Saturday, July 30, 2011

Part VII: Sad Butt, Happy Butt!

I have four of these Windsor-backed light cherry chairs in my Paper Jungle. As you might expect, they came from an expensive dining room set that I purchased during Marriage #1. 

When Marriage #2 (LAST!) came along, dear hubby noted that these aren't very comfortable -- the sides snug up against the hips of the not-so-slim, and there's no padding other than that which nature has provided. 

When they were replaced, they made their way up to the Paper Jungle, where one is used all the time at my main craft station, and the others reside in front of the back-up station, the sewing station and (UGH!) here at the computer desk. This makes for a very unhappy butt, back and legs.

I've wanted to replace the main craft station one with a comfy chair that swivels so I can turn from table to table, drawer to drawer, without having the legs of the chair stick in the rug. And I'm in the seat so much, I needed padding!

But I didn't want to spend my CRAFTING SUPPLIES money on a rickety, spindly one that won't hold my Nature-Enriched Natural Padding (LOL) as I move about.

Thrift store to the rescue!!  Look at this gem I found just yesterday: 

Circa 1940 -- solid, heavy wood. Genuine leather that's pretty much intact. 3" super padding ... adjustable (up/down and back suppport).  They just don't make 'em like this any more!

And one of the most fabulous parts -- other than the fact this would have wound up in a landfill (yay for recycling!) was the price. Check it out....

I'm sitting out this dance, on my new chair ... while you all out there can do the "Happy Butt" dance for me!

Part VI: More Colors than a Rainbow

Good morning, Friends.

One of the greatest joys I have in the Paper Jungle is being surrounded by colors. It's why I like to display my paper rather than hide it in racks and stacks, and also why I enjoy displaying my Copic marker collection rather than keeping them horizontal in drawers.

And the key to a good, long and productive life for your Copics (and maybe ourselves, too!!) is to keep them as horizontal as possible when not in use. 

For those who haven't tried these fabulous markers, let me tell you a little about them. Each has two nibs, top and bottom; one is pointy and fleshy ... the other is square tipped and not as flexible.  You probably can tell from my description that I like to use the pointy end, for its detail in small areas, as well as for the sweeping motion I can get when coloring and blending.

As you can see on the chart to the left of my storage box, Copic markers are available in 346 colors -- "more colors than a rainbow" -- plus they offer colorless markers (and medium) to blend your colors for depth. I've not (yet) taken any classes in Copic coloring and even so, I am impressed by how nicely I can color using them.  You can learn more about these markers by going to the company's website at www.Copicmarker.com

And before I move on from raving about the markers themselves, know that all of the nibs are replaceable, and each is refillable!  There are Copic markers in their round barrel "Ciao" version (a little cheaper, a bit less ink), which I like for their feel in my hand, as well as the most popular "Sketch" version. The Sketch version (and original Copic) can be used in the airbrush system ... I haven't gotten "into" that yet!

A bit about the chart on the left in my picture. I lifted it (sorry, unknown source) a while ago, and modified the layout to suit my needs. I think you can get a colored-in version on the Copic marker website (see above), as well.  I color in the blocks with my actual marker because often the ink color doesn't quite match the cap color. If you'd like me to e-mail a copy of the blank one to you in a .pdf format, just contact me (form below) and I'll send it to you free for the asking! 

When I am shopping for new colors, I refer to it so I limit my duplication and also see what "holes" I have in my color spectrum.  (I also keep a wallet-sized copy in my purse for shopping trips.) 

Now, about my storage unit. YES, there are "official" storage systems for Copic markers that perhaps I'll buy as I increase my collection. However, they're not widely available in stores and I like to touch-feel before I buy something online.  (I'm an old dog!! -- errr, monkey!!)  Also, they're expensive.  I purchased this 12-compartment case at Lowe's for $14.98.  When/if I move up to a different unit, I can easily use this for other functions.  For now, it allows me to keep my Copics horizontal, in full view, and with the pointy/juicy end slightly lower as that's the side that I use most often.

