Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Reading Corner

Thanks to all my friends and family for a great birthday! I had a good day at work despite the intensity of the problems. I am sitting here with a smile on my face - completely content with this birthday. Good day at work, nice dinner with a friend, great presents from family and friends. Very nice day indeed. :)

I bought this book over the weekend at Target after returning an exercise system I was pretty sure I wouldn't use. It's a young adult book. I've really enjoyed this section in the recent months - years. So as an ode to all things full of teenage angst - I thought I would make a list of my favorites.

*Looking for Alaska by John Green*

*An Abundance of Katherines by John Green*

*Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson*

*I am the Messenger by Mark Zusak*

*Twilight Series by Stephenie Meyer*

I'm currently itching to buy these three books:

*Paper Towns by John Green*

*The Book Thief by Mark Zusak*

*Jelliecoe Road by Melina Marchetta*

There's something comforting about a list of books. Good books feed my soul in immeasurable ways. Speaking of books - I'm still reading The Post Birthday World by Lionel Shriver. To be perfectly honest I'm not sure how much longer I'll be trying to read it. It has words like sobriquet and vertiginously. I have a graduate degree and I have no idea what many of the words she uses mean. I don't like to use to decipher books. However, on the positive side, it is really well written and the story is intriguing. So I'm going to hang in there FOR NOW. I hope this Tuesday finds you well. I for one will be doing my best to have a good day. I'm getting off the mats. Until then...Happy Reading & Crafting.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Monday Madness

Today is the big day - my big day. I turn 32 today at 9:58 AM Pacific Standard Time. For the past couple of weeks, I've had a really hard time getting excited about this day - but I feel the joy finally coming. Another year down - another year closer to being the person I want to be. And I know I've been in the weeds lately - the jungle really - but there is something better coming. There always is. Even when you have to shovel through shit to get to it (sorry Mom and Dad). And there's no guarantee that it'll get better today, tomorrow, or next month - but it will. I've decided that life is hard - but it's filled with pockets of happiness. I'm waiting for my next pocket - I need to actively seek it out really. I'm reading Zen in the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury and he has this quote - which seems to sum up the past few weeks for me.

"Life is short, misery sure, mortality certain."

Instead of leading me deeper into the darkness surrounding my life it gave me a little hope. It's all true of course - but there is also joy and happiness, which leads me to the next beautiful quote:

"Love. Fall in love and stay in love. Write only what you love, and love what you write. The key word is love. You have to get up in the morning and write something you love, something to live for.

I'm waiting to find that thing - something to live for. I know it will come. I want to start my 32nd year out believing in loving things and finding something to live for - whether it be writing, reading, crafting, hanging out with friends, helping others, whatever. I believe I can make this a great year. I must.

So I digress a little - but in a very good way I think. For Monday Madness this week - I chose Claudine Hellmuth's Studio Line. There are 15 paints in the line - each jar is approximately $5.50. From those 15 paints - it is possible to make 36 additional colors. Ranger Ink has a pdf showing which paints to mix and the possible colors - very cool stuff. Claudine also has video demonstrations on You Tube. These little videos make me covet the line intensely. I've only seen the paints at one store in my area - and the size was a little bit of a barrier initially - not to mention my fear of collaging at this time. But I can see myself shelling out the $82.50 plus tax in the future - just not the near future. :)

On the crafting front - I was able to finish a layout over the weekend. I actually felt good about getting my butt in the chair. I didn't have the drive to finish much more - but I can feel the creative juices beginning to flow through my veins again. It's a sign that life will get better - like the blossoming trees outside. Spring has sprung and my creative energy is following suit. It's a great thing. I'm going to spend this week making my list of 32 things to do while I am 32. I'm also attending CKC with a few pretty cool gals on Friday - can you say personal day? Man do I love the sound of that. I'm sure I'll have some pics of the outrageousness that is my spending at CKC - although I must be careful because I go to visit Monica next week. I fear saying this - but all in all I think this might be a pretty good week. I'll definitely keep you posted. Until then...Happy Crafting!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Hodgepodge's Friday and I made it. I'm so done with being sick, tired and stressed out. I've decided this is it. I'm getting off the mats. I'm going to be 32 in a few days and this just can't continue. I WANT to look forward to my birthday - which I'm currently struggling to do. I WANT to enjoy my job and feel like it's helping me not hurting me. I WANT to actually be fun to be around - which I am SO not right now. So from here on this post is going to be my attempt to do better, be better, and feel better.

First, I've spent two 1/2 days at home. This means I've spent a lot of time at home with my kitty which has given me the opportunity to get some pretty cool pictures of the diva kitty. Here are two of my favorites.

On the crafting front, I thought I would go through my thought process when choosing a challenge for the following week. First, I take a look at the challenges - pretty obvious I know. The challenges that caught my eye this week are:

Creative Therapy: What’s something you wish you could do? (Something you know how but are too afraid to try.) - I really like the idea of this prompt - can't really think of a story for a layout.

Method Playground: Use a monochromatic color scheme on your page... Period!... Any subject, any materials, any journaling, any title, any size... Just make the page a "one color wonder"!! - I have a lot of similar color families when it comes to patterned paper. I also have a few stories written in my journaling book - definitely a possibility.

