Friday, April 14, 2017

Long Time, No See!



Hello, Friends and Followers!

Gosh, I didn't realize how long it's been since I last posted on my blog. Let me catch you up a bit:

In January 2017, hubby John and I, along with daughter Emily and her husband Josh, boarded the Adventure of the Seas for a week-long Caribbean cruise that turned into a bit of a nightmare.

John apparently contracted Influenza A (despite a flu shot) and then had a post-flu inflammation of his quadriceps muscles (thighs) that caused him to be suddenly unable to walk. He spent 3 weeks in the hospital, followed by 3 weeks in rehab/nursing home; he came home February 27 and has been working to get his strength back. What a journey it has been, for both of us!

Necessarily, my crafting mojo has had to take a very back seat. I was able to get in just ONE cardmaking class in February, just before my beloved "Scatter Joy Center for the Arts" closed permanently at the end of February. I will always be grateful to Kathy Davis and Bill Lessa, for believing in me and giving me the venue to teach cardmaking to community residents.


Meanwhile, I made the difficult decision to step away from my Close To My Heart business and "Paper Jungle" team so that I could re-group under a new upline. Everyone's needs are different, and I found over the past four years that I needed to be part of a larger team (upline and above) that inspired me and recognized me and my team for our achievements.  CTMH requires that when a Consultant step down as I did, she must wait out 3 months before rejoining. UGH, it's the hardest part -- but the distractions of John's health made the timing bearable. 

I'll be rejoining CTMH on May 1, and will be happy to announce some new classes and challenges then. In the meantime, if you've ever considered joining, please come along with me on this VERY fun journey, and grow with us! Drop a line to me at cardmonkey@comcast.net for more info.  OH, and there's a terrific join-up special happening in May, whether you're a returning former Consultant, or if you're brand new.  Let me show you...

May 2017 is "National Papercrafting Month."  In celebration, CTMH has developed a brand new and VERY special paper pack called "Live Beautifully."  This layout kit (shown below) is FREE to everyone who joins or rejoins CTMH in May 2017. This is a $44.95 USD value!!  FREE!  





In addition to getting this beautiful layout kit, New Consultants receive a medium organizer chock-full of key supplies for crafting, catalogs to get your parties started, PLUS $50 of "Select Product Credit" to buy CTMH goodies of your choosing. All this for only $75 joiner fee. Seriously!  It's like being paid to join!  I can't wait to get back, as I love, love, love the papers being introduced on May 1 in the "Seasonal Expressions 2" catalog, and then there will be MORE goodies coming with the new annual catalog this summer.  (Yes, I am an addict. A craft hoarder. I need a 12"x12" step program!)

OH, and I'm just waiting for a new location to firm up before I announce a MONTHLY cardmaking class that will be local to me.  Stay tuned!


Thursday, December 15, 2016

Santa's riding the City Sidewalks


Just dropping in to say hello to my friends, family and followers!

I'm digging out some current Close To My Heart holiday paper to make a few cards before the season totally overwhelms me.  This one is a tri-fold shutter card pattern, combining with some Red Shimmer Trim and some bling.

The paper is called "City Sidewalks," and it coordinates with the digital-only Cricut cartridge that had been sold by CTMH. Had been?  Yup, it's sold out. And there are only 16 more days to get your holiday papers too, as the Holiday Expressions catalog retires on 12/31 and ... YES! ... that means a new catalog is around the corner.

Would YOU like to receive a Seasonal Expressions CTMH catalog?  Just leave a comment here with a way for me to contact you to get your address, and I'll send one right out to you.  WAIT until you see the new products -- papers, stamps, AND more! 

Saturday, December 3, 2016

December's Disney Pixar Blog Hop

Welcome to the Original Disney Pixar Blog Hop
 
Disney and crafting are a magical combination, and we are so happy you joined us to day for this blog hop.  Some of the crafters participating in this event have been doing this together since 2011!  Over the years the hop has grown but one thing has always stayed the same . . . amazing crafting projects that feature your favorite characters from Disney and Pixar movies.

