Watercolor thank you

Still enjoying the watercolor for card makers class. Since I wasn't able to follow along each day I'm still busy practicing some of the beginning techniques. Anyway, super fun using my supplies and stamps in new ways.

For this card, the assignment was to use a stamped image as a guide for your watercoloring. My water color paper was on the thick side, 140lb and I used some new distress markers by ranger. The flower stamp is from a StampinUp set, I think no longer available, I show it in the post before this one. I didn't have the markers, so I just purchased a few in some floral-y colors. I never felt the need to have these, but I really did like working with them as watercolors.

I worked with this one little flower for a while. The trick is layers. And patience. Letting the image dry in between. Already I can tell that my comfort level with these techniques has grown.

I finished off the little square card (it's 4"x4") with a sentiment from Wplus9 Fanciful Feathers.  Seriously, it took longer to make this card than my usual, but, I just love it. I've worked on some backgrounds and more flowers for now. Maybe I'll even add some leaves next time....I just wanted to keep it simple for now. 

The other two cards behind it are made with some backgrounds I was playing around with a few weeks before the class started. I think it was some glimmer mist on watercolor paper that I misted some water on....I wasn't really sure I knew what I was doing, just playing. I hated it, then I took a bunched up paper towel and blotted the wet spots.....set them aside. Anyway, I think they call that a happy accident. Looking at them again this week I saw them with fresh eyes and decided to use them for cards.

Until next time...



I've been participating in an online class this week, Watercolor for Card Makers. It's run by Online Card Classes. An amazing class! There is something inspiring and very doable each day. Even though I am not able to keep up daily, I don't feel behind. Very encouraging, easy to do techniques.....just need to practice, practice.

So far just playing around with my supplies. I think I have been hoarding um, collecting, watercolor supplies for a while.....judging from the cool finds I discovered while shopping my stash. Like an unopened watercolor "stack"of 14 colors just waiting to be used. I don't even remember buying it, guessing 2009. And of course finding new ways to use some of my current stamps, ink pads, die cuts and stencils. Also, learning the best way to use the brushes and the correct type of brush for the look you want to achieve. All this is new to me, yet I have always loved watercolors, just too intimidated by it.

I jumped right in during day 6 or 7 and really need to go back to the start with some of the basic stuff like backgrounds, but trying out the techniques and supplies I've never worked with is part of the learning.

There is one fun technique where you lightly splatter the watercolors into a freehand shape.....intimidating right? Too Advanced for a newbie you say? Nope. The instructors are excellent at explaining and demonstrating the technique. Man, I couldn't wait to try it even though it's further along in the class assignments than I am. Such a beautiful end product. My first attempt....

Ok, so I'll keep working on it, maybe turn it into a card, maybe not. But I loved experimenting with it.

But those splatters though.

I just love that free form look!

I do want to post something in the class gallery....which is how I ended up coming back to my blog. So better get to work. Geez, now I realize I've missed blogging :)

Thanks for stopping by.


A moment-in-time, with kid stuff.

I took this photo this morning because I want to remember. I love the randomness of all this everyday clutter, taking up space on our living room ottoman. The bits and pieces of what the kids are into these days. Little treasures of their everyday life. The kind of days that tend to zoom by us. The kind of days in which we seem to not remember these types of little details. It's not just a warm beautiful autumn day I want to remember. It's this part of our daily lives on a warm beautiful, autumn day that I want to remember.



Connecting + Pinterest

Funny story about blogging. You can't wait to start a blog and want to blog everyday then you want a break. During said break you discover all the other ways to socially connect with people. Such an increase from the days when you started blogging here back in 2006 that it could be overwhelming if you tried to connect using all of them. I actually began blogging earlier than 2006,  but back then I started a blog on live journal, around 2000-2001.  So much has changed.

Emailing friends and family used to be the main way to "connect" then came Facebook. I thought about it recently and the only times I email now are for work related or school/volunteer related topics. Interestingly enough, junk mail always finds a way in. Ha. I never did tweet but I finally flickr'd, then came pinning, and I'm eyeing Instagram as a possibility next.

Well, I guess so much hasn't changed. We still like to connect and share we just go about it differently, at blazing speeds it seems. The funny thing is that while I was on Pinterest one night about a month ago I saw one of my older card pictures on someone's board {the photo above}. I did a double take. I hopped off the couch, OMG! But since no one was around to share this nerdy moment with, because it was about one o'clock in the morning, I sat back down.  I just had to see for myself, and yes there it was. I was flattered yet perplexed at how such an old post, from '08, could have made its way to a crowded place like Pinterest. Go figure.  Where was i going with this?  Oh yea, and funny story, that's how I made my way back to this blog.

