Friday, August 29, 2008

K-Dub's Color Challenge

This week my kids started school, and I've been working my tail off to get all of my "mom jobs" done so I could have a few minutes to play this week. Today it finally paid off and I had a few minutes to play with my until-now-unused Big Shot and tackle K-Dub's latest Color Challenge. Here's the inspiration piece and my creation.
I saw a card like this on the Paperlicious blog a while back, and Joan had used her Nestabilities to emboss the front of the card before stamping it. I LOVED the idea and every time I make a card like this I'm thrilled with the results.

We've had an exciting week around these parts.  As I mentioned, school started.  That's mostly exciting for me, but the kids have had a fun week as well.  We also started soccer practice last week, which means we're back to the super-busy-crazy schedule.  AND this happened on Monday:  

Monday night a big storm blew in.  Mostly just wind, but it was blowing about 50 mph when I left soccer practice at 6:45.  When my husband got home at 7:15 he asked me if I had seen the fire.  I had no idea what he was talking about, so he took me outside where the sky was filled with smoke.  He told me there was a fire about 2 miles from our house and that there were probably homes on fire.  We turned on the news and they had 5 hours of continuous coverage of one of the biggest fires Boise has ever seen.  Just to give you some perspective (if you care), here's a map.  

The circle with the "x" is where I live and the arrow is pointing to where the fire was.  For me to drive to the fire location is 3.8 miles according to Google Maps, but as the crow flies it's closer to about 2 miles from our house.  The bluff that the fire burned up runs from the location of the fire all the way through my neighborhood and behind the homes across the street from me.  So it seems possible that this could have reached my neighborhood if the conditions had been right.  Some of the homes on the west end of my neighborhood were among the 50+ homes evacuated that night.  

In all, 10 homes were completely destroyed (burned down to the foundation) and 8-10 more were heavily damaged and one person lost her life.  The fire fighters are my heroes.  It is an absolute miracle that they kept the rest of the houses safe and that there wasn't more damage.  If you'd like to see more info about the fire, you can click here, or here, or you can see some pictures my girlfriend took herself here.  Anyway, as I'm sure you can imagine, we're spending a little more time this week thinking about the things in our lives that are really important, and taking the time to make those a priority (and making sure our homeowner's insurance is up to date!)  Please say a prayer for those who were affected by this terrible tragedy.  One of the teachers at my sons' school lost her home in the fire.  This was her first week teaching and she's 33 weeks pregnant with her first child (a boy) and they lost everything.  

Sending cyber-hugs to all of my blog friends.  Go tell someone you love them.  

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Convention Swaps and Club Projects

One of the best parts of convention is all of the card swapping that goes on.  It's a great way to get some fun ideas.  I took about 75 swaps this year.  Down from about 150 last year.  I don't think I even swapped the first day!!  I found some FANTASTIC inspiration for my swaps the week before convention on Sherri Barron's blog.  You can see the first card I copied here.  I actually made two versions of this one.  
I made this one for my Great Swaps Girls swap before convention.  It uses the same stamp as Sherri's card, but I used different paper (Bella Rose DSP, and Pink Pirouette) and I stamped the en Francais background stamp on the Pink Pirouette card base, but you can hardly see it at all - even in real life.  

Then I made another card using the same papers from the Bella Rose DSP as Sherri used, but on this one I used the little flower vases from the new Window Dressing stamp set which is a Level 3 Hostess set.  I also changed one of the layers from red to Regal Rose.  

You can see the next card I copied from Sherri here.  
I copied this one almost exactly except that I used the Stem Sayings stamp set for the stems and sentiment rather than paper piercing to save some time, and I used two of the Felt Fusion flowers.  
This is the card I made for my Great Swaps Girls swap while we were all at convention.  It was so fun to meet some of the girls in person and swap face-to-face rather than by mail.  Hey girls!! Oh, and how is it that I got a picture of all of the GSG-1 group and not one of the GSG-2 group?!?  What gives??!!  What a bunch of sillies we were!  On this one I used the Bella Rose DSP again, along with textured chocolate chip card stock and the little gift stamp from the Deer Friends set which is a Level 2 Hostess stamp set.  Most of the images in that set are Christmas images, so I was trying to use it for a card that wasn't a Christmas card.  It's always nice to have some ideas for different ways to use a stamp set.  

