Thursday, March 25, 2010

Occasions Mini Swaps

There were a few more participants in the Great Swaps Girls Occasions Mini Catalog swap. And as always, their cards didn't disappoint!

Sorry about the picture on this one. Somehow I got a shadow on the right hand side. Trust me that the card is perfect! It's just my photography skills that are lacking! This card was made by Sherri Barron. I'm always a sucker for pink and brown and I love how she combined them on this card. I especially like the pink houndstooth pattern and the tiny chocolate dotted pattern on the bottom. This would definitely make a great Mother's Day card. 

This card was made by Kimberly Meyers. The Saffron and Soft Suede are beautiful together. This would be a beautiful wedding or graduation card. 

This card was made by Amy O'Neill. It uses the new With All My Heart stamp set. I love the color combination she chose, and I'm always a sucker for Basic Grey. Even more so with the Perfect Polka Dots embossing folder! 

Mercedes Weber made this card and I can hardly stand the cuteness of that little raccoon with the glittery heart. Although it's hard to see in the picture, she even took extra care to make sure the glitter didn't cover the raccoon's little hands. SO CUTE!!  

This last card was made by Arin Burdo. I love love love how she combined the glittery paper and the shimmer paint! So so gorgeous! 

Thanks for sharing all of your hard work, ladies! It's always a thrill to see your amazing creations! 

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Sale-A-Bration Swaps

There were only two other participants from the Great Swaps Girls group in the Sale-a-Bration mini swap. When there are only a few people in a swap I'm always disappointed at first, but then I realize that it means I only have to make a few swaps and suddenly I'm not so sad anymore! HA! Anywhoo. Here are the two cards I received from the swap.

This card is from Kimberly Meyers (I think!) I love how she made the candles and added glitter to the flames. So cute! And what great colors for a little boy card. You all know how I'm always needing those, right? 

This card is from Mercedes Weber. So clean and simple, but so darling! I'm not sure how I've resisted the pull of the designer paper with the glitter, but it's darling on the tiny hearts and I love how she added the little touch of ribbon with a brad. I save tiny scraps of ribbon thinking that I'll use them for stuff like this and then I forget or find something else to add at the last minute. 

Thanks for your great swaps, girls! (he he he, pun intended!) It's always a thrill to receive your cards!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

GSG Swap

The last couple of swaps I've participated in with the Great Swaps Girls group have had fewer participants, but there's still a die-hard group of demonstrators who usually participate. We did two swaps in January - one for the Occasions Mini Catalog and one for Sale-a-Bration. I'll start off today by showing you the cards I made for the swap.

This is the card I made for the Occasions Mini Catalog swap. I used the Scalloped Heart of Hearts Embosslit to cut the cute heart. The pink and green paper is from the Sweet Pea Designer Series Paper Stack, and the tag is from the Tiny Tags stamp set and is punched out with the new Jewelry Tag punch. I tied the tag onto the heart with embroidery thread.

I think this was my favorite of the two cards I made. It's super clean and simple, but so elegant. I made this card for the Sale-a-Bration swap. I used the Perfect Polka Dots embossing folder from the Occasions Mini Catalog to emboss the panel on the front. The focal image was stamped in Bashful Blue ink with the Vintage Labels Sale-a-Bration stamp set. I stamped the Mr. & Mrs. image from Teeney Tiny Wishes, but noticed after the fact that there's also a Mr. & Mrs. image in the Tiny Tags set. D'oh. I added some of the tiny rhinestones from the Eggcellent Eggs kit in the Occasions Mini Catalog. I seriously LOVE those little rhinestones. If they don't make it into the next catalog I may actually shed a tear. In fact, I tried last week to order more of the egg kits just to get the rhinestones and it looks like they're sold out!!  *snif* Anyway, I cut the scallopey (yes, I made that word up) oval from the Lots of Tags sizzlits dies and layered that with an oval cut from Bashful Blue and the Ovals Original die. They layer perfectly with the wide oval punch. I love it when a plan comes together. :O)

Monday, March 22, 2010

Valentine's Day Cards

I mentioned yesterday that I'm really bad about making cards for my family. Well, that holds true for Valentine's Day too. Maybe even more so because I'm always so busy helping my kids make a gazillion Valentines to give to all of their classmates. Well, this year I resolved to do better, and although I didn't take the time to create a card I designed myself, I did find some great ideas online and recreate those beautiful cards for my kids and my husband.