OLW: Word Up #48 - READY. - I think I could use some of my posts from this week to show how ready I am right now for an upswing.

Journaling Junkie: The focus of this challenge would be an everyday event and using repetition -- recording what you were thinking about either while you were taking the pictures or how the pictures made you feel after you pulled them out to get ready to scrap them. - I think I could use my pictures of Tonks from this week.

Effer Dares: Splurges/Indulgences - I could use a bunch of things for this, books, cupcakes, scrapbook stuff. Really - the possibilities are endless.

Color Combos Galore:

After I've taken stock of the interesting challenges and the story possibilities, I start looking at possible combinations. For example, right now I'm really leaning towards One Little Word's Ready challenge. It would be great to combine that challenge with Color Combos Galore or Method Playground since there is no story component. I also really like the Effer Dares challenge because it will help me focus on things I love which is a really good thing right now. Creative Therapy's challenging is intriguing but for a different reason. The design team for this site is really diverse in their art mediums. Due to my current creative state, I thought it might be the perfect time to try a canvas and work off of their prompt. So - you can see I have a lot to think about. If it was a good week - I would possibly do all three. I'm hoping for a good day this weekend where I really want to stretch my creative legs. I know I won't make a decision until I'm in that chair - but I'm already mentally toying with words and pictures for each challenge. I have really good pictures for the Effer Dares challenge. I also have plenty of self-portraits for the OLW challenge. So - there it is - a little bit of my process. It gets me a little pumped just writing about it - weekend crafting here I come! Check back on Wednesday to see what I choose and how it goes. Until then...Happy Crafting!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

All Over the Place

Believe it or not - things are really looking up after two days that really defied words. I wasn't sure I would make it Wednesday morning - but I did. The more I got into the groove of things - the more I felt a little more like me. I've got a ways to go - but at least I'm headed in the right friggin' direction!

I almost titled this post envy. However, I was concerned people would stop reading after all the bitching and moaning over the last few weeks. What do I envy? I envy all those people out there with artistic talent. I don't envy them in a crazy way - I just wish I could be a little more like them. On Wednesday morning I was really stalling going to work when I happened upon this. The artist's name is Luciane Folch. She does not live in the states - I believe she lives in western Europe. Regardless, her work is breathtaking. I wish I had an ounce of her talent. I was really blown away by her 2008 year in review post found here. Where in the heck does she get this stuff? She's part of the design team at SIStv. You can find her profile here. There is a line under the photo boxes on the lower left corner that says "see my whole portfolio." If you're intrigued by her work, definitely take a look. She is amazing. I wish so much my style was more like hers.

I hope this puts me in the mood to get my butt in the chair this weekend. I have no intentions to do any shopping this weekend due to CKC on April 3. I might get the binderie from 7 gypsies with my Archivers coupon - but I'm on the fence about that purchase. Besides moping around, I've been spending some time reading the new Digital Studio by Somerset.

Most of the articles and techniques are way over my head, but, I'm hoping to learn more about the digital world. I really want to stretch myself into the technical world. I think it could be a lovely experience. I'm going to try and get to work on my 32 things to do while I'm 32. I've never done anything like it before - I think it will be a good thing to try. Sorry that I'm all over the place today. It feels good to come home with some feeling of contentment. I like it a lot. Here's hoping today will go well for me and you. Until then...Happy Crafting.

BTW: I'm way way off on Lucy Folch. She is Brazilian.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Humpday Challenge

After the "joyful" posts over the last two days, I bet you were wondering if I even did a challenge over the weekend. Thankfully I dug deep and finished something. I have two layouts waiting - paper cut, pictures picked out, and nothing else. Great, I know. I did the challenge on the Design Experiment blog. It's a new find thanks to Brenda Hurd from Method Playground. I started this page wanting to paint a background. I didn't like it too much when I was finished - it got thrown away. I had already stamped the background paper - I decided to use the Marrakech line from Basic Grey and it kind of went wonky from there. It's not a matchy, matchy layout. I don't love it - but at least I got my butt in the chair and did something. I love the quote. I saw it on Ali Edward's blog a few weeks ago and then realized something today. I made a collage with the quote while in graduate school over four years ago. Gotta love that. Gotta love it when your past meets your present in small ways. If you would have asked me, I would have told you I didn't like this quote until recently. I would have been very wrong. These words resonate with me still. I'm not sure if it's easy to read - so I will post it here.

Happiness is a journey, not a destination. For a long time it seemed to me that life was about to begin - real life. But there was always some obstacle in the way, something to be gotten through first, some unfinished business, time still to be served, a debt to be paid. At last it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life. This perspective has helped me to see there is no way to happiness. Happiness is the way. So treasure every moment you have and remember that time waits for no one.

I hope someday I will except that life is a journey not a destination. I hope I begin to remember that in my creative life. Even though I'm not in love with this layout, it's part of the journey to the next thing I'm crazy about. Even though I'm in a creative slump, it's part of the journey to inspiration. It's a hard lesson - I might spend my entire life trying to learn it - but it gives this sad girl a little hope. Until then...Happy Crafting!

