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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

And into the New Year.

I have a confession to make. I am not much of a blogger. I get excited and do it for a while- then the thrill wears out and I'm done. So I did want a chance to post one last time for 2008. Hasn't been a very momentous year or anything. Well- I guess I DID become an auntie for the first time x 2. Both my sisters each had a daughter. I get to see Laura's little girl all the time cuz Laura and her baby live with my folks and they live ten minutes away. Crystal and her baby, however, live all the way on the islands of B.C.- a good hike away from where I live! I got to throw Laura's baby shower and that was fun! I did up annoucnements, favours, thank yous and a LOT of baking. For the record?- DON'T try to put candy clay flowers on mini angel food cakes. Yea- the cake is too delicate and the flowers too heavy!
So my not-so-baby celebrated her EIGHTH birthday yesterday.
Here she is in her brand new duds from Grandma and Grandpa. She looks all grown up and beautiful... time really does fly quickly. I can't even remember baby moments with her. Eight years in my life time is alright, not much and it seems smaller and smaller the older I get, but eight years is HER entire lifetime.
Okay- so looking through the computer- I apparantly don't have a pic of her as a baby- weird. I thought I had one saved. Hmmm.
She got some really cool gifts. This outfit being one of them! She also got a Bratz doll. That was funny. My dad called and asked what Lexie wanted. I told him that she wanted Bratz dolls- but no BLONDE ones cuz she already had two Cloe dolls. Well what does he get? A BLONDE ONE!!! I say "Dad- I said NO blonde ones- she's already got two!" and dad was like "No- you said no BLACK ONES!!"- No I did not!!!! It's kinda funny but it makes me sound like a bigot- and I'm SO NOT!- so thanks. Thanks alot dad.
ANYWAYS! I also ordered some stuff through Schoolastics. Lexie is in love with reading and Santa already brought her a bundle of Geronimo Stilton books for Christmas, and I was able to also order a pack of Rainbow Fairy books WITH a painting fairy artset for only 20 bucks WOOT!!! I also went and put alot of work into her other birthday present:
What a RAK eh? She likes making cards and it's heartbreaking cuz everytime I'm busy with a project, there she is asking if she and I can make something together. Which simply means she sits and MY desk and uses MY goodies- LOL. So she got her own. I went and bought some different things- ink, stickles, rhinestones, brads and those dollar stamps from Michaels. They didn't have any acrylic blocks so I gave her one of mine. Then I went through my stash and cut some of my scrap paper up into squares and cut and scored some cardstock for her to have pre-made cards. Then I put my Cricut and new Storybook Cartridge into good use and die-cut her some Storybook shapes. I also thinned out my prima stash by putting some in a baggie and making a little label for it. OH- and glue and ribbon too!! She was really happy and instantly made her teacher a 'welcome back' card, as she was in Australia for a year on a teacher's exchange.
So it was a great birthday. Poor kid tho, being as her b-day is RIGHT in the middle of Christmas vacation, it's pretty pointless to throw a party and invite her friends. They are gone and right after Christmas is not a great time to go birthday present shopping. So I'm going to do what I did last year and wait a month. I figure as long as her family makes her day special, then her friends can come over when ever and it's just a bonus :D She wants a Camp Rock theme birthday party tho- I have no idea how to go about that- so we'll see what I can come up with.

SO Project- been a little while :D I am very happy with this one. These were my Christmas cards that I handed out to my church family this year. I got the idea from Lauren Meader (she IS my creative brain :D) and made a sort of bag/card. I usually make chocolates to give away- and I thought this was an awesome way to give a card AND chocolates. So here's the card:
I just love it! It's so cute and simple- tho I do think I have now overdone the pink/white/silver colour combo!!! It was an 5x11 peice of cardstock, scored at 4, 4.75,8.75and 9.5. I found some clear plastic baggies in the party aisle at Superstore and they were the perfect width, but I had to cut them down height wise. It was awsome cuz I got 30 bags for $2- and I do love a deal!
I scalloped the edge, punched and stamped some snowflakes with my new snowflake set from Inkadinkado and punch from Martha Stewart. I made the PP by stamping pink and silver snowflakes on white cardstock. Used some sheer ribbon for a bit of elegance. AND I love the lable!! Another awesome trait of the Storybook cartridge ;) I did stamp a sentiment in silver- you can't really make it out on film- but it was really pretty in person. And then my new addiction- stickles around the edge to highlight it!
So here it is all opened. Very simple- I wrote on the inside. That was the only thing I found a problem in giving this as a card- was where to write a greeting? OH- and you can't use an envelope! But I filled these with homemade Eatmore candy bars. It was a simple recipe (took two hours tho- make sure you have a LOT of time) and they turned out gooey-er than the store-bought ones. But any other recipe I looked up contained cereal and I was looking for the chocolate bar. Then one day while eating and Eatmore, I noticed it was called Dark Toffee chew, so I searched for chocolate toffee and I found the recipe I used! Next year tho, I am sticking with truffles- LESS WORK!!! I love how simple this was tho, and how it can be used for different occassions. I think I may lift this again for favours for Lexie's birthday party!
Well- that's about the it. I hope you all have a wonderful new years eve- be careful and be safe to not drink and drive!!! Take care and I'll see you all in 2009!!!

Monday, December 29, 2008

All is Well and I'm Rested!

Wow- yes. I am Christian. I love God and there is some awesome Christian music out there. But I am a metal head/alterna girl from way back. So I am really grooving while updating my blog and headbanging away to Pantera- that's just me :D
So - holiday's are over, the frenzy is finished. I shared what I learned about the importance of family and now I can share the other very important thing I learned: START EARLY!! LOL no more procrastinating for Brandie. There was so much that I wanted to do and didn't get a chance to do. It's my own fault for being a poor time manager- even with my gads of lists- but it's over and there is no sense cryin' about it. I can do them next holidays or just sketch them out and keep them for a refereance when I want to try something new.
So- I didn't get much Christmas crafting done as I was busy with another important project :D My old friend from High School became an auntie -not for the first time, but it was a first time for her sister to become a mom. So it was neat to make something special for the new mommy. She asked if I could make some baby annoucnements and I hadn't done a flip card yet- so I thought, can't be too hard right? AIGH! It was easy after you got the cutting and scoring and measuring all done! I didn't bother with my paper trimmer tho. I just used my cutting mat that doubles as a grid and my ruler, bone folder and exacto knife. Worked just fine! So here's the results:














YAY! I do love the punch outs. I've seen some really cool flip cards on SCS and when they were a bit different than the norm I'd save them. There were some that had ovals instead of rectangles (I have NO CLUE how the talented folks pulled that off!) and so to do mine up I just used my corner punch and scalloped the edges of both the card and the flip. Then to add a bit more intrest I used my Marvy small daisy punch along the edges. When it's closed on the one side (the front) the little diamonds fit nicely into the centres of the flowers :D Before I cut scored and punched I stamped with a flourish. I tried with flowers but-meh, didn't work for me. So my pal wanted 30 of these suckers and needed something to put them in. So - I'm not the best at doing diaper totes as I've only done ONE before, but here's the second and third ones I ever made:

I have no idea how people do the straps all the way down to the bottom. I really don't. I tried 11 inch peice of paper and 12 inch peice of paper and neither reached all the way across and down. This was a larger bag tho. I used a whole sheet of 12x12 and scored on 3 inches each side and 4.5 inches up and down so the interior was 6x3 and fit 30 annoucements but NO envies. I made them seperatly. I was so tired that I just made some plain enevelopes. Usually I like to stamp them for a little intrest. Oh well- I did make some closing tabs tho- they are fun and easy. You can just use any 1 inch or 1.5 inch stamp and stamp or emboss and then cut them out (no larger than 1.5) and then you can just run them through your Xyron 150. That's all I do. I keep them on the backing and staple them together- looks cute.
So now that the holidays are officially over (somewhat) I am looking forward to thing going back to normal in the Nellis household and sitting down for the fun of it with my new toys! I've got some ideas- birthdays and a post-Christmas party and Valentine's day all coming up! So stay tuned :D

