Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Cuttlebug Challenge Blog

Well, dang it! I missed the cut off for the challenge. But boy was this one fun!!! So I thought I would post it anyway. I've been following Cuttlebug Challenge for a little while now and never posted a project, but the latest challenge sparked an inspiration..... two hours ago.... hahahahahaha! After completing the project, I went to Cuttlebug Challenge to find out how to upload it and there it was... "by 7 p.m. EST." Yep, I surely missed it. But that's ok, because this one NEEDS to be shared with or without a challenge, I just love it that much! But for the rest of you out there needing a little creative spark, check out Cuttlebug Challenge for some great inspiration.... maybe I'll see you at next week's challenge! ;)

Here are the directions for my Sweet Poison Treat Bag.
I used a sheet of 12" X 12" Rusty Pickle's Pirate Princess paper and cut a bag from my Plantin School Book Cricut cartridge (using the 'fit to page' on the Cricut Expression). The rest was created on my Gypsy.

I made two oval scallops from my Storybook Cricut cartridge in black. One was 2.5" the other was 1.75". I cut both, sat them aside and opened a new mat screen on my Gypsy.

I then grouped a 2.25" oval, a 1.5" skull and a 1.5" crossbones onto my Gypsy 12" X 12" design mat. I positioned each of the pieces so that the skull and crossbones were centered in the oval. I then cut the image on white cardstock. The Gypsy saved me a little bit of time. For more information on what the Gypsy is and how to use it, check out cricut.com.

My last step was running the smaller scalloped oval through the cuttlebug using the Skeleton Scroll embossing folder and then highlighting the emboss by gently tapping a white ink pad over the top. I added a band of black cardstock around the entire bag BEFORE scoring and folding the bag (that made that black band super easy). After the bag was assembled, I added the pink ribbon and the remaining pieces. This is going to be a great little goody bag for Halloween.
**Cartridges Used: Plantin Schoolbook, Storybook and Gypsy Wanderings

Monday, October 19, 2009

And The Winner Is....

Thank you to everyone who sent in a dessert recipe for the Healthy Halloween Dessert Give Away! It was so much fun recreating the healthy desserts! I just got off the phone with Heather Frey of SmashFit.com and the winner is.....

Jessica Devenny!!!!!

Congratulations Jessica! Please email me with a shipping address and shirt size to send your prizes. Your recipe was WONDERFUL and you deserve the prize haul!!! I also LOVED the healthy alternatives that you included in your recipe.

Please stay tuned folks as Jessica's recipe will appear on SmashFit.com! A special "Thank You" to Heather for being our guest judge and for the generous t-shirt donation. *** Note: Jessica, your t-shirt will ship directly from SmashFit.com, so don't forget to include that shirt size.

2009 Halloween Give Away

The winner of Fun And Mental Changes' Halloween Healthy Dessert Give Away will be announced shortly.....
But while you're waiting, here's a little eye candy for ya! The best kind of candy us healthy eaters can have... hahahahahaha! Enjoy! You can click on the pic to enlarge. These craft projects are a result of my own blog give away winnings. We can all thank the lovely ladies over at Cutting Above for inspiring all of this SUPER FUN eye candy! LOL!
All you crafters out there... check out Cutting Above, they are so great!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

More Color Wash Fun


Today's post is brought you by the letter "F"... as in FREAKIN GREAT!!! I did another color wash (I LOVE that technique) like the one I did for the cd cover. But this time I also embossed the paper while it was still slightly wet. Click on pic to enlarge. The emboss turned out amazing and this card is just beyond beautiful. I kept everything else on the card monochromatic so that the paper could stay the focal point. I will recap the steps for the background paper.
I started with a sheet of Stampin Up's confetti cardstock. I stamped it with a Tim Holtz "Postale" stamp in grey ink. I then did a color wash using Ranger's Adirondack Pearl Acrylic paints mixed with water in Slate with a smidge of Terra Cotta (I actually soak a sponge applicator in water and then add a pea size amount of paint directly to the sponge and then smear, smudge and splash away! There's no wrong way to color wash. The messier you are the nicer the outcome. Be sure to cover your work surface though... it does get messy). I waited for it to dry most of the way, but while the paper was still pliable, I cranked it through the cuttlebug with a Fiskars texture plate (leather). I then let the paper dry completely. For the final treatment, I edged with brown ink and then smudged black around the edges using my fingers. Definitely color wash fun!
So I sit here with ink stained fingers and a smile. That is all. I'm realizing that this Gypsy has been the start of something that I don't think I can stop anytime soon... hahahahahaha! I love my Gypsy. Thank you Cutting Above!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Rock N Roll