Color your world today, and make it a happy place!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Part V: The Thread of our Journey

Not all of my spare time -- just most of it -- is spent papercrafting. I also sew. Occasionally.  Very occasionally. Not often enough. But most often, it's sewing on my cards. Which I guess doesn't really count as sewing. Can you tell I am feeling very slightly guilty about not sewing more?  You might ask why I feel guilty ... so here's the answer.
When I decided to convert my upstairs loft into MY area for hobbies, I invested a TON of money in a gem of a sewing machine. It's a Husqvarna Diamond, which means it also does fine embroidery along with the simple straight stitches I put on cards.  It cost more than my car is worth!  My local Husqvarna dealer has a section of my local Joann's store.

So shortly after bringing home this baby, its accessories, its very own embroidered rolling luggage (!!!), dear daughter Emily asked if I'd consider getting her a Cricut for Christmas that year.  On my next trip back to Joann's "for thread", I bought "Emily's" Cricut.

I was so smitten by the Cricut, I switched my hobby world (*SNAP*) that fast!

You may have noticed that I mentioned the word "thread" in there -- which is really the subject of this Organizational Part V post.  The picture to the north of this post shows an adorable lazy-Susan display unit I purchased from a store going out of business.  I like having my threads out where I can see them -- I guess I like having colors all around me.

And here's what I did with the other half of the slatboard (refer back to earlier in the week, when I showed my paper storage on the other half). 

There, to the left, is the elegant Husqvarna Diamond sewing machine. I've spun the lazy Susan so you can see that this fits 1/4-yard pieces of felt in some of my favorite colors. On the far right of the slatboard, you'll see that I used some of the Plexiglas paper holders to use 1.5 yard pieces of the fabrics I'm currently using. The wall also holds my iron and other plug-in electronics (including a spare Cricut E, a heat gun and an embosser). For now, I also use the shelves on the slatboard to show some of my favorite 3-D paper projects I've made.

Here's hoping your world is filled with colors and joyful organization, too!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Part IV: A Gem of An Organizational Tip

Still on an organizing "kick," let me show you how I've assembled all of those teeny packages of adhesive gems so I can find just the right size and color when I need it.

That's right -- at right -- I've put them in an inexpensive photo album.

Like all of my other colors I've organized, my adhesive gems ("pearls, rhinestones and diamonds") are sorted in ROYGBV order and put into the photo sleeve. That way, I can easily flip through the album and even leave that page open when I'm working on a project to see what embellishment might work best. 

This system greatly improves the way I used to manage these little packages. I had them stored in a large envelope in my embellishment drawer; any time I needed to find the right one, I had to dump the envelope and pick through. What a waste of time! 

Incidentally, the album was on sale at Michael's for $5.00 and I bought it when I had a 20% off coupon for the entire purchase including sale items. $4.00 -- well worth the price of time, don't you think?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Organizing, Part III: Swimming in Files?

Okay, I couldn't resist the sneak ... Fish!?  What is CardMonkey up to now?!  Well, here it is: Meet Nemo, or at least a lookalike brother.

This little cutie, made by EMTEC and available at Staples, is an adorable thumb drive (some call them "flash drives") for your computer. Nemo may look small, but he holds a whale-sized amount of files -- 4GB.  Take a look: take off his head to reveal the USB hub. On this drive, I have every digital image and SVG file I've ever bought, swapped, developed or been given -- backed up here (the main files are on my hard drive, which is also backed up onto my network server).  This way, I can carry around my files very easily to crops, when I travel, etc., and know my protected files are safe at home.

I use thumb/flash drives for many different things -- they're inexpensive and a great way to have extra/handy copies of your files.  On some thumb drives, I've scanned and saved magazine pages I've dog-earred to "try soon", or tips I find handy to have while crafting.

Now I am blessed in that my hubby is a computer geek, so I have a desktop computer with large monitor upstairs in the Paper Jungle, as well as another computer downstairs in my office. I have a laptop computer as well that I keep in the Paper Jungle, linked to my Cricut. You can see that one, here, below my paper racks.

When my thumb drives aren't traveling with me and the laptop to a crop or travels, I was given the cutest MugHugger by Nicolette at Beyond Scrapping. Thank you, Nicolette!  She makes these for sale, very reasonably priced, in custom colors.  Look at how cute these little pockets around my mug hold my thumb drives!  If you look closely in the photo above (of the paper racks), you can see that this mug is snug as a bug (still being silly Seussical!) next to my laptop.

