Saturday, December 31, 2011

Thinking of our military on New Years

I hope everyone in the blogosphere is having a safe and happy day, counting down to the New Year. I got a letter from my marine yesterday that made my day. She is coming home to her two year old son in February, just in time for his birthday. She wrote me to thank me for the letters and care packages, and tell me how much they meant to her over the last 6 months or so. Now that Jessica is coming home, I'm going to adopt another soldier. In the mean time, I'll keep writing letters to a new soldier each week. This week, the soldier's story really touched my heart and made it hurt for him and his family. This is his second deployment. Five days after he was deployed, he found out that his daughter has cancer. His wife and daughter are currently at the hospital while his daughter undergoes treatment, and his son is several hundred miles away from them (and he is several thousand miles away!). I wanted to do a little extra something for him, rather than just writing a letter. Well, for several of them, I include a blank card that they can use to send a note to family. In his case, I'm going to include a donation towards a phone card or internet service (they have to pay $70/month for it, where he is stationed), as well as a card each for his wife, son, and daughter. Here are the cards I've made. I used some images that I had already colored.
This is the card for his wife. The "I'm Yours" is actually a pin that she can later remove and wear, if she so chooses. Image is Edwin from Magnolia. Papers are Prima.

And these are the cards for his kids. The little monkey card is for his son, and the House Mouse card is for his daughter. Many thanks to my awesome friend Tracy for making the sentiment for me!

In each card, I added a folding piece of paper so he can write a lengthy note to each one of them. This New Year's, stay safe, stay warm, be happy and please...remember those courageous men and women who sacrifice for us each and every day!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

I hope I don't have to draw a new winner

Ursula, please contact me by Tuesday to claim your prize from our Guylou's Inimitability blog hop. If not, I'm going to have to draw another winner and I don't want to do that to you!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Congratulations to Ursula!

First off, thanks to everyone who hopped along with us on Saturday. I hope you got lots of inspiration and had fun, too!

The winner of my secret RAK and Dorothy Makes a Snow Angel is:

Congratulations, Ursula! Please email me at RSL314 (at) verizon (dot) net with your home address, so I can mail you the RAK. I will also email you the certificate to use for your free Guylou's Inimitability image, Dorothy Makes a Snow Angel.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Are you ready to play a fun game with Guylou's Inimitability?

Hey, there, all the readers in blogland! I'm a bit punchy today; it's been a super busy week both personally and at work, so I'm rather tired and slap happy. I promise, I'm usually pretty sane. Most of the time. LOL.

Ok, ok, I'll get to the point. It's coming up on Christmas! I love Christmas and have such a great time making gifts for family and friends. I usually make Christmas cards, too, but I didn't do too much of that this year. Time just got away from me. Man, I can't seem to stop being tangential today. Sorry about that. Back to it: we're having a hop at Guylou's Inimitability. If you've made it here from our wonderful NEW DT member Chana's blog, then you're in the right spot. If you get lost at any point, head on back to Guylou's Inimitability for some direction.

First off, welcome, Chana! We're so happy to have you with us on our DT. You rock, girl!

This is our awesomest hop of the year. We've got so many prizes, freebies, and a fun game, too! All you have to do is visit each stop on the hop, leave a comment, and collect the secret word on each shouldn't be too hard, since our DT has made every effort to um...showcase and provide some form of highlight on their particular word. Once you've got all of the words, reorganize them to a Christmas phrase and go to Guylou's Inimitability and put it in the InLinkz on the GI blog. You should have nine words once you've collected them all. Two people with the correct phrase will win gift certificates to the Guylou's Inimitability store. We're not done there, though. I mean, after all, it's coming up on Christmas, people!

In addition to the chance to win a gift certificate, you could win free images. At the end of the hop, each DT member will draw a name from their commenters. One lucky commenter per blog will win the image used on that DT member's blog. In my case, you can win Dorothy Makes a Snow Angel. Isn't she darling? Check her out:
I made her into a tag for my aunt's Christmas present (the to and from are on the back). She's a shakerbox full of teeny, tiny blingy beads. The light reflects off of those beads like crazy! I added some silver ribbon, which I attached with KI Gloo to the back. Papers are Basic Grey. I used Liquid Applique to suggest the snow angel shape.

