Sunday, May 22, 2011

A to Z, all about me!

I'd love to "Get To Know You".

Another blog I follow, CaraC at "Miscellaneous Me", posted this fun "Get To Know You" that features A-to-Z questions about YOU.  These, below, are about me ... If you'd like to play along, repost the list of A-Z questions with YOUR answers on your blogsite and send me a link in a comment, below.  If you don't have a blog, send me an e-mail with your replies...

...those who respond will be entered into a random drawing for some EmbEllies!!

A. Age: 55, still

B. Bed size: King


C. Chore you dislike: Scrubbing the shower



Morgan, left, and Sadie -- Inseparable, for better or worse
 

D. Dogs: 2 Bichons, Sadie & Morgan

E. Essential start to your day: Potty break ... wise words: when over age 50, never miss an opportunity to "go".


F. Favorite color(s): Pink, aqua, lime green, lilac


G. Gold or silver: Gold, baby!


H. Height: 5’6” (short for my weight)


I. Instruments you play(ed): Flute, a long, long time ago. Harmonica, less long ago. Neither of them well.


J. Job title: Marketing/Admissions Coordinator



Darling Daughter, Emily
Circa October 2008

K. Kids: 1 of my bio, daughter Emily; 1 step-variety, son Paul. One in heaven, watching.


L. Live: In Pennsylvania, for most of my life.



My sweet Mom, "Dot"





M. Mom's name: Dorothy (aka, Dot)



N. Nicknames: Ells, Ellie, MonkeyToes, Monkey, Polly (don’t ask)


O. Overnight hospital stays: Too many to count, especially in 2010.


P. Pet peeves: Lying/dishonesty



Rhett (luscious, I mean, left) -
"Gone With The Wind"

Q. Quote from a movie: “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.”




R. Righty or lefty: Righty, alrighty.

2008: L-R, back - Mary Beth, Ed, me, Janet.
Mom and Dad, celebrating Dad's 80th birthday.

S. Siblings: Three – Janet, Ed, Mary Beth. I'm the girl in the middle!


T. Time you wake up: 6 a.m.’ish, even on weekends (dammit)


U. Underwear: Always …. Boring!! (what, you were expecting a picture here????!)


V. Vegetables you don't like: Lima beans, mushrooms (FUNGUS!), asparagus


W. What makes you run late: Blogging/computer


X. X-rays you've had: A large variety – head (mostly) to toes (all of them)


Y. Yummy food you make: Most everyone raves about my quiche.


Z. Zoo animal favorites: Monkeys, of course!

What more can I say?


Words as art

Hi, Bloggy Friends:                               Just because I haven't been in my Paper Jungle in what seems like weeks,
that doesn't mean I haven't been crafting and reading my favorite paper blogs.

This morning, for instance, one of my favorite bloggers Diane at Capadia Design wrote about an a-m-a-z-i-n-g website called Wordle.  You enter or link to a series of words and then based on your use of those words and the "weight" you give them, Wordle randomizes them and creates a layout featuring those words.

I could (and did!) play with this for hours. The layout above is one that Wordle created for me using the words I associate with my new job in the SNF for medically-fragile children, Pediatric Specialty Care at Point Pleasant. 

Wouldn't this look cool on a t-shirt, or notecard?!  Oh, the possibilities are endless!  Go play with your own words but be forewarned, you'll be playing for a long, long time!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

A Cricut-astic Blog -- A New Award!




This award just hopped on over to my blog, thanks to the generosity of Tami at www.scrappinrabbitdesigns.blogspot.com.   Tami, you're so sweet to think of me when considering what blogs you find the most Cricut-astic. 

Like most awards, this one requires that you say 5 things about yourself relative to CRICUT, and pass the award on to 10 bloggers. I'm going to have to take my time with naming blogs ... there are so many deserving recipients, to narrow it to 10 will take 'til the weekend, I think.

BUT, here are the 5 Cricut-y things about me:

1.  In my Paper Jungle, I have not one but TWO Cricut Expressions -- two machines, no waiting!  Actually, one is daughter Emily's, the other is mine. Just keeping up with the Joneses!!