Friday, December 26, 2008

Merry Merry Christmas

Well- it's a day late- but I want to wish anyone and everyone who reads this a very merry Christmas and, of course, all the best in the new year. Despite my bravado and anxiety mixed together this year, I had an amazing and humble holiday. It wasn't spectacular and loaded with gifts that would just collect dust as the years go by. I only got three presents- three inexpensive presents I may add. But I am happy and was grateful for what I recieved. The kids made out like bandits with only a handful of meaningful gifts themselves. They didn't get bogged down and overwhelmed with heaps of packages that I'd just be going through in a years time to thin out their toy heard. We were able to focus on the reason for the season and all the wonderful things and ways the Lord has blessed us that aren't wrapped in silver paper with a huge bow on it. We had a feast and learned what the true meaning of family is all about.
Allow me to wax philosophically if you will ;) (LOL)
I come from a broken family. My brother and I share both father and mother, while my younger sister has a different dad. My real dad went on and had another family of his own with two new children. My mom had been re-married before and that man is now deceased, but had three kids too. So growing up, I was really really (REALLY) against the whole idea of a mixed family. I hated "Half" this and "Step" that. I loved my sister to peices and didn't think of her as a 'half' sister- but it was hard when her dad married my mother's sister and had a son- so now my cousin was her brother and they saw each other as brother and sister as the families still remained close. When my ex-step-dad died, his son that moved out here to be closer to him and, and his wife and children moved back across the country- so I no longer had an 'step' siblings. I didn't talk to my dad's side of the family much and it was hard to talk to these 'other' siblings of mine because I only met them later in life and they were strangers to me.
The Lord works in mysterious ways!
I began talking to a friend that I hadn't spoken to since high school and she wanted some baby annoucnements for her sister as a gift (post to come later). In talking with her- she shared her amazing, and rather large, family story with me. Now she has steps and halfs all over the place - but she doesn't see them as that- even tho her mother isn't with the men who were father's to some of these 'step' siblings. They were all family. It didn't matter where they came from or who their parents were- they were family. Plain and simple. Even this 'sister' of hers wasn't a blood relative, but her ex-sister-in-law- and that didn't make HER any less family either. It was her sister. My friend really opened my eyes to what family really was and what it meaned to be in an extended and crazy family. Sure, it was hard explaining who was who and it wasn't picture perfect June Cleaver type of stuff- but family isnt' that way. Even the most un-divorced, un-halfed families out there can be quite dysfuncional. So here in my small minded stance of "family is what my mother bore", I was quite humbled. Now- I am happily married, don't get me wrong, but I was so against it that I would get 'fixed' in order to not have children that were half siblings to my existing kids. It would've really bothered me if Chris went out and had more children. But don't worry- all that is moot. We are very happy!!!
So my wonderful Christmas gift this year was from God Himself (well- other than Christ of course!) and it was peace. Contentment. I get so wrangled up in what to get others and what I want that I forget the wonderful blessings. This was an amazing year. We spent the day with my family- and what a family it was!!! My mom and step-dad (whom I call dad as he's been like a father to me for the past few years and I love him as such), my brother, sister, grandmother. And then it got crazy!! My aunt and uncle- their son (my sister's brother). Another aunt and uncle who've been pretty reclusive for years - it was so nice to see them and include them. Then my ex-step-brother who has moved back with his wife and children. First thing he said when he saw me was "how's it going sis?" The fact that it's been seven long years and he still looks at me like a little sister resonated in my mind. I liked it. And it made me realize that despite everything that happened- they were still my family.
Times were tough on my parents this past year. They were in a pretty bad accident last year and finances weren't really great. They weren't able to give gifts this year and it really bothered my mom until recently. She was given a peace about what Christmas means-not the gifts or the meal and all the trimmings. But Christ and what He stood and still stands for. She opened her door to many and her peace hit us all. Chris and I were in a bit of debt ourselves and weren't able to buy oodles of gifts for the kids. We fought like crazy over this and have every Christmas we've been together and have had kids. We spent a few hundred on our brood and they got a ton of gifts- but they were becoming materialistic and overwhelmed at it all. This year we could only get them a few gifts each- and you know what - they were HAPPY!!! Content. Playing with their goodies and not having to un-wrap and run and get shuffled from place to place. The day was so slow and casual and enjoyable. I can't wait til next year to remind myself of this and cut out fighting over finances. Stressing over the perfect gift. Giving myself enough time to do meaningful this for the people I love. Sharing and giving to those in need and teaching my children those values. NOT fighting with my husband- and being able to enjoy the holidays for what it is. So in our humble, present-less state- we had a better and more merry Christmas than one I could remember.
Back to the idea of family and contemplating all these things on the ride home, I thought of my real father, who I haven't spoken to in months and seems that I am always the one calling him. I can be bitter and turn my back on him and his side of the family - be content in my 'perfect' bubble. But God put it on my heart to call him- wish him a Merry Christmas. Now that I did it on Christmas and not before shows him I expect nothing from him, and in our conversation showed him that he always has a place in my life. Another hard thing was calling my 'half' sister. I always felt so awkward around her and my (ahem) 'half'brother. I liked my little bubble with my little 'perfect' family. But my, OTHER sister once said that she always wanted an older sister and when she heard she had one, she was ecstatic. But it wasn't what I wanted or what she needed- then again, God put it on my heart that it isn't about me and what I want. It's not even about her and what she wants. It's about HIM. This season. The family we have. The things we do. It's all to share His message and to glorify Him. So I called and wished her a Merry Christmas too and had a wonderful talk.
So if you read this, my dear friend with your rather large and complicated family, thank you for putting it all into percpective. I have THREE brothers. TWO sisters. A SISTER IN LAW and more neices and nephews than just the little one I chose to acknowledge. I have a large family - not a half family- but a WHOLE one because I love them all wholey. This was the gift that God gave to me this wonderful, precious season. Better than any present under the tree or trinket in the stocking. It was wonderful, magical and spiritual.
Now that I shared all that with you- I hope it can open someone's eyes to the wonder and magic of Christmas not found in any parcel- so may all your Christmases be like mine. Full of love, family, laughter and peace.
Love always: Brandie :)

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

'Tis the Season

...to be BUSY!!! Sorry I haven't posted in a few days. I've been working my caboose off- and not all of it Christmas oriented. I find myself in the exact same prediciment as I do every year. Too many ideas - not enough time or money.
1st. I wanted to do mini paper stockings by scanning and printing Lauren Meader's Stocking Stuffer template down to 75%- I thought it would be cute and I could fill it with homemade candy canes. WELL- the candy cane syrup (you have to be so careful and this was my first time and the thermometer never did read past 200!!) - yeah, BURNT. So okay- no go to the candycanes. Then I was so overwhelmed with time constraints and such- plus being worried that I'd run out of adhesive- that I just nixed the whole idea. My thought was for pre-school and third grade children- they aren't going to save the cute little things I made them- they'll wind up in the trash all torn and crumpled and all that work would have been for waste. So I decided to make carmel corn instead. Turned out SO GOOD I didn't want to share with the kids- I did tho. And to make it a bit festive and put my papercrafting spin on it, I did make quick and cute paper tags!
So I just put them into the 2 dollar goodie bags that you use for birthday favours. Darned those things are handy! I made 30 bags of them- plus a few extra for home! Needless to say, they are gone now- and will be making some more for Christmas day!
The second thing I wanted to do- and still plan on it, tho not for Christmas, was to make a train out of paper. I already made one. It's pretty cute- but not finished. My son's birthday was in October, and I wanted a cute and inventive way to have a centerpeice and party favours. He loves trains so I crafted a train out of paper and wanted to make the coal cars the party favours for the guests. Well- expenses and time got away from me (story of my life this past year) and he didn't have a big party with his friends (not to worry- he still had fun with mom and dad and grandparents). So I thought I'd make another one and use it as a Christmas decoration and use the coal cars to store candy in. Well- time got away from me again. Turns out doing 30 baby annoucnements flip card style is a lot more work than I thought. Thought I could get them done in an afternoon- try three. AIGH! So another project down and gone! Don't worry- I plan on doing another one and having a tutorial. I want to see what I can come up with for it and I think Christmas decor and birthday centerpeices can be just the begining.
Then there was my Christmas cards for the year. I wanted to make purse cards for my friends that held four cards and four envies so they could have their own cards to give away. Yea- that didn't work either. SO I wound up just quickly throwing together some cards in an afternoon using Ms. (Miss?) boo's idea off of SCS:
And of course- it's blurry!!!! I is a bit plain on the outside- I'm not sure how to compensate for that. They were pretty quick- save the flowers. I had this BRILLIANT notion to ink up a bunch of red cardstock with red ink and then emboss flock all over it so it was textured. Then cut that out along with some vellum that I dyed red using alcohol ink. Then I used my flowers off of the Olivia cuttlebug alphabet set and stacked them together. Cute- very pointsetta like- then squeezed on some stickles and smudged it around. They are pretty in person- but alot of work for one tiny embellishement. THEN I ran outta supplies so I had to make a few 'extra' cards. Instead of red and pointsettas- I went back to good ol' blue and snowflakes (prepare youself for another blurry card):