BTW: I'm trying really hard not to cry right now. I need to get off the mat - I'm so not sure how. I hope this ends soon.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Reading Corner

For quite some time I have been intrigued by painting, drawing and collaging. This is after years of telling myself I am talentless when it comes to visual arts. Actually, I think I've told myself I'm pretty much talentless in all arts. And in truth, I've always wanted to be more artistic. Unfortunately, I've been replaying my message of no talent since grade school. I remember being envious of others talents as far back as second grade. Not sure how to mount an offensive against self talk that has been in existence since the age of 7.

The cool thing is I am mounting an offensive. I've bought the paint brushes, paint, canvases, graphite pencils and books (of course). In honor of my attempt to stay true to the voice inside my head saying collage, paint, draw - give it a try, I'm devoting this reading corner to a few books on collage. I hope they are inspiring to someone in the same way they've been inspiring to me.

I've read the first two books, Talking Flight: Inspiration and Techniques to Give Your Creative Spirit Wings by Kelly Rae Roberts and Collage Unleashed by Traci Bautista. I'm currently reading Collage Journeys by Jane Davies. I've enjoyed what I've read so far. I apologize for the size of the pictures - still trying to figure this thing out. I hope this Tuesday finds you well. Until then...Happy Reading & Crafting!

BTW: Ok - now I'm pissed. As many of you know - I've been going through quite a slump right now. I feel like someone took a wrecking ball to my creative brain. And then - I go on Kelly Rae Roberts blog to post a link and see this. WTF: Her sister-in-law JUST started painting and it's amazing! I'm ashamed of my stuff. I am clearly doing something wrong - and ranting and raving won't help. I just needed to do it (rant). I know I need to be happy for her and I will try to search deep into the recesses of my soul to find something. I might be searching for a while. :)

Monday, March 23, 2009

Monday Madness

Another week of Monday Madness - and I'm starting to feel a little mad. BTW: When I say mad, I mean crazy not angry. I'm so tired and frustrated with being creatively dead right now it brings me to tears. I had the hardest time finding something for Monday Madness despite my prior planning. I have pictures ready for this weekly and I just feel nothing. Well, not nothing - I do feel a little happy about this set - how could you not? Birds, Clouds, Sun - the best of nature in my opinion. The only thing missing are trees. I hate being a killjoy on such a wonderful day like Monday Madness - but being burnt out is a real bitch. Please pardon my language. I've really come to depend on this crafty thing. I find my mind is wired differently now. I'm constantly coming up with stories for events. I look forward to crafting on the weekends - but I can't find the creative energy right now. I think the hardest thing about this current downswing is there is no Plan B. My Plan B is not interesting me either. I'm trying to remember that writing this blog is an act of creativity. Also, testing out textures on my photos is an act of creativity.

I find that I'm very concrete when it comes to certain areas of my life. For example, I always wanted to help people so I became a social worker. I took a very literal view of helping people. I wish I would have thought out of the box a little more. Books and crafts help me so much. There are so many ways to help people. I wish I would have seen that earlier. And even though I know that now - I'm happy with my choice to be a social worker. However, if I ever need a change - I know to think out of the box. I wish I could learn this lesson in my creative life - find the breakthrough. I wish I could be a little less concrete when it comes to this creative thing. I think there are too many things kicking me in the junk right now. I'm really looking forward to CKC in a little less than two weeks and then a craft weekend. At least there's that...At least there's something. I really hope my mojo comes back soon. I absolutely hate being burnt out. I hope this Monday finds you well and full of creative energy - everyone deserves that. Until then...Happy Crafting!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

I Can't Believe

Sad girl. I'm a sad girl right now. I need to reboot - I need to be near my family - I need to reconnect with the things I love - I need something - something I don't even know. I can't believe I feel like this right now. I can't believe I ever wanted to grow up so fast. I can't believe tomorrow starts ANOTHER friggin' work week. I just can't believe it. I want you to brace yourself - because I'm in a serious creative funk. If you're one of those people that needs positive thoughts and creative energy, you might want to play this week by ear in terms of visiting the blog - cuz I have very little positive flowing through me at this moment. Still, I'd love to have you here. Just thought you needed a heads up. I don't think happy is in the cards this week. I'm definitely not at one with the universe. Here's hoping I will be. Have a wonderful week. Until then...Happy Crafting!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Birthday Girl

Today is my big sister's birthday. She's just three years older than me - so few when we're in our thirties. They somehow seemed like light years when I was younger. I thought I'd donate this post to my sister by listing the eight reasons she's golden to me.

1. She's the smartest person I know.

2. She loves to read and puts up with my many trips to the bookstore.

3. Despite 2/3 of the U.S. separating us, we always pick up where we left off. I attribute this entirely to her.

4. She loves movies.

5. She's a good person. She has a good heart.

6. She makes me laugh (which in my opinion is priceless).

7. She brought two great puppies into my life (see pictures).

8. She's always there for me, no matter what! She even lets me camp out at her house during the summers with my diva kitty - gotta love that!

