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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Blast from the Past: Cigar Box ATC Armoire January 2015

This is the 3rd installment of my 'Blast from the Past" series. From October 2014-April 2015, I was chosen to be on the Splitcoast Stampers "Dirty Dozen Design Team". We did 6 projects a month. Needless to say, those were ONLY projects I did in each of those months. Since I average a project in a 7 day week, you can imagine how difficult it was to produce a project EVERY FIVE DAYS. 
These haven't been published on the blog, yet. So enjoy. Saturday and Sunday were such great days for me! Out at the barn with my histrionic mare, Coco, the weather was gorgeous! Then on Monday and Tuesday, good ol' Dercums flared up and last night, my lower back spasmed. I don't know if you've ever experienced a lower back spasm, but that's good for a 9 on the ol' pain scale. So, here's hoping for a better rest of the week, huh? Without further ado....

I have always counted myself lucky in the friends I’ve made over the years. I have been so very lucky to meet and forge relationships with some of the coolest women I’ve ever-and probably WILL ever-know. In return, I try my best to be a good friend. I’m not high-maintenance (except to the Lord and my husband-but one created me and the other married me…so, they’re pretty much stuck) and my good friends know that despite my MANY faults, I am ever loyal and will be there when I’m wanted or needed.

OR, if there happens to be really good food and wine involved. I’m absolutely ‘there’.

Or wine…just wine. And I’ll never leave.

It’s important you take the time to talk and share with friends. It’s one of the things I’m particularly good at. You see, I have NO problem totally ignoring the kids while chatting with an actual grown-up. Because a grown-up USUALLY isn't constantly complaining about lack of food, perceived lack of quality of available food, dissatisfaction with current regime and unhappiness with their current status in the hierarchy.

Of course, I do take time to communicate with my children. I admit it takes everything I have, at times, to keep the proper straight face. It's important because it convinces the little snot-noses that I’m actually concerned with their opinions regarding my parenting skills (or lack, thereof) and whether or not ‘everyone else has this game/video system/sneakers/clothing/etc. and I don’t!!!’

But I have to say, they’re ADORABLE when they’re delusional like this!

I have 3 boys at home. One is 16 and, you may not have heard…and I certainly DON’T want to brag…but he’s a genius. That’s right, I’m totally serious when I say he knows EVERYTHING. And if you doubt me, then by all means….just ASK him.
He’ll be glad to tell you how he is repressed in speech and action, as well as how he is worked to the point of exhaustion by the repressive Communist regime he is ruled by. He’s right, you know…taking out the trash, and being made to dig the dirty underwear he has hidden in his closet (and apparently, by the look of them, they’ve been there since the good ol’ days of family dinners and representative government) is completely and totally irrational on our part. Not to mention his being forced to do his homework and having one of his parental units checking his grades and whether he completes assignments…DAILY! 

The next child we have made into an indentured servant, is all of 11. He doesn’t understand why he isn’t given an allowance like all his friends. I have explained-NUMEROUS times-that one must WORK to receive money. He usually counters with the pointing out of that the government GIVES you money if you just ask them. He says that all you have to do is say you can’t work and fill out about “10 or 15 pieces of paper and explain that you can’t work because you’re too tired, then they give you a card for food AND they buy you a house and you can stay home and watch TV and play games. I know it’s the truth because my friend Tim told me and even a lot of our family do it. You know, the ones that live in the trailers over in McLeansville.”

I don’t know what bothers me more…the fact he thinks the government actually MAKES money or the fact that out of over 200 years of Conservatives, some wild and crazy gene mix-up has caused me to somehow produce a Progressive.

The last kid is 8. He’s my little high-functioning autistic minion and HIS attitude regarding his living situation is…well…to be honest, as long as he has a supply of Nerds candy and Legos, he really doesn’t have an opinion about the trifling domestic matters the rest of us deal with on a daily basis. He plays his WII, lines up his 30 plus stuffed animals in weird places. Case in point, last week, I ran into the house from the grocery store, needing to make use of the ‘WC’, if you will. I flung the door open and almost had a heart attack…there were at least 20 stuffed animals gathered around a small, fluorescent Christmas tree, with each one holding some sort of food item. Zombo the Zombie had a slice of cheese covering his face and Mario’s head had been stuffed into a Ramen Noodle cup. If that wasn’t scenic enough, he had completely ringed them in with about 10 wine bottles, arranged by size and label color.