2.  I have more than 100 Cricut cartridges.

3.  I have no desire for a Cricut Imagine, and I'm not really sure the E2 is high on my list either.  I get what I want from the Cricut Expression.

4.  Cricut Cake is not what it's cracked up to be, unless you make a LOT of cakes.  OR if you do something inventive with it.  When I have more time to play........

5.  I use my SCAL and MTC to supplement my Cricut cartridges.

My FAVORITE Cricut-astic Blog is www.craftychicsblog.blogspot.com.  It belongs to Shawn, who is the founder of My Cut Search (www.mycutsearch.com), the BEST site ever to use with your Cricut!!!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Getting back to basics: Love, Family, Spirituality

Hi Bloggy Friends ...

I started employee orientation at my new job today ... I'm certain it will be a wonderful and rewarding opportunity, working with medically-fragile children and their families.

Sometimes in this world, we lose sight of what's truly important: love, faith, spirituality, family.  To be able to re-center in such a way at this stage in my life is a true blessing.

That said, I still don't have cards to share, but instead bring you these two bits of family:

The latest picture of Charlotte, taken today. She fills my heart, just thinking about how precious she is:




And speaking of family, my Favorite Family Thespian, Conrad, landed an acting gig in this summer's commercial for Hershey's Park. What a dream for a young guy -- riding a roller coaster all day AND getting paid!

Conrad is shown in close-up at the end of this video. He is the young man, blonde/wearing a red shirt, just over the words "100% Family", whose head is touched by the "mother" in the picture. So cute!



Monday, May 16, 2011

Tip of the Week: Make your own Bowmaker

Hello, Bloggy Friends.

Are you ready for a crash course in bowmaking?

I'm all thumbs -- or at least, left longing for a few more fingers and hands -- when making bows for my cards and layouts.

Yet the bows I made today (at left) were blessedly simple and quick to make, because I had the right tool ... a homemade bowmaker.

The box looks like this, just bought
Inspired by Becca at Amazing Paper Grace (click her blog name here for a link to her posting), I made a bow loom out of a wooden box bought for $1 at Michael's. 

I measured 12 holes around the rim (Becca's uses 16 holes), and using Mr. Smiley's cordless drill equipped with a 1/8" bit, I carefully drilled the 12 holes each about 1/2" deep.

I drilled one hole in the center of the box, through the bottom.  You're going to want to put a flat-headed nail up through the bottom to use as a center post. The nail I used look like this.


I purchased rivets to insert into the holes around the rim. They look like this.


To assemble your bowmaker, insert a rivet into each of the 12 holes, and a nail up through the bottom of the box.

To make a rosette, wrap ribbon (any size -- I used 3/4" wide satin) by leaving a 5" lead, puncture the ribbon onto the nail, and wrapping the ribbon around the opposite rivet. 

Spinning the box as you work, continue wrapping the ribbon around the opposite pegs, taking care to stab the ribbon onto the center post as you go.


When you're done, the rosette will look like this when still on the bowmaker.

Slip your finger underneath the rosette to pinch all the nail holes together at the center. This will make it easier to find the nail holes in the ribbon, so you can remove the nail and replace it with a decorative brad. Open the "legs" of the brad to hold the bow as finished.

Remove the finished bow from the rivets, and tah-dahhh, a beautiful rosette for your card or layout.

Now, not leaving well enough alone, I expounded on this idea a bit to create a multi-sized rosette creator. I used a wood plaque (also at Michael's -- I think this was $5, minus coupon of 40% = $3.00).  This rosette creator has three rings of holes so I can make layered rosettes in multiple sizes (starting the smallest, first for the top of the bow), or larger sized rosettes.

I then figured out that I could use these same holes to make 2 pin bows (such as this rust-colored organza one here), or a 4 pin bow (blue on a horizontal card ribbon). 

If you're going to be drilling to make your own bowmaker, why not figure out how you can use one board and removable pins to locate your "extra fingers" whereever you want? 