BTW: I could come up with many more - but my obsession with numbers is getting in the way. Happy Birthday Charm! I love you!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Humpday Challenge

Difficult does not begin to express how I felt when staring at my blank cardstock on Sunday. It was incredibly difficult (can't seem to think of a better word) for me to start this layout over the weekend. After a very long week, I had no interest in being crafty. I spoke to a friend and she helped me get motivated. She even offered to send a pic of one of her layouts if I couldn't get it done. Thanks so much dear friend! :) I finally found a challenge I like on the One Little Word site. I immediately started making a mental list of all the things that reflect my reality right now. This layout took a LONG time - almost the entire run of The Dark Knight. I spent a lot of time stamping petals from my Technique Tuesday stamps. I love the flower petal stamps. You can find them here and here. The paper was from Fancy Pants Designs. I really wanted my stamped images to mirror the distressed look of the paper. So, I stamped each petal and watercolored with Tea Dye Distress Ink over each image. I then used my Broken China Color Wash Spray. I did the exact opposite on the title. I watercolored with Broken China Distress Ink and used a direct to paper technique with my Tea Dye Distress Ink. It was my first time using all of these techniques - but I think it turned out good. It's alot easier to be laid-back when you're so burnt out you don't care what the hell happens. Now if I could only be laid back in the inspiration phase. I think it's quite funny that I tackled a layout like this - when I feel so drained creatively. It always seems to work out that way for me - I think I'm going to just get this over with and then a few hours later I'm done. I wonder if anyone else goes through this.

As everyone knows, I've had some pretty tough weeks lately. I even had a short-lived cycle of sending positive thoughts into the universe. And by short - I mean 12 hours. So Monday I was pretty convinced the universe was not too happy with me and then yesterday morning something great happened. I won another challenge at Method Playground. Now I want everyone to know this challenge was a random drawing. They chose two random participants. It was NOT for the best layout. But who the heck cares - I'm getting more free stuff! At least I hope I am. So it made me think, maybe the universe is not telling me to suck it. Maybe the universe is trying to give me a clue about my job. Who the heck knows? What I do know is I WILL be sending positive thoughts tomorrow - even if it's only for scrapbooking. :)

In other news - I continue to love my Rock-A-Blocks. They have made stamping with clear stamps much more enjoyable. I also find my hands hurt a lot less. Pigment and/or chalk ink is a must for me when I use clear stamps. I have also found that Marvy Matchables work well. I haven't had much success with other dye-based inks. I also have the best luck with high quality stamps. My favorites are Hero Arts, Technique Tuesday, Autumn Leaves, and My Favorite Things. If you have any faves - please let us know in the comments section. I know - I don't need to buy another thing! :) I hope everyone has a nice Wednesday. Until then...Happy Crafting!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Reading Corner

Yesterday, I started the day sending out my positive thoughts into the universe and I'm relatively sure the universe told me to suck it. Although I have been wrong many times before - only time will tell. It wasn't all bad. It was a beautiful day and I got home early enough to kick back and relax! With that said, in reading news...

I've been stalking this book at my local Barnes and Noble for a while now. It seemed like an interesting story concept and being a New York Times bestseller was definitely a plus. For some reason, I just couldn't take the plunge and buy the paperback. The price was just too much. I have no idea why. I recently saw the book in the bargain section for $5.99 and knew immediately it was going home with me. I initially thought I would explain the plot here-but I just can't. Sorry. Take a look at the synopsis on the Barnes and Noble website. The premise reminds me of the movie Sliding Doors with Gwyneth Paltrow. The movie tracks two possible life paths based on the outcome of one choice. I love the movie despite my mild dislike of Gwyneth. I started the book on Sunday and it's taking me a little while to get interested. But, to be honest it's taking me a little while to get interested in anything right now. I didn't even know George Clooney was shooting a movie in my own town! What the heck is that? I'll keep you posted on my reading progress - I hope it's steady. I could really use a book to lose myself in right now. I could really use something!

I found out about this new gem from Scrapbook Trends on this blog today. I'm looking so forward to purchasing it. I'll have to do some scheming to get it on sale since Michaels changed their policy about books and magazines - which really was a kick in the holy place. I'm hoping to be able to get this and the Binderie at Archivers. This will only work if they email their coupons. Here's hoping. I'm really starting to get into stamping and would love to have ANOTHER book to lead me further in this direction. Most of my books have nothing to do with stamping. This magazine can be found here if you are impatient and get paid more often than I do (or save money) I hope everyone has a nice Tuesday. Until then...Happy Reading & Crafting!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Monday Madness

There are days when I really wonder when things are going to get better. I feel like I've been living that way for weeks - when the heck are things going to get better? I did enjoy being in Chicago and Sunday was lovely - but I still feel like there is something missing. I'm not sure when that feeling will go away - not sure it will ever go away. Which leads me to believe I'm going through a burn-out phase. I did my challenge layout today - after much complaining. I've tried to read some books - to no avail. I've had the newest Scrapbooks Etc. for at least two weeks and I haven't read it - this is no good for me. I've even stopped reading my Blogging for Dummies book daily. Thankfully - I never lose interest in products so Monday Madness will go on as scheduled.

