Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Mom, Part II

On this last day of June, let me show you the Mother's Day card I made for the Greatest Mother in the World.

The card shown at right here featured an intricate floral design cut with my Cricut Expressions on tan stock, using a Dover Publications .svg file that I converted to a cut file on Sure Cuts A Lot.

I repeated my cut using dark green cardstock, and cut a white paper backing to layer underneath the tan paper. I put the tan paper over the white, marking with a pencil the center point for each flower. Then, using the gamosol technique with colored pencils, I smudged a complimenting color pattern of peach, tan and pink for the flower petals onto the white layer. When that was dry, I glued the tan onto the white backing, then pulled the leafy layer from the green and inserted it into the tan cut, gluing down the dark green leaves.

Next, I used the gadribbles -- the green paper that had been cut for the leaves -- and trimmed it to mat the white layer. I glued the whole picture onto a 5x7" card onto which I printed my sentiment crafted especially for Mom.

Have a flower-filled, sunny day, blessed by love, grace and patience.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Tata, June!

The month of June is almost history -- it was a busy one in which I celebrated the best parents in the world! On June 9, my mom Dorothy celebrated her 80th birthday -- a special day that in 2009, none of us ever thought she'd live to see. And less than 2 weeks later, we toasted Dad on Father's Day ... honoring him for the role he played in raising us 4 kids to the people we are today.

There's Mom, upper left here, looking gorgeous at Emily's October 2008 wedding ... and just four months later, Mom suffered a near-fatal brain stem stroke. Most people don't survive an occlusion in the basilar artery; Mom not only survived, but she's come all the way back to her vibrant, beautiful, able self. In September, she and Dad will celebrate 59 years together!

Mom taught me over the years to "bloom where you are planted." And she's instilled an eye for art and has placed value on creativity. So for "BIG-O" birthday, I wanted to give Mom a garden. Mr. Smiley and I flew to Florida for a five-day weekend with Mom and Dad, and bought Mom a large ceramic planter for her patio, crammed full with flowers. And here is the card I made for her:

The card is an "Explosion Box" that I've seen done on several of the inspirational blogs I've followed over the past few months. The base (royal blue, here) is cut from a 12"x12" piece of cardstock. I made a "party favor" box from brick-colored paper to serve as the flower box. I hot-glued it into the center of the base, then cut dozens of assorted flowers to glue into the box. The leftover paper from which I cut the flowers (I call them "gadribbles") were so pretty that I stacked them together to use to decorate the inside of the box. I found a nice card print/clip-art picture online that applied ("Bloom Where You Are Planted"), so I used it for the center rear of the box. Happy Birthday text was cut from Cricut's Calligraphy cartridge.

I kind of guessed at a box lid (didn't follow any templates), and decorated its edges by cutting it with one of my go-to Martha Stewart Around-the-Corner punches, this one in double loops. Folded up the edges, capped it with the lid, tied it with some ribbon and VOILA!

I hope you like it as much as I had fun remembering how Mom's helped me blossom throughout the years.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Happy Rehab!

I live in a seniors community (I know, I know -- I look so young in my picture! LOL ... well, it was my baptism photo, what can I say?!), where many of my best buddies, including Mr. Smiley, have had their joints replaced. That calls for a special card. But is it a "get well" card when it's not that they are ill. "Hope you're up dancing soon"? Maybe.

One of my pals is in an inpatient rehab center now, following a hip replacement. I'm hoping the new hip will give her wings to soar, living a pain-free existence. With that in mind, there are probably plenty of ideas rattling around in my head, but here is the card I came up with:

The pretty aqua color paper is from a favorite stack. As soon as I get the name of it, I'll edit this post to include it. The butterfly was Cricut-cut, and the base card was hole punched using my ol' standby Martha Stewart Around-the-Corner Eyelet punch. The font is one I'm sampling from MyFonts.Com printed on my HP Printer. On the butterfly's antennae (jewelry wire), I embellished with Jolee 4mm bicone crystals in aqua. This week, Michael's has Jolee Swarovski crystals on sale 2 for $7 ... time to stock up! (I make beaded jewelry, too, so beads are always handy for card embellies.)

I hope your soul soars today too!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Puppy Love

Friends know that two white furballs occupy a large part of my heart. They're my Bichon Frise puppies, Sadie and Morgan. OK, I admit that I'm one of those late-in-life dog owners who overindulge our pups, treating them more like children than animals.

Recently, Sadie and Morgan stayed overnight at The Furry Godmother's bed-and-biscuit, so my hubby (a.k.a. "Mr. Smiley") and could visit my parents in Florida. Daughter Emily puppy-sat for the majority of the long weekend (Thanks, BabE!), so their stay with Marie and Jim and pups was brief.