I hope this tip helps you create your own beautiful bows!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Good News for Me ... Not So Much for You


This beautiful colored pencil sketch
of my hubby, John, was drawn by
an artist aboard a cruise ship. It
captures his spirit and love like no
other picture I have of him.

Happy birthday, M.B.
Dear Friends and Followers:

First and foremost on this rainy Sunday morning ...

.... Happy Birthday to my dear hubby, John.

I'm so blessed to have you in my life, and in the lives of our family. John and I started our romance when my daughter Emily was just 9 years old, so we were a package deal. He took us both into his large heart and taught us so many things about loving and being loved; about respect and respecting; about genuine caring, and being cared for.

(He's still working on teaching me about self-discipline, focus, and housecleaning ... Em, you're on your own now!)

I love you, John ... more than words can ever adequately say. IWALY.

So perhaps you came here looking for a card or two; a Tip of the Week; a video, or a blog hop?

Well, truth be told, I haven't been in the Paper Jungle for quite some time. I've been dealing with Township issues (don't even get me started on the beast called "Politics") ... and job searching. Serious job searching, to replace the full-time one I lost due to lay-off in January.

And guess what?!  Finally, I've landed one!
Talk about blessed, the job is "right up my alley" and it's in the same county (Bucks) where I live.

I'll now be working at a long-term care facility for medically-fragile children as their Admissions Coordinator.  The position is all-encompassing. I'll be conducting tours for parents, outreach to referral sources, and strengthening programs that educate the community-at-large as well as the referring (medical) community about this wonderful home for children who need love and special attention that only caring, medically-expert professionals can provide at this moment in these kids' lives. 

My focus will remain first on my family, of course ... but next, in building what I hope will be a long career in making a difference in these families' lives. 

Way down on my list of priorities will be this blog ...not because I don't appreciate your love, support and attention, but because I know you'll understand if my posts become irregular. 

For the time being, my dreams are now rich with the possibilities of program development for these kids, not cards.  Eventually, I'd love to be able to incorporate this hobby into my work for Pediatric Specialty Care in Point Pleasant ... and maybe I'll interest you in joining in by sending cards or wall art to the 50 or so kids whose lives find them here

With love, anything is possible.

Thank you again for tuning in, and do stop by to see if there's anything new. If you'd like to subscribe, it will only send you a message when there's something new posted ... just click on the link in the box, at right. 

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Fabric flower combined with SVG file

Other supplies: background striped paper was
made on my computer to match the fabric;
butterfly is a cut-out from my stash. Martha
Stewart double-loop punch on white cardstock;
Copic markers to shade the green leaves.
Hello, sunshine!

Allow me to share with you a card bound to make you smile.

I cut the flower pot, stem and leaves for this (as a paper piecing) from an SVG file from Diecut Designers.  Their file also includes a paper daisy atop the stem -- which I just manually cut off of the SVG cut (with my scissors, not the program -- just to be quick!).

I cut off the flower because I wanted to feature a cute fabric flower I made. I've purchased the sweet fabric to make a dress for baby Charlotte, and wanted to make some matching flowers that I'd use on a headband or to embellish the dress, eventually. 

This flower uses 5 pieces of fabric, each cut unto 3" squares. I folded each in half to make triangles, and basted a loose stitch along the open edges. I gathered up the stitch and it formed a petal that I firmly stitched to hold.  Then, without trimming the thread, I added the next petal with a loose basting stitch, pulled it taut and also secured it. And so on, until all five petals were in a neat circle.  To hold it all together as I wanted it, I just stitched more to hold, in a star pattern on the back side of the flower.

I topped the flower with two matching buttons, and added an "alligator" clip to the back of the flower. I punched a hole in the card so I only had to clip the flower to the card. This makes the flower reusable later when Charlotte's mom Emily wants to clip the flower to a headband or hat. 

I also think this would make for cute packaging for your fabric flowers sold at craft shows, and would likely increase the price you could get for the flower. What do you think?