Aigh- really a very not good picture. I wish I had known that BEFORE sending them out. Ah well- at least they look okay in person.
So okay- kids' classes and friends cards. Mailed last week so they MAY arrive today for Christmas. I don't know. I hope so. So then I wanted to make a cute backpack for Lexie's teacher as she is from Austrailia and here on an exchange program. It was her last day on Friday and I wanted to send her something special. WELL- time constraints again- and so I was whipping up something on the morning of the last Friday! Well- that's a tad better than Gabe's teacher. I just used a box that I had lying around. The one that held cards that I had made for a friend of mine and never did get around to mailing to her. I did apologize- so no worries- but oh-my-goodness has this been a bad year for me this season!!!
So here's the goody box that I whipped up for Lexie's teacher:
It's okay. I thought the silver and red and green and gold would look good together- now looking at the picture, I think it may have been a bit much. I DO love the red and gold tho- here's a close up of them:



I DO like the red and gold- looks prettier in person. I do need a better camera.
So that's the it. I have more to post but it's practically midnite. I just can't believe how unorganized and lazy I've been this year. Oh my gosh! See folks this THIS is where procrastinating leads you- don't even GET me started on my diet- as any who've kept track with my other blog will tell you- it aint going so well. The fact that I haven't even written in it in a few weeks is a bad enough sign. To top it off, I'm still trying to maintain life as a wife and mother- laundry, supper, bathing, cleaning. I do this to myself every year- and every year I say the same thing. I am so tired of the last minute CRAP I put myself through. To top it off, I haven't made time for the Lord at all this season- and isn't HE what this season is all about? So it's no wonder I'm moody and tired. *sigh* No sense in beating myself up about it. It wont accomplish anything. To top everything off I FINALLY cleaned up my place today- and now I have the desire to make my parents and in-laws and siblings gifts. Just a small brandiecrate with some chocolates. So there will be baking and candymaking and papercrafting tomorrow. I just don't know how some people do it- I really don't. They have all these beautifully made projects and then their children and their homes- possibly a job on top of all that and then if the kids are older- running them around to extra ciricular activities. Oy- it makes my head swim. HA- to top it all off- what I WANTED to do for my folks for Christmas, I'm not going to have the time for either! *sigh* one step at a time. Breathe... right?
Sorry to vent all this to you in the cyber world. Maybe looks are decieving and I have no clue what is going on behind those closed doors. Maybe they are just as lost and confused and busy as I am- or maybe they have better organizational skills. Man I tell you- when it comes to setting up a desk or a room- organizing that way- I have nothing doing!!! But when it comes to time managment- I'm a complete loss!! I just want to sit back and relax and enjoy the season. So with all that being said- I'm going to try to relax tomorrow and do what I can instead of what I think I 'have' to do. Y'all have a very Merry Christmas full of love and laughter tho- and don't do too much if you don't have to either tomorrow :D

Monday, December 15, 2008

Christmas Stockings and Birthday Surprises

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!!!- yesterday! So I am officially 29 this year. Now I'll be 29 and holding. Someone asked me what exactly we'll be holding- I figure that after 29 we'll be holding everything- UP! Stuff starts to sag and droop and we gotta hold it up! LOL. Actually, age really doesn't mean anything to me. It's not my age that makes me feel old- I am actually quite excited to become 30. It always seemed so mature and distiguished as opposed to 'old'. I figure if I start now, I'll have a house in my thirties. I'll be healthier and thinner in my thirties. No more poopy diapers in my thirties (well- maybe. The jury's still out on this one!) But it's not the age that makes me feel old- it's the age of my children! The fact that I remember so vividly each of them as a baby- and now my 'baby' is potty trained, talks and walks- and will be starting kindergarten in a couple of years. My son is in pre school and can do practically everything for himself. My eldest is in third grade and learning all about stuff that seems so mature for her age- her level of reading and the planets and everything. Thankfully she's not learning TOO much yet- that will come soon enough and far before I'm ready for it! If this is how I feel- I feel bad for my mom whose oldest just turned 29 yesterday!
So- what did I get? The million dollar question- A CRICUT CARTRIDGE! nothing big or extravagant. Like I said, we're a cheque to cheque family and don't have LOTS of extra cash on a one income family for really expensive gifts- but this one was great :D
Here she is!
Now- up here in Grande Prairie, we don't have a huge variety of Cricut supplies. Our major retailer is Michaels, and they really don't have a huge selection of cartridges. Tho I am excited because next year I'm getting the Cricut Create so I can cut at every 1/4 of an inch- I am SO Excited about that :D SO- I saw this on the ProvoCraft website. I saw the cartridge case and was like "whatever- it's kinda ugly". Look at the letters- the colours- not my style. Blech. BUT I, out of bordom and looking for a cartridge that I could cut scalloped shapes out of so I wouldn't have to buy the punches or order the spell binders- because again, we'd have to order them. No place here sells them. I looked at the online booklet and WOW. I mean WOW. The detailed corners and borders were so elaborate and pretty- I wanted this one so bad! BUT we'd have to order it through a retailer (we don't own a major credit card. Trust us- that's a good thing!) and there was no guarantee that it would be in for Christmas, let alone my birthday. Chris told me it wouldn't be in on time and he couldn't remember the name of the cartridge anyway (what a liar face :D) He called Keepsakes (our LSBS- and a great one at that!) and they had ONE. ONE! They ordered for themselves (as they have a Cricut studio that you can play with their goodies in) and they let him order it and even held it for over a week until we had the money and he could pick it up. I opened it and had no idea. I had ordered some EK Success punch stampers (check them out- too cute!) and I thought, maybe they came in and he was going to pick them up and surprise me with them. No- they weren't in- but THIS was my gift. So awesome, so thoughtful and so AMAZING! I re-went throught the book and I can make scalloped squares, ovals, circles and rectangles. I can make two beautiful alphabets. I can make gorgeous borders and corners. AND lables! The lables that are so hot at Stampin' Up! Right now? Yea- like those! I know I'm behind the times as I have never had a Stampin' Up! order- but I want to and when I get my lisence (no- I can't drive yet) I am signing up to be a demonstrator. So excited. I'm more excited about teaching other people techniques and getting discounts than I am throwing the parties and making extra money. BUT- that will come later :D
SO- do I even have a project for you, or am I just rambling about my present? Nope- I do have a project! I teach teenaged Sunday School at my church and in a class of six teens, I wanted to do something special as yesterday was my last day to teach until the new year. SO I downloaded Lauren Meader from Papertrey inks FREE (yes- FREE!!!) Stocking Stuffer template. I did say we don't have a major credit card- and it's good cuz I'd go broke and put those guys in top business LOL- but someday I'd like a prepaid credit card to order some of their awesome products. The only thing is, being in Canada- the postage is as much as the product. That part sucks. :( But I would love to order some of her other templates. They seem to rock and are very versatile. So I took advantage of the freebie and made these: for my class!