I saw this card on Dawn Griffith's blog and knew I HAD to make it. I demonstrated it for the ladies at my Ladies' Night Out in February and the I gave it to Mason for Valentine's Day. I have a thing for red and polka-dots, so this was a no-brainer. I used the polka dot stamp from Itty Bitty Backgrounds on red card stock and embossed the dots with white embossing powder. Then I punched them out with the new tiny heart punch from the Occasions Mini Catalog. I think Dawn added her dots with the white gel pen, but embossing them gave the card a little more texture and dimension. I LOVE this card. The inside has a matching row of red polka-dot hearts on the bottom. :O)  Thanks for the great inspiration, Dawn! 

Well, darn! I can't find the card that inspired me on this one. I {heart} the dandelion image from this stamp set and when I had a chance to earn this stamp set for FREE, you can bet I jumped on it! I inked up the image with Regal Rose ink and then accented some of the tiny hearts with Rose Red. I did the same thing on the i {heart} u image. I inked it up in Regal Rose and then colored the heart with Rose Red. The DSP is retired, but I adore those little flowers. I finished the card off with a little rose colored ribbon. This is the card I gave to Jordan for Valentine's Day. 

ETA: I found the card! This was inspired by Cindy Beach. Thanks, Cindy! You're awesome!! 

Although I saw this card on someone's blog, it's also a CASE right out of the Occasions mini catalog. I demonstrated this card at my February Ladies' Night out and showed them how to use a wheel with markers and stamp just part of the image. I really like the technique and it makes the wheels so much more versatile. The U is from the Simple Alphabet dies and I covered the chipboard with textured Old Olive card stock before cutting it out. The card base is Chocolate Chip textured card stock. I gave this card to Dawson for Valentine's Day.  

This last card idea came from Anthonette Chavez. When I saw her card I fell in love love love! I loved everything about this card. The colors. The layout. The rhinestones. EVERYTHING! I think some companies sell the rhinestones all hooked together and already in a circle, but I was able to use the rhinestones from the Easter egg kit in the Occasions mini and just glue them on with the green liquid Tombow glue. I cut a circle out of scrap card stock and put it on the front of my card and then just put dots of the glue around the outside of the circle, spacing them as evenly as I could while just eyeballing it. It's not as perfect as if the rhinestones had come all together that way, but I was still thrilled with how it turned out. The card base on this one is white textured card stock for a little added interest. This card seemed extra special, maybe because of the bling, so I made it for my sweetie. I think he liked it. ;O) Thanks to Anthonette for her beautiful and inspiring card. 

Sunday, March 21, 2010

10th Birthday Card

Well, I had one more Birthday RAK (Random Act of Kindness) to show you and now I can't find it! ACK! I'll keep searching and hopefully be able to share it soon. :O(

In its place, today I'll share the card I made for my son when he turned 10. I used the Pop-up Birthday Cake die. I'm always so busy rushing around getting ready for birthday parties when my kids have a birthday, that I often don't get a card made for them. It's a terrible thing, I know. But you know what they say, "The cobbler's children have no shoes." It's absolutely true at my house. So, although I wasn't thrilled with the colors on this card, just the fact that I got a card made was a big accomplishment!

I used my Simple Alphabet Numbers dies to cut out the chipboard numbers. I love how easy it is to make custom chipboard numbers and letters with those dies! And they turn out perfect every time without all of the filing and fussing you have when you try to use pre-made chipboard. The striped designer paper and the matching olive twill are a belly-band that holds the card shut. The cards with the pop-up cake inside need a little extra help. 