I found some great cards on Kim Hughes's blog. And being entirely myself - I immediately needed to find those stamps. If I had more money I probably would have ordered them on the spot. I really don't believe there is a way to go wrong with flowers, birds, butterflies, and text. I dare anyone to explain a way anyone could go wrong (just kidding - sort of). I'm really excited about the idea of getting these little gems. We'll see. I have big plans for April so these stamps will most likely have to wait.

In other news - I have a pretty packed week. I think that's part of what is wrong right now- my schedule is overflowing. There never seems to be enough time to reboot. I'm going to try and stay positive and not obsess too much over my overwhelming feelings about my life right now. I know things get better eventually. My goals for this week are small - I have a few important things to do for work. They are absolute musts. I also plan on getting into the new book I started last night. I'll post more on it tomorrow. I also have big plans for resting. I hope everyone has a nice week. I for one will be sending positive thoughts out into the universe. Or, I'll be trying not to send negative thoughts out into the universe. I probably should start there. Until then...Happy Crafting.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Comments Open

Happy Sunday!

I'm finally home with my diva kitty. I'm so happy to have a relaxing day in front of me. I've already ran all my errands so I have the whole day to read, craft, and just be a lazy goose. Sitting down for three days straight does not do the body good. In other news - I have opened up comments on the blog. This is my concession for not taking it public. They won't show up immediately because I must check before they are posted - it's a way to prevent spam. I must say I feel pretty happy about keeping it private for now. I'm trying to find a way to add a contact line on the sidebar so you can contact me with addresses. I haven't figured it out yet. So if you know of readers who might be interested, please email me. If you don't have my email - please leave a comment. I hope everyone has a great Sunday. Until then...Happy Crafting!

Friday, March 13, 2009


So...It's Friday and I'm in the Windy City. The first time I came to Chicago I was totally enamored. The downtown is amazing and bustling with excitement and energy. It REMINDS me so much of New York City. In honor of the Windy City I'm going to write my favorite things about Chi-town.
1. Real Downtown - not like other places with sprawling suburbs and tiny city centers.
2. Amazing Lake
3. Wonderful Food - I would love to go to The Taste of Chicago.
4. Tons of exciting activities.
5. Cupcakes - I've never been to any places but I've seen tons on Kelly Purkey's blog. I would love to tour the cupcake shops in the area.

So the things that I DON'T like about Chicago can be summed up in one statement: it's so freaking cold here it actually makes me wonder if hell is cold rather than warm. Forget the traffic - who the heck cares when the wind blows you over? We went to a bar last night and my lips were cold. I lived in a cold place my whole childhood and I can't remember a time my lips were frozen. It sucks. I could never live here! I'm not sure Brad Pitt or Taye Diggs could get me to move here - not even for the sound of tiny feet. Not happening.

On the reading front - I have about 5 things going right now which means I'm not making progress on anything except this. The book is hysterical and developed from this blog.I've never been big on memoirs. However, since I read Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert I've been a lot more interested. I've read a few since June. I also just got finished reading Snippets - see above. It's a tiny book with hysterical scrapbooking essays. It has a reasonable price and it was pretty great - very quick read. If you're interested in learning more about the author, Lain Ehmann, check out her blog here. I highly recommend these humorous tales that honestly gave me a happy feeling about all my crafty spending!

In other news, spending several days with people you don't really know is not well-suited to my introverted personality. I absolutely despise small talk. If I'm going to put in all that effort I want it to be about something real. However, I'm way to shy for real talk with a new person. It helps when you're around super nice people - which I am. It makes life much easier. But still, I'm a solitary person - perfectly happy and content alone. I've been that way for a long time - just ask my Mom and Dad. It's been good getting out of my comfort zone but I long for home and my diva kitty.

I'm going to round out this post with an announcement. I will not be taking my blog public. I've had a lot of time to think about this over the past couple of days. I also talked about blogging with my current roommate in Chicago. I'm afraid of letting my personal life out there for others to see - especially with what I do for a living. So this blog will be private for the foreseeable future. I would be more willing to take it public if it was just about crafting. But I like talking about my days and giving my somewhat watered-down opinions about things - remember this blog has no adult language and I definitely do. Sorry Mom and Dad. If you know someone that might want to check out the blog - let me know their address and I will add him/her to my reading list. I hope everyone had a happy Friday. Until then...Happy Crafting, Reading, & Relaxing!

BTW: I need a laptop to blog on the road! Oh right - I'm on the road twice a year - nevermind.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Thursday Tips: Sketches

I love sketches. I love them to tiny little pieces. They make scrapbooking much easier when your head is full of jelly and starting a page from scratch with your own right brain is way too daunting. It's also a great way to play with papers and try something new. I find I'm much more creative when I'm not trying to come up with a design and paper and do something funky and so on. Also, they help when you're not in the Inspiration phase - see sidebar. So in honor of my love for all things sketchy - I'm listing links to sketch sites that I find helpful and one rockin' magazine (on the left) that I think is still available.

