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