For 2016 we have had a hop every other month for the entire year!  If you missed one of the hops we already had this year, you can still go back and see the projects.  For February click HERE, for April click HERE, for June click HERE, for August click HERE and for October click HERE.  If you are on Facebook, you can like the group page so that you can be the first to learn about each upcoming event.  Just click HERE to go the the Facebook page.

To make sure you don't miss any of the fun, be sure to start at Shawn's blog to see all of the projects. Just click HERE to head over to Shawn's blog and then follow the hop line up at the bottom of the post to see everyone's projects.
 
Here's my project:
 
It's almost Christmas (eeeek, how did that happen!!?), so I decided to make a Mickey Christmas card for a favorite Disney-freak. Did you know that Cricut has added some sweet Christmas in Disney images to their Cricut Design Space shop?
 
 
 
I purchased the two images -- Mickey on the ladder and the Cozy Pluto -- and cut / pieced the images, using my Cricut Explore, for my side-step card.  The Christmas tree is also from Cricut Design Space ("Access").  The sentiment I stamped using a retired font stamp set from Close To My Heart and Ruby Exclusive Ink.

Before you go, make sure to enter to win our prize for this hop . . .



We have a prize from KatScrappiness.com!  This prize pack includes a die set and 5 packages of sequins of the winners choice!  Choices must be from the current inventory. Winners must be in the continental United States.
 
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a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Thank you again for joining us on this Original Disney Pixar Blog Hop, and for supporting our fun for the past year. We hope to see you again in 2017 for more Disney magic!  Now please head over to Tammy's blog for the next stop along the happy train.

 

Good luck, and enjoy the rest of the hop!

The full blog hop line up is below.  







Saturday, October 8, 2016

Disney Pixar Blog Hop for October, 2016: Ariel's Twist and Pop Card

Welcome to the
Disney Pixar Blog Hop!

Disney and crafting are a magical combination, and we are so happy you joined us to day for this blog hop.  Some of the crafters participating in this event have been doing this together since 2011!  Over the years the hop has grown but one thing has always stayed the same . . . amazing crafting projects that feature your favorite characters from Disney and Pixar movies.

For 2016 we are going to have a hop every other month for the entire year!  If you missed one of the hops we already had this year, you can still go back and see the projects.  For February click HERE, for April click HERE, for June click HERE and for August click HERE. If you are on Facebook you can like the group page so that you can be the first to learn about each upcoming event.  Just click HERE to go the the Facebook page.

To make sure you don't miss any of the fun, be sure to start at Shawn's blog to see all of the projects.  Just click HERE to head over to Shawn's blog and then follow the hop line up at the bottom of the post to see everyone's projects.
 
For this month's Hop, I featured one of my granddaughter Charlotte's favorite Disney characters, Ariel. I used a trendy fold pattern called a "Twist and Pop Card" to make this birthday card:
 
Here's the cover of the 4"x6" card:
 
 
This paper is produced by Disney. I've had it in my stash for a while,
but I think I bought it at Michael's.
 
 
Now check out the motion on this card:
 
 
The card opens vertically from the top/bottom.
The 10" wide insert is on a cross-fold pop-up that twists.
The mechanism is a simple fold.
 
And here is Ariel sending her birthday greetings
(the inside of the card):
 
 
 
I accented the paper with Sparkle Gems and Silver Shimmer Trim, both from Close To My Heart.
 
I hope you enjoyed my project! 
 


Before you go, make sure to enter to win our prize for this hop . . .

We have a prize from Paper Wizard!  You could win one of their Mouse Wreaths, which is pictured in the image below!  This is perfect for a Disney scrapbook or to turn into a home decor item.
 


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a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Good luck, and enjoy the rest of the hop!

The full blog hop line up is below.  