I have two guys and four girls. I filled them with chocolate christmas balls, werthers and candy canes. They were well recieved and that always makes me feel happy. I mean, crafting really is an outlet for whoever is crafting- I'd go insane if I didn't have this hobby, but the bonus is making gifts for people that are so much more heartfelt than money or something from a store. Especially considering that can be pretty costly! So papercrafting and candymaking combine perfectly for me during the holiday season- tho I cheated this time and didn't make my own candy :). So I just cut out one template from the printer and traced it onto other cardstock to assembly line it. I stamped with co-ordinating ink and embossed with glitter powder. I did the heels and toes with silver and smudged them- and the cuff! It's all snowflake patterns. Then, lifting the idea from Ms. Lauren herself, bought some cute fuzzy trim found in the mask and boa aisle in Michaels and used that for the cuffs too! I found some really cute adhesive rhinestones for really cheap too and decided to add some extra bling on the heels and toes. I like how they turned out. I am going to do these this year for my kids' classes. I am excited because I printed it out at 100%, put it in my copier and copied it at 75% so I have smaller stockings that look so cute! These aren't it, but when I'm done I'll post a pic of the larger one (for the teacher) and the smaller ones so you can see the comparasion.
Well- that's about it for now! Thanks for stopping by :D

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Finally finished... for now

Okay- I am LOVING my new background courtesy of the Cutest Blog on the Block BUT I have no idea how to change my title bar to match or make a signature- so anyone with ideas would be great :) if not- I'll figure it out. I DO have a computer tech for a hubby!
SO- I FINALLY finished my mom's birthday gift. Finished them all on Saturday night and was able to give them to her on Sunday at church. She hadn't looked through them all yet, but every time we had prayer sisters at my house I'd show her what new thing I'd made. Not a great surprise- but I get so excited that I want to show someone! So after an evening of making 16 envelopes and re-making a magazine holder cuz I didn't like the first one, I was done done done! And able to, with a clear conscience, go onto making my Christmas crafts- more on that later :D

SO: I cased this one from Miss Boo (I think that's how she spells it) from splitcoast. Hers is so much nicer and I fell in love with the simple composition that I used it for a couple of feminine birthday cards for my mom. You can't see it, but for the inside I just used one sheet of light pink and had the sentiment printed in the centre and used the Paisly embossing folder on the top and bottom of the insert to bring consistency through the entire card. For my flowers, I used the ones from the olivia set from Cuttlebug. I cut from glitter paper (NOT cardstock) and pink vellum. It was still missing something so I squirted some Fruit Punch stickles on them and spread it out. The flowers got hard and 3-D like and I loved the effect so much that I am lifting the idea for Christmas cards. I think with red instead of pink, it would make a very pretty pointsetta.




The next one in the birthday set was supposed to be more masculine- but I don't have a huge stamp collection and I can't seem to stear away from ribbon and flowers. What can I say? I am truly a girly girl! I loved cutting inch scallopes with my Cuttlbebug scalloped squares and double side adhesive. I then used some We R Memory Keepers flock sheets and rubbed them on. It works just like it does for the rub-ons- but you have to make sure you got the whole image and be careful when you peel the sheet up that you don't tear your adhesive. The foil sheets work as well- but be careful cuz the foil flakes. I haven't tried the glitter sheets yet- but that's because you can just pour glitter right on the adhesive and stick it! So I stamped right on the flock and just worked something out with the layout. Not my favorite- but I like the flocked images and the layout- may use it again but with different colours and stamps.





I made a couple of types of baby cards for mom too. I made her a bunch of Congratulations cards last year- and she's been using them when someone would have a baby. She wanted specifically for a baby this time, so I decided to give waterfall cards a try. Instead of the traditional directions found on SCS- I made my tab longer (can't remember how much longer- sorry) and only 1.25 inches wide. The squares are actually inches :) I also put six squares on them so I could spell BABY in blocks and have the train and caboose. The trains are from the New Arrival cartridge from Cricut and I cut them at one inch. I layered them (as you can choose 2 different layers). They still needed something, so I added some stickles (darn those things are addictive!) for 'smoke', 'cargo' in the train cars and on each of the wheels.



I did the same idea for the girly cards, but used the outfit selection for something girly. I also made 'sugared' brads by adding stickles to them and rubbing them over the surface and letting them dry. I embossed the main paper and it still looked plain so I added a couple of different things. I tried putting a peice of paper behind the waterfall- but the squares kept getting stuck on it. So I just made two strips on either side, stamped and inked the edges. Added a ribbon and put stickles along the side. I wasn't too sure about these either- but everyone who saw them assured me they turned out just fine.

So there's the sets! I put them into the magazine holders (that, of course, don't match but whatever. Mom liked them and the organization concept!) I did have fun doing that and I think it would be cute to make a 'set' for cards and a holder. So if you haven't tried making a mini magazine holder yet, go and try it out- they are loads of fun and a great way to present your masterpeices!




Thursday, December 4, 2008

Backpacks

Mmmmmm. Mornin'. What a slow start to the day. I'm usually up at 7:30am, and that's all well and good- I only have one in school in the morning and she can get herself dressed and make her own lunch. My mornings are always so laid back- for now :D it's nice... but my afternoons and especially the evenings are so chaotic, that they make up for it. So all you busy morning bees don't envy me- cuz after the noon I don't really get to relax til the kids are all in bed :D And I know that this will change when my other kids are going to school and I may get a job outside the home then. We'll see. God's timing. Tho it was all my timing this morning when I dozed on the couch for a bit cuz I was soooo sleeeeepy and woke up last minute to wake up hubby, feed and dress kids and try to get all who needed to out the door on time.
Aigh.
So I made those two backpacks for a friend of mine. There are alot of tutorials and sizes out there- but the one that suited me best was found here: http://tracysstampinschool.wordpress.com/category/back-packs/
She has a video tutorial as well as a pdf file for the cutting measurements. I liked it because it alloted me creative liberty, only took 2 sheets of 8.5x11 cardstock and didn't take very long to make, but turn out so cute!! So thanks to Tracy for doing all the hard work :D AND she had some other cute video tutorials on there too- so check her out!
So yea- I made one back pack and I got mad. I dont know about you all- but I try to get everything just so- and if it's a gift, or especially if someone is buying it, I want to get it close to perfect as possible. Now to for-warn you, you'll need velcro for the backpacks. I don't have any. I didn't know where to get any, and being as hubby and I are a paycheck to paycheck family and we're in between paychecks- I didn't even have the cash to pick some up if I wanted to. So I had to be inventive with closures. So I tried putting a brad on the inside and a hole in the flap. I don't have very many circle punches (I have 1) and so I used my eyelet setter and that didn't work too well. I used my hand held hole punch and the brad just didn't fit in properlly- but it worked. Then I tried it with the pocket- was off mark- and it didn't work at all. Needless to say- that backpack found it's way to the garbage.
Now I have a notch set from Making memories- and darned if I could ever really figure that thing out. So measuring on my new backpack, I thought I could tuck the flap into the notch. AGAIN with being off the mark and now I had a half mood slit hole in the backpack. sigh. So I covered it up and did the best I could. Now my setter is broken (it's been on the fritz for a while) so I think I may invest in smaller circle punches for notches and I asked for a crop-a-dial for Christmas- I've wanted one for a while so YEA!!! I never really use my notch set anyways- or my grommet set. Again- I've never been able to figure them out. Oh well. Work with what ya know.
SO here is the backpack that has caused me so much grief:
I love the 2.5x2.75 notecard for the front pocket. I really had no idea what I would do. So I took some bright pink cardstock (again guys- I don't have Stampin' Up! I use the Paper Company and they just come in nameless packs- don't worry- I'll hop on the train someday :D) I stamped the cardstock using my clear and woodmounted inkadinkado snowflakes in clearsnap Pink and White- I feel it gave it a snowflurry feel with out being overwhelming. I then added Fruit Punch stickles here there and every where for a bit of bling. I did the same for the pocket. Now- idea!! I think a person can alter the size of the pocket a bit and put a giftcard in there!! Too cute. ANYWAYS!! I took some white cardstock with a random snowflake, stamped in pink and embossed with glitter powder (my new term for glitter embossing powder!) I added some buttons and made the card. It was still missing something, so using my glue gun and some trim I found at the dollar store, I added the trim around the flaps to match the notecard. I thought it was just the finishing touch. y'know how sometimes something you make is okay- it's just missing something? Well the trim was it- I love it!! And so does she :D I decided to do the exact same thing, but in blue so both teachers weren't getting exactly the same thing. So here's that one:

So it's the exact same thing- only substituting blue for pink!The notecards were so simple- and like I said, I had no idea what I would do. I like making ellaborate cards- so a simple notecard has kinda evaded me. But I just stamped the paper to match the flaps on the backpacks and stamped a sentiment from this cute circle Christmas stamp set I found on vacation this year (I have no clue who makes it- I need to start remembering so if people see stuff they like they can go and get it too!) and added a scallop. Now- unlike most of the crafters out there- I don't own Spellbinders nor do I have all of (well, none of) Stampin' Up or Marvy's scalloped punches. I use Cricut's Mini Monogram cartridge. The circle is so nice. The square really isn't the same, the scallops are a bit too far a part. I want to order the Storybook cartridge because they have scallops (and some awesome trims!) on there. I'd also like to get a Cricut Create so I can go every quarter of an inch instead of every half inch! Christmas is around the corner- so who know's what Santa will bring :D
So, there they are. I've always been a tradtitional Christmas person with the greens and reds and golds. It was fun getting out of the box and trying something new- a new template. A new colour scheme. A new technique.
So go out there and try something new today!! Thanks for stoppin' by!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Hey Guys!!

