Thursday, September 11, 2014

For the Hero in all of US.

 This is my 4th attempt at egg carton stone and my first on paper. I absolutely adore this technique! In fact, I have YET to do a video and I do believe THIS may have to be it! Especially when there's only one youtube video available and it's, well, different from my style. Ahem.

My Aunt lives about 20 minutes from me in an incredibly small town. Climax, North Carolina, is VERY rural. The gentle, rolling hills of the Uwharrie Mountains, happen one of the most special places in the world, to me. My Aunt and I are avid horseback riders and we have ridden over those hills, in the shadow of those mountains, and it truly is paradise.

My Aunt lives in an old, white farmhouse. It's REALLY in the middle of nowhere, it seems, and it's perfect. If you take your coffee and stroll out to sit on the front porch, you'll be amazed by how quiet it is. There isn't anyone in sight. It's just the sun, the quiet and the hills. If you look hard enough, you'll see something in the's actually a house. It can be easy to miss, but it's there. It is the home of Pat and John Waugh.

Pat and John Waugh may not be familiar names to you, and that's normal. Their daughter, Sandy Waugh, probably will not ring a bell either. Sandy grew up on their 90 acre farm, across from my Aunt, and would go on to marry Phil Bradshaw, a US Airways Pilot, and they would go on to set up their home in Greensboro, NC.

Sandy dreamed of being a Flight Attendant and would become one; first, for US Airways and then for United Airlines.

It's starting to sound familiar now, isn't it?

On September 11, 2001, Sandy Bradshaw was a stewardess on United Flight 93. She called her husband and told him that the plane was being hijacked and that some passengers had devised a plan to rush the hijackers, while she and another stewardess boiled water to throw on the hijackers.

I loved Michelle's challenge and found it absolutely appropriate and incredibly creative!! KUDOS, Michelle! I also found it allowed me to pay tribute to Sandy, and all the heroes who have lived and died among us.

Winston Churchill was a fascinating and brilliant man. The US owes much to him. I wanted to create this 'granite' wall, with his quote from the SU! set Courage. Which took me forever to find and that I paid WAY too much for, so that I could have this quote.

It was worth every penny.

I don't feel sad or somber, today. It's a day I remind my children that we can all be heroes by taking a stand for what is right. It doesn't have to be in a moment of duress, it can be the quiet strength to stand alone in truth, while the majority stands against you.

If we lean on our Faith, and the strength of each other, we can perform heroics every day and in many ways.

I genuinely feel that all of you here are sisters, and I stand with you now and always will. Here's to the heroes and the lessons they taught us. Here's to us and the lessons we will teach our children.

God Bless America.
America, Bless God.

Peace out. ;)

Impression Obsession Challenge "Beautiful, Stamped Backgrounds"

IO's new challenge is Beautiful Stamped Backgrounds. I began with using sticky canvas...yes...we're STILL having a fling, and I couldn't be happier! There's a lot to be said for consistency, and when I get this kind of fab consistency with sticky canvas, well, this could end up being a long term love affair.

I used by mini blenders and sponged Peeled Paint, Barn Door Red, Rusty Hinge and Wild Honey. The, I misted it until the colors blended then heat dried it. Then, using archival ink, I stamped IO Cover A Card stamp French Script

I cut the wheat out of watercolor paper that I'd used yellow ochre, a little red and lemon yellow on and adhered it with a glue dot. The sentiment is from IO and since the background was so saturated, I thought I'd stamp the sentiment on acetate. In person, it looks great! On camera, it looks like vellum. But it looks much better than having any solid color breaking up the flow of color or the script

A neutral ribbon finishes it off! More later...I've got 2 more big projects to knock out tonight!!!

Impression Obsession Cover A Card French Text CC151
Impression Obsession Wheat Die Die085-X 
Impression Obsession Sentiment We Gather Together CL406

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

A stationary set for Nana...

My mother has two friends, Susan and Better, who have known me since I was 'in utero'. Literally. Their families are as much mine and mine are theirs.

Nana is 91 years old. She still drives herself to the Senior Center and leads a very full and active life. I have only EVER known her as Nana. I think I was in my 20's when I figured out her name was really 'Eleanor'.