Oh, yeah, back to prizes and such. We're not done yet! Not only will I give away Dorothy Makes a Snow Angel to one lucky winner, but I'll also be giving away a secret Christmas RAK! Trust me, it's yummy. I'll give you a hint of some of the things you might find in it: a Tim Holtz mini bird with cage die, a 6x6 paper pad or two, maybe some ribbon and buttons....I tend to go a bit overboard with my shopping, so trust me, you will love it!

We're STILL not done. Just for participating in this hop, everyone is eligible to receive two free digis from Guylou's store. You can get the wreath with the bow as well as without it. Just add it to your cart at the GI digi store and apply the coupon code 2011-12-BH-WREATH.

Did you catch all of that? In short, we're having fun at Christmas time, offering prizes, a game, and two free images!!! Thank you so much for your support throughout this year. Have fun hopping! Your next stop is my awesome buddy, Sara. Just in case you need it, here's the blog order:

Gina (you are here!)
Guylou's Inimitability

Thanks for coming by and Merry Christmas!!!!

(Did you get my secret word yet? I'm seeing red....)

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The secret life of a marriage

I didn't plan on posting again today, or any time within the next few days, for that matter. I will blame it on Stephen King. I used to read his books repeatedly. Repeatedly, as in, I read books like It at least five times. I lost my passion for horror for a bit there, though. Then he released his new compilation of short stories. My brother got it, read it in two days, and loaned it to me. In one of the stories, he talks about the secret life of a marriage, consisting of ordinary day-to-day things that speak about that life and that relationship. Simple things, like where he puts his toothbrush, what side of the bed he sleeps on, and so on. If you are in a committed relationship, then you know what Mr. King means. I think it also encompasses things like those decisions you make together: the big ones such as where to live and the smaller ones, like what furniture to buy. Only the two of you know every step and detail that happened during that decision-making process. It's a life that's secret from everyone else, because only the two of you know the intimate details of it. His story got me thinking about that life that Rick and I shared. As usual, when the grief hits one of the bottomless ocean pits, it helps me to journal about it. I had my cry, then came up to my computer and journaled. Then I felt that internal push to put that journaling on a LO for his memorial album. Unfortunately, my design mojo is vacationing right now, probably someplace warmer than it is here in Maryland. So, I went hunting for a sketch to kick start the process. I found the new sketch, posted today at Sketch Support. It's sketch #15 and suited my purposes perfectly.

The layout is called: The Secret Life of a Marriage. Papers are Cosmo Cricket and the cardstock is Bazzill dotted swiss. I love that stuff! The hearts were in a pack from Walmart, I think. The ribbon is from Hobby Lobby. Letters are felt (red) and the tiny alphas, from Making Memories. The journaling says:
Perfectly matched oak furniture, found after much hunting and discussion. Simple gold lamps. Rotation of the items displayed above the tv. The maroon crocheted throw. The green throw pillows. Your toothbrush on the shelf. Hairspray clouds in the bathroom. The sound of your shaver. Colorless walls, covered in pictures we spent so much time choosing and hanging. These are just some of the things that made up the secret life of our marriage. I bought new furniture, removed the matching lamps, remodeled the bathroom, replaced the pictures, and painted the off-white walls. Part of me thinks that I did these things to prove to myself that I could move forward; to prove to myself that I could get past this, even though sometimes, I’m not so sure that I can. Sometimes, I miss you so much that I want to take it all back to matching furniture and eggshell walls, just so I can hear your voice again, disagreeing with me on the merits of mixing patterns.            

As always, thanks for stopping by and have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Sketch Support's DT Call

First off, prepare for a post of epic length. Fair warning!!! I know that none of you are surprised, since you all know that I can chat the ears off of an elephant. Now, on to the purpose of this post: they're having a DT call over at Sketch Support. Well, wait. Before I go any further, I have to thank Jill Sargenson (peenut_23 on for telling everyone about the DT call in a general post to the community. I've decided to give it a shot, although I may not stand a snowball's chance in hell. But hey, if you don't try, then you can never succeed, right? Sketch Support has challenged us to create three projects, and gave us four sketches to choose from. As you know, I love sketches. I love to use them as inspiration, more than anything else. I like to take them and put my own spin on them. After all, I think that's what they're all about. They're a jumping off point to get your mojo flowing.