Monday, May 9, 2011

Tip of the Week: Making your own Wobblers

Hello, Blog Friends!

Today I wanted to show you this cute card I made using Nikki Sivils Scrapbooker LLC paper ("Willow Bee" line), the cute bee cut from a Sizzlit die, with a bit of wobble added to the bee by a spring-based wobble.

Because I wanted the bee to "pop" from the paper more than a traditional Action Wobbler, I developed a homemade wobbler using a spring and pieces of foam mounting tape and small pieces of acetate or tape to hold the spring to the underside of the foam (which has double-sided adhesive). 

Here is a video I made about this process.


For those who'd prefer photos not videos, here are a few along with a little description of each:

This is what a traditional (purchased) Action Wobble looks like.
It has a plastic spiral between two flat, clear adhesive oblique-shaped
pieces.  They lie very flat (1/8" approx) so don't add much dimension
to your card or project.

I first tried making my own using 24 gauge wire that I twisted
around a pencil, and mounted to foam mounting circles.
I found the wire to be too stiff for a really "giggly" wobble.

When I used beading wire, the wobbler moved sweetly!
Cut a piece of beading wire about 6-7" long and wrap it around
a tapered instrument, e.g., a paintbrush. Put the wire on one
side of the foam mounting circle and cover it with a piece of
acetate that has been hole-punched in the same size as your
mounting foam.  Cut a slit in your acetate to keep the wire in the
center of your mounting foam.

Here's the outside of the card.

...and the inside.  I typeset the sentiment using
Adobe Illustrator on my desktop computer,
and printed it on the cardstock used for the
card.  The snip of a hive is from Nikki Sivils paper.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mothers' Day!

Happy Mothers' Day! 
I am very blessed to still have my Mother on Earth as well as in my heart.

My Mom taught me everything I know about crafting and enjoying the creativity and talents that lie within us all.

See my beautiful Mother, Dorothy, pictured here?  This picture was taken at my daughter's wedding, in 2008.  Mom made her jewelry shown here, and also tore apart and modified her stunning dress to suit her. Would I ever have the courage to do that?

Mom now lives in Florida with Dad (they'll celebrate their 60th anniversary this September) ... 1200 miles away. I am so happy to say that Mom and Dad are visiting for a week, just 4 weeks from now! What a gift to have them able to come!!

Today, I also celebrate being a Mother.

I gave birth to just one "child," my ♥ Emily.  Emily is 25 now, and this is her first official Mother's Day!  Baby Charlotte is now 5 months old, and what a heart-full she is!  These are the beautiful flowers that Emily and her hubby Josh brought to me yesterday. Thank you, Emily, Josh and Cheezer!

I also am the stepmother to a very big baby (6'6"), my son Paul.  Paul is hubby John's birthbaby; Paul will be 37 later this year. I came into Paul's life when he was 19 and already out on his own. I was floored today (Saturday!) when the Big Brown Truck arrived with this lovely azalea from Paul and his love, Anne -- it's the first time I'm officially recognized as a Mom on Mother's Day.  Thank you, Paul and Anne!! 

And since this is a blog about cards, let me share with you the ones I've received. On my American Greetings one from Emily, was this lovely sentiment -- shared with you because I know how much this applies to so many of my bloggy friends, too:



"When I was younger, I had no idea how hard it was to be a mother.

I didn't realize the amount of work that went into keeping everything running smoothly, or how much time was spent taking care of me.

I never thought about the dreams you put on hold or the things you went without in order to be the kind of mother whose family always came first.

It never occurred to me then that there must have been times when you didn't have all the answers.

Because as far as I could tell, you always knew what to do.

But now that I'm older, I've come to really appreciate just what a great mother you've always been."

Friday, May 6, 2011

A Challenge from Capadia Design (Diane)

One of my very favorite bloggers, Diane Campbell Payne at Capadia Design, issued a challenge to her readers recently. 

Diane describes what I often experience, and that is, finding inspiration for our crafting in many places.  As she's rearranging her craft room (incorporating new Ikea finds!), she came across an old styrofoam take-out box, pictured here. 