Card Positioning Systems

Page Maps

Scrapbooks Etc. Sketches

Sketch Lover - otherwise known as the motherload (for now anyway)

Scrapbooks Etc. Page Planners Special Issue

Trust me when I say - sketches are amazing. I never get tired of looking at these little bits of creative goodness and making them my own. I hope you find a few that you like and take the plunge. It really is worth it. Until then...Happy Crafting.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Humpday Challenge

Due to the heinousness of this last week, otherwise known as my life, I'm not bringing the challenging goodness this week. In actuality, I spent most of the weekend coloring images and laughing with friends. I didn't spend one minute scrapbooking. I didn't even think about it. I haven't quite gotten around to finding challenges for cards. It'll be next on my to do list. Hopefully card challenges will help keep this kind of thing from happening again. So sorry. I didn't really want to leave you with nothing so I decided to post a pic of my girl. Hope it cheers you up. It's pretty indicative of this week. And it serves as a reminder - not everything crafty has to be a page. Creativity comes in all forms, including altering pictures of your pet on or writing a blog post. Some days getting up is just a challenge. Man, I need a break. Until then...Happy Crafting!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Reading Corner

Monday was another bang up day. Really, all I needed was someone to kick me in the crotch and it would have been perfect. I can't wait to see kids today. I don't enjoy data keeping. I consider myself pretty left-brained but Monday and data just don't work for me. I'm looking forward to today being pretty low-key. Here's hoping.

In more uplifting news, I just finished To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (left). I read it for the first time in tenth grade. Since then I have labeled it my favorite book. In some ways this is laughable because in reality I remembered very little about the plot. In fact, I was pretty surprised by some of the plot turns. I don't usually read books more than once - but this is definitely worth doing when you consider it your favorite and it's been fifteen years. The good news - it's still my favorite. Except now I can enjoy and appreciate the nuance of the characters and the beauty of Scout as a narrator. Also, I don't think I was truly capable of wrapping my head around the realities of the time. I think it requires an adult mind in many ways. I've never loved Boo Radley more. Hands down. It really is a beautiful book. If you remember liking it - I advise reading it again. It was definitely worth the time.

On the crafting front, I bought the book on the left during my spending extravaganza. I remember being absolutely shocked at my good luck and almost running to the cash register with excitement about yet another craft book. Did I mention I didn't even look at it closely? I finally took a closer look over the weekend. Mind you I believe this was almost three weeks after purchasing it, maybe more. Again, I was pleasantly surprised. I'm not sure if I'll ever do any of the techniques in this book. I still have a mind block when it comes to paint and mixed-media. I'm not sure my dominant left brain can handle it - or maybe it's just my lack of confidence. I have a real "problem" with buying this type of book (mixed-media) and not following through because of fear. The bright side is I know I eventually get to the point where the courage comes. It came for scrapbooking and rubber stamping. I know it will come for this. Or, I hope it will come for this. I want so much to believe that I can draw or paint. It's just really difficult to get through that time where I just suck. It seems to affirm everything I believe about my abilities. So the plan is to get more competent at my second hobby (stamping) and gradually prepare myself for mixed media. It's a strange thing really. I'm in three different creative cycles based on my hobbies. I'm in the Rediscovery phase in scrapbooking, the Inspiration phase in stamping, and the Collection phase in Mixed Media. Who would have thought that was possible? Definitely not me. I wonder if I should rethink the sidebar? Who knows.

Here's hoping you have a nice Tuesday. Until then...Happy Reading!

BTW: I'm opening comments next week. I need to get ready before going public. My Blogging for Dummies book stresses the importance of comments. Personally scares the heck out of me. I"ll keep you posted. :)

Monday, March 9, 2009

Monday Madness

When I started this blog - I thought Monday would be the designated day for products - but I've since rethought my goals. I really want Monday Madness to be about my new crafty obsessions. So - I will be showcasing one product and some other cool "stuff" beginning next week.

I have wanted to make books for quite some time due to my obsession with bookstores, reading, etc. I took a bookmaking class and loved it. However, I didn't want to invest the money for the supplies with my declining hands. My crafting already puts quite a strain on them. So you can imagine my excitement when I found out about the Binderie machine from 7 gypsies. 7 gypsies has a number of demo videos on their site. Three videos showcase the Binderie machine. I'm so excited about this product. I think my 30% off coupon will work well with the $39.99 price tag. Bookmaking here I come!

On the crafting front, this weekend was pretty low key. I had a great time with my friends on Saturday night playing trivia. Thanks Angelina. I also had a good time playing with coloring images. Gotta love learning new techniques. I didn't get a chance to take a look at Tim Holtz's demo videos. Hopefully I'll get a chance to do that sometime this week. In other news - I will not be posting at the end of the week. I hope everyone has a happy Monday. Until then...Happy Crafting!