Getting to know the Furry Godmother (Marie Ford) in all her sweetness was a wonderful experience. She is warm and inviting, and she knew how to spoil -- that is, I mean, "well love" -- the small dogs who she cares for in her home. I told Marie about my paper crafting, and Marie shared the info that in her previous life, before going to the dogs (!!), she worked for a paper manufacturing company and (!!!!) had a boxful of paper and paper samples I could have (!!!!!!!).

I was so happy, I almost lifted my leg to pee on her trees!!! (LOL) What a wonderful gift ... glossies, envelopes, linens, oodles and oodles, a virtual motherlode, oooh-la-la.

Marie also shared a picture of Havanese puppy that she had fallen in love with, a puppy born to the same pup-parents as one of her little charges. It wouldn't take much to convince Marie's husband Jim to add to their canine brood! So I made the card (above) to welcome Annie to the household.

I also made this card (at right) to thank Marie for the extraordinary care she took of Sadie and Morgan, and also to thank her for the fabulousness of the paper collection. I used one of the papers for the fairy godmother's dress and hat, here; I cut the both the godmother and dog from a Silhouette clip art/CD Rom from Dover Publishing, using Sure Cuts A Lot software to convert the .svg file to cut using my Cricut.

Yes, I'm in puppy love -- with the cards I can now create with up-to-date technology and good ol' fashioned creativity. I'm also in love with my "beasts," Sadie and Morgan, pictured here (and yes, they got married two years ago, in a Muttrimony Ceremony). Oh, and I love Mr. Smiley, too -- pictured here (below, right) when we were in Florida in early June.

Thinking of You

This morning while the loads of laundry were running ... thank goodness we're no longer beating our clothes on rocks down by the river! ... I was upstairs in the craft loft, finishing the 60 baby shower cards, and straightening up a bit.

I must have Adult Attention Deficit Disorder, because the smallest bits of usable treasure found on the floor leads me back to crafting ...
First, I found this lovely mottled bit of peach paper and the lavendar cardstock circle. I set them aside as I continued dealing with the mess, but they were calling me.... AHA! Louder and louder they called, until I found a darker purple butterfly that I'd recently cut from a pop-up template I purchased from a gal in England. (More on that another day!)

Then I spied my relatively-new, terribly expensive, and unfortunately not well-used Husqvarna Designer Diamond sewing machine. Hmmm. It was sitting there, lonely, already set with lavendar thread. It seemed like a perfect time to try out a decorative stitch around the peach paper.

On to the message: Thinking of You, which I have been doing a lot of today and yesterday, wondering if I will attract readers to my new blog. More importantly, I do want to give a bit of the joy back to the many bloggers from whom I get so much inspiration. I hope they know how much I appreciate their work!

One of the bloggers led me to Wild Orchid Crafts where I found the most beautiful paper roses, and I'd just received my precious boxful of them from England. Another blogger taught me by video how to make these myself ... which I haven't yet tackled ... but for now, isn't this just stunning?

The message, meant for all the paper artist bloggers in the blogosphere, comes from the Cricut Calligraphy cartridge, cut in 2" in both standard (dark orchid) and in shadow (cream, to match the card and the rose). Stickles glitter glue (I'm an addict) in deep purple and opal finished off the butterfly. Voila!

I hope you know I'm thinking of YOU today!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

My Blog -- In its infancy

Hello, friends and fellow paper artists!

This is my first post on my own CardMonkey blogspot, where I hope to show some cards that I have created. Be gentle with me -- gentle as you would be to this newborn baby -- as I am new to this Blog World.

First up, let me show you the Baby Shower Invitation I am creating to honor and celebrate the upcoming birth of my first grandbaby. He or she is due to be born in late November/early December, so I have a little time to get 60 or so of these done.

The picture above was my "first draft" of the invitation. The final design incorporates the feet under the baby blanket, with only the toes peeking out and curling up over the baby-themed paper. Also, the "hands" will curl up from the inside of the invitation to hold the blanket (top flap) down.

At right, you can see the inside of the invitation. The blanket flaps down, and the text for the shower info appears like a "sandwich board" that the baby is holding.

Here is the recipe for the card:

Using SCAL or MTC, design the baby using one long rectangle, topped with a circle for the head and two circles for the ears. Elongate the ears a bit so they're not unnaturally super-round. I laid my babies out in a way that I could fit three across on a 12x12" sheet. I cut out 60 of the babies, from 20 sheets of flesh-colored cardstock.

I modified the SCAL design to create the blanket, by eliminating the top half of the long rectangle, and the head and ears. I laid out the blankets 6-up on a 12x12" sheet. I cut these from an assortment of baby-patterned papers. I cut the "hands" using a standard 3/4" hole punch.

I used Cricut's Accent Essentials swirly set at 1/2" to Auto-Fill cut from a 6x6" paper. I used "blonde" colored paper to resemble my daughter's hair. For the eyelet lace at the top of the blanket, I cut 1" strips from an 8.5x11" piece of paper, and punched them using Martha Stewart's eyelet Around-The-Corner punch.