are struggling with theirs I appreciate mine all the more.
6. Convenieces – our dryer may not be working but it is repairable or replaceable. I am grateful not to have to wash clothes in a dirty river or stream.
7. Food – we will eat our fill this day, we don’t go hungry. Yet so many do, and it is a time to remember the food pantries and help them with needs so they can help others.
8. My new job – which is allowing us to pay the bills for the first time in 8 yrs. and removes a whole lot of strain from our household.
9. Family and friends – old and new, so many who bless and touch my life daily.
10. Freedom – we owe it all to those who are willing to fight to keep our country free from hostilities. Veterans from past, and soldiers of today, and their families, sacrifice so much. Because of the great leadership in our country we have not had another terrorist attach since 2001, and I am certain it is not from their lack of trying.

My list continued to grow as I typed…and it seems I have the journaling complete for yet another layout.

But I return to number one. Salvation is free to anyone who believes, and heaven will be more beautiful than I can begin to fathom. I am glad I am going there – not into the fiery pit, not coming back as a cockroach or horse or prince – but to a place where the sun never sets and our bodies are made new.

We give to the food pantries, donate clothing, and volunteer not because it is required for our salvation, but because we love the Lord want to please Him by serving and caring for His children all around the world. The Christmas shopping season is in full swing…consider spending less, giving more, loving all and worship fully. I will return to this thought as I talk about a service project our family is doing this advent season.

Have a wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving – may your make memories to treasure and pages to preserve them.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

3 Cards = 3 Mfrs. + Magistical Memories

Perhaps one reason I love chipboard so much is because you can dress it up to go with any paper line. Today I would like to share 3 cards made for Round 2 of the Magisitcal Memories Design Team search.

The first card I made took me back to the days of paper dolls. Anyone reading this remember those? I didn’t play with paper dolls a lot but do remember having them. They certainly traveled well in the car. (LOL)

For this pretty wedding card I dressed up Magistical Memories Potty People with products by “fashion designer” Tim Holtz. The bride is wearing white dress with an underslip of white acrylic paint. The bodice sparkles with Frosted Lace Stickles, and the A-line skirt is created with layered tulle. The empire waist and veil feature pearl beads for added elegance. The groom wears a dazzling tux created with the latest hot new “fabric” – Black Diamond. Sakura glaze buttons adorn his shirt, and his velvet covered hat created by Doodlebug flocking gives him a distinguished appearance. Wouldn’t you like to marry him? (LOL)

The card is made complete with Heidi Grace Midnight Kisses floral, Bazzill Swiss Dot cardstock and a black strip of cardstock punched with Fiskars Threading Water punch, and coated with flocking. A Magistical Memories white scallop frame showcases the lovely couple to send greetings of congratulations to any bride and groom.

The second card also uses a Potty “guy” paired with a MM Window Tab. When I looked at the window tab thinking outside the box, the thought of Star Wars droid came to mind. But both guys in my household thought I was crazy if I could make a real “Storm Trooper” out of chipboard, so I opted for a robot so as not to have my creative efforts guffawed by the guys. The little robot man was a blast to create – and is perfect for an encouragement card for my almost teen son to celebrate his good grades in school.

Fun details include green gem stickers that make the robot look like he is plugged in, and a glass visor behind the helmet from a package of Heidi Grace glass tiles I have had for eons. Of course you may recognize the fabulously fun Cosmo Cricket Cogsmo line, which was the inspiration for the colors used in my robot. Pretty cool, huh? Now, if I could only get him to wash our dishes…

Isn't he cute?

The third card is an interactive fun piece featuring a Piggy Tales Sliding Barn Door and their line of Baa Baa Black Sheep papers. Working three nights a week now, I really miss the bedtime ritual with my daughter – which was always the favorite part of my day. She enjoys reading with her dad before bedtime, but I know misses me, too. Sometimes work is so busy I only get 30 seconds to talk with her on the phone and wish her goodnight while on my 2 minute dinner break. To help her know how much I love her, this little card can sit on her nightstand and she can slide the door each night to get a hug from her mom.

I know she will love the sparkles, texture of velvet puff paint (butterfly dots), and squishy gel frame. The chipboard pieces include a Nesting Heart and smallest of the Flutterby butterflies.

I hope you are inspired by these 3 cards and that there is an idea or two you can lift. I want to share that I had a super happy mail day yesterday! First, a package from The Paper Element - and inside was the gorgeous reds of Tinsel Town. A complete surprise as I did not know they were sending me that to work with. When I contacted Ann, the design team coordinator for TPE, apparently I was supposed to get sheets of cardstock stickers to go with the Blue Flannel and Hot Cocoa lines I am already working with (these were delayed from the original shipment). The labels must have been switched and Ann is so sweet - she is letting me keep Tinsel Town as an early Christmas gift. Abby's grandmother bought her a pretty red dress for Christmas - and I cannot wait to scrap her in it.

My second happy package came from Giboney Sparks of Piggy Tales - a thank you gift for my "Wise Guy" mini album being featured on their blog. She sent me a package of Bill Goats Gruff (somewhere I have pics of Kyle learning to ride his trike and bike not yet scrapped), and the awesome 2nd generation barn doors and piggy tails (no more springs from the copier machine staple cartridges -these will be so much easier to use for my interactive pop-up cards!)

