Kantha Quilting with Stencils and Kuchi Patches

Hi all, it's that time again... today I'm up on StencilGirl Talk with this month's edition of Gwen's Gems! For October, I used some of the things I learned in India about Kantha quilting to make some hand-stitched embellishments for a canvas handbag. I used some of my stencils as my patterns and embellished with Kuchi patches and sari appliques.

Kantha-Quilted-Handbag-with-Stencils---Gwen-Lafleur

Kantha-Quilted-Handbag-with-Stencils---Closeup-1---Gwen-Lafleur

Make sure to head over and see the whole post for more photos and a tutorial!

Also as a reminder, if you're feeling inspired by all of the projects with Kuchi patches that are being shared this month, they're on sale in the shop for 15% off all through October!

October-Product-Spotlight-Banner-Kuchi-Patches

Just use the coupon 15OffKuchiPatches when you check out to get 15% off! (It only includes patches specifically marked Kuchi, and doesn't include other Kuchi textiles or jewelry.)

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From the Artist Tribe - A Decorative Box with a Kuchi Medallion Lid

The Artist Tribe is back again with another super inspiring project! Today Linda Edkins Wyatt is sharing her gorgeous decorative box...  she made it from an upcycled body butter container and it's covered in fabric, trimmed with all kinds of fabulous dangling beads and charms, and it's topped with a fabulous beaded Kuchi medallion!

Decorative-Box-with-Beaded-Kuchi-Medallion-Lid---Linda-Edkins-Wyatt

Here's another view so you can see more of the lovely dangles, including some Kuchi coin pendants and Turkmen jewelry parts. Linda also used chiffon sari yarn to wrap the edges of the lid.

Decorative-Box-with-Beaded-Kuchi-Medallion-Lid-Side-View--Linda-Edkins-Wyatt

Make sure you stop by Linda's blog to see more photos and details about this beautiful project!

Of course, October is Kuchi patch month for the Artist Tribe (and me!) so that means that they're also on sale in the shop throughout October. Use the coupon 15OffKuchiPatches to save 15%!

 October-Product-Spotlight-Banner-Kuchi-Patches

 

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From The Artist Tribe - A Kuchi Patch Brooch by Lynda Shoup!

Kuchi patch month is continuing in the Studios (or Kuchi Koo month, according to The Artist Tribe... LOL!) Today Lynda Shoup is sharing a beautiful handmade brooch featuring an embroidered Kuchi patch as the central element.

Textile-Brooch-with-Kuchi-Patch---Lynda-Shoup

Lynda also used sari yarn and a jeweled embellished trim that came from the Irresistible India Mixed Media Happy Pack. Make sure you stop by her blog to learn more about her gorgeous project!

If you're loving all of the Kuchi inspiration this month and are feeling inspired to try a similar project at home, you're in luck! Kuchi patches are 15% off for the entire month of October when you use the coupon 15OffKuchiPatches during checkout!

October-Product-Spotlight-Banner-Kuchi-Patches

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From The Artist Tribe... A Gorgeous Embroidered Bag!

The Artist Tribe is at it again... today Tribe member Lynda Shoup is sharing a gorgeous handmade embroidered zipper pouch made with my Ornamental Petals Screen stencil as her pattern. Isn't it stunning?

Embroidered Bag with Stencil Pattern - Lynda Shoup

Make sure you head over to Lynda's blog to see more photos and learn more about how she made this beautiful project!

 

PS... if you're looking for stencils or other shop goodies, I'm having an end of summer Flash Sale in the shop at Gwen Lafleur Studios!

Flash Sale Banner 10 off

From now until 8/31 you can save 10% off any order with this coupon code: WhereDidAugustGo

 

 

Home Decor Chipboard Initial with Momenta

 I recently had the opportunity to make a home decor piece using Momenta stencil paints and stencils along with a chipboard base from Hobby Lobby. I thought it would be really fun to do something that my nieces might like to hang in their bedrooms, and I thought the cool large chipboard letters and accessories would be the perfect base to make something personalized. The chipboard is about 1/2" thick, so it's perfect for this kind of project! It's a bit different from my regular work, but I knew this would be something that my nieces would enjoy.

Momenta Stencils - Home Decor Girl's Initial 4 - Gwen Lafleur

Here's a quick little tutorial for how I did this.

First, I gathered all of the supplies that I thought I might want to use for this project - the girls both love pink, so that was definitely going to be in the mix. I also added a container of In Bloom jewels from the jewelry section of Hobby Lobby since I knew I'd use them on the crown and maybe elsewhere.

Momenta Stencils - Home Decor Girl's Initial - Step 1 - Gwen Lafleur

Next, I put down a coat of white and then went over it with the requisite pink.

Momenta Stencils - Home Decor Girl's Initial - Step 2 - Gwen Lafleur

The paints are really smooth and creamy and worked perfectly! Once the pink layer was dry, I used the Momenta Chevron Adhesive stencil to add a layer of pattern in teal. The adhesive is nice and strong, so it's really good for making sure you don't get any paint seepage under your stencil.

Momenta Stencils - Home Decor Girl's Initial - Step 3 - Gwen Lafleur

Of course, I can't let things go without adding a little touch of gold - I used the gold Momenta paint and a fine-liner brush to outline the chevron pattern. I also painted the edges of the chipboard gold - I think it looks pretty cool from the side.

Momenta Stencils - Home Decor Girl's Initial - Step 4 - Gwen Lafleur

While I was at it, I painted the chipboard crown gold as well, then pulled out the Momenta 4"x14" Sun, Moon, and Stars diecut stencil and added some hearts with the red semi-gloss paint.

Momenta Stencils - Home Decor Girl's Initial - Step 5 - Gwen Lafleur

I decided I didn't like the pink hearts on the crown, so I painted over those and used more paint to embellish the large heart in the center. I also used the brown paint mixed with a bit of water to make a kind of wash to go around the edges of the crown for a bit of shading.

Momenta Stencils - Home Decor Girl's Initial - Step 6 - Gwen Lafleur

Finally, I used a strong glue to adhere the crown to the letter and then added my In Bloom jewels to the crown and also to the hearts on the letter itself. My little princesses have to have their bling!

Momenta Stencils - Home Decor Girl's Initial - Step 7 - Gwen Lafleur

Voila! A quick and relatively easy way to create a customized decor piece. You could change up the paint colors, stencils, and embellishments to make something that would work in any room in your house! I just hope that my nieces think these are as cute as I do! 

 


Quick Update!

I have a few projects and updates that I haven't gotten around to posting here yet, so I'm doing a very quick round-up post...

First up, a few art journal pages that I did last month. The smaller book is a vintage physics book I found at the used bookstore and I've been working on top of the pages. I used the September StencilGirl StencilClub stencils on this page. The page on the right uses the Moroccan Doily stencil, acrylic paint, and lots of Liquid Pearls.

Sept Art Journal PagesNext up, I got the chance to go to see the Black Keys in concert last month at the United Center with my friend Mary. It was SO amazing!!!

Black Keys in Concert

Then I got to play around a bit with some new stencils by Nathalie Kalbach - I used Elephant Parade and Art Deco Wallpaper to do a page in my planner / art journal.

IMG_3896

This last weekend I got out my sewing machine to make a little travel paintbrush holder for my upcoming mixed media classes in Connecticut (there are still some openings in my classes for anyone who's interested and on the fence!) I really just wanted an excuse to buy this awesome Cloud9 dragon fabric. lol. No pattern - I made it up based on some that I've seen. It's not perfect, but it's functional!

IMG_3905A very cool and flattering thing... for those of you who don't already follow him, Seth Apter has a weekly blog series where he highlights various blog posts - it's called the Week Links. This week he featured my post on StencilGirl Talk making the coptic bound books we'll be doing in my class on the 18th. I'm so excited to be included! Awesome inspiration if you haven't checked it out...

Another art journal page... more playing with the October StencilClub stencils! Love them this month... (and if you aren't in the club, if you sign up before the 15th, this is the set you'll start with :D) I had a background of acrylic paint and then used molding paste for the large circles (shaded with PanPastels) and then Wendi Vecchi gold embossing paste for the small circles. Various letter stickers for the message in the center.

October Stencil Art Journal Page

I started a few new classes, including the Paint Mojo eCourse with Tracy Verdugo (I'm already more than 2 weeks behind. sigh.) and my beginning drawing class at SAIC started this week. I haven't been drawing or sketching lately, so this should be a good jump start!

And last but not least, for those who haven't heard but who have been asking about it, I opened a shop at Society6 where you can buy prints, phone cases, decals, totes, stationary cards, and other stuff made from some of my art. I only have some of my doodle / Zentangle pieces up right now, but I may add paintings or other things later if it goes well. For those who are interested, right now there's a free shipping promo that goes through Oct. 12th.

Gwen Lafleur - Society6 Shop Opening

Whew! It's been crazy lately... and that's not even getting into how busy things have been at work! But it's all good, and more fun times and projects on the horizon!