I mean, really….where DID he get so many wine bottles?? **cough, cough**

**NOTE** I DO want to take a moment and clarify that we MUCH prefer this type of tableau to the very public ramifications his stuffed animals suffer when their disobedience elicits his disapproval. The punishments for that disobedience or non-conformity (or just when the Dictator is overstimulated) are harsh and we wouldn’t mind so much if Justice was served inside…and NOT in the FRONT YARD.

Do you have any idea what it’s like to back out of the driveway and see a stuffed animal in the middle of a thorny rose bush with a piece of packing tape over its mouth and hands tied to feet??? Or…MY personal favorite…Woody from ‘A Toy Story’ hanging upside down with an electrical cord by his feet? At the TOP of a 20 foot Maple?????

No WONDER the neighbors cross the street when they walk by our house!


I know what you’re saying…you’re speaking in that soothing voice and saying, “Now Carmen…ALL teens and pre-teens are pretty much like that! We totally understand! We’ve been through all of it, too! Well, except for the weird stuff your 8 year old does…I mean, we’ve TOTALLY never seen that in our LIVES.”

And I want you to know I appreciate those kind words of support and encouragement. But I really have most of it under control. I simply remind the 2 older kids that if I DIDN”T somewhat like them, that I would’ve already commandeered their rooms for a paint studio and sewing room, respectively. That seems to really get my point across.

I know, I know…I’ve gone even more off-topic than usual. But I DO think it’s important we share our experiences. That way, we can support one another and then, at the end of the day, have some great gossip to share with our other friends.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I believe there’s some sort of celebration I’m interested in attending, that should be well underway, and I don’t want to be late. Fortunately, I hear the party is close by.

In the downstairs bathroom, I believe.

Once again, my thanks to Laura Carson at Artfully Musing! She has great tutorials and though I’ve made a ton of stuff using them, I don’t even think I’ve scratched the surface of all the things she has done! I’ve totally been on a cigar box kick. In fact, 3 of my projects this month use them. And there might be another one…who knows?? But the ATC Armoire was something I loved because it was different, practical and downright GORGEOUS!

Friday, April 22, 2016

Blast from the Past-March 2015-Cigar Box Purse

Bringing some blasts from the past during my Splitcoast Dirty Dozen stint from October 2014-April 2015. I tell you, those were the days! Now that I can put these on my blog, and it happily coincides with several days of miserable back and Dercum's pain (former Dercum's post HERE). This way, I continue to look busy while lying around on the sofa reading the Outlander series. Again. Cheers!

Now, before you start thinking you're getting deja vu with this Cigar Box purse, let me reassure you that you're NOT. This IS the second one I've done during my stint on the dirt pile. But I've got a pretty good reason...I think. If it's not, tough'll have to suffice. 

ESPECIALLY since it ties into our theme!

There has been only ONE project out of the 36 (holy Mary...can I just say I honestly can't believe I pulled that off??? What a testament to better living through wine and medications!) that I downright HATED. I thought it was terrible and I swear to you that if I could pull it out of my gallery and toss it into the abyss that is the internet, I'd do it without a thought. Even my beloved Nancy (stiz) who is the most supportive person in my LIFE couldn't convince me it was even remotely not GAK inducing.

The project? The OTHER cigar box purse I made.

So, I'm behind ANYWAY this month and I'm sitting around thinking about what to do and how to tie it into the Keys of Happiness thing, when it hit me: 

One of the main keys to MY happiness is having the opportunity to make things right. Whether it's an apology, a repair, a repayment, or merely the chance to atone for a GAK inducing project, one of the keys to my happiness is not stopping until I make it RIGHT. we are. And DANG if I'm not happy with this!! 

I'd had this SU! fabric I bought probably 2 years ago just floating around the craft room. So, I took some tacky spray and placed it on the front and back of the box. Then, I adhered the lace to the front...I wanted it to look like a sweater over a shirt or something like that, and the bling to be the necklaces. 

I pulled a lot of small brass charms and some jump rings and...what is the jewelry craft word for 'put them there suckers on a little circle and clipped it to another circle on that chain right there'? 

