Thursday, September 27, 2012

Traveling again...

We're in the process of packing for our trip to Texas.  We will be spending three nights at Fossil Rim, an African wild animal park in Glen Rose, Texas.  We will be sleeping in a tent with a real floor and a small bathroom.  Tiny but comfy.  The tents are located very close to the watering hole at the park although we are separated from the animals with a chain link fence.  No predators running loose, just herd animals including giraffes.  There's a patio by the tents and a large common room with tables and WIFI.  I am taking two bottles of Barefoot Wine with us so we can sit on the patio and watch the sun go down.  Temps down there right now are in the 90s, so we're taking summer clothes.

During the day we will drive the park with food.  The animals know that stopping cars will have food so they congregate around the car making it a perfect place for photographers.  By buying food, we subsidize feeding.  I'm not sure what running a place like this costs, but I'm guessing with all the animals to feed and doctor, it's pretty expensive.  They have a cheetah breeding program and have Rothchild's Giraffes, Grevys Zebra, and White Rhinos all three endangered and beautiful.  You will have to pay for a tour to see the zebras but the giraffes are out on the plain where they are easy to see and you can get pretty close to the rhino paddock.

Glen Rose has one of the best BBQ places I've ever eaten at as well as a superb Italian restaurant.  You can also hire a chef to provide meals in the common room.  There are several good hotels in town and Dinosaur Valley State Park is close by.  Lots of stuff to do in Glen Rose.

Sassy update:  we are still having bathroom problems, one on the 19th and one either last night or early this morning.  We clean her cat box every day; we haven't changed the type of her litter or her food.  We haven't yelled at her and she acts very comfortable with us.  She's affectionate if you pick her up but she's not a lap cat and she has no health problems.  She loves to play with toys and carries them all over the house.  If you have any suggestions, please share them with us.

It's a beautiful day in the mid west today.  I hope it's as beautiful where you are.

Love the bow...

This was a pretty simple card.  The blue green paper was from my stash tub, the Beckett Radiance card stock was embossed with a Sizzix embossing folder, the sentiment is from Stampin' Up and the ribbon is Hug Snug seam binding.  I just layered and used a corner rounder on the bottom of the card. The rhinestones are from my i rock.

Friday, September 21, 2012

From this window - 9/21/12

The weather has abruptly turned in the midwest.  From hotter than normal to cooler than normal this early in the year.  We're enjoying late fall weather right now.  In the low 70s during the day and down to the upper 30s in the evening.  Normally I would be panicked bringing in the plants that will winter over in the house but for some reason this year I'm unconcerned.  Maybe I'm just burnt out on gardening.  And my joints are feeling the strain of cleaning my studio.  I'm just about ready to call my doctor and beg for a cortisone shot in my shoulders.  No one who knows me would ever believe that I would be begging for an injection.  Aleve no longer cuts the pain so I won't be carrying any plants inside for a while.  We have a huge Norfolk Island Pine that spends the summer on what we call a porch.  It must be three feet across now and at least five feet tall.  There's an angel's trumpet that's blooming and should come in when temps fall below forty.  A Calamondin Orange tree that has ripening oranges on it.  An amaryllis and its five babies, a jade that's really getting big, several ivies that spent the summer outside and a tub of tropical pond plants.  Hubs says we move half the garden inside and I suppose we'll start soon but what a lot of work.   We (by we, I mean hubs) will have to dig up the cannas and I have to harvest seeds for the tithonia, zinnias, cleome, marigolds, and cardinal vines.  There are bushes to be removed from the front yard which block the sidewalk and plants from around the pond to be transplanted into that bed.  Such a lot to do and here I sit.  I'm tired just typing it.

The doe with the twins walked down the road next to my studio Tuesday evening.  We've only seen them a few times and were glad to see they were all fine.  The hummingbirds have come through in huge numbers, they can suck a feeder dry in no time.  Soon they will be all gone but we've had them as late as early October.  The white pelicans are migrating and we often now see large flocks of them circling over our house which is really close to the Illinois River.  The Asian Pears are ripe at the farm down the highway but it looks as if the owner isn't taking good care of his property.  It's up for sale, the road leading to the barn is in incredibly bad shape and the weeds are almost as high as I am tall.  I couldn't drive the road in my car so we take Carl's SUV to pick pears.  The pears are so wonderful.  They're my favorite fruit in all the world.  They have the texture of a crisp apple, the flavor of a pear and more juice than any one piece of fruit should be allowed to have.  I'll eat them until I can't get them anymore.  We've already gone through a small bushel and I'm out, so a trip to the pear farm is in order today.  Our local orchard (Tanners) is also open now.  The apples are much smaller than usual but I'm told are sweeter this year.  We made our first pilgrimage on Tuesday.  Taffy apples and brownies for Carl, Gala apples and caramel dip for me, apple pie for him, apple cider donuts and pumpkin butter for me.  My family has been going to Tanners in the fall since before I was born.  They started with just apples and cider and now it's a destination.  Petting zoo, picking apples, seasonal decorations, bakery, waterfall and pond inside, restaurant, corn maze, I've watched it grow over the years.  When Carl and I first started dating we made a trip to Tanners in my Bravado and I locked my keys in the car (that's what he does to me).  We had to call my SIL to break into my house and bring the extra car key out to us (in the boonies).  I gave him all my purchases from Tanners as a reward and went home apple-less.  The whole fiasco took us well past closing; it was dark and cold (without jackets) by the time we got the key.  It's the reason why I'm no longer allowed to drive him anywhere (and he married me anyway).