At my club this week I wanted to show the gals some of the fun stuff we did at convention, so we started off with a bookmark.  We made this fun bookmark as one of the make & take projects while we were at convention.  
Since the new catty orders just went in last week, I wasn't able to procure the supplies for this one, but during one of the main-stage presentations, Brent Steele demonstrated this fun bookmark:
So this is the one we made.  It uses the Styled Silver Hodgepodge Hardware and a new stamp set called Bella's Bloom - which I WON at convention!!  YAY!!!  We just used some tin snips to cut the brad loop off of the top of the bookplate (Brent used Craft & Rubber Scissors when he demo'd it, but I wasn't brave enough to risk my C&R Scissors!).  Then we attached one of the new Button Bouquet buttons and some chocolate grosgrain ribbon with linen thread and glued the stamped image into the bookplate with crystal effects.  They're beautiful and simple!  

Another make & take project we did at convention was a fun gift bag.  We stamped the grass image from the new Inspired by Nature stamp set (which convention attendees got FREE!!) in versamark on the new Tangerine Tango card stock and then stamped the flower image over it with white craft ink.  We also used some of the yummy new So Saffron twill ribbon and a strip of the new Patterns DSP in Tangerine Tango to match. I loved how it turned out and how easy it was, so I showed them another example, but this time in Old Olive with Celery Grosgrain ribbon and some of the new Haiku DSP (which I also WON!!).  I think they're both so adorable, but I'll let you be the judge!  
We made another fun card at convention using this set and inking it with sponge daubers.  I thought that was such a brilliant idea, so I made this card for my club members using the same stamp set so they could see that technique.  
One of my favorite things they demonstrated at convention was a card with a fun surprise.  Here's the front of the card I showed to my club, using another fun stamp set we got FREE at convention!  This one is called Flight of the Butterfly.  I got the idea to use the grass stamp from the Inspired by Nature set with the butterflies in the Flight of the Butterfly set from Diana Gibbs.  Pure genius!!  Here's the first card I made that was like hers:
And now for the fun surprise part of the card . . . 
You use spirals cut from circles to make a fun pop-up card!  Everyone at convention went CRAZY when Marlayne Hardy demonstrated this.  What a fun idea!  I couldn't stop with just one of these cards, so here are a couple more - one with Bugs & Kisses and another with Flight of the Butterfly.  So fun!
Last, but not least, I wanted to show the gals some of the new Decor Elements products which are the vinyl wall rub-ons.  I picked up some framed artwork for about $10 and took the "art" out of it. In its place I put some of the retired Soft Sky DSP in the background (which matches the walls in my craft lab) and added punched Real Red (from the retired Cerise DSP) and Vanilla squares to create a cute little piece of art work for my craft lab.  I added the chocolate flower Decor Elements on top of the glass.  It looks great with the frame and this looks adorable hanging in my craft room.  
Well, that's about it for what I've been up to.  T-minus 8 days until my two biggest boys are in school all day.  I'm missing them already.  Well, in between the brawls and wrestling matches and gun fights and yelling and hitting each other and peeing on the floor around the toilet and . . . well, you get the picture.  Gotta love 'em.  

Friday, August 15, 2008

What I did on my Summer Vacation - Part 2

Yes.  I'm still alive.  Thanks for your concern.  Actually, no one even noticed I've been gone.  Truthfully, I'm a little hurt.  *wink* So, as revenge, I'm going to bore you with more details about my life and my family and what we've been up to! HA!  As a teaser . . . I did have my club this week and I'll post those projects when I get a chance.  Kids are back to school in a little more than a week, so there's hope.  