Sorry that I have been a bad poster lately. I have so much on the go that I've kinda gone robot and just shut down. Now I've got so much on my plate and I wonder how I'll do it all? I need to stop procrastinating on this damned thing (facebook is a baaaaaaaaaaad vice of mine!) and start sitting at my OTHER desk and getting some of my artwork done. There are some to come- some I am really excited about to share and even a cool tutorial that I can't wait to make and share :D I just want to make sure that I get it all done. I don't know WHY I do this to myself. Every year it's the same old thing- I put off everything until last minute and then WHAM, I am scurrying around to finish half projects. I just wanted to let anyone who reads my blog to know that I haven't forgotten about them ;D.
Being as I am a chronic list maker, I will share my list one here- and if ANYONE has any ideas on how to get more time-organized- please share. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE share- LOL!
I have 2 mini backpacks that a friend of mine ordered for her child's teacher and needs done by the end of the week- not too bad.
I need to finish 8 cards and 16 envies for my mom's WAAAAAAAAAY belated b-day present- not too bad either cuz I have plans in place for those! - and I want them done this week so I can give them to her at church on Sunday.
A friend of mine wants 30 baby invites and 2 diaper bag totes- now we're getting a bit stressed. I need to wait til the baby comes to even start- cuz I don't even know what the gender is!! And I don't know about you guys, yea- pink and blue DO get overdone- but when you don't know the gender and go neutral- that gets a bit old hat too! PLUS I want to try doing them flip card style- something I haven't done yet!
Tutorial 1 is something I have cookin' that I want to do for a: my friend's son's birthday for a centerpeice/party favours. I don't want to get choo choo choo much away (wink) but I think it'll be awesome!!
Tutorial 2 is kinda lifted from the Martha Stewart line- and I will need to make 2 large and 4 small ones as Christmas gifts.
I have a free template for Lauren Meader's (good lord that girl has skills!!!) Stocking Stuffers- so I will shrink mine and make favours for the kid's classes- that'll be about 35 of them due by the 18th...
Another friend wants some brandiecrates as Christmas gifts... again, I wont know til later!!
Again- lifting from Mrs. Meader- I saw a cute box card thing and I though of lifting it and using it for my Christmas cards this year- as I tend to make candy as well. When I post this, I will also post the link to hers on her site so she gets the cred for this brilliant idea. I need to make 10 of these.
And some regular Christmas cards to mail out.
AIGH!!! Not to mention sleigh ride at the church, Christmas decorating this Saturday at my house, my birthday coming up AND the fact I have stuff for sale on facebook. I think I may bow outta that soon cuz only one person ever bought anything. Or I'll give a due date : "orders have to be in by December 18th" or something. Last thing I want is for all my list up above to be crowded out by other people's orders. Aigh. I've done it again tho- bitten off more than I can chew- here's hoping that next year I'll be a bit better organized- and ladies (gents?) again, any ideas KEEP 'EM COMIN'!! Thanks for stoppin' by!!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

To Give Thanks...

Well- Happy Thanksgiving Day my American Brethren!!! Now, I AM Canadian- so I celebrated thanksgiving last month (I believe the first Monday of October... I think...) BUT as a Christian, I can celebrate thanksgiving everday :D And in doing my morning devotions, it was revealed to me in Our Daily Bread that thanksgiving isn't just being grateful for the things we possess, it is an attitude that permeats our relationship with Christ. We can also be thankful in our sufferings (as hard as that is!) but we can, because we know that God who brought us to it will get us through it. I am living proof of MANY things God has brought me out of. I wont go into detail, as I want this to be a happy post- but know that I know that God is all in all because I am proof of His goodness, faithfulness and care.
So- speaking of thankfulness in suffering- I suffered a couple of days ago. You may see that I have a blog entry with only a date- that's cuz I'm not very techniqually equipped and my entire blog entry got erased. I was upset. I was down and didn't want to retype the WHOLE THING. But- as Joyce Meyers says I have a choice, I can grumble about it (which accomplishes NOTHING) OR- I can do it again. So I choose to do it again. There isn't anything else I can do, because grumbling does nothing but steal my joy- and I am really tired of having my joy stole! It's so much more liberating to live with joy than bitterness- I tell ya what!! And considering I have lived a great deal of my life in either of these categories at one point or another, today I choose joy. It's liberating, as well, to know that you can choose your thinking and you attitude. SO all that grateful faith talk aside: lets get to some serious business- STAMPING!!!
I will remind you of the story of the card set I made for a door prize for the church's 10 year anniversary. I posted it on FaceBook and a friend of mine loved the snowflake one and asked me to make her a set for her mom. I FINALLY finished it (not only am I going to be more thankful- I'm also going to quit procrastinating!!!!) so here is the finished box:

She did love it- and said she just may steal it from her mom- lol. I do take that as a compliment. It is a simple 4.5x4.5 standard box. It's also 1.5 inches high instead of 1 inch so I can stuff a couple more cards in there. I do love the little card boxes- they are fun to do and a great way to bring the entire project together- but I just wish they could fit more than four cards and four envies in it! This one fits six.
So I made four of the cards that I made before that she liked. I did a tutorial of how I did them in a previous post, but here is the card again:

The only thing different I did from the cards she saw was I didn't make punched out snowflakes from some glittery blue cardstock to put on the sentiment. I used my hubby's idea (and he says he's not crafty!!!) and used a peice of vellum and inked and embossed the edges to look like a 'window'. I love the way that man thinks! AND I am happy with how it turned out too! This was a second attempt, as my first attempt was with silver ink and it turned out too 'smokey'.
So as a bonus, I also made a couple of the following cards, that way if they want to order more, they have a bit of variety!

I was really happy with this one. I used the same tools and supplies as the previous card (except the border punch). I just wanted to see how versatile a few basic supplies could be. I got the base idea from SCS. The person on there folded the card down and embossed the base and punched the edge. I do have to tell you to punch first THEN emboss. I did it the other way around and I wound up tearing the edge. I also layered them again- I am really lovin' that technique! I am also in love with glitter- in case you haven't noticed!! Then I capped it off with some inexpensive sheer ribbon- available at Michaels for $6.00 ish CND and you get a LOT on a spool! And added some rhinestones. They were large enough to just use small zots to adhere it.
So now that I've shared that twice!! I hope it goes through! Being as this is a blog and I can share some personal stuff on it too (like my faith!) I thought I'd share with you all the fact that it was my FIFTH anniversary on the 22nd of this month! We couldn't do much that day as hubby had to work, but this weekend his parents are taking ALL THREE of our children (nothing short of a miracle!) for the entire weekend and Chris and I are going to do some Christmas shopping and take in lunch. He has had days off in the week before where we only have our three year old- and that was always nice, but I am really excited to have a day with him on the town and no children! Any other 'date' time was the evening, which is nice, but Grande Prairie doesn't have much for entertainment, so it was always dinner and a movie (which we're still doing!) but again, I'm just happy to have a day with my man!
SO- fingers crossed that this publishes this time!! And you all have a happy thanksgiving :D

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Monday, November 24, 2008

All That Glitters IS Gold

Okay. I am totally on a glitter, silver, sparkle kick this year. Cute, because it gives so much depth and texture to a project. Sucks, cuz, well- then I have glitter all over me. And my desk. And the carpet. And the cuffs of my pants and... you get the idea :D
So into this whole glitter and embossing kick, I made mom part duex of her four part gift. I will show them in stages- meaning when I'm done one, I'll share. It's pretty sad cuz I started the idea in September? I think... and figured I had LOTS of time. But true to form, here I am two weeks late. Ahh well, I hope my mom thinks it was worth it. She figures that it'll be a Christmas present now- but no. I have a totally awesome plan for that- and it WONT be late!! So part one was the mini magazine holder with four Thank You cards, and now I have another magazine holder with four Congrats cards. There are two for anniversaries and two that say "Congrats" that can be used for weddings or grads. Mom doesn't know many people that will be getting married or graduating- but they are here just in case. I made her a bunch of Congrat cards for her Christmas gift last year- but she wound up using them for "congrats" on someone's baby. So the next set I'm making is specifically FOR babies- as my mom crochets and makes an afghan for every baby born in the church!! So cute baby cards are a must in her stash.
But I digress!
So here is the package for her birthday set:

I really love the tutorial by Inking Idaho. She's one of my favorite blogs and her address should be on the right hand side of my own blog. She's got the tutorial there, plus really neat ideas for the 12 days of Christmas and other stuff- so go check it out when you're done here! I did alter her original design tho- mine is an inch longer and an inch higher- so instead of note cards, I have 4x5 standard cards. Now- I do like the matching sets of cards- but being as I made this holders simply for the fact of neat organization of my mom's cards- I wasn't too worried about matching the cards- and it gives mom more variety. She doesn't care. BUT I did think the black, red and white combo was pretty classy- so I did use it for one set of cards!!