By the pricking of my thumbs...

... a homemade colored pencil case this way comes!

Yes, corny... but in this case quite literal! I lost track of how many times I pricked (or in one case gouged) my thumbs, fingers, hands, etc... with stick pins while I was pinning various sections of the project I did last night. Trying to pin fabric in place through chipboard? Not so easy, it turns out.

Background: I've wanted to get a case for my colored pencils for months now, but haven't been willing to cough up the money for a big enough case to hold all my pencils (they're like $45.) Every time I thought I would get one, I decided I'd rather spend the money on paints or something since I don't technically need a pencil case. But I really wanted to be able to put them in a general color order instead of jumbled in a bag. Since colored pencils are part of a suggested kit for my sketchbook class, I decided that it was time. But why not make one instead of buying? This way it's prettier (theoretically) as well as using supplies I had on hand. Or mostly on hand... because I needed to buy the elastic, but I had everything else. (Full disclosure, I'd just bought some cute fabric, but technically I had it on hand by the time I decided to do this and it was kind of the catalyst for my DIY idea.)

Anyway... I had no pattern and no real clue what I was doing, (I've said before that it's a good day when I can thread the bobbin without instructions,) but I had a sample case picked out online that was my general guide. Aside from that, I pretty much just winged it!

Homemade Colored Pencil Case - Gwen LafleurI had just picked up this super cute fabric - Valorie Wells Karavan (how could I resist? Thanks Steph!) as well as some newish Joel Dewberry for the inside that was in a similar colorway (Notting Hill Pristine Poppy Teal.) I'm not too squeamish about putting patterns together, so this really worked for me. I already had the turquoise eyelet and all the ribbon and thread - I just picked up some elastic at Joann. I loved that cute ruffly turquoise elastic. It's like they knew I was coming!

Homemade Colored Pencil Case Inside - Gwen LafleurThere's a very thin sheet of chipboard inside each "page" so that it's flexible, but there's still some structure to the whole thing. I was worried about how my sewing machine was going to handle it, but it just plowed through it like butter. I was pretty impressed! On the outside of the covers there's also a sheet of felt underneath to add just a bit of padding and protection and a little more stability.

Homemade Colored Pencil Case Inside 2 - Gwen LafleurMy ability to sew a straight line, on the other hand? Well, questionable. Of course, I wasn't making too much effort... that kind of thing goes along with measuring and using the right tools (I didn't measure, I eyeballed... my cutting would make people who actually sew cringe, and I won't tell you where, but there was masking tape involved here too. Said masking tape was actually pretty handy as an improvised bandage during the aforementioned thumb-gouging incident. Now wondering if I shouldn't keep Band-Aids in my craft room... Squirrel!)

And as you can see, I wasn't about to spend time switching back and forth between white and turquoise thread. It's all turquoise all the time! I'm okay with that.

I did the "pages" first and then sat and stared at them wondering how this was all going to become one. See, that would have required thinking ahead... actual planning. Which I didn't do, obviously. However, a potential solution occured to me and I just went for it. All the time thinking, "there's no way on earth this should be working." And yet...

Homemade Colored Pencil Case Top and Spine - Gwen LafleurIt's like the sewing gods wanted me to complete this project. Very possibly so that everyone who sees this thing in person can laugh at me. But whatever. It's done. It's in one piece (for now, at least...) and in the end, it actually holds colored pencils. About 115 of them! Purpose achieved.

And the final finishing touch... a little closure.

Homemade Colored Pencil Case Closure - Gwen LafleurJust some elastic beading cord and a cheap plastic shank button that I happened to have. I'd been planning to cover something with matching fabric, but I liked this as-is so I just went with it.

And there you go! Total dumb luck and some really cute fabric yielded a fairly attractive and theoretically functional colored pencil holder (and the band-aids will come off in a few days, right?)

The true test comes this weekend when I use it... we'll see how it goes. Crossing my fingers!


December Daily Catch-up part 1 & some sewing!

Hello January! I can't believe how fast the time has flown. I've been back in town a week but there's just been too much going on and I haven't had a chance to sit down and catch up.

I did these pages last weekend after I got back from Virginia, but never posted them. Oops!

December 22-23...

December Daily 2012 Day 22a
December Daily 2012 Day 22b
I have to say, the trip home is so nice now! I can catch at 10am flight down to Dulles... which means I don't have to leave before 7am to get to Hartford, but I'm in DC in time to have lunch with my family and spend the rest of the day. It makes it so much easier! So I got my bags and met Mom, Dad, and Grandpa out at the pick-up door and we headed to Wegman's for lunch and to do our Christmas grocery shopping. Then mom and I just ran errands all day... and stopped for manicures :) It was great to be with them, but I hadn't slept a lot the previous week, especially the night before so I was so exhausted I begged out of going to a movie and went up to bed at 8:30. lol. But it was fun to be down and see everyone and get settled in a bit.

The 23rd...

December Daily 2012 Day 23a
This is actually the journaling for the 22nd - the next day is on the back. I also saved the program from church - there was a beautiful music program in Sacrament meeting - it was quite a treat... there are some really talented musicians in the ward.

December Daily 2012 Day 23b
After church, we got out Dad's new Cuisinart Griller and since they'd given me one for Christmas 2 years ago, I showed them how to use it and we made paninis for lunch. Then as we were cleaning up, I asked Mom if she thought anyone was going to come over that afternoon and, I kid you not, 10 seconds later the garage door opened and in walked Rick, Erin and the kids. They weren't planning to come until Monday, but got too excited and came up a day early. It was great to see them! We had to rush to wrap a few presents before they saw, but then we were able to play and chat for the rest of the evening. Then I packed up and headed over to stay at Nicole & Brian's until after Christmas.

So that's those two days... still working on catching up!

In the meantime, I pulled out my sewing machine. That's twice in 4 months! A record, I'm sure.

First, I got 3 handmade pillow cases I'd ordered from an Etsy Seller in New Delhi that I needed to make pillow forms for. I pulled out some fabric I already had and made those, but needed more polyfill stuffing. So New Year's Day, I went over to JoAnn to pick that up, and thought while I was there I'd look for material to make the curtain I'd been meaning to make for my back door (which is the main entrance to my house.) I had been planning to do something with sheers, but found this instead:

Curtain Supplies
It's kind of a taupe linen embroidered with turquoise flowers. It was so perfect... and the fabric was made so either side could face out - perfect for going in a window where people will see the back when they come to the door.

I thought about just doing it plain, but thought I'd take a quick trip through the trimming aisle to see if there was anything that would work, and I found this fun pom-pom trim that matched almost perfectly. It's a tad funky, but it works for me. And I found thread that was almost perfect as well - you can barely see it.

So I got home and finished my pillow forms, then set to work on curtains - measure and cut, then sew. And, I'm proud to say, that for the first time EVER, I filled and threaded the bobbin without getting out the machine instructions. It's a miracle!

And here's what I made:

New Back Door Curtain
I decided to gather them in the middle - I had some wire and glass beads that I'd bought a while ago planning to do this exact thing for my bedroom curtains in Utah. Since that didn't happen, I decided to use it for this and it worked great! I can still take it off to just let it hang.

New Back Door Curtain Close-up
Then I made the one for the window in my main staircase.

Stair Window Curtain
That one couldn't have come out more perfect so I'm really pleased. I smile when I see them both... it's just the little things :)

And a view of my couch with all my colorful new pillows on it - definitely no longer beige and boring!

Couch Cushions
The big one in the back is from Target (there are 2 - one on the other end). The long one with the blue Suzani pattern and the square sequined one are Pier 1. The other 3 are the ones I got from India. The red was just what it needed, and the other one ties in the green from my Target pillows. I have them more spread out now... I keep messing with it :) But all the color and pattern makes me really happy.

That's it for now! Off to make dinner and then hopefully get more caught up on my December Daily so I can start working on finishing last year's Project Life mini album and starting this year. Lots to do!


New toys!

Friday was a great mail day... I got some new toys!

First, much anticipated and long awaited and wanted...

New iPhone 4S
I was finally able to make the switch to the iPhone! It wasn't available with Verizon the last time my contract was up for renewal, and after it came out I didn't want to buy one until I could get my renewal discount. And the time finally came! (And worth the wait since I get the newer version :) of course now that I have it, iPhone 5 will be out in like a month. lol.) It was past time... my old Palm wouldn't hold a charge nearly as long as it used to and it was getting more annoying by the day. Plus, the keyboard is terrible and with longer fingernails I could barely type on it. Powering it down and activating the new phone was a VERY happy moment for me.

Of course, since I knew I was getting this, I'd been doing a little poking around the web and saving ideas on Pinterest for a fun phone case. I wanted a felt one like I'd seen on Etsy, but without paying $50+ to buy one. So after work Friday, I just made my own!