Her challenge?  Create a project using this lid as inspiration, and linking back to her blog.  And since one of my goals is to participate in more challenges to stretch my imagination, I played along. 

This is my entry.  I created a 12x12" layout for granddaughter Charlotte's scrapbook. 

Staying as true as I could to the challenge "sketch," I sized two of Cheezer's tub-time photos and used a rubber-ducky paper background. (It's from my stash, I'm not sure of the manufacturer.)  For the water droplets paper, I used scrap from my American Crafts' "Everyday" collection.

I used rubber duck, bubbles and the sentiment fussy cut from a paper I got in a Facebook swap with Jennifer Lepard (thank you, Jennifer), along with stickers received from Jen too.  I gave a little dimension to some of the cut-outs with foam tape, and glossed up the bubbles using Ranger's Glossy Accents plus Stickles to highlight the sentiment.

What do you think?  Did I rise to the challenge?

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Beading ... in my spare time

Hi, friends.

You may have noticed that I've posted a picture of my EmbEllies here on my blog (upper right), with a clickable PayPal link. 

The EmbEllies posting is in response to several questions and comments I've gotten from followers who have asked if I'd please sell some of my handmade beaded embellishments intended for card art.  This just makes those sales easier.

So in a bit of a departure from my papercrafting, I sat down and made a slew of these babies from my beadworking days.  I do not intend to let beading take my crafting spirit away from paper -- nor do I plan on getting into the "marketing" of my crafts.

Seriously, I do my crafts for pleasure not profit. We all know how much time and love is put into each of our creations ... there's no way to make even minimum wage by crafting!

However, Jennifer of Crafty Card Gallery (with a terrific app for your smart phones, if you're interested!) asked via Facebook this evening if I make any other sorts of beaded items.  The answer -- oh, yes.  (Though paper stuff takes much more of my devoted interest.)

When my daughter, Emily, got married about 2 years ago, I made all of her bridesmaids' necklaces and earrings. 

This picture doesn't do the double strand justice -- it was really beautiful. Made on 14k chain (that I probably couldn't afford today, with gold topping $1500/ounce!), I wired chocolate brown and champagne-colored natural pearls with trios of a semi-precious faceted gem called citrine.  Citrine is a member of the quartz family.

The citrine on the necklace I made photographed an odd reddish orange color when hit with a flash. They were much more cinnamon-colored than the necklace depicts -- a perfect match for the girls' cinnamon/burnt sienna dresses. The wedding was in October and the dresses were stunning! 

I also have made Swarovski crystal bracelets like this one shown in pink and lime green, a favorite color combination.

So while I may not stock my Etsy store with these trinkets, if you're looking for something in particular, I do have plenty of bead inventory. Just ask!

On Challenges and Fishing!

Good morning, Blog friends!

Image by Hambo Stamps; colored with Prisma pencils. Paper piecing
using complementing designs and colors I made with Adobe Illustrator.
Sentiment set/printed on desktop. Font by Pink Broccoli. Papers by
American Crafts, "Everyday" collection. Supplies: bakers' twine,
ATG adhesive and Foam mounting tape by 3M/Scotch,
machine stitching, Ranger Glossy Accents, white gel pen.
I  hope you haven't thought I've abandoned you this week. I have been busy in the Paper Jungle making new projects ... and learning new techniques. Here's a little peek!

The card at right represents the answer to two of my personal goals in cardmaking, sort of my "Bucket List" for my life in the Paper Jungle. 

First, I want to begin participating in more challenges. Why? Because I think they will help me stretch out of my comfort zone.  This card was made for Splitcoast Stampers' Wednesday Card Sketch challenge. 

A second goal is to earn a position or two on incredible Design Teams.  As I announced last week, I have joined my first Design Team (or DT) at Creative Pointe's Diecut DesignersAnd I have posted two cards recently, made with two of their SVG files. 