Stay tuned tomorrow for more organizational ideas from the CardMonkey's Paper Jungle!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Part II: Organizing Papers

Yesterday I showed you my new way of storing my full sheets of 12x12", in these delicious plexiglas holders hung on my new slatwall.

Today, let's talk about what to do with all of those pesky but very useful tons of scraps we all collect, often down to the smallest bit.   

(Incidentally -- What's the smallest bit you'll save?  I've heard some say a 2"x2" square. But I'll save long thin strips too, as sometimes that can be used as a border or embellishment. If I have small or odd shaped bits, I might punch them into petals, leaves or circles and store them that way to make pretty flowers or other embellies along the way.)

Anywho, this is how I store my paper scraps. While I'm working, I'll drop the pieces of paper into a dresser drawer that's been designated as holder of these bits. About every other week, I go through the drawer and sort them paper by color.  When I'm done, I put them in a 12x12" plastic "memory keeper" I get at Michael's. 

These files are stored in my usual ROYGBV arrangement. ROYGBV?  Yup, colors of the rainbow -- red, orange, yellow, green, blue, violet.  I add in white in the beginning, and add some shades (e.g., pink), as well as tan and brown, grey and silver, and black.  Stacked in my cubes, they're easy to find this way.

Now I admit that this isn't the best way to store those stacks and stacks of papers we buy -- so I'm looking for suggestions.

This sounds rather Seussical, to have stacks of stacks, and some with packs ... next to my racks ...

...but there is some (albeit not much) rhyme to how I have these stacks organized.  The pink one (second from the top) has all of my baby paper in it -- near the top because I'm working on Charlotte's albums (eventually).  At the top are the papers I'm using at the moment -- Halloween, for banners I'm making for the Labor of Love Halloween Hop (see upper right corner for Hop info, coming in September). 

I have tons of other paper too, but no pictures to show at the moment.  Perhaps I'll make that another post another day ... but for tomorrow, I have some more organizational tips to show. Sneak peek: it has to do with a FISH.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Creative Spaces

Hi there, Scrappy Friends!


It has sure been hot this weekend (100+)... and as a result, my time in my attic Paper Jungle (where the A/C doesn't kick it) has been limited.


When I did get upstairs, I had hubby John join me and bring his mechanical skills. I treated myself to a piece of slatwall to help organize my papers and such -- and he's the man with the heavy duty tools.  I got the slatwall at Home Depot, $27.98 for one 8' x 3' piece, that I had them cut in half (free!) making each piece 4' wide x 3' high.


Here's one of the two pieces, mounted on the wall above my Cricut. See those fabulous 12x12" Plexiglas paper holders for the wall?  I got them free!  That was the good news ...


... the bad news is that I got them from my favorite (and only!) local scrapbook store, which is closing at the end of this month, for good. "Take as many of them as you want," said owner Karen Silver. "The more you take, the fewer trips I'll have to the Dumpster."  So I did ... 24 of them! I also got quite a haul of supplies: specialty paper, embellishments and rubber/clear stamps from vendors (like Magnolia and Unity Stamps) usually found only online -- all at 60% off.


Creative Inklings in Lahaska, PA has been a fun place for inspiration, the greatest selection of specialty scrapbook papers, and where I have attended SCAL classes and a late-night crop. Karen, I'll miss you and your fun band of instructors!


Thanks for the memories ... and for the paper holders! 

Friends, stay tuned this week for more organizational ideas from the Paper Jungle.  Tomorrow: Part II, Paper Storage.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Madison's IFTL Gift for Little Marley: "I Feel The Love"

One of the truly beautiful things that has come about by being part of this Blogger community is having the ability to meet people with both talent and compassion to want to share their work.

One such lovely young lady I've come to meet is Madison Womack, whose blog is http://www.funkycards.blogspot.com/.
Madison is wise and compassionate beyond her years!
 
This weekend, Madison invited me to be a part of her "I Feel The Love Project" (IFTL).  Madison coordinates groups of crafters to produce cards for families and/or their children who are enduring a health crisis, where they could use a little handmade pick-me-up.