Through the stats on the blog I discovered that the post from this one sizzix papercraft experiment is the most popular on my blog. It was also listed on a craft site much later. I never checked those stats that much, so when I found out in 2010, it was a pleasant surprise. :) I also enjoyed reading the many comments about it, some from '09, '10 and '11. Thanks!

I have also moved up to the LifeStyle Crafts letterpress machine, good results, not crazy about the plastic plates, felt they could have done a better job on that. I barely use my original sizzix now. But just last week my daughter, who is in 7th grade now (she was only 6 when I started this blog!) wanted to use some die cut letters for a social studies project so we hauled out the old reliable machine.

I love the look of embossed paper still. Recently discovered so many nice embossing folders from stampin'up and darice, they have been my first purchases for crafts in a long time. See, around the same time I took breaks from blogging I also took breaks from buying too many craft/scrap booking supplies. It felt good not to overload, or just even not to think about or obsess over whether I had the latest and trendiest stuff. Goodbye to over buying, and now I only buy what I need, really really love and can get much use out of.

Cheers to connecting!


handmade gifts for teacher

Note: I found this post "in draft" from two years ago. I don't know why? - probably had to check the links and then forgot ??  

I haven’t posted about any of the paper crafting going on around here lately so here are some handmade gift ideas for those fabulous teachers in our lives. In many towns parent groups like to have a teacher appreciation event at the beginning of the year, our area likes to have one in May.  These are actually really nice for any time of year you want to make handmade gifts.

We used some of these for the national PTA’s Teacher Appreciation Week/Day and for end of year gifts. Our school has activities for a whole week in May involving teacher appreciation; beginning with the children writing a special Thank You to any teacher they wish to compliment and ends with the PTA sponsored appreciation luncheon at the end of the week.
I think about all the other caring adults and volunteers we run into as a family and I know they put aside time each week to plan something special for the kids. From the preschool parent/child group organizers to the religious education volunteers at our church each one has a special place in our hearts.
I turn to making something handmade. Fortunately I have found out that we have many scrapbookers in our teacher mix. This is good news for me since I’m really only good at one thing. Paper. I also find it simple to put together something that is practical, that will be used and that is versatile to be used any which way they want.

A set of handcrafted note cards or hand stamped journaling cards are a recent example. I pulled from my  “stash” of scrapbooking and card making supplies and also from the growing stash of digital designs I have fallen in love with.

1. The hand stamped journal cards were inspired from an old blog post over at the fontwerks blog.
2. (no picture available, sorry) A handmade note card set using digital designs can be made with any digital brush kit. It is easy...I simply find a digital design that is pretty and using some type of photo or graphic design software on your computer you customize it according to paper size you are using and what size you want the finished product to be. I like using an 8.5x11 piece of heavy weight card stock, cut in half this will give you two note cards. Mix and match with envelopes and tie together with twine or ribbon.

3. Journaling cards were made from several designer digitals products, (the handwritten digital designs are from Ali Edwards).  Digital butterfly sticker also from designer digitals (though, no longer available). I also like to print out a background design and cut it to the size I need or use a paper punch (oval or circle scallop), then hand stamp an outline flourish or botanical design in the corners. Rubber stamps used are from hero arts or found online at impress rubber stamps. I am always attracted to either the botanicals or the flourishes. I always like to use a nice sturdy weight card stock for handstamping and digital projects. Can your printer handle some watercolor papers? If so, even better, that texture is beautiful. Mine can, but only the not too thick kind.
{This grouping also includes digital designs from Paper Relic (birds, butterflies with banners). Background paper from a digital kit of IOD (iron orchid design) designs from way back (2007 maybe.) Purchased at another fave site, They were some of the very first digital downloads I purchased and I still love them.}

There are so many to swoon over. And new ones added every week. Since you can print these out to use for your personal use (not commercial) and re-use again for cards/invites/gifts, plus re-size, and recolor, this is also a double bonus {or is that, triple? quad?}. Most are between 2.99 to 6.99 – I think that is affordable.

4. Let’s not leave out the “freebies” that could be practical additions to a paper project. Like making your own paper to fit your needs. I like to use these two freebie sites as a starting point for ideas such as making your own background patterns for a project. Here I like to use heavy weight card stock also.
Two favorites lately have been: (I discovered this one from a post over at the fontwerks blog) Cool school-lined paper.
And, a new to me,  free grid and graph paper site: I've loved graph paper ever since my high school days. This site has a circle grid graph generator that has nearly endless combinations of color and patterns. hmm, more swooning.