Mike's hernia surgery went well.  No complications.  Everything went as planned.  He's back to normal, except for the fact that when the kids even feign an attempt to touch, punch, or jump on his stomach he turns into some sort of a wild-animal-stabbed-with-a-cattle-prod type person.  Hopefully that will pass with time. *wink* (love you, sweetie!)

A week after the big surgery I left for the annual Stampin' UP! convention.  It was amazing, as always.  There were a number of BIG announcements.  My favorite of which was this:

Stampin' Up! announced that they are partnering with Sizzix to offer the Big Shot die-cut system!  They will offer 7 exclusive dies designed to coordinate with SU! stamps and 29 Sizzix dies.  The Big Shot can be used to cut an impressive variety of different materials.  It's a wonderful tool for paper crafting, home decor, and much more!!  I'm super excited to show it to my customers and use it in my own crafts and decorating projects!  I'll share more about this fun tool later.  

There were many more exciting announcements at convention.  Here's a run down:
  • Shelli Gardner - Co-founder and CEO of Stampin' Up! started her own blog!  You can find a link on the left under the "Crafty" category.  
  • Shelli announced the launch of her signature collection of products.
  • We saw a preview of Phase 2 of the Decor Elements product line.
  • Stampin' Up! announced another partnership with Country Living Magazine which will include a 20-page layout in the December issue featuring an exclusive stamp set and coordinating accessories.  
  • UPS donated the Ronald McDonald Charities stamp set to every demonstrator who attended  convention.
  • There was a bunch more stuff that probably only demonstrators would care about - next year's convention location and dates, leadership dates, incentive trip information, combination of SU! publications, etc.  If you want more info, let me know.
All in all I had a wonderful trip.  I got to spend some quality time with my aunt and several cousins who live in Salt Lake.  They were wonderful hosts to Carrie and me.  Speaking of which, Carrie did NOT have her baby while we were at convention.  She did keep me on pins and needles the whole time though.  Here's a picture of beautiful Hannah Lilly who was born a week after we got home.  She weighed in at a tiny 5 lbs.  12 oz.  You can see more pics on Carrie's blog here.  

A few highlight pictures from convention:

This is Carrie and me at one of the general sessions.  

And here is possibly the worst picture of me EVER with one of my stamping heroes - Kristina Werner.  Thanks for letting me be a bit of a stalker!! *wink*

Ok, so what I didn't tell you before I left is that Carrie and I drove home from Salt Lake Saturday after the last general session meeting.  That meant that I arrived home at almost exactly midnight.  The next morning, my family left for a week-long vacation on the Oregon coast.  We had a blast, but leaving for vacation less than 12 hours after getting home from 5 days away from home was a little hectic!!  And we did forget more than a few somewhat-important things.  We spent a day at the Oregon Zoo in Portland and then 5 days near Newport, Oregon.  We stayed in a house that was about two blocks from two wonderful beaches and right near Otter Rock and the Devil's Punchbowl.  It wasn't the most age appropriate accommodation for my kids in that the beds in the loft were not what I would consider "safe" for them.  But we made do and the location was ideal.  Here are a few pictures from our trip.

This is the view of the ocean from the back porch of the house we stayed in.
Here are my boys on the beach - their first time to see the ocean!
The boys and the Sea Lions at the Oregon Zoo.
Mason and his new Otter friend at the Aquarium in Newport. 

We saw some neat stuff in the tide pools. 
The boys loved it when Mike wrote their names in the sand.  
We climbed the Yaquina Head light house.  The boys got a pin that said, "I survived the climb." The weather was foggy the whole time we were there, so my only regret is that the boys never saw the horizon so they could get a feel for how big the ocean is.  Other than that, it was really ideal weather.  We had highs in the low 60's and high 50's and were comfortable with just a sweat shirt.  I was also a little nervous about so much driving and how the kids would do in the car for so long, but they were troopers and survived the 9+ hour trip home with very few complaints.  

Well, school starts a week from Monday, so there probably won't be a third installment in the "What I did on my Summer vacation" saga.  Thanks for sticking with me.  I promise to be back with some crafty fun soon.  

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