Digital image of Wee Henry from HAMBO STAMPS. Colored using
Prisma pencils and Copic markers. Sunshine cut from Cricut's Pooh
and Friends cartridge. Sentiment set/printed using Adobe Illustrator
on papers from American Crafts, "Everyday" collection. Kite cut from
Nikki Sivils Scrapbooker LLC paper, "We Are Family" line. 
Accessories: Ranger Glossy accents on inner tube; AWI Action Wobble
behind Wee Henry; Ranger Stickles for "water" in Wee Henry's mask;
acetate backing for mask, pop dot behind worm's head for dimension;
twine, ATG adhesive by 3M/Scotch.
The card above, as well as this one shown here, feature simply adorable digital images from one of my favorite companies, Hambo StampsHambo Stamps currently has a call for members of their DT, and these two are my entries into that call. I'm crossing my ink-covered fingers that I'm selected later this month.  Please cross your inky fingers for me, too!

Some of my other lofty goals for my "work" here in the Paper Jungle are to:

3. Continue sharing Tips and Ideas that I've found helpful, have developed or enhanced... things like how to make your own embellishments or crafting supplies.

4. Produce more Tutorials on how to make dynamic cards, and show them both photographically and on video via YouTube. 

5. To enhance #4, Tutorials, install and learn video editing software to improve the quality (and reduce the length!) of my educational videos.

6. Install and learn to use my new Microsoft LifeCam Cinema webcam, so I can have more live interaction via U-Stream crafting videos.

7. Work toward getting my cards published in some of my favorite crafting magazines, such as PaperCrafts by Creating Keepsakes and Cards and Cricut Magazine by Northridge Publishing.

8. Continue to learn and grow by attending classes and conventions in this craft I love so much.

9. Improve the look, feel and content of this blog, CardMonkey, and work toward developing "sister sites" that promote papercrafting blog hops, and a "college" for cardmaking. 

10. Keep CardMonkey's site enjoyable, by featuring fun projects, blog hops, challenges and ideas. Offer more blog candy along the way, and to this end, work toward fostering sponsorship arrangements with companies that support the world of papercrafting.

The measure of whether I'm achieving many of these goals is garnered through growing the number of followers I have here on CardMonkey, as well as getting feedback from YOU

It gives me tremendous satisfaction to show, teach and share. As a Chinese proverb says:"Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime."

To end this long and perhaps boring brain dump of my personal goals, let me leave you with some smiles:

Art from the website header at http://www.hambostamps.com/
I thought that quote above was a Biblical verse. Not so, per that mastermind, Google. But in searching, I found some humorous takes on it:
"Give a man a fish and he'll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and ...
... he'll spend his whole day in a boat, guzzling beer and come home empty handed."
... you'll get rid of him for the entire weekend."

... you'll soon wind up learning how to scale a fish to grill it to perfection for him, while he watches baseball on TV."

... he'll wind up cooking it at a 5-star restaurant in New York City, where he'll sell that fish for $65/plate, become a famous chef with his own TV show, and he'll wind up leaving you for a woman who likes sushi."

... he'll catch and eat all of the fish you would have normally caught for yourself."

... and you'll lose a paying customer."

(and my personal favorite...)

... and you can sell him some fishing equipment."


Whatever your plans, enjoy them... make it a sunshine-
filled day. Go fishing!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Winner of my EmbEllies!

Congratulations to

JEN of
Jen's Unchartered
Territory

who was picked by http://www.random.org/
to win six of my handmade
EmbEllies
card stick pins!


Here is a picture of some of the EmbEllies currently available to Jen, or I can custom-make other card pins in the color(s) of your choice.  Jen, just be in touch via private e-mail (to cardmonkey@comcast.net) and send me your address, as well as any color preference. If there is/are any from this stock that is of interest, just let me know by describing where on the "wheel" the card pin(s) you want are shown.  (YES, I do have more than one of many of these!)

Now, only available to followers of my blog, if you are interested in purchasing any of these card pins, I will sell them at $3.00 each, or 2 for $5.00.  Please send me a private e-mail for ordering instructions or your custom request. 

Congratulations again, Jen!






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...