I also liked labeling my holders- so I used my cuttlebug scalloped squares to layer a label and my computer- and sort of okay mental measuring skills and eye coordination to make the sign. So here's the one type of card close up:
I tried something similar for a Christmas project that I'll share later on. I am in love with the layering technique that is so popular now. That 1/8th of an inch showing just adds the right amount of depth- doncha think? And being as I am SO not good at measuring- I just use two 'ticks' off my Cutterpede on either side and that seems to work. I used my $1.50 stamp set found at Michaels (the Studio G ones) for the flowers and, of course, fine red glitter and fine embossing powder. I inked the edge of my sentiment and OOPS smudged it- so I just continued to smudge it so it looked natural. I tweaked this a bit, because I liked the long gatefold- but I had this punched edge that just didn't really work- so I cut it off and saved the flowers. To make my own coloured vellum, I just inked a white peice of vellum with my Cranberry ink and let it dry.
So that was one set- here's the other:

This was a complete fluke- a play by ear- and I'm SO HAPPY with it. First, I stamped some white ink on white vellum with my flower stamp (Happy Cat? Stamps I think- another Michaels find) and then embossed with white snow glitter and fine embossing powder. I watch Joyce Meyers often, and when she has a guest in her studio, you see the background set which is an etched glass sort of look on white rice paper. At least that's what it looks like and I wanted to emulate that. So I did another gatefold and cut two rectangles on the smaller fold leaving a quarter inch on each side and in between. Then I masked it off and patted gold ink all over that side. THEN I sprinkled gold embossing powder all over and heat embossed it. I then put the 'panels' in and added some stickles- I think they look window-y- which was the idea! I had some Creative Memories paper that my MIL gave me- stuff that I don't know if I'd use otherwise, but I trimmed the leaf edges off and had that nice old paper look- so I did that on the other side. I also masked it off again and stamped flourishes behind my windows. The next layer was just simple squares with the top layer being stamped with a flower and inked edges- embossed in gold. Add sentiment and ribbon and done? Not quite. I wanted to hide some imperfections on the inside of the card, so here I go:

Here is the base- the flower closed the card and you can see the background underneath the window here.









And here is the inside. I got used to doing 4x4 cards for a while so I kept making square inserts. When I was done I had all that blank space on the bottom and it looked naked. Rather than tearing the inside apart- I chose to just add to it. So I added the same ribbon, sewed some of the beads on it from the flower centers in the front- and cut out a stamped and embossed image of the same flower. The strip of paper is to hide the ribbon tabs and the back of the brad :D So it's done!!! And so am I- after trying to do the lay out on this thing and having a TON of stuff to do today. Monday is my cleaning house day- which isn't usually too bad- but today I need to do a LOT of organizing. We got a new (well, new to us!) dresser and got rid of the kids' broken ones- so I have clothes all over while I wait to pick up a rod for the closet and more hangers- and they decided to empty every single box of toys- the mess is now so overwhelming for them that I should try to tackle some of it. Plus laundry and bedding and the kitchen AIGH!!! I've noticed that if you leave a little mess, it grows and grows until it looks like my home. SO- no crafting for me today- I'm almost out of adhesive anyways- but at least I have some projects done to share :D So take care!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Alright- I'm not in the best of moods. My house is a mess because I needed to make candy and cocoa, I was working at my desk all day- and my 3 year old decided to wreak havoc with her toys. I do not do well with chaos. Chaos without leads to chaos within and vice versa. That aside, I have some Christmas projects to post- and I love Christmas. To me, it truly is the most wonderful time of the year. First and foremost being my faith. As a christian, I revel in the wonder of it all. God coming down in the form of a humbled babe and just the quite of the worhsip. The idea of the wisemen coming from a far and the angels coming to tell the shepherds- the lowest class at that time- to tell them of the birth of a saviour. The still of the night being broken by a chorus of angels singing praises to God. Just- the real beauty of it all- gets to me. So I love it. I love the Christmas stories and hymns and songs and plays. Then beyond that, I do love some of the Christmas- I dont' want to say commercialism- but nevoux Christmas spirit. I love the Christmas cartoon specials- the old lame ones with Rudolph and Santa. The new ones with Flintstones and Shrek. The only reason I was depressed about cancleing cable was that I couldn't watch them this year. So part of our Christmas budget is going towards a Christmas library :D Tim Allen and Chevy Chase and Fred Flinstone and even Minty! (if you have a little girl obsessed with My Little Ponies like mine is- you'll know who Minty is!) BUT I will pack them up with the rest of the holiday decor as I don't want to wear them out and have the 'magic' gone by watching them during the other seasons!

I love the decorations- the tree, the tinsle, the glow of the many many Christmas lights! I do, however, think personally, anytime before December is way to early to start decorating. In the Nellis home it's usually the first weekend of December. That way we keep it up for the entire month of December. I usually tear it down December 26th or January 1st. Again- I love the decorations- but after the hubabaloo is done and there is no more gifts and the anticipation is over- it's just to bitter to keep it up! I don't know if my home, with my three children and my limited decorating expertise, will ever look like they do in the magazines, but I love the golden glow of the lights alongside the warm rich gold and red and green hues in the background. *sigh* I even love the commercials and the Christmas jingles over the intercoms and the tacky street decorations hanging off of the lampposts. I love Christmas shopping- hate crowds BUT I found that a little Christmas patience and spirit is just what those frazzled people need and makes their shopping experience a bit better. Imagine how stressed and tired they are- then someone takes the time to smile at them and wish them a Happy Holidays, or Merry Christmas. To let them take the last thing on the shelf, to let them cut ahead in line. I dunno, it just makes my Christmas to make someone elses.

So all that aside, I also love doing Christmas crafts, baking and candy making. For the past three years I 've been making my own Christmas cards and either baking or making treats for my friends and family. It's the same cost, because materials and ingredients DO add up, but it's enjoyable. What do I hate about Christmas? ME. LOL, I hate what a procrastinator I am at doing my Christmas crafts. Everything last minute and the house gets to look like chaos and my kitchen is worse. I also last minute shop for my hubby- but that's not too bad because this year I'm avoiding our mall and heading downtown. We have a modest downtown- but I can do damage for my hubby! Kids? We are spending (part) of our anniversary date day by Christmas shopping for them. Hitting Walmart or Superstore and done!! DONE in like, an hour (well- plus wait times!). So all of this planning and spirit and plotting and budgeting makes me a chronic list maker. C-H-R-O-N-I-C!!! I list all year long to what I need to pack for vacation to what needs done during my spring cleaning to weekly budgets and schedules. Do I stick to them. Hell no- I'm not that avid of a keeper of the law- just a bringer of the law!! LOL And Christmas is no exception! Tho I am a bit better on keeping the lists in check. I have LOTS to list, from Christmas list, to my wishlist, to budgets, ingredients, materials for projects, and what needs to be done, and now movies I would like. I also like calanders, so I can figure out stuff. I have a calander. One. Stuck on the wall that I rarely look at. BUT when budgeting or listing I usually jot down a small calender so I can have my 'due dates' for crafts and stuff. So here, is my new- never have I ever been so list-organized, Christmas planner!

So here it is. I have a Calander for the months of November and December- prime holiday times (well, and the fact that October is over!) four note pads for lists and budgets, and one to do list. I made this by using a 12x12 sheet of paper and scoring it at 4.5 one way, and then at 3 and 6 the opposite way. I used my sticky strip to make the pockets and keep it closed. I then stamped with snowflakes (I'm on a glittery snowflake kick this year- hmmm) and of course, used my glitter/embossing powder combo to add dimension. I then used my computer for the labels and note pages. I simply used the underscore/line button and held it down til I had a full page of two columns. I cut them to 3 and 1/18 and each notepad has 8 pages. Then my base was 8x3.25 and scored at 1 inch to fold over the note pages. I NEED a crop-a-dial. I used my instant setter and it was too much for it. I got it done- with lots of 'chunk chunk chunk' noises, but man, I'd love that crop-a-dial! So the I closed it with 'sugared' brads (homemade, just brads coated with Mod Podge and glitter) and a bit of ribbon. It's folded and tied off with a ribbon and can fit in most purses. So it's perfect for other chronic listers and can be made for other things too- like planning for baby or a wedding or even a birthday party.