More sponging....

I'm still playing with the sponging and have added some more masks to my MTC file.  Today I'll be playing with some 5.5 x 5.5 inch masks so I'll let you know how they turn out.  In the meantime, here's a fun one I did yesterday with some Peachy Keen faces I received in the mail yesterday.  I cut out the mask with the four squares on it and taped it down.  A little Dandelion and Cantaloupe ink and bob's your uncle.  The sentiment is a K. Andrew stamp.  You could also cut these transparencies with a die cutting machine like the Cuttlebug.  These masks would also work really well for solid stamps.  Need a black cat but don't have the stamp?  Find a svg, MTC, or Silhouette file, size it, cut it out and use it to stamp (sponge) your cat.  Think of the negative pieces of your die cuts in this new way and I'll bet you come up with lots of ideas.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Thank you, Heather Telford, Ottawa, Canada

OK, now that my studio (crap room) is all cleaned up, I've been hesitant to start a new project.  I REALLY don't want to mess it up so I was just browsing the blogs I've added to my reading list and ran across this blog entry: OLW 106 Sponging.  I have always admired artists that could mask, sponge and stamp single layer cards that make me go "wow".  I've tried it throughout the years with little success (maybe it's a talent thing) and always had that technique on my 'I've got to learn that' list.  When I saw Heather's card, it renewed my interest.  As it happens, I have those two colors of Memento Ink so I pulled them out.  And, as I was cutting post-its I had an epiphany.  One of those aha moments.  So, here's what I did:  I pulled out my Cameo and opened MTC.  I added a rectangle from the "Import Basic Shapes" button and sized it to 4.25" x 5.5".  I then copied it so I had two rectangles.  On the first one I added a square smack dab in the center, on the other I added a heart.  I did a 'join' on both rectangles and this is what it looked like:

Then came the inspiration part - I cut these out of  a light weight transparency material.

I cut a piece of Georgia Pacific cardstock to create a 4.25" x 5.5" card and scored it but did not fold it.  I placed the mask with the heart on top of the front of my card and used a piece of Scotch Removable tape to tape it to the card.  I pulled out my large daubers and my Summer Sky Memento Ink and started sponging:

I sponged the top of the heart with Summer Sky and added Nautical Blue at the bottom.  I sponged first testing the intensity of the color on a piece of scrap paper.  After I determined I had enough ink on the card, I then blended with a circular motion.
I went through my stamp collection looking for a stamp that I thought would look good on my heart and ended up with this Penny Black stamp that had never seen ink before.

The sentiment is from my Stampin' Up collection and this is the final version of the card.  I may add some Star Dust Stickles to the snow on the right side but other than that, I'm calling it finished and I'd like to thank Heather for the inspiration.  And to let her know that I ordered four more Penny Black stamps like this one just for this technique.   These masks can be created for any sized card with any shape on the front, they can be used over and over and are easily cleaned.  Hope this inspires you as I was inspired.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Updated craft room organization...

I spent far more time cleaning my studio than I expected to spend but I'm really pleased with the result.  In fact, I'm so pleased I haven't been able to convince myself to make anything for fear of messing it up.  Let me show you what I mean.  With pictures from my last post, this is what I started with:

Does this look cluttered or what?  We invested in four waist high bookshelves and five cases of Michael's photo boxes and started organizing.  This is what it looks like today and keep in mind I still have some warts I'm working on.
These boxes contain stamps by brands and by category.  I keep the brands I use the most all together.  I have a box for stamps about food and clothing, a box for baby cards, a box for transportation (cars, trucks, motorcycles), a box for scenery, etc.  This does take up some of our hallway walking space but I'm usually the only one in this area. 

At least I can now see everything I have.  It's out in the open and easy to grab.  I will be sorting out supplies for donating, perhaps taking a shelf or two a week.  My husband now has room to walk in my room without knocking something over, much to his relief.  So, I'm off to start Sunday dinner.  Hope the cool weather has found you and the sun is shining wherever you are.

Friday, September 14, 2012


I spent yesterday cleaning out my closet and packing up all those clothes I know 'someday' I'll be able to wear again.  How many sizes of clothing do you have in your closet?  Mine go from size 8 to size 18 and cover the last three decades.  (Can you say bell bottoms?)  Some of the clothes hanging in the closet have dust a half an inch thick on them.  Haven't worn them....Won't wear them.... I reduced my closet by 30% and since these clothes are in great shape (except for the dust) I donated them to Goodwill.  That's been on my 'to do' list since we moved in nine years ago.