BTW: I changed my cycle of creativity. With my intense interest in stamping - I think I'm in the rediscovery phase (pursuit of other ventures). It's nice to do something new, quite nice really. :)

Saturday, March 7, 2009


I love to color. I hardly ever play games at school. I'm always reaching for coloring activities. It's my own bias I guess. So it's come as quite a surprise that I don't enjoy coloring rubber stamped images. Well, at least until today! I'm turning the corner on watercoloring for sure - however, I didn't have any idea what to do about my fancy Prismacolor pencils. I've had them for over a year and I even bought the Gamasol to make the lines disappear and blend. Except - after one round of cards I realized I was way to lazy to do all of that. The process was way too time intensive. Enter the Hero Arts Video. I've spent the last few hours coloring in my images with my Prismacolors. I'm so satisfied with my results. Please don't misunderstand, this process is time consuming as well. However, it does not require me to get out my stinky gamasol and blending pen and pray that it looks okay. I like this way MUCH better. In fact, I am so satisfied I couldn't wait to post a couple of pictures here.

These are pictures of 5 of the 6 images I colored today. My favorite is second from the left. I did some close up pictures to give you a better look. Sorry for the poor quality.

These images were made following the directions from the tutorial. I also used my Prismacolor colorless blender. I am so thankful to Hero Arts. I hope this gives someone the extra push to watch a video and try something new this weekend. It worked for me. Until then...Happy Crafting!

BTW: I got my pencils using my 40% off coupon from Hobby Lobby. You could also use a Michaels coupon. It helped my health to get the money off these somewhat pricey pencils. One year later - it's totally worth it.

Friday, March 6, 2009

What the heck?

I'm going to have a great weekend crafting and playing trivia with my friends. I have plans to try out my new stamps. I'm also going to work on some challenges. I'm going to continue to play with my watercolor pencils and maybe even break out my Prismacolors one more time. I have big plans to watch this video over the weekend. I'm hoping it gets me excited about my colored pencils. Part of the problem is in my head of course. I need to be a little less perfection oriented with my crafting. It's so strange b/c I'm not really that way in other parts of my life. I'm also planning on having a long date with Tim Holtz's new demo videos. I love this crafting thing! Thank God for weekends. Thank God for Fridays. Until then...Happy Crafting.

Thursday, March 5, 2009


Since starting this blog - I've had a considerable amount of inspiration in the crafting department. I think it's because I have my mind on creativity more often. There's a lot to be said for a daily creative ritual. However, today the creative bug really isn't hitting me. I really like my topics on the first three days of the blogging week (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday). Unfortunately this leaves me a little clueless on Thursday and Friday - a real deterrent to the whole creative flow thing. So in an effort to be more inspired, I will be "trying" to list online tips and tutorials on Thursdays.

Over the weekend, I made these three tags. For the first two tags on the left, I used rubber stamped images, clear embossing powder, and Ranger color wash sprays. It was my first time using color wash sprays and I think I got a little too close to the paper. The third image (with the dress) was made with clear stamps, distress inks, and watercolor pencils. Watercoloring has been difficult for me to learn and feel confident about on my own. I had planned on taking a watercolor class this week at Archivers. The class had a reasonable price - $15. But then I saw that Hero Arts had a video on watercoloring stamped images. So - I decided to take the You Tube route before throwing down my money. I'm trying to avoid the feeling of nausea from the huge amounts of spending. And I'm sure glad I did. Watching the videos gave me just the confidence I needed to give watercoloring one more try. There is definitely a lot of room for improvement and there's a good chance I will take the class at a later date, but for now, I'm definitely good. Gotta love the generosity of the crafting community. In an effort to help people find the confidence I got from watching technique videos, I am adding some links. I hope you enjoy.

Hero Arts - Watercolor Pencils + Stamping

Paynete's Watercolor Pencils

Watercolor Pencils & Blender Pen

Jewels's Quick N Easy Watercolor Pencils

There are so many great watercolor pencil videos on You Tube. If you need more inspiration, definitely check out the videos on their site. In other news, I got my new stamps from PaperTrey Ink - the very last of my stimulus plan purchases. I decided I must have them after seeing an example of their use on the designer's blog - Melissa Bickford. I can't wait to play with these new images. I hope you find inspiration today. Until then...Happy Crafting.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Humpday Challenge

This week's challenges are brought to you by Method Playground and Effer Dares. The first layout - 1st born- is for the Method Playground challenge. Let me tell you - it was quite the challenge. I was so excited when I read it - Use 5 different papers from 5 different manufacturers. This was unbelievably difficult because I really am quite single-minded when it comes to my manufacturers. I had a hard time finding something that wasn't Basic Grey, October Afternoon or Crate Paper. To be completely honest - I had a hard time finding something that wasn't Basic Grey. Sheesh I need to get out of my Basic Grey box - but I love them so. Once I got the papers out everything fell into place. Oh how I love layering on my pages. Fills me with warmth. In other news - I went to Method Playground to get the correct wording on the challenge and I WON the photo collage challenge! I'm hoping the italics shows my intense excitement since you can't hear the squeals of joy and surprise. If you check out their blog you'll see my name and pics of my Tonks and Charmian's Shabach. So happy!

My second layout is for the Effer Dares challenge. Their challenge was:

"PET PEEVES: Is it the big things or the little ones that get to you? The dumb stuff people say or the tchotkes they put in their cube? We gotta know... what bugs you the most?"