Last month, I bought 4 different lots of broken jewelry...about 5 bucks a lot...and these pearls were in there. Never mind they were broken...they were perfect for this! So, using E6000, I attached all of the bling. 

I used a lace trim on the side, along with this white embossed dp that I found lying around and VOILA! it was done!

I used another piece of fabric from the same collection for the inside.

So, project done...theme met and ONE more on the way...the last one EVAH for the DD. Is the suspense driving you crazy???

I know! Me too! I have NO idea what's going to happen either!! ;)

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Blasts from the Past-December 2014 Cigar Box Clock

In September 2014, I was asked to be one of the Dirty Dozen Design Team Members at Splitcoast. We created 6 projects a month and served a 6 month term. A part of our agreement was that we would not publish any of our work until 6 months past our end date. Mine was up 6 months ago in October 2015. It's my pleasure to share with you some of my favorite entries over the next few months. Mostly because it makes this blog look busier than it is. Just sayin'...

I'm going to start by saying that yes...I'm a little worried.

You see, ever since I decided that 'Mixed Media is for Me', I've spent about 2 thousand dollars on bags of brass miscellany, a thousand on random collage papers and about 17 thousand on E600 glue. 

And no...that's not the problem. See, I took the whole "money has to be kept circulating if you want it to return to you" wisdom to heart, and have done my best to keep those suckers circulating as fast as possible. To be fair, they don't seem to circulate BACK as fast as I put them out, but I feel confident those back bills will catch up one day. I was assured of this by the financial gurus that provided me this wisdom years ago.

Jim and Tammy Faye Baker.

Anyway, I don't worry about the cash. Before art, I was spending like the devil was behind me and trying to snatch it out of my hands on home improvements. 

Art, my husband finds, may cost the same, but doesn't involve people messing with our wiring and knocking out his computing and golf watching activities. And, instead of big chunks of money being spent at once, this is more like a slow bleed of cash, which he finds more palatable.

But I digress.

What REALLY concerns me is the products I've been using in my mixed media obsession. Spray paint, E6000, resin, alcohol, primer paints and gasoline. 

Wait...strike the's only the kids who play around with that.

SO...what do all those things have in common? BESIDES the ability to make the most godforsaken, permanent messes on the planet??


It's because of the vapors! Or drift! Or what the freak ever you call it! It's the stuff that can cause brain damage!!! 

***Note*** I DID consider the state of my mind before I began all this, to the state of my mind now. I'm loathe to admit this but, if anything, my memory is no worse, if not a bit better for the experience. Hmmmmm. HEY....what if it's against the law to abuse inhalants because they, in truth, give us superpowers and the government is terrified of that!?!?!?!?!?! 

***NOTE ON THE NOTE*** I have a feeling I just shot myself in the proverbial foot with that last sentence. Sigh. Must I ALWAYS be SOMEONE'S cautionary tale?????

I'm sharing all of this with you, because I take my responsibility as an artist (and by artist, I mean 'cautionary tale') very seriously and, on that note, will tell you this: wear a face mask. And, when reading the usage instructions, merely opening a window in your craft room does not count as a 'well-ventilated area'. It will STILL permeate your entire house and, as a result, your kids will forget their names for a couple of days, and you'll find your dog standing in the corner, thumping his head on the wall for hours. 

There. I feel I've done's the word?

Oh yeah...'duty'. Not 'doodie'....hahahahahahaha...I'm such a card! So glad you could join me today....whoever you people may be. 

Alright, down to business. THIS is a cigar box. Once again, I owe huge thanks to the Laura Carson tutorials at I covered it both inside and out with G45 Couture paper. On the front, I drilled a hole in the middle, then set about decorating with brass and collage pieces. Quick note...I'm always doing things 'bass ackwards', as they say...if you do this, complete the INSIDE first. 

For the inside, more collage pieces that I fussy cut..the scene outside the window is attached using 4 layers of mounting tape for depth. I added tiny rose buds to cover the roses on her dress and used silver mirror paper in a small brass frame for a mirror. Using a brass column and a piece I colored black with copics to serve as a 'vase', I arranged more paper flowers. 