Handmade Felt iPhone Camera Case
Naturally, it's turquoise and red... and my first foray into the world of the blanket stitch. lol. I didn't have a pattern so I was just kind of winging it, but it came out great (IMHO) and took less than 2 hours. Not too shabby!

Of course, the main reason I wanted the iPhone 4S was for the camera. I needed a new purse camera and this works perfectly (hence the "camera" case). Natural progression... iPhone + photo taking = Instagram!

IMG_0006
I may be addicted... I had a little too much fun right after I got it installed. I started looking for things to take pictures of so I could experiment. A little snapshot of my African Safari album work in progress on my desk (which is now finished and drying).

Instagram - on my desk this week
And an Instagram of my other new goodie that came in the mail - washi tape for my Washi class at Studio Calico (not like I needed more... I won't divulge how many rolls I have. But at least I use it a lot!)

Instagram - new washi tapeFun!

Anyway,I'm gwenaval on Instagram (and twitter too) - I promise I'm exercising restraint and not posting pictures of every second of the day... lol. Just a little here and there, but I'm hoping this will help me have more details from my week for Project Life. And speaking of... as soon as my safari album dries and I can photograph it, last week's layout is next up on my project list. Somehow I think the iPhone will play a big role in this week's spread :)


Project!

The title of my post, in my head, is Alicia Silverstone in "Clueless" when she gets to do a makeover - complete with bouncing up and down and hand motions. lol. But, while my project doesn't involve make-up, it IS a makeover of sorts and I'm kind of excited. I pulled together all the stuff to do it... it's going to take a bit, but I can't wait to play. Part of it may or may not turn out as planned, but it's all good. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, right? And if it turns out like I think it will, it's going to rock.

As to how it started, last night I was having trouble sleeping - my brain wouldn't shut up. And part of what was running through it had to do with the window treatments in my bedroom. What I have is okay, but it was kind of a stop-gap until I could do something cool. So, since I couldn't sleep anyway, I pulled out my iPad and sat in bed at 2am looking for ideas. I found this:

Estia-Moroccan-Restaurant-Aloft-Hotel-Int.-Tilak-Asso.-Bangalore-11

I fell in love. And funny enough... after I decided this was part of my plan, I fell asleep! I'm going to do some bead strands mixed with orange and red curtain panels (which I already have) - so it will be turquoise, orange, and red. But that's just part of it - and will probably be pretty fast. The other part is what I'm not sure will turn out, but it will be super awesome if it does.

A little sneaky peek:

Curtain Project
I'm off to get started... we'll see how it goes :)


Getting Messy with Celine - Part Deux

I finished! I absolutely LOVED doing this project and the class was so much fun. I always forget how much I love to "get messy" so this was a great reminder.

It ended up being quite a bit bigger and more involved than I anticipated...

Get Messy Goreme Scrapbook - Cover 1
28 total pages, all of them using some kind of technique, even if just a little bit.

Get Messy Goreme Scrapbook - Cover 2
And let's face it. Me? Going overboard? Not really unexpected. lol.

And because I did go so overboard, there are a LOT of photos of the album. So instead of having a humungous post clogging up the front page of my blog, I put it on its own page.

Without further ado, my completed Getting Messy Goreme mini scrapbook.

Enjoy!


Project Life Week 10 & Another Happy Moment

I've got lots of stuff to share today... a little catch-up from the weekend as well as this week's Project Life layout.

Project Life Blog Banner

Project Life first... here's this week's spread:

Project Life 2012 Week 10

This week is just a bit different... no templates! Also, all the paper and elements are by Gennifer Bursett. (As of this week, I'm kind of on her unofficial creative team. Is that fun or what? I never thought I'd ever do any digital DT work of any kind, and I love her stuff.)

Project-Life-2012-Week-10-L

One of the journaling spots, ribbon, film strip frame, tape, rosettes and flag banner are all from County Fair Part 2. The doily paper is from Ever After, the chevron paper, numbered list card and journaling card are from Favorite Things. The index card with the dates is from the Writer's Block Weekly Journaling Cards set, the big scalloped journal spot is from Grandma's Easter Bonnet.

Project-Life-2012-Week-10-R

I was mostly good with my Healthy in 2012 stuff last week. Except for Girl Scout cookies, but they don't count, right? As you can see, I was also loving my box of Studio Calico goodies. I volunteered at Bountiful Baskets again - we got kale this week. Woohoo! Also lots of sweet peppers and anaheim peppers, so I'll be doing some southwestern or maybe a stir fry pretty soon, I think.

In other news, the treadmill is no longer blocking my stairs! Melody and Vic stopped by last night and helped me move it up the stairs and into my room. I spent a few hours putting it together and got my first workout this morning. It's bigger than the last one, but it works great and it's smoother and quieter. (It folds up too.)

New Treadmill - Up and running

Over the weekend I also did another section in my Happy Little Moments book. This was about the beach in Dubai... I'm not much of a beach person, but I loved that beach. Especially at 11pm when the worst of the heat eased (it was still 90... lol) and a breeze came in over the gulf. I would lay in a chaise enjoying the breeze, watching the moonlight ripple on the water and listening to the waves lap at the sand. It was wonderful.

Happy Little Moments - Pages 15-16

This layout got a bit out of hand... but I started it as an assignment using solid stamps in Jen Gallacher's Scrapbook Stamping class at 2 Peas. I've barely started the class, but I'm having lots of fun so far.

Happy Little Moments - Page 15

I used Papertrey Ink's original jar stamp set and the Summer fillers along with another shell stamp to make this tag. I sewed a piece of vellum on top and the other shell is just tucked in there.

Happy Little Moments - Page 15 close-up

And the right side was where I started with the solid stamps - Papertrey Ink Beautiful Blooms II.

Happy Little Moments - Page 16

I did the stamping and embossing and added some brads and buttons, but it felt a little empty so I started doodling some henna inspired sketches on it and then went over it with a tan PanPastel wash. I like it (I don't LOVE it) but it was fun and it kind of fits. So it works for me :)

Happy Little Moments - Page 16 close-up

And last but not least... just sharing a quick recipe from something I threw together tonight.

Skinny Caramel Pear Pockets

I had a bunch of pears from Bountiful Baskets that I needed to use so I sliced a few up and made little pocket thingies from them. I had a tube of reduced fat crescent roll dough in the fridge so I pulled it out and separated the triangles onto a cookie sheet. I laid about 5 slices of pear in each one, sprinkled them with cinnamon and a good-sized pinch of brown sugar and just a sliver of butter. Then I wrapped them up (the pears hang out the sides) and threw them in the oven on 350 until they were golden brown. I topped with just a drizzle of fat-free caramel and some fat free cool whip. With the caramel, they're 6 points plus on Weight Watchers. Without, they're 5 (I had lots of points left over today, so I went for it.) They were YUM. They don't taste diet in the least and they were super easy to make.

That's it for now... laters!


Happy Moments, a layout, and BIG mail.

The last two days have been like Christmas! I got my Studio Calico box with my March Story Hour kit and add-ons and I was practically squealing in delight as I opened it all. Not literally, of course. Well... maybe just a little bit on the inside. I LOVE this kit. Love it. I couldn't resist doing a layout right away, so I pulled out my PDF from Kelly Purkey's downloadable Sketchpad class. I've been meaning to do this before Sketchbook 4 starts in April so why not now? I'm going to try and work straight through the sketches, so this is using the first one and some fun pictures from Greece.

How do you like them apples

Pretty much everything here is from the kit or an add-on... I used my Cameo on kraft cardstock for the doilies and chevron shapes, but that's it.

How do you like them apples close-up 1

During our pre-trip research, someone discovered that in Greece, a man proposes to a woman by giving her an apple. I'm not sure how true that actually is, but the other girls wanted to do something fun with this while we were there. Our fake togas drew some funny looks on the roof of our hotel.

How do you like them apples close-up 2

The funny thing was, there was an actual marriage proposal going on over on the other side of the roof. We couldn't get close enough to see if he had an apple, though.

How do you like them apples close-up 3

You can tell I was just along for the ride by the fact that I was the only one that wasn't willing to go to the effort of stripping my bed to get a toga when there were nice, big towels in the bathrooms. lol. It was a lot of fun, though. And how about that view?

For the letters on the layout, I took the white foam Thickers and painted with with Claudine Helmuth Modern Red and then dotted on some turquoise Liquid Pearls.

Kind of a simple layout for me, but I'm really loving it.

And of course, I'm still working on my Happy Little Moments class. I finished two more sections.

Happy Little Moments - Pages 11-12

This page was actually inspired by a previous piece I did, which was inspired by something I saw on Pinterest a while ago. I stamped the Papertrey Ink roses directly on the page and then outlined them in black pen.

(And I'm kind of digging the sequins I sewed into the border on the right side. Sparkly!)

Happy Little Moments - Page 11

I colored in with PanPastels - I like how it's still a little translucent. I sprayed it with Krylon fixative to keep the pastels from rubbing off.