I didn't know what I was going to write about until I went to the Laundromat on Monday. Missouri has not passed a law to prohibit smoking in public places - which is just atrocious based on the number of people with allergies and asthma in this part of the country. So at my Laundromat I am often faced with smokers. And honestly, I believe to each it's own when it comes to smoking- except when I am washing my clothes. I do not want my clothes to smell like smoke after taking them to the place where clean clothes live. HELLO! After smelling the distinct smell of smoke on Monday and cursing under my breath - I realized this was a great subject for my Pet Peeves layout. At least something good came out of someone smoking at the Laundromat. BTW: I used a photo from Microsoft Word since I don't have any pics of my Laundromat. So that's it for challenges this week. I think I will be uploading the paper challenge on Method Playground. I just need to put it on my Two Peas Profile. I hope everyone has a wonderful Wednesday. Until then...Happy Crafting!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Reading Corner

Happy Tuesday. I had a wonderful three-day weekend. I don't really understand why I can't work a four-day week and get paid full-time - I guess it's the delusional person in me. Also I seem to be getting greedier with my time as my hobbies dig their claws in. Don't get me wrong - I'm completely happy to have something to obsess over. I just need my time too. Not to mention - the laundromat is almost joyful in the morning on Mondays at around 8:30 - thereby cementing my need for the three-day weekend. Gotta love that. I digress. This book (above) is currently on top of my large pile of books. I really want this blog to be a success. However, I don't really understand how the blogging world works. At least I don't understand to my standards. Yes, I can get a blog started and upload a template with few problems but what about the bigger picture. How do I make a blog successful? How do I make it original? How do I make it a reflection of me? What the heck should I do about comments? How the heck do I make categories show up on my sidebar? When should I go public? These are all the questions swirling around in my head. People who know me well can predict these kinds of questions send me straight to the bookstore. I'm on page 46 and I've learned quite a bit. And this is the part of the book I thought I could skip! I'll keep you posted.

And in other happy news - my Get Creative With Type book by Brian Tippetts has landed. I have been searching high and low for this book. I've called Archivers and my local scrapbooking stores weekly to find out if this book has arrived. I looked on Amazon and it hadn't been released in the middle of February. I checked old Creating Keepsakes to verify the release date - December 2008. But for the life of me - I couldn't find it anywhere except the Creating Keepsakes website (at the end of January) and I was way too cheap for that. So finally - I ordered it on Amazon with another little scrapbooking number I had been obsessing over since NOVEMBER. So happy it's finally here in my house. I haven't started reading it yet. I want to savor the fact that it's in my house and I can open it up whenever I want. Not to mention I'm a little consumed with learning about blogging at the moment. To be honest - I'm a little overwhelmed with the sheer number of purchases I've made care of my tax check - which is long gone. I never really let myself go in the spending arena. It was a nice treat - even if it makes me want to throw up a bit. I'm happy to be surrounded by the "things" that I love - books and craft supplies. I hope everyone has a nice day. Until then...Happy Reading and Crafting!

BTW: Still loving my Rock-A-Blocks! And...I've just decided (at 6:45 AM) the blog will go public on my 32nd birthday. This gives me time to read my book, make changes, and be comfortable with the process. Wish me luck!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Monday Madness

Yesterday while doing "research" for my blog (isn't it nice to call surfing the web research now), I found these little gems. They are called Rock-a-Blocks by Crafter's Companion. They give an impression with acrylic stamps easily (or at least that's their claim). I was impressed with the idea of getting a good impression the FIRST time. I have spent a lot of time cursing the broken images made with my acrylic blocks. I find that I need to stamp at least twice to get a good impression. Let me say - I don't think it's entirely the acrylic block's fault. I have weak hands due to a medical condition. It's difficult to get the right pressure each time to create an image. The Craft Critique reporter, Julie Campbell, believed this product would be good for people with hand issues. SOLD. Right then and there I knew that I needed those blocks immediately.
So my review...This is an amazing product. I've gotten great results without the pressure or pain I usually have with regular acrylic blocks. I have found the blocks don't give a great impression when you use more than one image. However, if you use one image the impression is far superior (remember, this is based on my stamping with acrylic blocks). EZ Mount rubber stamps are more difficult because they are higher than acrylic and unmounted rubber stamps making the guidelines unnecessary. I still got a better impression due to the rocking motion. So for me - these were a great buy. I bought the blocks at my local Archivers with my coupon. Really great buy. If you're interested in how to use these blocks, I found a few helpful links (thanks to the blogging community).

Demonstration on Indigo Inkings

HSN Video

Rock-A-Block Search on YouTube

Just a tip - whenever I find a cool new product, I like to search YouTube for any videos. There were only a few on the site - but I thought it would be cool for you to see what comes up. So - that's Monday Madness for you - which actually was Sunday Madness for me. I broke the mold a bit and showcased an item I already have. I am so excited. I am even more excited that I get to play all day (after a trip to the laundromat) due to a three-day weekend care of Casmir Pulaski day. So happy. I hope everyone has a great Monday. Until then...Happy Crafting.

BTW: For Keeps Sake had the coveted Psychedelic Grunge stamp set from Tim Holtz showcased on a previous Monday Madness. It now has a home in my apartment. Tim has a pretty smokin' announcement on his blog so be sure to check it out! So happy! :)
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