Along with the snowflake theme, I made my FIRST order today! Well, not first paid, but first stranger. Someone I don't know, that I'm not related to or friends with, ordered a brandiecrate and I started it, and finished it, today. She wanted a snowflake pattern so more snow and glitter later, I came up with this:

I've done other colours before, but I find that a white base makes for more variety. I am starting to enjoy the accent colour ideas. I think I could have added another hue of blue, but this works well. It's not too much. Check out my previous post to see how to assemble one for yourselves. They are easy and addictive- perfect for gifts! In fact, I want to see what I can do instead of candies and cocoas for gifts. Ahh the possibilities! So this is my snowflake obbsession for the year! It started with some cards I made for a door prize and realized just how pretty blues, silvers and whites really are. So- the mess is still waiting for me, but my disposition is slightly better. So after the place is clean I think I may be able to squeeze a bit more crafting in! (I DO have those gifts for my mom's b-day waiting to be finished!) So that's it- and take care!

Friday, November 14, 2008

I'm Back!

AUGHHHHHH!!! Okay- well after a LOVELY weekend of dealing with the stomache flu wreaking havok upon my entire family- I'm back! It started Thursday night with poor little three year old Bella. Then I had company over that overnoon and here she get's sick- yuck! Then Friday was okay for the most part- and then on Saturday it hit me- hard. I went and spent the weekend at my folks as my hubby was out of town- and I HATE being home alone- even with three kids. It was cool and I enjoy hanging out with my family- but then late Saturday morning I felt ill and it stayed. Sunday came and I had to find someone to cover for me in church as I was supposed to do Sunday School AND children' church. Sunday nite- I'm doing okay. I go home with my hubby and kids. Sunday nite my son gets sick (poor Gabe) and the kids had Monday off and Tuesday off (of course!). So Monday I was sick too, my husband stayed home and tended to me- and the kids. Monday nite my oldest gets sick. Thankfully no school on Tuesday. Now I'm feeling better and then DH was sick! Tuesday nite Gabe is sick again and stayed home from school on Wednesday- Well, then it's Thursday: we're all doing good and can eat solid food again. Then poor Lexie gets sick this morning and misses her last day of school for the week. *sigh* needless to say with being sick and not doing much I had a heck of a time Wednesday cleaning up and caring for my son. Took me three days to do laundry (INCLUDING all the um.... sicked on bedding...) and now I FINALLY have time to craft- sort of. So my mom's birthday was Saturday (the one where I was sick!) and I didn't have a chance to finish her gift- now I'm just procrastinating- she'll understand! PLUS I am excited, I finally have an order for something from someone I'm not friends with or related to! A complete stranger wanted to buy my stuff! It's due this weekend- so I have to go out and pick up some stuff- but it's a start. I guess I'm a bit glad that I didn't have more to do- what with the Nellis Family Five all being quarantined and all! So I did manage to do some of her gift. (this is all in love ma!) First she wanted cards. Then her cards weren't as good as other peoples (cuz I was learning and getting better!) then she gets 'good' cards - but they are all the same and she's handing out duplicate cards to people. WELL here- after checking out a really neat idea from 'inking idahoo' s blogspot- I made some mini magazine 'holders' and thought that would be cute to house cards. Other people had nice matching cards and envies and boxes- I decided that mine would be more for function- as mom's old cards are scattered on a bookshelf as she has no where to put them! So here are the two thank you cards for her set- two of each- and she has a variety (sort of!) and a box to keep them neat and get filled up when she runs out!
So yeah- I made this holder a while ago- cuz I thought it would be a cool idea. And I thought I'd be done all her cards by now. But in typical Brandie fashion- I waited til last minute- then something unexpected happend- and now she has to wait. I hope they'll be done before I start Christmas crafts! So I do make bulky cards- I do like embellishing them! This does fit four cards- and four envies- but as we see here- Brandie and her bulk are a tight squeeze!





















So here's the first Thank You card. I can't tell you how much trouble this gave me! I loved the idea of a 'bevelled' type of edge using my wave blade and then adding flowers along it. I got that idea from SCS gallery. And I loved stamping my flourish stamps with pink and embossing in typical Brandie fashion with 1/2 and 1/2 glitter/embossing powder mix. Then I was lost. My PP didn't work quite right. I had NO idea how to do a sentiment. I was lost- and pouting. I had a great base- but nothing to add to it. After a while, and Godly inspiration- cuz y'know, He DOES help if you ask!- I got this- with the circle tag I cut out and stamped a circle cut out of PP and then muted it by putting vellum over it, but I punched two daisies out of it using my small Marvy daisy punch. Then I did the strips and I think it came together nicely- no more pouting! Now I had to come up with another one- lest mom have four of the same and no 'variety'!




So here is the other card. Again- I got the idea from SCS (I love that site!) They had a card shaped like this with embossing the front base and using a border punch for the bottom edge. I loved it! I had trouble with the sentiment on this one too- another doozy. Then I figured that turning it so my 'Thank You' can fit gave it a nice dimmession. THEN I stamped the whole diamond with my purple flourishes- so I re-did them and only stamped the top and bottom- so the sentiment can be seen better. It still looked naked, so I had some new stickles- didn't know how to use them- so I added the dots along the edge. Finished with the diamond rhinestones in the corners and VIOLA another set of thank you cards done! Now... only 12 more to finish the set. Man, if I had this much trouble with these two- what am I gonna do with 12 more? LOL- I have some ideas- so just stay tuned- and hopefully I'll finish mom's b-day gift in time enough to start on a gift for NEXT years birthday LOL!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Just an Update

Well- it's a slow going business. I really would like to sell some of the things I make- but I really don't know how to go about it. Ebay and Etsy and the Farmer's Market are all very overwhelming. So I've just started on Facebook and that is going slowly. It isn't that I haven't been commisioned to help on a creative project or anything like that- but my idea of selling for profit kinda looms over me. I mean- what if I don't do well and I have spent a small fortune getting started? Or what if I do start out and demand exceeds supply? Sigh. It's tough... I have no idea how others do it. Maybe they are just more daring than I am. I would like to see this take off- maybe I need to branch out beyond "facebook". Especially considering I am only basically charging for supplies. LOL- my mother in law is a wonderful woman- but very worried about mine and my husband's financial situation. She doesn't want me to quit crafting, but is a bit worried about the amount I can spend on it. Especially when Chris gets worried and then burdens her with his worry. The result? She told him I should sell my stuff. Well, he got a bit paranoid- thinking she meant my desk and cricut and tools etc. Chris was like "I can't ask Brandie to do that- we've put so much money into it and she loves doing it!!!" to which his mother gave him the 'look' (LOL) and then told him that her idea is IF I want to buy supplies, I have to earn the money by selling what I make. I actually find this more of a compliment that and insult (regarding my spending- cuz lets face it- the woman ain't wrong!!!) So this is the way I can help my family by being more cost concious- but like I said- my worry lies in 'where to start?' So I guess I'm going to branch out and start a slide show on here of what I've already made. Most, if not all, have already been given away- but it's really easy to re-make something, especially if you have a photo as a guide.

Funny thing is though, I've gotten requests from friends at church for cards and such, so here is one of my first 'sales': a Thank You card for my friend. It was funny because she said it'll look like she's sucking up to her sister-in-law. So I thought hmmm, next time she needs a card I'll be a jerk (in jest) and just fold a peice of plain paper in half and write (handwrite) thanks on the front. LOL- I'd have a 'real' card for her- but I do like small jokes in which no one is hurt- and she's a good sport :D So here is the card I made her. I do love the composition- prolly stole from one of the talented people at SCS- and I'm thinking of using this layout again!

So busy season is coming up and I've got a bit to-do. Not only do I have my own Christmas cards and gifts to make, I am hoping to expand my business a bit and hopefully get some Christmas requests. Top that all off with family stuff, friends and hubby (class all of his own) I think I may finally rest after the holidays!!! But that's it for now. I am making some scrumptious (or at least I hope!) thumbprint cookies. It finally snowed here today- which knowing Northern Alberta weather- should have happened two months ago- seriously! So my house is cozy and the smell of PB cookies (gunna be filled with chocolate fudge!) is lingering in the air. Almost time to pick up the kiddos and then being as it's brisk and not frosty- take in some of the mild winter weather before it becomes too cold to even venture down the block! Take care and happy crafting :D

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Hallowe'en

No - not a very inventive title, but I excel at crafting- not original titling :D (okay- maybe I do, or should, considering I'd love to write full time one day- but it's just a blog and it's just hallowe'en and I just want to wish everyone a happy one!)