Back to the front...I took several head pins and glued tiny butterflies to them and I think it's one of my favorite embellishments I've ever made. I've found that if I don't edit the pics to size, people will be able to enlarge them if they like, so one inside and one outside pic isn't edited for size, so you can enlarge for detail if you like.

For the theme, blue is about as 'Calm, cool and collected' as you'll find on the color wheel. And I made the deadline! AND I'm starting to remember my name! Most of it, that is...but that's good enough for me! Mission Accomplished!

Monday, April 18, 2016

Mello Yello Lovin'

Well, looka here.

SOMEONE has been a busy bee!! 

If making a card and an ATC over the course of three days can constitute being 'busy', that is. 

This is the 3rd and final ATC for the Mello Yello theme at blissfulatcswap and now everything is packed and heading for Bev in the UK. I'm really curious to know if it'll get checked. Chances are, it will. Based on my facebook posts alone, I am a subversive, and potential anarchist.

But to be fair, those ARE my facebook posts. And, as we all know, neither facebook NOR pinterest translates to 'real life'. 

As much as I 'think' I can make the things I pin on my pinterest, and as much revolutionary talk that I do on facebook, the fact of the matter is that if we were REALLY going to accomplish something, we wouldn't be spending time talking about it or pinning it. We'd be DOING it.

The great thing about these sites, though, is that it allows us to believe we are actually accomplishing something. 

Of course, we're not, and we all know it. But it FEELS like I'm being productive when I share a news item, or pin a new recipe. I'm almost convinced I'm doing my part for humanity and the family. And I have to tell you, the older I get, the more easily I can convince myself that I have, in fact, made a difference. 

God bless the internet. If it weren't for that, I'd probably not even be capable of these totally imaginary positive changes I make every single day. The internet has given us the gift of delusion...and I think I can speak for all of us when I say "thank you."

Now to this ATC: 

Using alcohol inks which I dropped at random on paper coated with the blending solution, I came up with a psychedelic background. Using a great photo of Janis, a picture of the album 'Mellow Yellow' by Donovan, and various other 60's stuff (the ban the bomb and peace circles are coated with glossy accents to resemble 'buttons') I attached the woodstock at the top and decided to leave a nice amount of the paper uncovered. Mostly because I couldn't believe I actually tried a technique and accomplished it in ONE TRY. It was a miracle, people. A miracle, I tell you.

Now, it's headed out to the UK. As for me, I'm headed to bed.

Even a tireless, facebook revolutionary needs a break sometimes.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Impression Obsession Birthday Challenge

Let me begin by saying that I am DELIGHTED to be back into the Impression Obsession challenges. As most of you know, IO was the company from which I purchased my FIRST DIE! 

470 dies later, and I'm STILL going strong! 

Unfortunately for my husband, that number is less an exaggeration and more of a ballpark. Oh well.

I wanted to bring this up because it makes this next admission one that I simply cannot believe I have to make. Don't get me wrong....I make all sorts of mistakes and gaffes. Constantly. But rarely do I find myself in the predicament I found myself in the IO challenge.

You see, this challenge was titled "Birthday Wishes". And I knew EXACTLY what I was going to do.

I'd gotten this awesome wedding cake die from IO and have been DYING to use it. So, I cut the layers in pink patterned paper, cut the ropes in white, then added liquid applique to give it a puffy, 'icing' look. I altered the stand to make it shorter and hid the adjustment with the little bow that comes with the die. I used some paper roses and leaves from another IO die and was simply thrilled with the outcome.

But it was then I realized what I truly thought was something not EVEN possible. Not the with amount of things I've purchased from Impression Obsession. Can you guess what it is???

That's right! I own 75% of their dies and while I don't own as many stamps, I made sure to buy a few sheets of sentiments for each holiday. The one I missed? That's right. I didn't have the words Happy Birthday from IO ANYWHERE.

I don't believe it either. Suffice it to say the first thing I will purchase with any gift certificate I may win, is a Happy Birthday sentiment. you KNOW how much anxiety I suffered from? And I had to suffer silently! Because my husband certainly can't commiserate when I sob that I have no birthday sentiments to use on my IO challenge cards! 

To be fair, it really doesn't seem that terrible in print. But it was terrible. You'll have to trust me.