Happy Little Moments - Pages 13-14

The work field trip made it in... how could it not?

Happy Little Moments - Page 13

And on the right, a pocket page! I cut down one of the pages of the three that get glued together to form a section to make the pocket. And while I was at it, I cut a window to see some of the smaller things tucked inside. It's backed with a scrap of a Hambly transparency and then outlined with Liquid Pearls (I love those things lately).

Happy Little Moments - Page 14

I think I'll add another section or two (I know the next one for sure) and then I might leave a few sections blank so I can add more later. We'll see.

The other big thing? Today was my treadmill delivery day. I worked at home since I had to be here to meet the delivery guy, and this was a HUGE box. Way bigger than my last treadmill which was small enough to fit in the back of my mom's old CRV. This one? No way. But I needed it out of my garage so I could pull my car back in, so this is where it's at right now.

New Treadmill Blocking Stairs

I got the old treadmill disassembled and out to my garage without any help, but this is a different story. I wrangled it inside and onto the stairs by myself (no mean feat!) but this is where it's staying until Melody and Vic can come over and help me move it. I was hoping to have it up and running for a Saturday workout, but I might have to go down to the gym instead. I'm stubborn, but not crazy enough to try and get this sucker the rest of the way without help! For now I can still get up and down the stairs and my car is in the garage. It's all good.

After this was delivered I was back to work when the UPS guy rang the doorbell. I wasn't expecting anything else today, but he had another big box for me. Guess what was in it?

New Dyson

I've been in desperate need of a new vacuum, and my mom had been telling me to get a Dyson. Duh. Who wouldn't like a Dyson? But they're $$$! However, earlier this week my mom forwarded me an email - Woot had refurbished Dyson DC25s for a really good price. Since I got such a good deal on my treadmill (and free delivery!) I had enough left over from my tax return to snap one of these up. It was a shock to get it because it just shipped yesterday! So yay! I'm now a proud and happy Dyson owner. And really, how often are you proud and happy about a vacuum? Just sayin'.

Anyway... after all that, I'm ready to crash. Happy weekend!


More from my Happy Little Moments class

I'm still having a blast making my altered book for this class. I'm probably about half-way through at this point although I might not finish it all at once... but then again, maybe I will. Who knows? I'm playing it by ear and just having fun and experimenting a little too.

Lots more pictures of the next 3 sections...

Happy Little Moments Pages 5-6

I used my Cameo on these - the circle shape on the left side and the words on the right (and that one-click welding in the Silhouette Studio software is AWESOME.) I cut part of the circle shape off and pasted it all down and then added the other stuff to it.

Happy Little Moments - Page 5

On the right, I did some stamping in the background and then just layered the rest on top and hand-stitched the border.

Happy Little Moments - Page 6

The next section is a slightly different style, but I just love it. I brought back my stencils and modeling paste again to do this moment from Istanbul when I was there last May. This moment *had* to be in this book since it was probably the best of the entire trip.

Happy Little Moments - Pages 7-8

I don't have pictures of the exact moment, but these are pictures that contributed and helped tell the story.

Happy Little Moments - Page 7

And some close-ups of the modeling paste - I used some different colored Perfect Pearls on top / around it.

Happy Little Moments - Page 7 close-up 1
Happy Little Moments - Page 7 close-up 1

I like the second one - you can really get a feel for the dimension it brings to the page. Love.

On the other side, I tried making a window with a super-extra-jumbo Marvy circle punch. I chain stitched around the opening and then backed it with part of a Hambly transparency for some stability since the circle didn't reach in all that far.

Happy Little Moments - Page 8

The glass nazar and raffia are actually leftover wrapping from some rose scented soap I bought on my first trip to Istanbul a few years ago. I've wanted to use it in a project somewhere and this seemed perfect.

And I'm going to be doing LOTS more of that modeling paste stuff. I just can't get enough of how fun it is and how cool it looks (at least I think so, anyway.)

Last spread for tonight...

Happy Little Moments - Pages 9-10

Pretty basic pages... just some patterned paper layers worked around the transparency.

Happy Little Moments - Page 9

It was inevitable that food and cooking would be in here, because I have so many lovely moments when I get to relax and make something special. These pictures are from when I was making boulognese and homemade rigatoni last year - that sauce was AMAZING. I need to make it again. But it's a vivid memory because of what a wonderful, relaxing and just happy afternoon it was. No pressure, no timelines... I wasn't making it for anyone but me and it was wonderful. I need to do that again.

Happy Little Moments - Page 10

The little chef is a stamped image (stamp by Stamping Bella) that I colored and cut out. The page just cried out for me to add this little guy. How could I refuse? I also hand-stitched the zig-zag border with some red embroidery floss. I'm having lots of fun with the stitching :)

I have more techniques I'm dying to use in this book so I'll be back to share those soon. But for now, bed! I'm exhausted (which is what happens when I miss my Sunday nap. Sigh.)


Happy Little Moments Class

I've really gotten into taking online arts and crafts classes... when I've taken classes in local shops, I learn fun techniques, but I rarely use the projects after I get them home. Online classes are fun for me because they tend to be technique driven and I provide my own supplies and kind of make it mine as I go which works out much better for me. This year Studio Calico has started offering an online class every month, and my first one is their March class - Happy Little Moments taught by Maggie Holmes. It's basically an altered book class. I've been working on it since Thursday night, and I'm having so much fun. I still have a ways to go before my book is done, but I thought I'd post my progress so far. Get ready... tons of pictures ahead!

First up, getting the book prepped and doing the cover. I had a blast with the cover of mine.

  • Gwen's Happy Little Moments Cover 1
  • Gwen's Happy Little Moments Cover 2
  • Gwen's Happy Little Moments Cover 3
  • Gwen's Happy Little Moments Cover 4
  • Gwen's Happy Little Moments Cover 5
Gwen's Happy Little Moments Cover 5

My book was originally red, but I covered it with a layer of gesso and then painted it with Golden Cobalt Turquoise. I left the inside red, though... I love the contrast. After it was dry, I pulled out my trusty modeling paste and a 6x6 woodgrain stencil by The Crafter's Workshop to get the texture - I just slathered it on with a palette knife. I ran a few ink pads lightly over the surface to make it not quite so stark, and then set to decorating. That stitched felt flower is one I made about two years ago that I've held on to... the polymer clay button is one I got from Tessa Ann on Etsy. Loving the turqoise and red! So me.

Then the intro page - I've always wanted to do one of these confetti pockets that are so trendy now. Lots of fun...

Happy Little Moments - Intro Page

The stiching around the page is all done by hand - I back-stitched it all to make it look a little neater. The alpha stamps are the regular sized lower case alphabet from Educational Insights. Love them!

Happy Little Moments - Intro Page Close-up

I bought the class kit, but as you can see... I've mixed in a lot of my own stuff, which I love. I punched out my initials to add into the confetti, and there are also some stars and a few buttons.

Then the first two pages:

Happy Little Moments - Pages 1-2

This book is all about happy moments, and for me it's just random things that make me happy... memories, friends, moments in time and very likely food will be involved at least once. lol.

Happy Little Moments - Page 1

And a bit of a close-up of the 2nd page:

Happy Little Moments - Page 2

I just love this picture of Francesca, Emily and I when we were hanging out on the floor of the Lima airport with Starbucks hot chocolate and alfajores. It was the end of our trip, and feels like it just kind of sums things up.

For the 2nd spread, I focused on Rick's birthday when I was home for Christmas, using some Instax prints that I had taken at the restaurant.

Happy Little Moments - Pages 3-4

I go home for Christmas every year, but I never stay for New Year's so I always miss celebrating Rick's birthday in person. This year I stayed a lot longer and got to be there... it made it so special and I wanted to capture that here.

Happy Little Moments - Page 3

And some details from the other side:

Happy Little Moments Pages 3-4 Inserts
Happy Little Moments Pages 3-4 Inserts

The robot stamp is from a fun little set by Hero Arts. The "Happy Day" ticket is from an old Cocoa Daisy kit.

Happy Little Moments - Page 4

The tags were kind of stuck into the binding and then I stitched them down by hand. On the page itself, I used another 6x6 template - Star Shower by The Crafter's Workshop and a yellow ink pad to do the background. One of my favorite things about this project is that it's such a great medium for experimenting. It feels so much more okay and so much easier to play in an altered book than on a regular layout and I'm loving it! I added some details with a pen, threw on some glitter and then used some liquid pearls.

That's it so far! I'm still plugging along... I need to take a break to do my Project Life update, but I'll get it done :) For now, I've got a hockey game and some leftovers calling my name.


Projects!