For more information, please go to Madison's blogsite (listed above) and click on her IFTL blog button once there.

For the current IFTL project, cards will be sent to the adorable Marley Moore (left), age 3. For the past two years,  Marley has been battling a brain tumor (pilocytic astrocytoma), for which she has had surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. An MRI just last week showed that the tumor had grown 10% compared to the previous study -- yet the family remains hopeful that their little girl will soon turn the corner, and her health will be restored.

As a Mom and Grandmom, I can't imagine the pain of watching your baby suffer through treatments and the effects of the disease ... as well as the strain it puts on the family.
  
The Moore family: big sister Mia, Dad Brent,
Mom Nikki and Marley
 Only unabating faith sees you through; no doubt, Marley is surrounded by the love of her immediate family, and is bathed in the prayers of the thousands whose have been touched by her innocent smile. 

From Marley's Caring Bridge Journal Entry: "Marley is a little angel. She is a beautiful, strong, little girl, and she's well on her way to fighting through this. We believe in a mighty God...one that is with her every step of the way."


Madison asks that those of us who'd like to help should send a card to Marley and/or her family, by July 31st, to:   
Madison Womack - (IFTL) Funky Cards
P.O. Box 1203
Atascadero, CA 93423
Please write #2 on the lower left/front of the card envelope; also, post a picture of the card on Madison's blog, by following the link above and clicking on the blue Mr. Linky.
Here are my cards for the IFTL project: 

For Marley ...


...and for Marley's parents

Do you have a favorite paper?

My favorite collection of papers has to go to NIKKI SIVILS SCRAPBOOKER LLC. Her collections "speak to me" ... bright, vibrant, useful, coordinated and fun. Plus the paper quality used holds up to cards, 3-D elements, embellishments and scrapbook papers. They do my projects proud!

This summer, Nikki is introducing 5 new lines:





For a full view of all of the papers in these collections, visit Nikki Sivils' website at http://nikkisdoghouse.blogspot.com/2011/07/well-i-guess-its-time-to-share-all-my.html

You'll see a gallery of samples there, plus the lines of papers and the cut-outs on them, and more!

In fact, I love these papers so much that I have a separate filing system for them, and I save every scrap/bit I have. My LSS doesn't carry every line, but there are many on-line retailers where you can purchase them. I recommend "A Cherry On Top" as one of the best on-line retailers for scrapbooking supplies.

(No disclaimer necessary! These vendors are my personal recommendation and I've received no compensation and am on neither's design teams, drat!!)

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Care to Join Me?



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July 28-30, 2011 - Valley Forge, PA
 
Hello, out there in Blogger Land!  Whoooooo is planning on going to the CKSC in Valley Forge, PA, July 28-30???

If it's on your list of things you'd like to do, would you like to meet up onsite to either crop or shop, or both? 

Please leave a comment, or drop me a line at cardmonkey@comcast.net.  If I get another 3-4 people, maybe we should reserve a Celebration table?  

Go here for more info on the event:
http://www.scrapandpapercorner.com/events/ckc/valley_forge/index.html 

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Oh, Go Fly a Kite!!

LOL, I knew that headline would get your attention!!

Now that I have it, let me show you an all-purpose card I dashed together this weekend for you. 

The cute dotted paper from which I cut a kite-shape is from my favorite Nikki Sivils line, "We Are Family."  The sentiment ("A Very Happy Day!") is also from that paper, though I cut the scallops above the text.  I used marker to draw the flag crossbow.

While I stitched around the perimeter using my sewing machine, I also made a curvy tail for the flag.  It just didn't pop, so I added a bit of twine atop, and tied knotted snips of grosgrain ribbons along it.  Mounted on a solid deep red paper and glued to a card. Tah-dahhhh, done! 

Hope you're having a good Wednesday!  Go fly a kite!!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Is it all about winning?

Happy Tuesday, everyone!

Is it as hard for you to get back in the swing of things after an extra-long weekend, as it is for me? 

I had a wonderful weekend, enjoying quiet time in the Paper Jungle.  While I wish I could say I got more crafting done, I really had to thin the vines a bit, and whack back the weeds in the Jungle.  In other words, I'd made it a MESS!! 