Posted by Picasa


detail of a bird's idea of home sweet home

100_5594100_5802bird nest closeup100_5798100_5797100_5796
100_5795100_5794100_5793100_5792bird nest: weaving perfectionbird nest

Details of a robin's nest. A shutter sisters blog / one word project (owp). The prompt for June is "details." I just joined, but have enjoyed the blog for a long time.
There have been many reasons for not blogging lately, but mostly it was because I just began wanting to do something more. something else. so I stopped for a while to just see what it was that I wanted this space to be. I return again to photos and photography. Hopefully inspired throughout summer.



I think the hydrangea bush makes one of the most adorable flowers. This flower cluster was just about to bloom to its lavender shade but I thought the green shade was eye-catching.

Just thought I'd share.


Spring-ish Thursday

It seems odd that I have been away from the blog for such a long time. I mean, I have thought about blogging often. Topics come very easily in the routine of everyday life. Between packing book bags and lunches. Washing the dishes. Outside playing with the kids, bonding during play-dates with other moms (this makes me wonder - are the play-dates really for the kids or the moms? both!) Folding the laundry. Driving to work, etc.

It seems that I have written entire posts (in my head - talk about a distracted driver) during car trips from here to there and back to here. Still, not enough time in the day to actually get the everyday thoughts into the "everyday" blog. It feels like failure sometimes. But I am being too hard on myself. I find that I have actually shifted back and forth through the years between my beloved paper journals and this new found technology. I'm currently really into my light brown leather bound lined journal - but I can feel the itch to check on what's new around blogville.

The springtime sunshine and longer daylight hours really do put me in a better mood. And I haven't been in much of a mood for writing lately -- just alot of thinking. And what brought me here today was the discovery of one of my first journals. Tucked away in a box of my old books in the basement. A journal entry from waaaay back in those college days, dated Thursday, March 18, 1987, caught my attention. A Spring-ish Thursday much like today. Twenty-three years ago I could not have imagined what life would be like in 2010.

Yet here we are. Here I am. There were dates missing that I wondered to myself "why didn't I record what I was feeling that day?"

I loved going back through the old entries and seeing the progression of thoughts and events I deemed worthy to reflect on. So, it was a good reminder to come back to what I really enjoy. Maybe not always in blogger but finding a way and some time to record those reflections somehow, somewhere.

Last summer while blog surfing I came across a bookmark-worthy blog with some simple tips and writing prompts. The author shares so many wonderfully simple ways on how to get "the beauty of everyday moments around us" recorded quickly, simply. Try visiting her journal inspiring blogs here and here.

Just wanted to share that today. Is it too late for resolutions? kidding. I hate those. But as a goal for the year I plan on simplifying the recording of memories and reflections.


approaching holidays + crafting

Getting excited about the upcoming weeks. Its a time I have a lot on my mind and plate, figuratively and literally :),  but also a time that gets me excited to make stuff.  An excuse to have a little (ok, a lot of) excess paper crafting paraphernalia and tools scattered around the house. Not so much yard or outside work, more time indoors, etc. makes me a happy girl. So soon I'll be gathering some favorite pictures in my software to make a 4x6 holiday photo collage. Much like the one I am using (update:was using) as my Blog Header right now. I make those in google's PICASA and then print them at my local drug store or Wal-Mart. Have also begun going through my supplies to make another December Journal for this year. Over the years I have seen this or something similar to this idea blogged about many times.  I first heard about them from the ali blog and was hooked right away.

(left) (former blog banner; photo collage done with picasa software; simple & fun)

I've said this every year for the past two or three, but ...."I'm starting early" and "I'm going all digital" and I really mean it. You know for the time being. But inevitably something - something like crafter's guilt comes over me and I feel totally like I am cheating. And so out comes the pretty paper, punches, glitter.  Buttons and ribbon spill forth from their containers and visits to wonderfully creative and inspiring blogs increase.

I thought I'd found them all...but then I find more. So many talented people crafting + blogging out there.

Some new favorites from my blogsurfing adventures this week....
cards and scrapbook trends   
(from here you can view their blogs (Four of them) -- grab a cup of something, relax, and read. have a napkin handy because you will drool over the projects. you have been warned.
zakka life
(same as above -  swoon!)
the bright side project 
scissor variations  
(I have ordered from their shop before, papier valise, just never read the blog - many good ideas for small, vintage trinkets, labels and pretty paper, naturally, I was in love :)

because I am a font lover

I don't know about anyone else reading but.....doing anything else as long as it keeps me away from my household chores is a welcome break...why I have missed these gems?