Mica is just one of those weird craft items that you just cannot possibly explain so that others understand... "it's layered rock that you can cut with scissors and stamp on that peels in sheets..." Oh brother! It's better that I show you. For this card, I took a "tile" of Mica and stamped a Tim Holtz Eiffel Tower image on it with StazOn ink. The beauty of Mica is that it's flat and super easy to work with, but at the same time it's grainy and sometimes veiny (being that it's a rock) which adds quite a bit of texture to whatever you're adding it to without adding the bulk. My favorite feature of Mica is that it looks so much like the old-time antique film that it's my number one go-to for anything I want to make look filmy or antiquey. So is anyone else tired of me creating new words by adding the letter "y"? HAHAHAHAHA! Ok, I'm done. On to the rest of the "how-to's"... I'm on a roll!

I made the paper underneath the Mica using alcohol inks. The rest of the papers came from a paper stack by S.E.I. called Moravia. I really need to get me 5 or 6 more pads of this GORGEOUS 12 X 12 paper. I just love all the prints and solids it has in it. And I love anything that is already color coordinated for me... saves precious crafting time! The ribbon came from a dollar store and was originally a wired ribbon with some pretty outrageous gold foil on either side of the tulle ribbon. But the tulle was so pretty with the copper and brown leaves, that I KNEW it would be amazingly beautiful once the gold foil was removed. I think I was right. I used my brand new We R Memory Keepers Corner Chomper to round the corners of the "photo" mat and used a Martha Steward edge punch with a lace design for the side. This card just turned out so beautifully... I'm going to have a hard time sending this one out. Oh! I almost forgot, the stamp "Merci!" came from a Stampin Up stamp set called Paris in the Spring. Here's a pic I took while I was making this card. I hope it helps... you can see how I made the alcohol ink-treated paper. It started out as just plain white card stock. Click on the pic to enlarge.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Last Day For Give-Away

Tomorrow is the deadline for the Halloween Give-Away. Be sure to click on the link and get your recipes in... there's still time! A couple of really great items have been added to the winner's goodie bag, so get em in. Here's the link for more info:

http://fundamentalchange.blogspot.com/2009/09/halloween-2009-give-away.html

Sunday, October 11, 2009

The Other Side of The Fence

Well, as many of you know, I won a FREE Gypsy. I was super excited. A couple of days before my name was drawn, I joined the Cricut.com message board to try and gather all the info I could on the use of this wonderful new machine that was to be used with the Cricut. You see, I had heard about the Gypsy, the contest I entered and about the HSN launch of this new product from all the blogs of Provo Craft's (the makers of the Cricut and the Gypsy) devoted and loyal fans screaming about this anticipated product. September 23rd (the night of the launch) there were MANY video streams of fans and followers recording themselves WAITING for the product to air at 12:01 a.m. on the 24th. Women were getting together at each other's houses for all night parties, and joining online chats and message boards... it was seriously crazy to me, but the excitement was contagious and I caught the "bug" days before when I entered the contest to win the Gypsy. So there I was waiting for the Gypsy to air. I watched as the Gypsy sold out before the end of the first day's airing. Then I watched as the excitement grew on the video streams and message boards and chat rooms. Woman after woman video taped themselves opening the package when it arrived (a couple days later) and using the machine for the first time. I remember thinking that this marketing, while free to Provo Craft, was invaluable and that they must be a pretty great company to have such a following. The grass isn't always greener on the other side.