Did you know that Karen Burniston has a blog? She designed some of the pop-up dies that Stampin' Up! sells (or maybe all of them!). Her blog is called "I Am Not Left Handed." She has some awesome tips on using the pop-up cake die. Here's a link to the PDF. You can find it on her blog in the column on the left where it says, "Download Supplemental Cake Die instructions & Troubleshooting Guide." If you haven't seen them you should check it out. It includes great tips that make the cake much more stable. 

I stamped the Happy Birthday with the Happy Everything stamp set and then added Dawson's name with the Billboard Alphabet decorative strip die. So fun! Dawson loved it and so did all of the boys at his birthday party. They kept passing it around. Dawson said, "She made it!" and the boys said, "Who made it?" Dawson said my mom did. You don't often see a group of 9 and 10 year old boys in awe, but they all thought I was a rock star. Maybe I should have put a Stampin' Up! catalog in their party treat bags! HA! 

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Another Birthday RAK

Here's another card I got on my birthday from one of my stamping friends.

I got this card from one of my sidelines (we are in the same group of Stampin' Up! Demonstrators). Her name is Beth and she is one of the most thoughtful people I know. If there is ever anything going on, anyone in our stamping group can be sure that they'll get a card from Beth. She's been going through some fairly serious struggles of her own this past year, but it hasn't kept her from sending thoughtful cards to other demonstrators. I don't think Beth has a blog, so I can't link to her, but if she ever comes across this post I hope she knows how much I appreciate her thoughtfulness. 

Friday, March 19, 2010

Birthday RAK

Although my birthday was nearly 2 months ago, I've failed to share some of the cards I received from my dear stamping friends. Well, I'm here to rectify that situation! I'll share one today and one tomorrow and then I promise to be back with some other cards in the days that follow.

I got this card from my dear friend and fellow Great Swaps Girls member, Vera Schoeters. This card is so gorgeous! I haven't tried this technique, but it is fabulous! And I love the Soft Suede and Bashful Blue together. I was so glad to meet Vera at convention this past year. She's really the sweetest ever! Thanks for thinking of me on my birthday, Vera! I appreciate your thoughtfulness.  

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Kitchen Finale

Well, here it is. The last update on the kitchen reno. Although I guess I should post a disclaimer that we do still have a couple small things to do. We want to put pendant lights over the island/peninsula and possibly over the sink, and I need some new rugs. Other than that, things are done!
Here are some pictures of the glass we chose for the cabinet doors. You can still see a little of what is inside, but it's more obscure than plain glass, which is what was in the old doors. The glass we chose is called "Narrow Reed" and we got it at a local glass shop. 

I mentioned in yesterday's post that there were some "issues" with the knobs. The guy who painted the cabinets said he had a great place online where he could get knobs cheaper than anywhere we could find on our own. I found a style I liked and had him order them. They were about $1.50 each for the knobs and about $3 each for the drawer pulls. We had looked around a little and thought the price was good. Here's a picture of the knobs he ordered for me. 
Although I like the look of them, I was surprised to find when they installed them that they were hollow on the back. It seemed a little strange to me, but I figured I'd get used to it with time. Here's a picture of how they look on the back:
One of the reasons I chose this style is because they had something similar at Home Depot but they were twice as much. BUT they also had a larger size that I could use on the pantry door so that all of the knobs would match. Well, after they installed the cabinet hardware I picked up the pantry door knob at Home Depot and installed it. Once that happened I was no longer happy with the cabinet knobs. The knob from Home Depot was solid and smooth on the back. Well, last week I listed the cabinet knobs on Craigs List and sold them all in one day for $1.50 each, which I'm pretty sure is what we paid for them. Then I went straight to Home Depot and got the $3 knobs. Here's a picture of how they look:
And look how they are on the back! It seems so silly, but they are so much better. We only have 19 knobs, so the total price difference was less than $30. So worth it to me. Now I'm happy every time I open my cabinet doors! 
Did I mention that we worked with a designer for some of the ideas we used in the kitchen? I can't remember. Anyway, Joe at Designs by Human helped us out and one of his recommendations was to put drapes in the breakfast nook. The drapes arrived last week and I'm so happy with how they look. Oh, and yes, we had about 2 inches of snow on the ground yesterday. Nice surprise, but only because it meant soccer was cancelled! 