So, we're going to hope it looks enough like a birthday cake that the judges over there will just totally forget to look for a sentiment. Hopefully. Sigh.

There's still time to enter the challenge...go here and good luck.

I've got to do a little shopping. 

Card Recipe

Wedding Cake Die DIE243-W
Leaf Cluster Die DIE066-C
Spellbinders Frame

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Mellow Yellow Groovin'

As you all know, I have very little patience for the 'norm'.

I always feel like I need to push past any traditional rules and stretch my creativity.

Which really just translates into I had no clue as to what to do and I stumbled on this little template and swore I'd make it work.

This little van is the size of an ATC..3.5 x 2.5.  Actually, it's a bit shy on the 2.5 side but let's not dwell on that. I went a little crazy with crystals and stickles, as you can see, but what a blast!

On each side of the van, I glued a Tim Holtz band, both with sayings about journeys. The van ties in with the Mellow Yellow theme because the song, by Donovan, was a huge hit in the 60's. It was speculated the song was about getting high on banana peels. Which sounds like the person who came up with that was high in order to invent something like that to begin with. But when you think about the 60's, hippies, vans, peace, love, rock n roll and all the different things rumored to get you stoned , works. And since I really can't do much with any of the aforementioned items (this IS going to the UK, mind you...I'd hate to start an international incident. Although, I DO feel like I'm on quite a few watch lists, I did think the van was a nice twist on the theme AND on the traditional ATC.

I hate that you can't see the tie-dye effect that's on the word bands. Using alcohol inks and 6 bright colors, I was able to make them perfectly tie-dyed. They're really cute. 

I really hate to do this to you guys, but I've got to make this a quick one! Family is flying in tomorrow and I've got to do some heavy-duty cleaning/sterilizing/burning before they get here. I also have to bite the bullet and color my hair, which is something I hate. I'd rather clean a horse's hoof with my tongue than brush out all these curls into an afro (that would fit right in with this theme!) and struggle with color that ends up all over my body, as much as on my hair. I always reach a point when I look in the mirror and, between the afro, subtle red skin coloring and chubby mid-section, I see I distinctly resemble an ancient fertility charm, or something to that effect.

I'm one away from completing this month's theme for BlissfulATCswap so I'll see you shortly!

Hopefully, sans gray hair, afro and red body tint. 


Saturday, April 9, 2016

Trauma, Tears, Tension and Titillation

<Deep breathing. In count of four, Out count of four>

Okay. First things first. Mermaid. The last of my three for the Mermaid theme for VPI. Alcohol ink background, G45 image and sentiment, brass findings, more ferro molding paste for sand and-thanks to Laura Carson at I clipped small pieces off my juniper bush, sealed them with acrylic spray and used stickles and micro beads to turn them into sea weed/plants. Some encrusted jewel frantage and we're done.

I hate being so brief, but I am just vibrating with suppressed anxiety as I write this. In the past hour and a half, I've cried four times, almost hyperventilated twice and found myself committing SERIOUS adultery in my head. 

No count on that last one...I'm just going to say I never stopped.

And yes...the reason for ALL of this is because I JUST saw the first episode of Outlander. Season 2. (whimper)

If you haven't watched or read Outlander, I am empty your life must be.

What's that? You don't believe me? Ok. Let me just make my point. This should sum up Outlander and why your life is much the emptier without it.

I was actually going to follow this up with a shirtless picture of Jaime Fraser, but the next thing I knew, I'd been looking at Sam Heughan in various stages of undress and realized that I was never going to get this post finished...or feed my kids....OR move forward with my life, unless I put a block on my OWN searches for this type of material.

I had to. The last time I went looking at Sam Heughan in various stages of deshabille, I ended up somehow losing two whole days. I started on Monday and the next thing I knew, it was Wednesday, and Sam's abs were burned into my retinas.

Not that I'm complaining, mind you.

For the sake of getting this post done, I'll stop looking for pictures to post here. Instead, I'm going to go watch the first episode of season 2 Outlander just one more time. You know, just to make sure I'm solid on the plot. Not for any other reason than to examine continuity and consider character integrity and....

oh, to heck with it. 

I'm going to mute it and just watch Jaime. In slo-mo.

See you in a month or so...