Okay, so. Every year, for the past two? years I wanted to make something special for the kids in my children's class. Being as I love baking and candy making and paper crafting I thought I'd do something cute for the classes. It's fun, the kids can be involved yadda yadda yadda right? WELL both last year and this year- poor poor pitiful me left the craft til last minute so not only did I have no room for error, I also had no room to let the kids help as I was doing this the evening before. In fact, I stayed up til two last night fininshing the ones for my daughter's class. Aigh. I do it to myself.

So here's the story: last year I wanted to make those tent bags with homemade chocolates. Well, you have to be careful as some kid are allergic, severely allergic, to nuts. This poses as a problem because I'm not sure if my chocolate melts are made in a plant that produces nut products or not. So better safe than sorry, I said no to the chocolates, and decided to make caramels instead. WELL my regular batch was too goopey to hold it's shape and I burnt the chcolate one- bad candy thermometer :C- so it was about nine? ten at night and I had nothing- NO-THING! So I decided at that wonderful time at night to make mini chocolate chip shortbread cookies. Well, I had trouble with the temperture as smaller cookies bake faster than regular ones. They were okay- but a bit, um, hard. (One of Lexie's classmates complained to her- 'your mom needs to make softer cookies'- thanks kid :P) So I was up til about midnite or one am last year making nasty cookies in ugly bags. OH THEY WERE UGLY!!! LOL- so ugly that I don't have a photo. I wanted to make pumpkin and ghost tents- the ghosts were hideous as I had this brainstorm to run the paper through the cuttlebug folder first (the swirl one) and it warped the paper. The pumpkins I used my EK Success bugs- the peircing ones that help you stitch- and I faux stitched with a pencil. It wasn't neat- it looked like- well- like a child did it :C THEN I cut out peices of black paper to make faces- oh, they were just so horrible.

So this year will be better... right... ??? I do have to give myself some credit. The boxes turned out okay- it's hard to mess up a pizza box. BUT my grand idea was to make a chocolate rolled cookie and then decorate these circle cookies in the faces of monsters. I actually got pretty good at cake decorating- and love it- and one of my fave sites is the Wilton site which has some pretty good ideas... so! I start making my cookies. A nice sugar cookie recipe- what I didn't realize was that sugar cookies require almond extract- I'm sure I could've subsitituted more vanilla- but I didn't think about that until AFTER I put the almond extract in and I'm staring in the bowl thinking of kid's allergies. Crap. So I'm taking stock of what I have- which isn't much, grocery day isn't until Friday, so I have to work with what I have. I FINALLY find a recipe that has all of what I have and start. I measure the cocoa first- I need 3/4 cup- I only have 1/2 cup. Crap. So I go on the net and try to find substitutes for that as I do have squares of unsweetened baker's chocolate. So after many sites searches (it really wasn't easy to find) and some math (which I'm not very good at) I thought I had it figured. I chilled the dough. I took out the dough and got everything ready to roll the dough. Dough was hard as rock. Crap. So I nuked it for 30 seconds and put it on my kitchen table. I now have chocolate crumble that doesn't roll worth a hoot all over my table. Double Crap. And now I don't have enough ingredients to start all over. I could really cry. So I just wind up getting some chocolate bars- and again without thinking about the nut allergy thing- oops. Grrr- if it's this hard for a mother to do that for her kids' classroom I cannot imagine how hard it is for the mom of the child WITH this allergy. I really feel for them doing this everyday. So that's my wonderful tale. I could cry- I almost did. But thankfully my mom put it all into percpective, as mothers usually do. And it didn't turn out too bad- this is what I came up with:

The finished pizza box- I wish I had some Hallowe'en stamps to livin' up the purple paper- but I don't. Ah well, chances are the kids are just going to tear them up to get to the goodies inside :D









The inside of the box- I got a free box of chocolate bars from Superstore as their deal- and they had to be the cadbury ones- so it sucks cuz they are peanut butter, but I gave the teacher's each a warning. Thankfully the children in question just can't eat peanuts. I feel for the moms whose children can't even smell them or touch something that has peanut oil or something on them.












I made 21 for Lexie's class all last night (I had everything pre-cut or I'd have been up an extra two hours!) and the day before I did ten for Gabe's class.









So I hope you all have a happy hallowe'en with your little ghosts and goblins... after today, it's time to get ready for Christmas... augh!!! If I had this much trouble with Hallowe'en I dread what Murphy's Law has in store for me during the holidays! LOL take care :D

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Birthday Cards

So a quick post for today- as I haven't really scrapped much latley- so I don't have anything really new to share. Yesterday was a VERY productive day for me (don'tcha love those!). I cleaned my entire house from top to bottom (not too hard considering it's a two bed, 1 bath apartment). I made a roast for dinner, finished laundry and even finished a birthday card for a friend of mine!

<-Closed card
Open card ->
So yeah, I was pretty impressed with the accomplishements of yesterday. It's always nice when everything is done- but tough as a mom when the very next day you're starting all over again. I had clean dishes, but now my full dishwasher needs to be unloaded and put away. I had laundry done, but with a family of five the hamper is almost half full again. My once clean carpet has chocolate cupcake crumbs all over it. Sigh. That's the life of a SAHM tho right? Work is never done. At least there's always time for stampin' to take some stress out of the day!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Snowflake Follies Set.

Okay- so I'm not the best at updating :P But I'm getting there!! I'm trying to incorporate craftin' in my everyday life and want to share my creations with you!
So a few days ago my church celebrated it's 10th anniversary, which was pretty cool, and I got to help by making the invites, favours and programmes. I really didn't feel that it stretched me all that creatively so I decided to donate a door prize with a basket full of goodies. Two crates, one with chocolates and one with coffees and then three sets of gift cards. Well, I also have a facebook account and my friend really liked one of the sets of cards and wanted it- so here I am making it again with a technique that I worked with. I don't know if anyone else has done it- but I didn't see it anywheres- but I know for a fact great minds think alike- so I won't take the credit on this one... just in case :D


So- of course I don't have the best camera- or lighting- so please bear with me. I ran a 3.75x3.75 peice of WHITE cardstock through my Cuttlebug (BEST B-DAY PRESENT EVER!!!!- love you honey :D) I used the snowflake folder (OH- go to their site and check out some of their new embossing and 2 step folders- I want them!) ANYWAYS-LOL- I just ran that through my cuttlebug.






Then I tried highlighting the embossing- which I have seen before. But I tried doing a lighter colour first (the catseyes from ColorBox are perfect for this work!) and then the darker colour. I've done this before with three different shades of blue- very pretty! Or even using three different colours, like yellow, orange and pink- just make sure you use the lighter colour first.




Then using glitter glue (I don't have stickles, but I think they may work) I splotched some on my peice of cardstock and just swirled it on with some foam brushes in a circle motion. It does need to dry, and wait til it's completly dry, or it'll get goopy. As I've said, I don't have stickles, so I didn't use them- maybe they dry better- I don't know. I just like the glitter effect- and it makes a great back ground :D




And there's the finished card using your peice of cardstock as a nice element to a card. The other elements I used were mixing glitter and fine embossing powder together (equal parts). I then stamped snowflakes on vellum and used my mixture to heat emboss it- be very careful tho! You could either scortch or blister your vellum! (that is the strip under the ribbon). Then I used the same technique on a square of vellum that I placed OVER my stamped saying- to give it a 'frosted window' look (that was my hubby's idea- and he says he's not creative!)
So yea- that's my Christmas card- I may change my own for this year- these were my favorite but a card is like a nice dress- you simply can't be seen with the same one as someone else!! LOL so that's it for now- bye!













Wednesday, October 22, 2008

OOPS!

Sorry- I don't want to edit the whole post- it was tough enough to get it alligned straight! I am NOT computer savey! Anyways, I meant to say, when you are scoring the sides of your crate, and you want it a bit wider, score at 8/16ths NOT 12/16ths- sorry. My math was off- I guess that WOULD make it an even tighter squeeze eh? Sorry for the confusion :P