I look forward to playing with my happy mail and sharing with you all the projects I make that will forever preserve the memories we make as we enjoy the journey. I hope you are making wonderful memories with your loved ones this Thanksgiving. Remember to not only count your blessings, but give praise to the One who gives them to you.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Looks Like Christmas!

We woke up to unexpected accumulation this morning – man were the kids excited! (Abby is shown before school - we scrambled for snowpants!) I was excited because I didn’t have to scrape the car off for work. Enjoyed some coffee while snapping lots of pics of the birds at the feeders, with beautiful boughs of snow covered bushes behind them. They’re so active not sure if my little camera captured any good photos yet, but it was fun to watch the birds!

Entries for Round 2 of the Magistical Memories Design Team contest are blowing my mind – there are many amazing designers vying for the positions. Check out their fabulous creations here – I admit I have never been so inspired to scraplift, and that is something I rarely ever do.

The PC is really acting up today – it has locked up more than I care to count so will type little and quickly show you a layout very appropriate for this snow covered day. Kyle totally enjoyed our record snowfall last year and never tired of shoveling. The Paper Element Blue Flannel is gorgeous for winter layouts. I made the tape measure on the PC and simply printed on white cardstock.

Ideas to Note:
• Snow covered frame effect achieved with multiple layers of paint (white, black and blue glaze) with weathered wood finish in between coats. Then lightly dry brushed with white acrylic, and smeared with white dimensional home d├ęcor paint, allowed to dry overnight. Once dry the frame was coated with sparkle mod podge, allowed to dry. And finally mod podge was placed on high points of dimensional paint only, sprinkled with fine glitter and allowed to dry.

• Snowflake chipboard shapes painted white, edged with chalk ink which was then smeared inward with fingertip (nub can be used), layered with punched snowflakes from patterned paper topped with sparkle, secured with silver glitter brad and pop-dotted
• Ruler is my own creation – marker indicates amount of snowfall

Snowflakes are one of my favorite shapes and Magistical Memories has a variety of styles if you really want to mix them up on a page. Great for ornaments, too!

Supplies for “Snow Happy”:
Patterned Paper: The Paper Element – Blue Flannel collection
Cardstock: Worldwin
Chipboard: Magistical Memories – Fancy Frame, Window Tab and Solid Snowflakes
Glitter Letter Stickers, rub-on letters, flat clip, glitter brads: Making Memories
Brads: American Crafts (black)
Snowflake Rub-ons: The Paper Element
Stamp: Inkadinkadoo (bracket)
Ink: Colorbox Fluid Chalk Ink
Pen: Marvy LePlume
Crackle Medium: DecoArt (Weathered Wood)
Dimensional Paint: Delta Texture Magic
Acrylic Paints: Liquitex, Making Memories Blue Glaze, Krylon Silver Metallic
Sparkle Medium: Sparkle Mod Podge and Martha Stewart Crystal Fine Glitter (white)

The Window Tabs work great as ribbon buckles in addition to showcasing a date or other text on a layout. They even make for great helmets – but I will show you that idea in the next post!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Frog Blog!!! Oh my - a house guest!

We found it!!! For about a month now I have been hearing a noise in the basement when I am creating in my space. No, not the skritch scratch of a mouse...more of a melodic sound...a croak if you will. Yep...I highly suspected we had a tree frog semi-hibernating in our basement for the winter!

One reason I suspected this is about five years ago we found a tree frog in our basement in February. Apparently the guy got indoors in the late fall to hibernate. I contacted my friend Tom Curro, DVM who had moved to Nebraska, and being the herp specialist that he is - he told us how to take care of it until he could be release in May.

Really, these things are small and if a mouse can get in a tree frog can get in. We had our house fairly opened up in October when we had a new roof put on. No doubt that is when the frog, and other critters got in. The others are gone now...but every once in a while I heard a strange noise and investigating by the drain - searching futilely. BUT today we prevailed! It's 1 a.m. Saturday. The guys just got home from playing laser tag, came to the basement to tell me how they did..and we heard it. Kyle found it - go figure. That kid has an eye for critters. He was under a plant pot base - right next to the drain. I was looking for something the size of a quarter, but this fella is nickel sized and blends RIGHT in with the floor.

Now the problem... I have lost touch with Dr. Tom - will have to google and see if I can contact him. Anyone want to hop over to the Omaha Zoo and see if he is still operating on lions? (LOL) We need to find someone as I have almost forgotten instructions on "tree frog care through winter". We brought in the aqaurium - he probably does not even need a 10 gallon. I remember Tom said paper toweling for flooring substrate. Guess we need to make a trip to the pet store to find those small baby crickets. It was funny - Kyle found the frog and a bug next to it was even bigger. (ewwww - I know, a bug!)

Our family now has a guest for the winter. If the aqarium goes on the buffet that means no place for the Christmas village...oh well. Maybe he doesn't even need a 10 gallon -afterall, isn't he supposed to be hibernating? Maybe we can just make him a little bed, with green satin sheets and canopy top - bet he would be a happy frogger!

Ok - for those of you expecting a layout with the Paper Element - you will now have to wait another day. That was my plan before our discovery was made! (LOL)