Monday, September 26, 2016

Atlantic Hearts Sketch Challenge - Sketch # 179

It was my pleasure to serve on this week's Design Team for the Atlantic Hearts Sketch Challenge Blog, working on Sketch # 179, which is this simple design:
 
Sketches such as these encourage your creative thinking, especially when you're running low on mojo. Do stop by AHSC when you can for inspiration both from the Design Team and from those who participate. And do post your cards, layouts or projects that follow the challenge. I'd LOVE to see your work, too!
 
Here is my take on Sketch #179:
 
 
 
The supplies I used were:
 
 
Thanks for stopping by! 
 
 
 
 
 

Monday, September 12, 2016

Inside the Paper Jungle: Picking a Paper Trimmer

From time to time, I'll be giving my readers a sneak peek into the new papercrafting products, supplies or tools in my Paper Jungle, and offering a review and/or recommendation. Unless I tell you otherwise in that post, I receive no compensation (cash or supplies) from anyone to provide this review. 

This month, let's look at paper trimmers, including my new favorite, the Cutterpillar Crop.

I have, literally, a large banker's box full of paper trimmers that I've accumulated over the six years I've been papercrafting. I started with a Martha Stewart deep-blade paper trimmer with a 12"x12" bed. I moved onto Fiskars, a Carl rotary, an old-school guillotine, and a large/heavy We R Memory Keepers trimmer.  I finally found a favorite and portable paper trimmer, in Stampin' Up's paper trimmer, and I bought two of those just to always have one handy.

Recently, while attending the Close To My Heart Convention in Orlando, one of my fellow Consultant/Friends showed me her Cutterpillar Crop Scrapbook and Craft Paper Trimmer.  She demonstrated it for me, and I got to try it to see how narrow a thin bit of paper could be trimmed. I was impressed to see a paper off-cut of a thin, curled bit of paper, truly less than 1/32" of an inch!

Here's a closer look:

 
Cutterpillar Crop is made by Simple Products of Draper, Utah (www.cutterpillar.com). It is the smaller and less expensive sister of the Cutterpillar Pro. I got it through Amazon.com for $59, including free Prime shipping; here's a LINK.  It's now $69.09 as of this post, which is still at least $20 less than any of my usual suppliers of such goodies.

The box says "This trimmer is designed for speed, precision and accuracy."  Uniquely, there is a battery-operated (four AA's) LED light that illuminates the cutting edge for more accurate cuts, "especially on photos and lighter stocks).  The trimmer is NOT recommended to trim heavy chipboard, thick plastics, cloth, adhesive or metallic stocks, and cutting those sorts of media with the Cutterpillar Crop will VOID your 90-day warranty!

The blade is a replaceable self-sharpening rotary blade, which should not need replacing -- ever! 

It glides along a metal "gear rod". Be careful NOT to carry or lift the trimmer by this rod, as it can shift your cutting accuracy. The blade cuts in either direction, in a push/pull. The arm moves out to open to 17.5" -- very wide!

To aid in your cutting accuracy, the ARM is marked in both metric and inches, as small as 1/16 inch. The bed,  however, is marked in 1/4" squares only. The markings are impressed into the plastic surface with NO darker printing anywhere on it.  I found this a bit difficult to use without darkened markings.

Therefore, I marked my own trimmer using a Sharpie permanent marker. I make many pop-up box cards where the critical size is 2.75", so that is why I marked both my horizontal and vertical sizes with a dashed line. I also make a lot of A2 cards which are 4.25" x 5.5", which is why I noted those sizes.  I also wrote on the rail to DO NOT LIFT, and marked with my name.

I will also likely mark the 1" in from the cutting edge, as it's a little difficult -- for me, at least, to get used to the right hand edge being in an inch from the ruler.

In this picture (left), I'm trying to show how the LED light bar DOES shine through a standard cardstock, i.e., the weight of a Close To My Heart cardstock. So if you're trying to trim along a definite line or border, turn on the light (the switch is on the front at the bottom of the gear rod) and shine on!