The other thing that happens is this, I get off on a totally new tangent, depending on how many links you follow you may end up in a totally new direction. I feel like I'm on so much time I start to feel so guilty.  I stayed focused though.  I didn't say much about the bright side project blog above because that is what spun me off into a new thought and also brought me back to a project I have started gathering materials for: a December Journal. So I'll mention it here. The blog is great collection of handmade/artistic offerings from the web.  A lot of new inspiration and new artists shops to check out.  More too - you have to simply go over and visit.

I left a comment on their blog - something I don't do very often - but their prompt was to leave a comment about a favorite holiday ornament or decoration. It stirred a memory, about a treasured snowflake ornament I made with mom a long time ago.

And it made me want to blog again after a nearly 3 month break. Inspiration to blog again is good.   

my comment on newly discovered blog – the bright side project – blog surfing + my morning coffee the morning of the 11th

[The post asked us to comment on our favorite Christmas ornament.  Not something I was thinking about at the time I was surfing. There is also a chance to win a 2010 calendar from a talented photographer.  Even if I don’t win, what a great journaling prompt. Once I had the memory jogged I started thinking about an old, slightly worn with age, favorite ornament and all the memories that are attached to it.  Now I’d like to get this ornament out of storage and take a photo of it. Might fit nicely with the December Journal I am once again attempting.]

here’s the journaling: "I think about all the tree decorations I have purchased over the years and then I have to say my one most treasured (I know this bec I would cry if I ever lost it or it was damaged) is a handmade blue and clear beaded snowflake ornament that my mom and I made one year when I was about 8 or 9. In the mid 70’s this came as a kit — a small styrofoam ball, pretty stick pins, sequins, and the beads. I think all my future visions of snowflakes are based on this lovely yet simple creation + the memories of me and mom are attached."

[must find ornament and snap photo!]

here's to happy seasonal crafting and handmade goodness!



re-do, part II

Let's try the video again.....learning curve.....of course there were more steps than just the simple "post this" button from picasa. Who knew making a movie of an ocarina song could lead to such giggles. He was cracking up, I was cracking up listening to him crack up. Very funny stuff only a parent could love.

I love this kid.

To think 10 years ago we held him so carefully, we thought he was so fragile. First time parents. Overwhelmed by the surroundings of the NICU. So grateful when we were able to take him home with us (about 3 weeks after he was born). We wanted everything to be just so --- so perfect.
And it is.
And I must be thinking this because days like today and days like the ocarina day recording remind me how lucky we are. Even though its definitely not perfect all the time.
And that's okay.



Learning, part I

Learning something new..well actually learning to use some of the features on the picture software (picasa3) that we have had for a while. It took the encouragement of my son and daughter to get me to explore these fun features. I must admit I was somewhat reluctant at first but now I am having fun with it. We have a youtube account now. My setup and email and he gets to have all the fun of filming playing his ocarina. All inspired by his love of the Zelda video games. That's his love right now. One of his favorite things. Glad to help him have fun and learn at the same time.

One thing I noticed is that children are so natural around all the features of any software and technology in general. Its so easy for him to figure things out whereas I might be there for hours hemming and hawing over what if I click this? or that?

This a little movie/practice I made of his bloopers.
Posted by Picasa


Night At The Museum : Rochester, NY

Friday night the Rochester Museum and Science Center and Strasenburgh Planetarium was all ours. Really! Which of course led to all sorts of "Night at the Museum" jokes the whole night long. This was for our daughter's girl scout troop "space explorer" campout/sleepover. What a cool experience!!! Participate if you ever have the opportunity.

I have always loved the Strasenburgh Planetarium and have taken the kids there several times. I have fond memories of school field trips as a kid. But to sleep there all night?! OMG - I was a kid all over again. The Space Tunnel - I was there. The excitement as the planetarium's plain white dome "sky" turns to a twinkling night sky -- had it. This close to a mastodon you can almost imagine it breathing and hear its footsteps - yep.

The scouts get a special Star Show (just for them), hands-on activities that go along with the space explorer theme, Q&A time, and freetime to explore the museum exhibits. The museum at night is just an awesome experience. No one else was around just our troop (plus about three others) and the museum security. There were two employees there to help guide the education part of the program and go through the evenings events along with the troop leaders and moms that came along.

Just very well done. The RMSC is a gem here in Rochester. We are so lucky to have this caliber of exhibits.
Posted by Picasa


Random April

just some photos from the last month or so.
... signs of spring
...favorite shade of blue + yellow boots for puddle splashing day poster contest
...Domo? little brown monster (go look it up on youtube. its hysterical)
Posted by Picasa


Spring Cleaning Party

its finally here.....spring cleaning fever is hitting. this doesn't happen often 'round here. so the motivation to help me was found on the blog. if there are any others out there that are challenged in the area of "cleaning" then you should check it out.