It's better now, not perfect ... but then again, neither am I.

Today I'm showing one of the (yes!) 24 cards I made in June for my personal challenge as part of the Royal Purple Freedom Blog Hop.

I'll be honest ... not only did I want to make the cards for women who needed extra support in a shelter for those suffering the after-effects of domestic violence, I also had an incentive.

You see, for each card and/or dollar raised and contributed to the cause earns one chance to win a fabulous grand prize of crafting supplies.  We can all use them, right?

Well, silly me -- I hadn't paid attention to the rules. I learned just last week that those of us who were "stops" in the blog hop aren't eligible to win the prizes, no matter how many cards or cash we contribute.

Harumphf! 

I know, I know -- 'tis better to give than receive.  I wish I was more godly or altruistic that I didn't need motivation or incentive.  Yes, I still play Bingo at the Senior Center, not only to help the seniors with their fund raising, but also hoping I'll occasionally win.  Yes, I still buy lottery tickets -- not only to benefit older Pennsylvanians but also hoping I'll win. I wanted (gosh!) at least ONE chance to win those prizes!!  Am I nuts?

....and yes, when I play along on Blog Hops, leaving comments along the way, yup, I do hope that I'll occasionally win some "candy."  And I LOVE LOVE LOVE it when I can award it, too!!   In online conversation with a hop organizer about my disqualification, I started to feel ... unchristian? ungodly? greedy?  ... and yup, a bit annoyed.  A bit judged.  Feelings I just didn't like.  I felt my nose slip out of joint.

True enough, it's hard to communicate fully via emoticons and flat computer monitors ... perhaps I misunderstood. But still, I felt hurt. I felt I had given my time (a LOT of it, and I have precious little spare time these days) as well as my space here, and yes, I wanted to be loved.  Accepted. And a chance to win!

This little place here in the world, the World Wide Web, is mine ... I want this place -- my little world on Blogger -- to be an accepting place, where there's no room for an "UNLIKE" button.  I guess I'm just weird, at that.

What do you think?

Monday, July 4, 2011

Wee Henry Goes Snorkeling

I hope your Independence Day was warm enough to hit the beach or a pool, like my friend "Wee Henry" (from Hambo Stamps) did today.


I used a large copy of the Wee Henry digi-image to make this card today.  It's one of the things I like so much about digi-images versus stamps -- that is, that they can be sized to suit your mood.  And they're quick to purchase (online, via PayPal, it took less than 5 minutes) and inexpensive (less than $3 for this image, for unlimited number of uses). 

I colored Wee Henry using Copic markers. They're my favorite! If you haven't gotten any yet, be sure to find your favorite retailer (online or retail) and make your buys before Copic International's mandatory price increase coming soon. Copics are refillable, and the nibs are replaceable, and great for blending, highlighting and shadowing.

The shaded blue papers on the left of the card (at the fold) is actually a trimmed down paint chip card I got at my local paint/hardware store.  Pretty nifty, ehhh?

I also use Prisma colored pencils and Gamsol for coloring finer images, or ones where I don't yet have the right shade of Copic marker. 

Have you tried digi-images yet?  And how do you color the images? 

Land of the Free, Because of the Brave

Happy Independence Day!

Living in the Cradle of American History as I do in the suburbs of Philadelphia, it's often easy to forget to recognize those who have fought for our liberties since our independence 235 years ago. 

In truth though, our struggles as a nation went back even farther, as do our lands and towns surrounding Philadelphia.  In fact, this year, Warminster (the town where I serve as an elected official) celebrates its 300th birthday! 

I grew up a short bike ride away from the battlefields at Valley Forge National Park. We often spent our Independence Day at picnics at Valley Forge. The park is a national treasure that is a must-see! 

There are often historic reenactments of George Washington's troops at Valley Forge. This picture is one from this year's (February) reenactment.