Oh! and did you notice my new light fixture!?! It's a drum shade and I LOVE it! It totally changes the feel of the space. The old light cast all of the light down toward the table, but this one is open on the top so it really lights up the whole space. Here's a close-up.

Well, the only thing left to show you is the tile, and it was not without some drama. The pictures below were taken on the day it was installed. I was so thrilled with it. The tile is 1"x2" glass subway tile. It adds so much dimension. I had a hard time finding the pure white tiles. Most of them have a greenish hue. 

Finally the purple paint is covered up!

Here's where the drama starts. I was sitting at the kitchen table reading the newspaper the morning they came to grout the tile. The guy slapped the grout up and started smearing it over the tile and into the spaces and immediately my heart stopped. The grout color I chose was white. The grout they were putting up was brown-ish. Kind of a taupe color. I kept thinking, "Do I say something? Surely they couldn't use the wrong color. They're professionals, right? Maybe it dries white. I'm sure it must be right. They wouldn't make a mistake like that, right?" Well, they got about 2/3 up the wall and I finally got up the nerve to say, "So, does it dry white?" and the guy said, "NO!" At this point I may have needed CPR. I said, "I'm pretty sure that's not the right color. The grout I picked is WHITE!" The guy got out the package and it said "Bone" on it and I told him I couldn't remember the exact name of the color I chose but that I was pretty sure it had the word "white" right in the name. Well, to make a long story less long, I called and they confirmed that I had chosen "Bright White" for my grout color and the guys ended up having to scrape all of the grout out of the tiles. And let me tell you, scraping grout out of 1"x2" brick-set tiles is no quick job. They had only put the grout into about 10 square feet of tile and it took them about 3 hours to scrape it all out. Here they are working on it:

As you can see, they ended up using toothbrushes and razor blades. Even when I could see they were getting most of it out I was afraid it was still going to show through since the tile is CLEAR GLASS! You can see here that the grout is clearly NOT white!

But, alas, once they put the right color grout in, it was GORGEOUS! Here's how it looked when they were done.

Here's a shot of the backsplash. The flash went off in this shot so it's extra shiny. I was worried about how the outlet covers would look with the tile but I don't think they look bad at all.

Here's a wider shot.

And here are a few shots of the whole thing.

Well, thanks for hanging in there with me on the whole kitchen project. I'd love to know what you think. I'm super happy with how everything turned out. Like I said, we still want to try to put pendant lights over the peninsula and I need some rugs. The next project is the family room. 

I'm not going to add the pictures of Dawson's new room to this already-too-long post. I'll be back soon with the pictures of how that project turned out. 

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Kitchen, part 4 (and another small-ish project)

Okay, as usual, life has gotten in the way of blogging and I've left you all hanging longer than I intended on the kitchen progress. To make up for it we're going to see a LOT of progress in this post, but there will be one more post after this one that will include all of the finishing touches. For a recap of what's happened so far, you can click here, here, and here.

I didn't realize until I got ready to put this post together that I shared some sneak peaks in the last post. Before we painted, we had the new countertops installed.The picture above is how things looked after the old countertops came off, and right before the new countertops went on. The old countertops were laminate with a wood edge. In a number of places the laminate had come loose and Mike had been gluing it back down. Below is the first picture of the new countertops. 
We went with Quartz and I love them. I wasn't thrilled with how the new countertops looked with the maple cabinets, but I knew they were going to be AMAZING with the white cabinets. 

Here's a closeup of the countertops.