Susan, Nana's daughter, had my son Austin visit over the summer. They indulged his love for baseball with several gifts and played ball with him. They treated him so well, I thought I'd never get him to come home! :)

Both Susan and Nana are letter writers. It's becoming a lost art. When I saw this tutorial on Splitcoast, I knew exactly what I wanted to send Susan as a Thank-You gift. It turned out to be the best gift I've ever given.

When Susan and I talked, I asked her if she thought Nana would love one and Susan immediately said yes. So, here's Nana's.

I'm just grateful I can do something for her mom, as she did for my son.

Thank you Susan!!

Color Challenge Guest Designer Week 2

(Note card set of 6 included in the purse)

I have to start by saying that this is probably the ONLY thing that hasn't blown up in my face this week. I found this little purse template (to hold note cards or other gifts) here and thought I could make something work with these colors.

I scored the diamond quilt pattern on my SU! scoring thingie. What I think made the biggest different was using my tiny mosaic EF (that I LITERALLY had to order from England...on ebay!) on the handles and bottom, then using clear embossing powder. It gives the appearance of leather! I had an SU! frame and punched the pool party for the front embellishment and also did the leather effect. The flower is technically a Bachelor Button, but I punched all of it in Cajun Craze and used the same ink to give it color variation. The 'coin purse' template is also included and can be made to actually hold something.

Trust me when I say, I NEEDED this to work. As I said before, all of these little things kept going wrong. A sick kid who had to be picked up, making me miss an appt, rain, more rain (which kept the kids indoors this weekend, as well as make my hair transition from spiral curly into a full-on Afro) and other annoying things.

But the last straw was when my Peerless Watercolors arrived 2 days ago.

I was delighted, to say the least. Even though they were really just a bunch of old-looking rectangles, I'd heard EVERYONE rave about how splendid they were and I'd been DYING to get some!! It had taken several weeks of embezzling from the grocery budget, so my expectation were over the top. The first thing I did was begin arranging them in a portfolio. Granted, the colors looked dull, but I knew they would explode when I got them on paper. Imagine my surprise when I barely got any color and the the piece holding the color began to pill up!!! The colors were terrible...weak and not vibrant. I was devastated.

I wrote to the place from where I purchased the Peerless and explained my situation. I even included a short video, showing what was happening as I tried to pick up color-in vain.

This morning, I received a response via email. I thought they would either offer me a refund or exchange...I would've bet they wanted me to ship mine back since they were obviously defective!

I opened the email and here's what it said:

"HI Carmen,
You are using the wrong side of the watercolors. You need to flip the squares over, and use the side the has the pigments on it. The pigmented side doesn’t reflect the color, so it may look a little funny, but that is where all the color is, and why you are having such poor results."


To be fair, you'd think that the color would be on the side of, well, the COLOR. But let me be your cautionary tale (for the thousandth time) regarding your Peerless. ;)

Despite everything, I really felt this was a great color challenge...don't you agree??? I included more pics in my gallery. Once again...ty for asking me to be a guest designer!! I'm having a BLAST!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

A Rainbow Pony for Casey

This week, we're heading to New Zealand to brighten up the day of a little girl named Casey. Casey LOVES Rainbow Ponies (so do I! What a coincidence!) along with My Little Pony, so with that in mind, I allowed myself to indulge in a little whimsy. Which, if interpreted, means I had an excuse to whip out the stickles and use enough of then to cause a national shortage.


I adore doing cards like this. I grew up a tomboy, but then grew into a girlie girl at 40. But I've always been a child at heart. Even my ex-husbands have been known to say that! In a sense. Instead of 'childlike', they actually used the word 'immature'. Meh...semantics.

I had been looking for a reason to order this stamp. I originally saw it here
The fabulous Julie made it and I couldn't stop thinking about how much I loved it!

But ordering stamps is getting harder and harder. Not due to lack of money...I'm always broke! That NEVER stopped me! It's actually due to my husband being a lot more aggressive in analyzing our bank acct expenditures. Where it used to be easy to convince him that 'Memory Box' was an online photo storage cloud subscription and that Impression Obsession was a site for job seekers improving their interview skills, it's getting harder and harder to throw him off track.

But until he sits me down and says 'No more' (highly unlikely) or shuts off my credit cards (likely) I'll just keep on working on using a little more self-restraint and resisting impulse buying.

BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH....oh my.....hahahahaha...oh.....I actually got the whole sentence out before laughing my butt off....hahahahahahahhahaha

Autumnal (Couple's) Therapy

 I almost didn't upload this card. But since I have been sitting here and *&%^& around with this thing since 8 AM THIS MORNING (7 hours ago, mind you) I decided I would put it up here for the sake of having SOMETHING to show for my time. I also felt that since this card and I have had such a long and troubled relationship, we could engage in a little couple's therapy, in hopes we don't make the same mistakes next time.

I cut the leaf out of hot press watercolor paper, so I could drench it time after time with gorgeous color. I'm pretty sure I got carried away with said color, but c'est la vie. I used my air spritzer to hit it with some black soot from my marker and UTEE'd it to death. The I took my Wink of Stella gold pen and traced around the edges. All of this fabulousness took all of a half hour. Seriously. 30 minutes.

The next 6 and a half hours were spend figuring out what to do with it. Granted, I surfed for other projects, paid some bills, etc, but I had no idea how to showcase this fab leaf.

So, I cut the card down, thinking the A2 size was a bit daunting. I went with 4.25 x 3.75. I used the SU! Blackberry Bliss behind the embossed white paper and it was GORGEOUS.

But it wasn't enough...for EITHER of us. There was something missing and we both felt it. Sure...we had everything a relationship between a card a crafter SHOULD have....a beautiful focal point, the perfect sentiment (both in size and relative to the time of year) but the gap was apparent to everyone. The question was, what were we going to do about it?

While the blackberry bliss was fantastic, I had no ribbon that looked quite right. The satin ribbon I had wasn't a match for the paper, so I tore it out. Spotting some gorgeous eggplant ribbon, I tied it on, then created more problems in that I couldn't find the right mat.

We talked...well...I talked for hours. I tried everything I knew. But it wasn't enough...we had run out of answers.

About that time, my DH (who was working from home and deeply disgusted with everything by this point) came stomping down the stairs.

"Here." he said, shoving a scrap of paper at me. "Use this. It'll look good."

I looked down at the pumpkin pie cardstock. "Umm...are you sure?" I said.

He sighed, deeply. "Well, personally I think you need something like a yellow or gold, but I don't see anything here that I particularly like. But the orange holds its own with the leaf and the ribbon works. It's not perfect, but unless you change the ribbon, I don't know what else to tell you."

With that, he left the room.

After that, I almost asked for couples therapy for me and my DH as well...who WAS this man who came into my craft room and made salient points regarding focal points and color balance? Where was the guy who hated glitter and claimed he got nauseous every time I turned on the hot glue gun or teared up every time I started a sentence with "I need...?
Who was this man and what did he do with my football watching, rear-end scratching, former Marine husband? And if this man WAS my husband, did I need to worry about having to become the man of the house???

Sorry...that got away from me a little. Point is, you almost had to deal with BOTH today. But took a step back and realized you would be significantly more helpful (and probably more comfortable) with working out the issues between me and the card.

So, all means...discuss.

My Secret Garden (Altoids) Tin

 I can't believe I finally finished this thing. You have to understand: When I first stumbled on this project, I fell in love. Totally and completely. I knew that I HAD to CASE it...I didn't care what it cost or how much time it took, I WAS IN LOVE AND I DIDN'T CARE WHAT THE WORLD THOUGHT!!!

Let me take care of the important thing first...HERE is the original tin, created by Nichola Battilana. Hers is out of this world!! You should also check out her blog...she created a 'Fairy Store', replete with wands and bottles of magic powders and dust...words can't do it justice. Suffice it to say that my CASEing anything of hers is as crazy as someone trying to paint Rembrandt. But I gave it my best.

I ordered the garland and moss from alphastamps. The garden sink is from Prima and it came in white. So, I took some brown alcohol ink and aged it. Using glossy accents, I created the stream from the spigot and used clear and blue microbeads. The rest was just having a good time, putting flowers and tiny butterflies everywhere, while getting completely stoned on E6000. I'm telling you, I don't even know if I can TAKE credit for this project, since I'm not sure I remember doing most of it!

The trellis I created out of coffee stirrers, stained with distress stain. The outside stone was created with....wait for it...wait for it....

egg cartons.


Here's the tut I used and it's fabulous.

That's enough for me tonight...I HAVE to get this craft room in order because my sister is coming to stamp in the morning. I'm looking at a lot of work.

Or, I could just drink some wine, eat chocolate and find lots of stuff to glue.

Hmmm. Decisions, decisions.