This paper trimmer isn't exactly portable, though the company recommends that you keep the sturdy box (with handle) to carry the box. I plan on keeping it on my desk surface, and using other trimmers at crops and such unless I find I can't live without this one. I estimate it weighs about 4 to 5 pounds, so it is well made with quality materials.

Instead, when I travel away from the Paper Jungle, I'll likely continue to use my flat, standard paper trimmer from Stampin' Up.  One of my very favorite things about the SU trimmer is the dual blades -- one is the cutter and one is a scoring blade for marking folds. You CAN remove either one if you so choose; for me, I marked the blades to remind me which cuts and which scores -- duhhhh, I learned from experience how often I mix one up and end up cutting my cards in half inadvertently! 

I'd love to be able to highly recommend the Fiskars trimmer sold by CTMH. I liked it very much when I first got it, mostly because the accuracy is aided by a wire that runs along the cutting/drag blade. The problem is, several of my wires frayed from the blade rubbing up against it, and the only way to continue to use it is to trim off the wire. How frustrating!  Fiskars realizes this is a problem, and DOES offer free replacement wires and segments to repair your trimmer, available by contacting Fiskars' customer service. Fiskars also now offers a rotary/gear-rod driven trimmer which I have not tried. 

I also still use my Martha Stewart paper trimmer, as the blade is exceptionally deep AND sharp!!  I use it to cut chipboard and glitter paper. I can attest to how sharp it is ... when I went to change the blade, I severely cut my finger and bled a LOT. I thought I'd need stitches. Ever the documenter, I did take pictures, but I'll spare you those. Gross!

Several of my crafting friends use the We R Memory Keepers paper trimmer (pink, at right) which is now discontinued. It is HEAVY, I mean really heavy, and unfolds to open a large 12"x12" bed. I most like the bed itself, with the various markings for cards on this cutter.  This was an expensive trimmer ($100+) that has been a bit of a disappointment in terms of cutting accuracy, IMO. 

So that's it on paper trimmers. If you have any questions, feel free to ask away!  Thanks for tuning in!

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

#GrandmaToAKindergartener (eeek, where has the time gone!?)


It's funny with kids. Turn your head away for just a few seconds, and they've grown up from an infant to heading off to school, and the next thing you know, they'll be heading to college and getting married ....

Darling Charlotte, my first grandbaby, started kindergarten today. I swear it feels like just yesterday that she was taking her first steps, saying her first words.  So now I am officially a #GrandmaToAKindergartener.

To celebrate this occasion, her Mom Emily and I collaborated on a few crafting goodies that will help her, and us, remember this day and other first days in the years ahead.

First, I made a card. It's a side-step card, and the paper I used is Close To My Heart's new "Swan Lake" suite, available beginning September 1. I added stamped images from the CTMH stamp set "School Kids", as well as some text cut using my Cricut Explore.

Next, Emily dropped off a very large pink shirt, and asked if I could make a "Class of 2029" to affix to the shirt. I used heat transfer vinyl and designed the cut, again, with the Cricut Explore. The idea behind the shirt is to have Charlotte pose in it every year until she fills it out, in 2029.

The most time-consuming project was making a chalkboard sign for Emily and Charlotte to complete annually, to pose with in their yard.

Emily bought the simple framed chalkboard at Michael's for about $10.  In my stash, I had hoarded a lot of vinyl (both matte and glossy) in a variety of colors. Again, using the Cricut Explore, I set the text in a selection of fun fonts; where the information would change annually, Emily wrote that information in chalkboard markers that she also purchased at Michael's.  Here's the finished project; please don't mind some of the privacy edits. We can never be too safe with our special kiddos.


And today the big day came:

 
 
 
(Baby brother, Evan)
 
...and just for kicks, let's compare Charlotte's mom Emily (left) on her first day of kindergarten (age 5) with Charlotte on her first day of kindergarten (age 5.5):
 
 
 
 
 


Long Time, No See!

Hello, Friends and Followers! Gosh, I didn't realize how long it's been since I last posted on my blog. Let me catch you up...