I actually have a few things to share! First up, I had a Shutterfly Groupon that was all set to expire on the 28th. What day is it? Yup. I'm a procrastinator. In all fairness, I did try to get my act together enough to use this as a gift, but it just didn't happen - everything was taking longer than I thought it would. So, rather than kill myself trying to finish it when I had time before I needed to give the gift, I decided to do a graduation book instead. I had been planning on it anyway, so it worked out great. It's an 8x8 hard-cover photobook and you can see it here:

Click here to view this photo book larger

Create your own personalized photo books at Shutterfly.com.

I put the entire thing together in just a few hours... start to finish, including editing most of the photos. Probably my fastest project ever! I did have help... I used a template album by Paislee Press. If anyone is interested, you can buy it at OScraps. I had the 8.5x11 template set but the book I did was 8x8, so I obviously did a little tweaking to make it work, but it was really awesome. I love the minimalist feel - it made it nice to not be worrying about papers and embellishments and stuff.

And now, just a few other things I've been working on here and there... a few more smashbook pages. One from conference weekend when Mel and I went for Ladies night out, and another from the weekend before last when I met up with Mindy and her girls, and Chad and his brother and sister, Courtney and Sean to grab dinner and see Footloose.

The pages:

Smash Pages Oct11
Here are some of the pictures from Footloose. We killed a little time in the arcade at the theaters - we were amused by the guys riding the motorcycle game/ride thing. They got into it!

Courtney, Sean, Mindy and Maddy:

Footloose 1

Chad taking his turn, with Kenzie and Griffin watching on the left:

Footloose 2

Me, just hanging:

Footloose 4

We went to the Mad Greek before dinner for gyros and souvlaki, and then hit up Sweet Tooth Fairy (Mindy needed to pick up Sunday night dessert for her family, so we all went.) And then after the movie, I think we all stood around in the parking lot for almost an hour and a half, just talking and joking. Too bad the weather has gotten cold... no more of that for a while! But it was a great time.

One other project I've been working on... I saw some ideas on Pinterest that made me want to try this - I stamped on a vintage dictionary page and then colored with Pan Pastels. I love how it looks - I'm trying to decide what to do with it. I had a scrap of letterpress that I think looks good with it. Maybe a collage? We'll see... too much else to work on right now, but it's kind of bumping around in the back of my mind.

Stamp and Pan Pastels on Dictionary
and a little close-up:

Stamp and Pan Pastels on Dictionary Closeup
And with that, it's way past my bedtime. But I'm thrilled that I got a photobook done... one more thing off my pre-trip checklist!

Off to bed. Happy Friday!


Quick Catch-up

Just popping in with a quick catch-up post. Lots going on! It's been busy and fun. Where to start... how about food!

Turkish Pizza

I was trying to come up with something for dinner the other night and scrounged in my fridge. I had whole wheat pizza dough, tzatziki sauce, lots of tomatoes, fresh spinach, feta cheese, a few kalamata olives and some leftover kofte that I had made the week before (yummy spiced Turkish beef kebab). So I made pizza! Just little ones, but it was delicious.

What else... I had the final project for my Business Judgment class to finish and turn in last week. We had to incorporate frameworks and learnings from the course to use on an important upcoming decision. However this time, instead of writing a paper, 25% of the grade was on creativity and presentation and we were encouraged to go out of the box and do things that fit with our learning style. So I did an art journal-y collage thing as a frame for a scenario analysis and then did some more analysis and next steps that I typed up and stuck to the back. I'm not sure if I'm getting it back, so I took lots of pictures. I had fun with this. Things are still up in the air on this particular decision, so I'm keeping the cat in the bag for now. lol. Besides... keeping a few secrets makes me more mysterious, right? (I'm rolling my eyes as I type that.)

BizJudgment Full Before

The base is a big piece of cardboard and I covered it with old maps, washi tape and bakers twine. Then I collaged stuff on top of it. Part is heavily inspired by Teesha Moore, part is just me. Close-ups...

BizJudgment Bottom Right

BizJudgment Top Right

BizJudgment Left Side

BizJudgment Tree Close-up

And here's a shot after I added the parts for the scenario analysis (which I've blurred out, of course. Can't go spilling the beans by accident!)

BizJudgment Final Complete

We'll see how I did. I hope the professor liked it...

Next up... this last weekend was Rae's birthday, so we had a girl's night. Steph picked me up but we didn't make it to meet them at Bombay house for dinner - the traffic was a disaster. So we stopped for a quick bite at Cafe Rio and then met up with them at the mall for pedicures. My feet were in desperate need! Too much time cooped up in running shoes doesn't make for pretty feet. After that, we went to see the new X-Men movie which I really liked. Fun night out! Just a few pics from the nail salon:

Rae's Bday 2011 Pedis 1

Rae's Bday 2011 Pedis 2

Rae's Bday 2011 Pedis 3

And back to school again, our Capstone team has been working hard to try and make progress on our project for our client. This has been kind of rough - we don't have a lot of time for a pretty big deliverable, and we're working with some assumptions that make it hard. But you do what you can, right? So we have the first of two big presentations coming up this week and we needed to work on it so the team came over to my house tonight. Naturally, I made dinner. I did some bruschetta - a baguette toasted with a little parmigiano reggiano and then topped with edamame hummus, watercress and chopped walnuts. It was fabulous. I made a salad of arugula and baby spinach, fresh strawberries and blueberries, candied pecans (I whipped up a quick caramel from butter and brown sugar in a skillet, threw in the pecans and stirred until they were coated. Then just spread them on wax paper to cool. Yum.) and poppy seed dressing. Super yummy. For the main course I had pulled pork with mango BBQ sauce served on ciabatta rolls with bread and butter pickles and coleslaw (to put on top of the pork, of course). Dessert was a strawberry / peach crostata with vanilla ice cream and a strawberry / peach coulis. Of course, I have no pictures because I forgot before they came and then the guys chowed on it. lol. Maybe I'll get some when I eat leftovers later this week. But when all five guys go back for seconds, it's probably a good bet that it turned out pretty well.

So, I had brought my camera down to try and get pictures of the food and although I forgot that part, it was handy later on when Matt started using my sword as a thinking tool. And then decided that he wanted Darren to use it to deputize him (not sure how knighting and deputizing both use a sword, but whatever.) It was fairly funny.

Capstone - Matt gets knighted

And then since I had the camera, I grabbed a few shots of everyone. Nate and Matt:

Capstone - Nate and Matt and Sword

Chris and Chad...

Capstone - Chad and Chris

And me. We keep joking that the product we're working on is like snake oil because it does everything, so Matt made himself a cover for his Capstone notebook. We're thinking of making t-shirts.

Capstone - Me and Snake Oil
(I'm totally digging this headband lately. You probably can't tell by the fact that I'm wearing it in two sets of pictures in this blog post, but whatever.)

So that's it. I'm supposed to be pulling out pictures from the trip to send to Todd for our documentary, but I just can't get to it tonight. I'm exhausted... I think for the first little while after school is over, my spare time is going to be spent sleeping. After I get caught up, then I'll worry about what to do with myself. lol.


Back home and catching up.

The last week has been wonderful... no school, no work, no real worries.  Even the drive back and forth from my house to Monterey was relaxing since I could just kick back, put on some good music and enjoy the beautiful drive.  I've got tons and tons of photos to sort through and with my ancient computer it's going to take a while, but I'll get there!

In the meantime, I meant to put up a few posts before I left and it just didn't happen... too much to do at the last minute and I decided getting a little extra sleep before hitting the road should probably be a higher priority :)  Sorry for the picture heavy post.

First, I had a bridal shower for a friend at work and made her a fun little card for the gift my friend Melissa and I gave her... lots of fun American Crafts goodies:

IMG_2723

IMG_2724 The second project is the one that sucked the majority of my free time over the last few months... Adorable-Niece-Eraleigh's birthday present.  My mom and I have been looking for a good quiet book for a long time and never found one that was as good as the one she made me when I was a little girl.  Then I looked for patterns but still couldn't find anything I liked.  So, I decided to just make one up for her.  I bought a few basics - duck cloth for the pages (it's like canvas), snaps, hooks and velcro and some clear vinyl and clear thread.  Everything else I already had... I just went to town!  I made some sketches of the pages but mostly made it up as I went along.  Almost everything is hand cut and stitched (with the exception of a few diecut flowers and the stitching on the edges of the pages).

Cover:

IMG_2731 Inside pages:

IMG_2735
IMG_2738 On the farm page, I bought the finger puppets... I thought about making them and then realized that was crazy.  lol.
IMG_2740
IMG_2741

For the butterflies, I used Creative Imaginations felt butterflies and embellished them.  For the paper doll page, I used my Cricut Dress-up Paper Doll cartridge to make patterns for the doll and clothes.

IMG_2745

IMG_2749
So that's it!  I put grommets in the pages and put it on rings so if I decide to make more pages they can just add to the book.  Now I've got about two years to make the next one for Nicole's little girl.

And to skip ahead into vacation pictures, I gave the book to Eraleigh on her birthday while we were waiting for family to join us at Phil's Fish Market in Moss Landing.  She loved it!