This is Elfreth's Alley. The home I lived in, on Spruce
Street, was built in the same era but was on a wider
street, built for two horse carts across. (A double-
lane highway, of its day!)
Later in life, I lived in the City's most historic area, known as Society Hill.  Our home (which we rented) was built in 1743; it was just 13' wide but 54' deep, 3 stories tall ("Father, Son and the Holy Ghost"), with worn marble steps outside and original oak floors inside. It was lovely -- and such a fun time in my life!

Our family recognized our nation's history and made it part of our own, when my darling daughter Emily married my best son-in-law ever Josh, in 2008.  They were married at Gloria Dei Old Swedes' Church, the oldest church in Pennsylvania and the second oldest in the nation, where services have been held continuously since 1700. 

Their wedding pictures were taken in the church and its beautiful grounds, as well as in and around Philadelphia, including this one at Carpenter's Hall:


I hope you enjoyed this little bit of history, as I've reminisced about what it's meant to me personally. 

Celebrate your Independence today by doing whatever makes you happiest!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Stopping to smell the flowers ...

Hello, you very patient friends and followers!

Photoshop-created art, from a
photograph I took of a water lily.
I apologize for having to be away from my craft room ("The Paper Jungle") and you while I get a grip on life in the fast lane, with a new full-time job.

I've got a lot of catching up to do!

First of all, I'll be hitting the post office this week and will be mailing blog candy to those of you who have been waiting patiently.  Thank you, Cindy (Momenta notecard set); Bea (Disney EK Success kit); and Jen (EmbEllies) for bearing with me.  Look for your prizes in your mail this week!

I'll also be mailing cards and shhhh, a surprise to Faith Freeman, who coordinated the recent Royal Purple Freedom Blog Hop.  While Faith's fundraising goal was not yet met, she certainly helped call attention to our need for solidarity against domestic violence.  It is not too late to send a contribution and/or card for abused women at the Bradley Angle Home, and have a chance to win wonderful prize baskets from the Hop's sponsors.

I also have the fun of picking two more Blog Candy winners from my recent Hops, and they are:

Linda Dale (Milroy), whose blog is "The Fruit of My Hands", wins a handmade (by me!) beaded bracelet or necklace in her choice of colors/length. 

AmyJo (AmyJRockStar), you've won my prize from the Royal Purple Freedom blog hop -- a pack of DCWV paper, 6 EmbEllies, and CardMonkey Glimmer Mist. 

Ladies, contact me please ASAP with your mailing address.  And feel free to pick up the CardMonkey Winner Blog Button (above) to celebrate your win on your blog, if you'd like. 

And I have another Blog Award to celebrate, too! Mmmm, take a look at these berries, and tell me if this doesn't scream summer!!  Selina at http://www.mudpiereality.com/ gave me this Irresistibly Sweet Award ... thank you!  It comes with the responsibility to share 7 things about me, and to pass it on to 7 others.  Here goes:

1.  My new job has been both frustrating and rewarding, a rollercoaster.  The good news is that it's on the up-swing, and my boss is encouraging and supportive.


2.  I miss my crafting time and buddies that working full-time has brought. The last time I spent any serious crafting time upstairs was when I helped my DD Emily make a poster for her workplace ... and she used the Cricut. Otherwise, nary a chirp out of the ol' Cricuts!


3.  I'd be happiest if I could make a full-time living (and wage with benefits) crafting all day! Wouldn't we all?!  Second choice would be to be writing more!  One day, I'll be that best-selling novelist ... until then, just a dreamer.



4.  I am loving being a grandmother.  What a surprise ... NOT!

What IS surprising is how quickly Charlotte is growing ... and the charming personality she has already, at just 6 months.

5.  My favorite spot to vacation is the beach. And I haven't been to the beach in, like, ..... forever!  (Okay, 2008)





6. I am blessed to have both parents still alive and well; in September, they will celebrate 60 years of marriage!  Mom and Dad recently visited from Florida to meet Charlotte!




7. My favorite dinner is spaghetti bolognese (w/meat sauce), followed by a cake made from a store-bought package mix.  How simple am I?

...and I HATE lima beans.

Alrighty ... I've bored you long enough.  Let me think about the 7 bloggers who'll be getting this award. The pictures of all the sweeties, combined with spaghetti and that luscious strawberry pie, has caused a Carb Coma .... time for a zzzzzzz nap!