This is a shot of the new sink. The old sink was an overmount sink had one side bigger than the other and the faucet was off-center. If you weren't paying attention, you could actually swing the faucet far enough on the right side that it would spray right on the countertop! Poor planning, if you ask me. I love how the faucet is centered on this sink and the undermount sink is AWESOME! So easy to wipe the counters off. We re-used our faucet, but got rid of the plate it was mounted on. I 'm so much happier with how it looks and it's much more functional. The new sink is also about 4 inches deeper than the old one.  

When we built the house, the kitchen had a cutting board that the cabinetmakers installed. Little did we know that it was made of plywood, so as soon as we started using it we cut right through the veneer. You can see below how nasty it was! We use this thing every day. Blech!

My rock-star hubby made a new one and it is spectacular! He used maple floorboards that were left over when we built the house and then some scrap pieces of cherry and walnut. I love, love, love it! In fact, I had a hard time cutting on it for the first few times. Now it's getting lots of use and will stand up to years of use WAY better than the yucky plywood one.

Below is a picture from the day the cabinet painters came to mask everything off. The insides of the cabinets were already white melamine, so they removed everything they could (doors, end panels, etc.) and masked everything else. You can also see in this picture (and the next one below) that the wall on the left is still purple. Thats the color it was before we painted, but that section is going to be tiled, so we didn't bother painting where the tile is going to go.

Here's how things looked with the masking still on after they painted. Already a big difference. 

This is how things looked after they removed all of the masking. Things are starting to come together! They painted in the house on Monday and Tuesday and then they took the doors and end panels to their shop and painted those on Wednesday and Thursday. We had all new doors made for the upper cabinets (since Mike had made the cabinets all taller.) I was dying to see how the new doors looked, but they went straight from the cabinet shop to the painter, so we didn't see how they looked until they were painted and installed. Scroll down to see the big reveal! 

On Friday they re-installed all of the doors and end panels and the new hardware. The new doors are solid birch and we had them made to EXACTLY match the bottom doors. The doors with the glass panels used to have small panes of glass, but I had the new doors made to just have one tall pane of glass. There's no glass in them in these pictures. The glass took a few more weeks. I'll have pictures of that in my next post. 

Can you even believe it's the same kitchen??!!??

I'm super thrilled with how everything turned out. We did have a few minor issues with the paint, but the painters took care of everything we weren't happy with, so it's perfect now. 

Here's the island/peninsula. I LOVE the hardware, although there's a story behind that. I'll tell you about that in my next post. I actually changed some of it after this picture. 

We didn't have enough going on, so a few weeks ago we decided to take on a bedroom re-do as well. My oldest son turned 10 in February. He's been sharing a bedroom with my 7-year old since we had the little guy and I've been promising he could someday move into the other room by himself. Here's how the room looked before:
Can you say, "Baby Room"? 
The border is blue, yellow, and green and has little baby handprints. We painted that on before Dawson was born - 10 years ago! It was cute and I made the crib quilt, valances, diaper hanger and other stuff to match the border, so I didn't change it when Mason and Jordan were born. They all used the same stuff. Jordan is turning 5 next week, so I think it's time to say goodbye to the baby motif. 
Mike built all of the shelves and the dresser.

Below is a picture of the room he moved out of. We had the beds bunked up and the book shelf (you can see the end of it) was against the far wall in the corner under the lion picture. I forgot to take a complete "before" picture with the book shelf in place, so just use your imagination. 

Here's how things looked after we rearranged everything (but before I cleaned my camera lens, apparently!) Sorry about the spots on the picture. These were also taken at night, so cut me some slack on the poor photography skills. 
We un-bunked the beds and moved the furniture around. I still need to move the pictures, but I do think the kids took down the animal posters. So, Jordan and Mason share this room now and Dawson is moved into the other room alone. 

I'll share pictures of Dawson's new room and the rest of the kitchen reno pictures in my next post. I'm working on it now, so I promise not to leave you hanging too long!!  Thanks for sticking with me. I'm also working on scheduling some crafty posts, so be sure to check back. Or better yet, enter your email in the subscription box to automatically receive an email whenever I get around to posting! 

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