  IMG_3026

IMG_3031 

IMG_3032

IMG_3034

IMG_3042

k, that's it for now.  Lots more photos to go through... unpacking and laundry... etc..  I'm really glad that tomorrow is Friday!  Getting back up to speed at work made me feel like I went through the first four days of the week all in one day.  I'm just glad there's no class tonight... such a nice little breather!


So I guess it's been a while...

Yup, I'm a blog slacker again. Things have just been crazy lately, plus my computer is on the fritz and will only run one program at a time or the display driver conks out.  Not fun!  Fortunately, I canceled my registration to Journalfest (again, not fun!) since I looked at the updated calendar and realized I'd be missing a final exam.  So at least I can use the money for a new computer... much needed, I might add, even before the latest problem. 

I've been busy with work and school, as usual.  We had a two-day off-site this last week at work that had me running from 8am to 9:30pm and with classes and studying on top of that, I've just been too tired to do anything else... lol. 

The last two weekends I've taken a little time off... last Friday we celebrated Rae's birthday at Yamato which was fun - it's always good to see Steph and Rae.  We hardly ever get together even though the three of us actually live in the same state again!  The rest of my free time has been doing two big projects to get ready for my trip to California.

First project - my contribution to our family reunion for the last few years has been the family scrapbook.  I make a scrapbook plus 6 kits so that each of the main families can take home a scrapbook to put their reunion photos in.  I try and get a list of the activities on our agenda and make pages to match.  Even though I've already got so much going on, I offered to do it again this year.  Since this is probably going to be our last family reunion (sniff!) my mom and I both thought it was important.  So... the first two layouts:

FR2010 - 4th of July

FR2010 - White Elephant Exchange

As you can see, I'm putting my diecut machines to good use!  The 4th of July stuff is all from the new Cricut Independence Day cartridge, the elephant is a Silhouette design and the gifts are Sizzix dies.  I love to use them for these projects since they're cheap, fun and easy to mass produce.  I haven't made much progress on the album yet, but I've still got a bit over 2 weeks to finish it up.

The other project is the one that's taken the most time... it's my present for Adorable-Niece-Eraleigh's 2nd birthday which we'll celebrate together in person (YAY!!!)  This is definitely a labor of love... double, actually, since I'm fully aware that doing this for Eraleigh means I have to make one for Nicole's baby when the time comes.  At least I'll have more time to work on the 2nd one, and I'm saving all my patterns, sketches and photos for round 2.  Here's a little peek:

Quiet Book - In Progress

Can you guess what it is?  I'll show pictures of the whole thing on Eraleigh's birthday - I want it to be a surprise for the family, but I'm super pleased with how it's coming along, and I have a feeling it will be worth all the effort.

So now I'm off to do a little more stitching while I watch my Sunday night Food Network shows and enjoy my last relaxation until Friday.  My OB/HR paper is due on Thursday (10 pages but at least the work is done, if not the writing), we have a case study due in Finance for our quiz Tuesday night and the Finance final is Thursday night.  I foresee very late nights for the next three days, so I'm relaxing while I can!  It's going to be a crazy week.

TTFN!


I'm still here!

Things got a little crazy this last week (don't they always?)  I was leading tours at Ancestry.com headquarters for 3 days during the NGS conference in SLC - we brought down bus loads of people who wanted to come see the inner workings of Ancestry... it was fun!  Always enjoyable to meet our customers and show them more about what we do, answer questions, etc...  My feet were tired afterward, though!  Also took my Operations final exam, started a new HR class and tried to keep up with everything else.  I'm tired all the time, but that's nothing new :)  Now I'm frantically trying to get my house cleaned up and ready for Mom and Rick to come on Thursday morning, still get my Finance and HR homework done, keep caught up at work and get birthday and Mother's Day presents and cards ready.  I'm having a rough time on the Mother's Day present I decided on... I'm about half way through but kind of stumped.  I need inspiration!!!  I'm worried it's going to look like crap... argh.

In the meantime, I tackled a few smaller things this weekend.  First:

Stacks of Layouts

This monster stack of finished layouts has been steadily growing for months.  I pulled out all of the layouts of Disney / Eraleigh and created albums for them... started a Turkey album and then put any other layouts I had started an album for into them.  The stack is now about half this size... I need to start a few more albums to finish this off!  Oy.

Second:

I saw a blog post (which I now can't find... grr...) where they used cheap frames, foam core, cork and lace to make wall mounted jewelry storage (and according to Laura, there's also a store in SLC that displays their jewelry this way).  Anyway, when I saw it I thought to myself, self... that's something you need to do to tame the overflowing jewelry box that's resulted from your insane compulsion to make tons of jewelry.  So, rather than go out and buy anything new, I used some embroidery hoops that I bought a few years ago for another project that didn't materialize, leftover fabric from yet more previous projects, some thick fun foam / styrofoam sheets that have been sitting in a drawer forever along with big Prima flowers and centers, trims and my handy mini glue gun.  Here's what I came up with:

Wall Jewelry Storage - all 3

And some other views of the individual frames (the ones on the sides are 9", the middle is 12"):

Wall Mounted Jewelry Storage

I'm digging it... looks cool on the wall, holds everything just fine and there's room for more!

Finally, a little recipe I came up with.  I'm trying to work on eating better and I wanted to come up with something I could do for breakfast that would be healthy and hold me over until lunch (my mom has always said that oatmeal will do that.  Oatmeal makes me ravenous within about 30 minutes.  lol.)  So I did a variation on a South Beach Diet recipe (which I never actually tried).  These are under 300 calories per serving and have more than 22 grams of protein.  Can't beat it!  Move over egg McMuffin...

Egg and Ham Muffins 

Spray your muffin tin with spray oil stuff (Pam, olive oil spray, whatever)

Take a slice of Canadian bacon and cut it in half and layer the halves in a muffin tin so they overlap and make a little cup (if you put it in whole, it just pops up and makes a mess.  Trust me.  Exhibit A - top right corner above.)

Take a small slice of goat cheese and put it on top of the ham.

Pour Egg Beaters over top until it comes just under the rim of the muffin tin.

A dash of salt and some fresh ground pepper on top.

Bake at 400 farenheit for 15 minutes.

They puffed up beautifully!  (The white spots are little pieces of goat cheese that puffed up with the eggs).  I packaged them up in saran wrap, 2 per serving.  They're stacked in my fridge, just waiting for me to grab some on the way out the door.  We'll see how this works out, but it has to be better than a granola bar!

Alrighty... still got a pile of Finance homework to tackle, so I'm out.


Happy Easter!

And of course, not to be forgotten, Happy Birthday Dad!  It was yesterday, but I was a non-posting slacker.  I did call home and I got to be on the phone to sing happy birthday with the family and listen while he opened presents.  They made me extremely jealous with all of the talk of the Baskin Robbins chocolate peanut butter ice cream cake.  Yum.  It sounds like it was a great birthday, and here's hoping for many more!  Here's a quick shot of the card I made to send with the present:

Dad's Birthday Card

Not my best effort at stamping words, but it's the sentiment that counts, right?

And... for today, I took my basket of froofy Easter eggs and added some candy for this year's grown up Easter basket (this is for Mom who was worried that I didn't have an Easter basket for myself.  lol).

2010 Easter Basket
I had Lindt chocolate mini eggs, a few saran wrapped pieces of my favorite Sees candy and a Hershey's bunny, a Cadbury caramel egg and a Butterfinger egg. Yum!

I spent most of the weekend watching General Conference, which was wonderful as always... but I still got a few other things done.  First, a layout.  I printed these photos of Adorable-Niece-Eraleigh weeks ago and never made the layout.  Since I was officially a few holidays behind, I thought I should get to it.

Valentine Sweetheart

I had some fun playing around with this one... I took the tags and cut out squares to make frames and then misted them and added fun trims and Japanese masking tape along with flowers and hearts cut from a sheet of Making Memories patterned paper.  Some fun vintage lace down the right side of the layout and Pink Paislee chipboard letters.