Fast forward to two days ago. I was on the Cricut message board (yah, you could find me there quite a bit since receiving my new Gypsy) when I heard the news that Gypsy was available on HSN again... THIS TIME the second wave of buyers were going to get a bundle that included an (unofficially)exclusive cartridge called Destinations that cannot be gotten ANY PLACE ELSE and, in fact, pics of the artwork weren't even released for viewing. On top of this amazing deal for the second wave of buyers, coupons that were not permitted for use for the launch, were now being allowed for use so the second wave of buyers were paying less for more (the exclusivity of the cartridge being that "more"). I was in shock! The devoted Cricut raving fans, the ones who directly and indirectly, drove the second wave of buyers (only two weeks earlier) ended up losing in a big way. As of yet, I haven't seen or heard Provo Craft say that they have or will do something to make this right. I feel VERY BAD for the devoted followers. I feel really bad that I got swept up in the excitement of this surreal world and feel every bit as let down as if it had happened to me. Provo Craft has created a situation where if ANYONE with a product that is comparable comes out on the market ANYTIME soon, I think these Cricut followers would make the switch. Especially if that company offered a trade program. It would cost that company a little in the beginning, but remember, these loyal followers started with Provo Craft (alot of them being fans from the very beginning) and are directly responsible for what Provo Craft is today. What they did for Provo Craft, they would happily do for someone else who would honor their contributions. Some of these followers are invested FAR BEYOND any monetary investment. Provo Craft forgot that..... Provo Craft forgot them. Now might be the BEST time to meet them on the other side of the fence.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Volunteerism

Never underestimate the heart of a volunteer. You see, the volunteer is on a personal mission and is present and participating out of want, not need. A volunteer is service in it's purest form and to discount a volunteer means that you are putting aside the best of the best. I watched a Beth Moore Bible study the other day on TV and she was talking about witnessing a room full of volunteers. I belly laughed HARD as she recounted how these volunteers were all elderly and not a one of them complained about ANY job that needed to be done. I laugh as I think about employees that I have witnessed (yes, including myself) going to work, complaining about this or that and, "Oh I'm soooo tired!" And then to hear Beth Moore describe these strong, healthy, vibrant, elderly but youthful volunteers, was really something quite funny. But it's a funny thing about our society.... volunteers (for some weird reason) have a bad rap. Why do I hear, "They're JUST a volunteer." Why are we looking down our noses at the people who are working behind the scenes to make it all happen asking NOTHING in return. Don't get me wrong, they are getting their rewards for their jobs well done, but they're rewards are beyond monetary. How cool is that? The jobs that they are doing, the ones that others see as so menial, are actually so important to them that they would do it without pay. Would you do your job without pay? The next time you get the pleasure of working with a volunteer, remember that YOU are costing your company more to be there, you might want to check to be sure that the volunteer isn't out-working you.



I am blessed to think that I may be on the verge of FINALLY understanding the heart of a volunteer.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

I Don't Think This Is Going Away!

So I have a friend who recently moved and with all this creativity flowing over the course of Cutting Above's Gypsy give-away, I thought I would use that inspiration to send some love to my dear friend. Yep, I SUDDENLY understand why everyone's so excited about the Gypsy. I went through 1 WHOLE piece of 12 x 12 paper to cut ONE frame that would fit this card! Pretty annoying! I envisioned designing the ENTIRE project on the Gypsy screen while I was waiting for my car to get serviced and had to sigh at the imagined "hills are alive" moment in my head. I CANNOT WAIT to have that moment in real life, where I return home, hit cut and everything is perfectly proportioned and cut right on the mat the first time. That by itself is going to be crazy good. Now, I've been told, that you can do the same "planning" on the design studio. I do not have design studio so I'm going to have to take everyone's word, but from what I HAVE heard, the Design Studio is not as mobile since you have to be at a computer to use it. And since I don't think this craving to create is going anywhere any time soon, I'm thinking total mobility is the way to go. This much I already know, when making a slide card like this... winging it wastes A LOT of paper when you don't have Design Studio OR the Gypsy. And THIS particular paper is one of my favorites! I almost shed a tear! Come to me my Gypsy!!!

Well, anyway, here is the video I watched with the WONDERFUL instructions to make this card. It's from the Scor-it (another little toy that I desperately need) website. I followed the instructions exactly and my card turned out AMAZING!!!! As always, click on the pics to enlarge. This one is fun, and will be "funner" when my Gypsy gets here!!! :)

Sunday, October 4, 2009

I WON!!!!

I WON THE GYPSY!!! I cannot believe it!!! If you don't know what a Gypsy is, here is a GREAT video to show what it does for craft projects made with a Cricut machine....click here!