Then I moved to my 'studio' (sounds better than craproom, right?) and cleaned out one whole shelf on a baker's rack.  Garbage day today so most of it is already rolling around in a garbage truck - don't worry, it isn't good stuff.  It's old "might use" stuff and not worth donating.  My husband volunteered to go to the dollar store in Peoria and pick up some short shelves like he has in his office.  We measured and they will fit below the opening on the top level that overlooks the living room.  There is a waist high wall which keeps you from falling into the living room.  No one uses that hall but me, it leads to my bathroom and my studio.  So, we're going to line that wall with four sets of book shelves, three shelves on each and since they are shorter than the wall, I have the top also.  I can get 15 of the Michael's photo boxes on each book shelf, so sixty boxes.

Here is the hallway, warts and all.  The video tapes are slowly being recorded onto DVDs, the boxes on the floor are garage sale items or supplies that won't fit.  The stain on the floor is an accident my hubs had with coffee and will be cleaned after the bathroom remodel (silly to do it before, right?).  I'll post new pictures in the next few days.

I now have most of my stamps in plastic shoe boxes but as most of you know, they are rounded on the inside while the photo boxes are square.  I plan to transfer all the stamps to the Michael's boxes and place them on the shelves.  Each box will be labeled and a tag on the top of each shelf will show which boxes are on the bookshelf.  Then I don't have to lay on the floor to read the boxes on the bottom shelf.  That will greatly reduce the plastic shoe boxes in my studio.  Those emptied shoe boxes will be refilled with items I hope to use someday and placed on the very top shelves of the three baker's racks I have in my studio freeing up space that I can reach.  I will then devote those emptied shelves to my extensive paper collection.  Like many of you, I have way too much paper.  So much, in fact, I can never find it when I need it.  Years ago, I even went so far as to buy (at a garage sale), 16 boxes of 8.5 x 11 Southworth paper.  This is expensive stationery paper; some with texture, some parchment.  I have moved it to two different houses and I use one piece every year.  My daughter works for Michaels so for birthdays and Christmas, my husband heads there where she has a list of all the DCWV paper I've seen and want.  I must have 50 pads of paper and even more packages of single colored cardstock both 12x12 and 8.5x11.  Hello, my name is Cindy, and I am addicted to paper.  I recently found on sale, a double base on wheels for 12x12 clear trays to hold paper.  I can stack 30 trays on it and move it around.  It was originally almost $100 and I got it for $20.  I call that a good deal.  Well, I've got organizing to do..... catch you later.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Catching Up...

So, on September 1 we drove up to Land O' Lakes, Wisconsin.  My daughter, son-in-law and grandson, Cody, followed us in their car.  Before we left, we went to Pet Smart to get a larger travel cage for Sassy.  She was much too big to spend the whole trip in our cat carrier and we were much too uncertain about her to let her loose in the car.  We found a largish dog kennel and my husband adapted it to our needs.  He added a shelf in it where we attached her food and water.  We placed her cat box under the shelf and on the other end, we added a cubby (a soft enclosed cat bed) and a soft blanket.  On the trip up she spent some of the time hiding in the cat box and some of the time on the shelf.  On the trip back, she slept in the cubby.  On the trip up she seemed nervous and obviously disliked the cage but was quiet about it.  On the trip back she was very relaxed so we know she will be a good traveler.  But, (and there always seems to be a but, doesn't there?) she is still having the bathroom problems.  She has used my good chair in the family room as a cat box four different times but in Wisconsin she was good as gold.  And when we took the chair cushion to the cleaners again and I borrowed the couch cushion, she used the spot the missing cushion was taken from as a cat box.  The only thing we did differently in Wisconsin is clean the cat box several times a day because we stay in a small cabin.  At home we clean the cat box every other day.  After reading up on the Internet, we put down a second box and we're cleaning each box twice a day and sometimes more often.  We're at a loss as to what to do, we've grown fond of her in the short time we've had her.  She's very trusting and affectionate.  She spends the day in my craft room and follows me everywhere.  We fed her nasty medicine and squirted stuff in her eyes and she allowed us to do it with good grace.  She purrs all the time and loves playing with the toys we accumulated for our Himalayan.    We've talked about her last owners maybe throwing her out because of her bathroom habits.  We don't know how she came to be on the street but no one came looking for her and she's been spayed and declawed so someone put some money into her.  As you can see, she's very relaxed and has adopted this corner of my room as her own.  She lays right in front of my Cameo which makes it hard for me to use it but I'm not complaining.   As a precaution we've covered all the furniture in the family room with waterproof covers and closed off rooms.  We'll see what happens.  I can't imagine getting rid of her so we'll just have to work through these issues.  If anyone has any suggestions, I'd be thrilled to hear them.

While we were in Wisconsin, I worked on projects relating to the big craft sale coming up in October.  I created sets of note cards that I just finished packaging.  I plan to make book markers and tags for the sale next.  My cards have all been packaged and labeled and organized - a huge job.  We're home until October 2nd when we leave for Glen Rose, Texas and Fossil Rim.  I hope wherever you are the weather is perfect and your paper projects inspired.