Finally, I decided that just because I was "finished" with a piece of jewelry didn't mean I couldn't go back and change it if I thought of something that would have made it look better.  I mean, duh.  It's not that hard.  So I made some changes to my seahorse necklace and updated my previous post with new pictures.  Nothing drastic - just subbed in some copper colored beads in place of blue ones to tie in the pendant better.  I like it even more now :)

I didn't complete any new pieces this weekend (that pesky house cleaning and laundry crap got in the way), but I started assembling a new pendant - I'm waiting for the E-6000 to dry so I can keep working.  Here's a quick look at where it's at:

Pearl - faux amethyst flower pendant 1

The flower is a mother of pearl carved one that I got for like $2 on Etsy... the jeweled part on the front was a pendant from a bunch of vintage necklaces I picked up.  I cut off the bail and sanded it down and glued it to the flower - I'll save the chain and either use it here or later.  I glued a new bail to the back of the flower and added some brass findings and jewels.  I don't know why the small jewels look so blue in the photo - they're violet.  I'm not entirely sure where I'm going with this one... I'm making it up as I go :)

Tomorrow night is the Muse show at the E-Center and I'm SUPER PSYCHED!!!  I'm meeting up with Rae at my place where we're going to fix dinner and then meet Steph and Mike for the show.  I'm still trying to figure out how to get a camera in now that I just have an SLR... I'll think of something.  I can't wait, though.  They're sooooo amazing live.  Of course, I didn't put two and two together until earlier today when I realized that Muse on Monday night meant that I couldn't call into my Monday conference call with my study group and that also meant that Monday night was out for working on Finance homework.  Doh.  So I spent several hours this evening working on that.  Fun, huh?  (Maybe if I'd gotten online yesterday instead of slacking and doing housework I'd have realized that and started yesterday.  Oops.) BUT!  While I did homework, I witnessed my own little Easter miracle - the Avs actually won a game! They're still in the playoff hunt! (jinx!)  Obviously it was a bit of a non-traditional Easter chez moi, but it was still fun, peaceful, relaxing and very uplifting.  Now it's time to get ready for another week!


A little birthday post

(Warning!  Long post!  For such a busy week I'm really surprised at how much I have to share... of course I've been working on bits and pieces for a while and I guess it's just all coming out at once.)

Happy (Belated) Birthday Melody!  I hope you got your package... otherwise, don't look!  Okay, I guess you can look, it's just the card :) 

Mel - BDay Card Outside

And a peek at the inside before I wrote in it...

Mel - BDay Card Inside

I also love throwing in little goodies for my favorite 9-year old, Angelina... I made her a little mini album kit to do her own scrapbooking.  I thought it would be fun to wrap it up cute, so I took a plain brown paper bag and stamped on it (I adore these Dear Lizzy stamps!)  Added her name and filled it with goodies.

Angelina Mini Album Kit Bag

And... another necklace with matching earrings.  I just couldn't wait to use this fun pendant that I scored for cheap on Etsy.  I found these awesome beads that don't really match and yet they go perfectly.

Necklace 2 - bronze studded pendant

Necklace 2 - bronze pendant close-up

I don't know why it took me so long to start making my own jewelry... this is fun!  

And then my last project for today... I mentioned in my last post that I had been painting eggs while scrapbooking.  I decided to do a fancy little Easter basket for myself this year.  I got the papier mache eggs at Michael's for $2 and then found this super cute basket for cheap + 40% coupon (nice!)  All of the decorating was done with stuff I had on hand (granted, I have a LOT on hand.)  I only made 6, but maybe they'll grow each year or something.  Here's the basket of eggs:

Fancy Easter Basket

I would be totally remiss here if I didn't give credit to my source of inspiration... I adore these fancy decorated ostrich eggs.  I would LOVE to get some this size!

Close-ups of the ones I did:

Fancy Easter Egg 1 

Fancy Easter Eggs 2-3

Fancy Easter Egg 4

Fancy Easter Egg 5

Fancy Easter Egg 6

Okay, I'm done now.  Really... I had a busy day at work and then went to class and took my Managerial Accounting final so now I'm bushed!  So glad tomorrow is Friday!!! I'm ready for the weekend.


Steampunkery

Okay, before I explain the title, I have to share.  This was waiting for me in the mailbox today.  I felt like a kid on Christmas when I saw it.  Seriously.

Journalfest Registration Packet

My registration for Journalfest is official!  And I got my first choice classes!  And I absolutely LOVE the handmade folders that Teesha made for us.  I've already started collecting bits and pieces for my classes and for my travel art journal kit when I go.  And how serendipitous that I've been working on that Venetian themed piece?  The Journalfest theme is Masquerade (because it takes place over Halloween, of course) and we're encouraged to bring a handmade mask for the festivities.  I think I need to find a papier mache mask blank so I can go to town!  I can't wait!

So for the rest, I really had a lot of fun today... I've never done anything with polymer clay and I've never really made any jewelry (I was a total failure at making friendship bracelets from embroidery thread... totally dating myself with that one, but anyways, I'm not sure that counts.)  I absolutely love big, chunky, eclectic costume jewelry, though, and I have tons of it and wear it all the time.  I also really like steampunk, assemblage and vintage - especially if it's a mix of any of the three!  So when I was surfing Amazon while I was trying to stay awake in class one night, I came across this book.

Steampunkery
I immediately fell in love with the elephant on the back cover and ordered it.  I then proceeded to carry it around with me and pour over it, wondering if I could actually do any of it.  I've actually already had to tape some of the pages back in I've gone through it so much! (And I'm thinking of taking one of Christi's online classes too).  So I thought I'd give it a try... I went to Michael's with my coupon and did some browsing... I found this silver branch pendant on clearance (although it's still full price at the one in Draper!  Go figure).

Silver Branch Pendant 

I immediately had ideas for how I could use it, so I grabbed it and used that as the base of my project.  And this is what said project looked like at about 5pm today.

Blog - First Necklace in Progress

(Note my copy of Steampunkery in the background.  lol)  I finally got the main piece done and went down and baked it for an hour while I ate dinner and watched Harry Potter on ABC Family (switching occasionally to watch BYU get their butts whooped by Kansas State in March Madness.)

After dinner I came up and started working on the chain.  I had no idea what I was doing.  It was a total revelation to me that one package of findings that included head pins, jump rings and clasps could easily get used up in just one project.  (Note to self... get more silver headpins with the loops on top).

But.  Finally.  I had a finished product... well, finished as soon as the E-6000 finishes drying.  But it was enough to take pictures.  Considering that I've never worked with polymer clay or made jewelry, let alone combined them, I think I did a pretty good job!

Blog - First Necklace

And a close-up of the pendant...

Blog - First Necklace close-up

(I really need to take photos in daylight.  lol).  Kind of funky, steampunkish with a touch of vintage (one of the gears even turns!  As long as I don't break it, anyway :).  Now I just have to figure out what outfit I can wear to church tomorrow that will go with this.  And then I can start plotting my next project.  I've been feeling inspired for so many different projects that I feel like I need to start making my own creativity backlog!  We'll see how much I get to this week... I have a final paper in Global Negotiations due on Tuesday and my final exam in Managerial Accounting on Thursday... I probably should have been studying today, but it was totally impossible.  lol.  Maybe tomorrow ;)


Work in progress

I feel like I always start my posts off the same way lately... I've been busy.  lol.  But it's true!  Anyway, I've got a few projects in the works that I finally took some pictures of to share.  No scrapbooking since the last layout posted, but I've been working on my new mixed media piece as well as my online class project.

First, the class.  We're on week 2 and I realized I hadn't posted anything, but I did take pictures before I started this week's phase.  So, this is the class I'm taking.  I'm excited to get to learn a little about making art dolls.  The first week, we assembled and painted our wagons.  I ended up using flocked paper instead of patterned and added some Glimmer Mist to give it the color I wanted.

Heart-Soul Week 1 - Front 

and a view of the back...

Heart-Soul Week 1 - Back
Week two is all about embellishing the wagon to get it ready for our doll.  I used the instructions as a general guideline, but deviated here and there to really make it *me* (which is what it's all about, right?)

Heart-Soul Week 2 - Front

And another view with the side as well:

Heart-Soul Week 2 - Front-Side

I didn't take a picture of the back... it still looks the same as above except for the wheels.  They match the front only without the glittered chipboard pieces.  Here's a close-up of the wheels:

Heart-Soul Week 2 - Wheels

I stamped and embossed a doily image onto the wheels and then added some small rhinestones.  I made the book flowers from an old dictionary and sprayed with LuminArte Radiant Rain (I LOVE that stuff!) and added the glittered chipboard to the front.  I also happened to have that mini lion's head door knocker tucked away in my stash and I thought I'd use that as my handle for what's essentially supposed to look like the door of the wagon.

For the top panel, instead of patterned paper, I used alcohol inks with a blending solution and a gold Krylon pen for a marbled effect and then used the pen to paint some wood accents I found cheap at Hobby Lobby.  I layered on an old gold jewelry piece with a turquoise metal flower and the red jewel thingy... I couldn't get a good picture of that.  Maybe next time I'll photograph in daylight. :)  So next week we start on the doll.  Should be fun!

The other project I've been working on is my Venetian themed mixed media piece.  I've been working on the canvas a bit - it's still far from done... don't judge.  lol.  I started laying things out just to see how it was pulling together and snapped a quick photo:

Venice Collage - WIP
I'm not much of a painter, so we'll see how this comes together in the end.  I'm actually pretty pleased with the perspective I got when I was sketching the gondola and the boats, so maybe it won't be half bad.  Still definitely working on the paint, though... hopefully it comes out somewhat similar to what's in my head.  Sadly, most things don't.  lol.  Oh well!  At least I'm having fun, right?