So, I got off the phone with BettyBee and Maggie (who, by the way said that I could swipe this pic) of http://cuttingabove.blogspot.com/ a little while ago! I honestly don't know what to say... I'm speechless. That HAS GOT to be a first EVER!!! But the words that DO come to mind are "thankful" and "gratitude" and "I'm oh so honored!" I had the pleasure of speaking to these incredible ladies for a while today and I want to tell you that they are REALLY good people! They were so genuinely happy for me I almost started crying! And they were quick and generous with applauding the paper crafts they saw on my blog.... yes gang, they did check out our links, they said that they started three days before.... and I'm so blessed to have had the opportunity even to speak to these talented ladies. Betty and Maggie.... thank you so much for today!

And thank you for the Cutting Above comments and all the ladies at the Cricut.com forum for all the "Congrats". And my Twitter friends ROCK! Thank you to all of those who loved me enough to pray for me and for those who put up with me through the duration of this give away. I was a mad woman... a paper crafting fool....so inspired..... I've got the paper cuts to prove it (just one really, but the plural sounds so much more dramatic)! hahahahaha!

So, yah, that was quite an acceptance speech! hahahahaha! I've always wanted to give one of those! ;) On a serious note, my thank you's are from the heart and I'm ecstatic to start using this wonderful new toy! Now lets pray that UPS delivery person will forgive me!!!! <==== a little stalker, proactive apology! hahahahahahaha!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Still Going.....

The CD case you see here will one day house a photo compilation as a wedding gift. But for now, it just needs to dry! :) In the meantime, I'll share with you how it's done!

I used my FAVORITE Cricut cartridge and cut out "Once Upon a Time" as the introduction to a lucky couple's fairytale. I did the title cut in purple and the shadow cut in navy and then tapped the sides with brown cat eye ink to make the title stand out. The BEST part of this project though was the MESS I made making the background paper. That's what I'm excited to feature today. If you click on the pic to enlarge you will see that the background is slightly shimmery. That was an added bonus to doing this project and one that I didn't expect AT ALL. Here's the low down.

Knowing that I was going to be wanting a "crinkled", aged effect, I picked a paper that was slightly thinner than regular cardstock because I'm going to get it wet and the thinner stuff will dry with a nice "crinkle" much easier. I actually grabbed a patterned paper that I got on sale for like 5 cents/sheet. It was super thin and perfect and I didn't care about the pattern on the back. I then stamped the back/white side of the paper with Stampin Up's French Script stamp. Now for the fun! I covered my work surface with a plastic table cover so that I could easily make the mess and then clean it quickly without causing too much damage. I grabbed my Adirondack pearl acrylic paints by Ranger in wild plum, stream, espresso and terra cotta (which, by the way are a perfect match to Tim Holtz's alcohol inks with the same color names), some paper towel, a sponge brush and the lid to a take-out container with about a tablespoon of water in it. I saturated the brush with water, applied a pea size amount of the wild plum paint and just covered the stamped area. I then quickly toweled the paper to sop excess moisture and repeated the process with espresso and terra cotta. Amazingly, every time I wiped the paper with the paper towel, it would soak up the moisture but left the pearlescent sheen. It was a pretty great effect! But knowing that stream is a dominantly bright color in contrast to the other colors I was using, I skipped soaking the sponge and only added a dab of the paint that I then stippled in a random pattern on the page and used the paper towel to blend. I ended up with the most amazingly beautiful paper!!!!! It was actually the paper that dictated what this project was going to be. This paper was SCREAMING for the Storybook cartridge!!! :)

Here's a closer pic of the paints... a great shot I might add because I never took the price tag off a couple of them. I can assure you though that I DID NOT spend $3.99 for these. While I know now that they are totally worth it, I bought these like two or three years ago when a local craft store was going out of business and haven't ever used them until today! I typically don't use paints, but suddenly had a change of heart today. It is guaranteed that I will be using more of these paints in the future. Today I give Ranger Adirondack Pearl Acrylic paints a high five!

One last note, the butterfly came from a CTMH Butterflies set that I stamped in Stampin Up's Night of Navy ink on the treated paper to be a shadow under the bug's wings. I then stamped the butterfly again with a versa mark pad on the purple paper I used to cut out the "Once Upon a Time" and heat embossed it with my shimmer embossing powder. I then cut the butterfly out and glued just the body to the page leaving the wings to flutter off the page. I applied some Stickles (of course) and a quick bling to the page and I was done. Click this link HERE for a great tutorial for the butterfly done by The Pink Stamper (note to self: "You REALLY need that Hannah Montana cartridge!!!")