Fast start to the new year

Busy week!  I've been getting back into the swing of things at work, and my days have been packed with meetings.  Now that everyone is back from the holidays, it's definitely go-time!  I'm glad to be busy, though.  I also started my new semester at school - Entrepreneurial Management and Global Negotiations.  So far I'm loving the first and the second... eh.  I like the class itself, but I don't particularly enjoy negotiating.  We'll see if this helps me like it better :)

Up in the craft attic, I've spent most of my time trying to restore the room to my preferred state of organization and cleanliness.  It's hard because I have so much stuff in a small space, but I'm grateful to have a room of my own and I prefer a little overcrowding to the alternative of getting rid of it :)  So I actually had a few shelves that I'd bought for my condo a bit over 4 years ago that never got put up.  I finally pulled them out and hung them.  Installation was deceptively simple... wall anchors are handy little things, but installing the suckers gives me problems every time.  But they're up!  And they've helped de-clutter quite a bit (that and putting away the pile of paper accumlated from various shopping trips and a few trips to the AC warehouse sale!).  Hopefully now that it's organized I'll be more motivated to scrap :)

Speaking of... I was lucky to be one of the ones that got a great coupon from Two Peas in a Bucket that I could use for 25% off my entire purchase before the end of 2009.  That's too good of a coupon to let go to waste, so I ordered a few things to play with.  Since I've been playing around with letterpress-esque projects, I thought I'd try some of the QuicKutz Letterpress ink.  I got a few tubes and played with some of it this weekend.

Blog - Letterpress 1
It works great if you squeeze out a bit and use a brayer.  You definitely need to have some turpentine on hand to wash up afterward if you don't get the QK Letterpress cleaning cloths.  I had turpentine, but I have a feeling the cloths will be easier so I'll probably pick some up eventually.  I tried a few different mediums - chipboard, cardboard, two colors of cardstock and some metallic cardstock, all using my Cuttlebug embossing folder.

Blog - Letterpress 2
Not bad for a first batch!  One thing I learned: use very little ink.  The ones that I tried when my ink was almost gone came out with the best coverage and dried quickly... some of the others that I did early on are still a bit wet.  Now I just need to decide how to use these... I was planning cutting them into different sized hearts or flowers for a layout.  We'll see.

I also did a little catch-up on my Christmas journal.  It seems kind of silly since I also spent part of the week pulling down Christmas decorations (all but my tree - I'm not quite ready to take it down yet), but I want to get pages made for the journaling I did.

Day 10-11 

One is about gift wrapping and the other is about my tree decorating style and the reasons why my tree is so different and unique.  These were both fun... hopefully I can get the rest of the pages done soon.  I've found that I prefer doing a Christmas album like this to doing actual scrapbook layouts.  I'm not sure why - these are actually layouts too, but it just seems easier.  I've got a pile of memorabilia that I collected while I was home specifically for my journal, so I can't wait to get it all done.

And now, it's time for my Sunday Evening with the Food Network ritual! 


My first wreath

Over the years I've made quite a few wreaths, but I've always been helping my mom make them... I've never actually had a Christmas wreath for my own home.  So this year, I had a bunch of gorgeous flowers left over after decorating my tree and I thought it would be perfect to use them in a wreath.  This morning I braved the Black Friday crowds (which weren't actually that bad!  at least as long as I stayed clear of Kohl's or our new In & Out Burger... lol) and headed to Michael's to use my coupons.  I came home and worked on pulling it all together while I watched a little hockey.  I'm really pleased with how it turned out.  Of course, since it's so windy up here on my little hill I hung it on the inside of my front door... all the better to enjoy it, right?

Christmas Wreath

And of course, no post would be complete without close-ups:

Christmas Wreath 2

Christmas Wreath 3

That ribbon is gorgeous, but it left glitter everywhere!  I think it's time to go down and pull out the vaccuum and then settle down with a dvd and some leftovers and enjoy my tree :)


A day for finishing

It's been a good day for getting stuff done!

1.  I finished (and passed!) my Financial Accounting class... this was the last pre-requisite for my EMBA program.  Now I just need the loan!
2.  My carpet finished drying!  I guess that it's time to call maintenance to come look at the washing machine before my next laundry day :)
3.  I finished the stacker toy!  Let me just say... the pattern was marked "Easy to Intermediate" which leads me to believe I should be shopping in the "remedial" section.  lol.  I think it turned out pretty well, though, and I hope Adorable-Niece-Eraleigh really enjoys it.  Here's a little picture of the finished product...
Fabric Stacker Toy
I love the colors and patterns on this so I'm thrilled that I've got plenty of left-over fabric to use for other projects.  Now I just need to find a way to wrap this and ship it in a box that doesn't make the post office charge me double and get it off in time for Eraleigh's birthday!

Now that all that's done, I'll be back to scrapping soon... I've already got some photos printed out :)


Fun with Felt!

I got a couple packages of gorgeous handmade polymer clay buttons from Tessa Ann this weekend and I had to play with them.  Once I saw them in person I decided they were way too cool to just plop on a layout or stick in the center of a plain old paper flower, so I pulled out my box of felt and my sewing supplies and made some more wannabe Princess Lasertron-esque felt flowers.  The felt was perfect for these!  I love the stuff I've made so far:

Blog - Felt Flowers
Of course I can't think of anything to put them on quite yet, but I'm sure they'll end up being perfect for a layout in the near future.  And seriously.  Aren't those buttons awesome?

After that I printed out a few more recent photos of Adorable-Niece-Eraleigh to scrap.  Since I had my sewing stuff out, I decided to try my hand at creating some kind of felt and fabric butterfly.  You can't see all the detail but I think it turned out pretty well - it's much cooler in person if I do say so myself :) (Although I must apologize yet again for the crappy color in the photo...)

Just Say No to Grass
I'm starting to get halfway decent at chain stitching and french knots.  Fun stuff... it was really relaxing to work on all of this with the window open, listening to the rain outside.  It made for a nice, calming & cozy weekend :)


Taking it easy

I haven't been in much of a scrappy mood this week, but I've still been playing!  Lately I've been really inspired by the fabulous work of Princess Lasertron and I decided I've been drooling over her gorgeous felt flowers long enough and it was time to attempt a few of my own.  Voici the fruits of my labors:

Blog - Felt Flowers

I'm loving these!  I don't remember if I had ever learned to do french knots or chain stitches before this weekend, but after a little practice I think I'm finally getting the hang of it.  Now I'm just looking for something to inspire me to get scrapping again so I can use these on some layouts!

Aside from that, this weekend I've been alternating between being a hard-core hockey fan and channeling my inner 13-year old.  I got Another Cinderella Story on Netflix and watched it last night and then I saw it was on ABC Family again tonight.  And I watched it.  Again. (After watching the NHL All Star skills competition, of course!)  The movie is really cute and well done (aside from the terrible acting of the step-sister characters which, while bad was still kind of funny).  I also loved the singing and dancing that they did in this one.  Because I'm in my thirties though, I don't feel like I can admit to being a Drew Seeley fan without embarrassing myself so I'll leave it at that :)


Progress!

So I got home from my trainer's about 7:30 last night and still managed to eat dinner, finish a book, and get several little things finished that need to be ready for the reunion.  Yay me! 

In the middle of all the things that have to be done, I'm trying to finish the brag book I've been making for my mom with the last pictures of Ben.  I got the pictures printed out and did one quick layout.

Too Cool for School

One of the other things I needed to do was my grandma's birthday present.  She said that this year she didn't want presents, she wanted hand-made valentines (because I'd imagine that, as fun as presents are, getting 60 of them at once is kind of overwhelming.  Especially when you have to get them home!)  So last night I also decided that I would turn my little bird into a valentine.  I cut a heart out of fabric and stitched it on and then found a branch in my yard and attached the bird and made this little card to hang.  I'll put a personal message on the back.

Blog - Love Bird

Get it?  It's a love bird!  lol.  I did make it so she can take the bird off the stick but after doing this, I'm definitely making that mobile some time when I've got a little extra time.

Next goal... significant progress on the reunion albums by the end of the weekend.  Time to buckle down!


Whilst procrastinating: fun sewing projects

I should have been working on the sample for our family reunion albums.  Instead, I made this little birdie while I watched Hell's Kitchen on tivo.  It was a fun little diversion and I am thinking about making one as my little gift to my grandma for her birthday celebration at our reunion.  

Blog - Stuffed Birdie
 
Blog - Stuffed Birdie 2 I found a link to the pattern on another blog I read.  This one only took about 30 minutes and I was sewing by hand.  Next time I might break out the machine.  Here's another view so you can see how fun it is with coordinating patterns (although the ones on the actual site are much better, of course).

Here's the link directly to the pattern and samples.  I really want to make that mobile.  All my fat quarters that I bought because they were pretty might come in handy!

Tonight's goal:  work on something that actually needs to get done... lol.