Friday, October 2, 2009

Segued

This happy holidays card started as a cover page to a chip board "Organic Recipe" mini book I was planning on putting together. I still am going to complete the mini recipe book (as it is a Christmas gift for someone I love), but this particular card turned out so amazingly beautiful that the whole entire project segued into the greeting card you now see and I axed the word poultry that I cut from the From My Kitchen Cricut cartridge.

Although I have been incredibly inspired as of late with the release of the Provo Craft Gypsy and the Gypsy give away being sponsored by Cutting Above (TODAY IS THE LAST DAY TO ENTER THE GIVE AWAY!!!), I don't really send out Christmas cards. I prefer to send handmade Thanksgiving cards. In fact, I'm KNOWN for my Thanksgiving cards. I didn't send out Thanksgiving cards one year and got MULTIPLE phone calls letting me know just how loved those handmade cards really are.... I'll include a sampling at the end of this post of previous year's cards for anyone who wants to see them.

Whoops! I segued again! hahahahaha! So anyhow, this project has gone in a completely different direction, but when I get back to the original project, I will be using the new From My Kitchen Cricut Cartridge which contains ALL the cards, tags, words and pics that I need to complete an altered mini cook book! I included the "Poultry" that I cut using this cartridge in this pic so you can see the direction this is SUPPOSED to be going. Stay tuned for the finished project closer to Christmas! :)

See how gorgeous this card is compared to all of them from previous years!!! Although I LOVE the turkey card I did the year before last from a Clear Dollar Stamps set that is currently on clearance and being retired.... so if this card inspires you, you might want to click the link and grab it while you still can. I think the plaid set that I used to make the background is already retired.... that set came from the same company. I LOVE Clear Dollar Stamps! :) I'm also a new fan of Paper Trey Ink too... check them out for GREAT sentiment sets!!!! Ok, that's all folks! Get over to Cutting Above and enter for the Gypsy give away. Good luck to everyone!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Bits and Pieces.

Sometime back I received pieces of a Stampin Up stamp set that I've never really used and couldn't throw away. Right after I got my Cricut machine, I made the cutest paper lion from the sampler cartridge I got with my Cricut. I didn't know what to do with this lion but I kept him. A few months back I made a welcome sign that I intended to cut at 4 inches and forgot to turn the size dial on my Cricut; I ended up cutting a pretty shabby looking welcome sign at 1 1/2 inches instead.... I saved it. The other day I cut out the silhouette of a sun and (of course) saved the scraps. So here is today's projects.... I lovingly call this one Bits and Pieces. This card is the reason that scrappers save EVERYTHING!!!

I bought the brand new Everyday Paper Dolls cartridge at Michaels Craft Store a couple of weeks ago when the cartridges were on sale for #39.99. That's right folks! I got one of the BRAND NEW cartridges for $39! I couldn't believe it. And when I opened up the box, looked through the idea book and saw a "zoo" sign, I immediately ran to my "Bits and Pieces" box (you know all you scrapper have one... some have many!) in search of this lion who never found a home. Long story short, this card was destined from the day I received my Cricut. And with the "welcome" sign posted in the grass on this card, it doesn't look quite so shabby. The stamp set pieces worked great for creating the green area and make it look like there's foliage. And the sun is very well proportioned on the card too. Yep, this one turned out great and a "welcome to the zoo" card will come in handy to give to a coworker! And a coworker is sure to take notice with the 3 dimensional "Zoo" popping off the card. Yep, this one is a winner.... if for no other reason than I got to use some of the bits and pieces. And how much cuter would this card be if I had the lion saying "Arrrrrrr" (like he's growling) in a word bubble placed under the zoo sign so the play on words will say, "Zoo Arrrrr Welcome"! THAT would be a cute card too! Yah, I LOVE bits and pieces!!!

Don't forget everyone.... tomorrow is the last day to enter Cutting Above's Gypsy give away. Click here for details. Also, be sure to check out everyones comments on the give away posting... you will crack up! Some of them are hilarious! Good luck to everyone. Something tells me that we are ALL going to be missing some sleep tomorrow night! hahahahaha!

Ok... you KNOW I had to....
UPDATE: I used the George and Basic Shapes cartridge and cut out a word bubble and stamped "Arrr" like the lion is growling. So now the card reads, "Zoo Arrr Welcome"! I love this even more!!!! Keep those bits and pieces folks!!!