First, I chose the card sketch #11, and turned it into a layout. It just seemed to suit my photos so well.
Here's my take on it:
Papers are all Bazzill, dotted swiss or metallic. I used my brown journaling pen to make a dotted border around the pictures, and attached two buttons using KI Gloo. Love that stuff! The pictures are Chinese Elm trees that were on display at the Botanical Gardens in Montreal. I didn't feel the need to journal on the LO, because you can actually see the display's description plate on the far left tree. Plus, this LO will get sandwiched between other LOs of the gardens, which do have journaling. I took quite a few pictures at the Botanical Gardens. They were gorgeous!

Next, I decided to tackle the add-on, even though I knew this would be the hardest for me. I'm okay with paper-piecing, but have the hardest time with exact measurements.
What a cute little camera, right? I went back and forth on what to do with it: 1) put it on a layout and call it "oh, snap"; 2) put it on a joke card with the punch line of "oh snap"; 3) add a picture to the middle; 4) cut a card in this shape, with the sentiment in the lens area...the list goes on and on. I decided to peek through my huge stash of pictures waiting to be scrapped, to see if anything spoke to me. Well, I found a few miscellaneous pictures of my nephew Austin throughout the years. Then I found this awesome quote online, and from there, I just started playing with papers and embellishments. Here's what I came up with:
Papers are a mix of American Crafts and Basic Grey. You can see my little camera down on the right. I think it turned out halfway decent, which shocked the heck out of me!!! Anyway, the embellishments are KI Memories, from my stash that I've had forever. The adhesive had worn off the back, so I used glue dots to attach them. Then I added a few shaped heart buttons and stamped a border with a Sassafras Lass stamp set. I journaled in some circles I cut out of Creative Memories lined paper, then matted them using a scalloped circle punch.

Lastly, I turned the two page sketch into a card. I guess I was just feeling cantankerous tonight, and didn't feel like using anything like it was intended. Sheesh. I just used the sketches in the way that they spoke to me. So, here's the two page LO sketch:
I took the right hand side and made this card from it:
Papers are Basic Grey Figgy Pudding. The bow was tied using ribbon from the Dollar Spot at Michael's. The snowflakes are Jolee's and mounted on vellum that I cut using my nestabilities. I inked the edges of the paper and punched the one paper with an EK Success snowflake border punch. The card measures 5x6.5. The dp is cut in 2x3 inch rectangles, then matted on a piece of dotted swiss cardstock.

Well, if you read all of that, you are a patient soul and I thank you! If I don't make the DT, well, at least I got some projects done, right?!? Just in case I don't post again before the holiday, I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving, with lots of time and love from family and friends, plus a ton of yummy turkey!!!

Friday, November 18, 2011

We're having a cheerful Christmas over at Guylou's

And we'd love for you to join us! It's time for another challenge over at Guylou's Inimitability. This time around, it's Kim's turn to host. She's a fun-loving person with a great sense of humor, who always has some interesting idea up her sleeve. It's no different now.

I don't know about you, but I am way behind on making my Christmas cards. I think I've made a total of three so far. I think Kim read my mind and knew I needed something to really get me motivated to make more, so she gave us a fun challenge. I'm sure you've already guessed that we're making Christmas cards. Not just any old Christmas cards, though. These ones need to include a wreath. I used one of Guylou's new wreath images for my card.

I wanted to keep it pretty clean and simple this time. I colored lightly with a green watercolor pencil, then went over the whole thing with my stardust pens. In real life, this sucker blings all over the darned place.

Guylou has plenty of images in her store to choose from, but we accept all projects that fit the challenge criteria (Christmas card with a wreath). However, if you use a GI image, you get an extra chance to win the fabulous prize! G is generously donating a $10 gift card to her store, as well as a spot as a guest DT on a future challenge.

You have until 10:00 p.m. EST on December 1st to link your project to Guylou's Inimitability blog. Now it's your turn; make us a Christmas card with a wreath on it. Show us what you've got!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Abie's in the house...

...and the girls are pissed! No surprise there, I guess. They keep hissing and growling at him. Sophie is especially bad about it. She stands guard and just waits for him to come anywhere near, and she starts with the low growl. She's a bit of a bully. LOL. Anyway, the funnier part is that he gives both of them a look like, "what in the hell is your problem?" and then walks away with a "I don't have time for your drama" attitude. It is totally cracking me up. Of course, I'd love it if they'd snuggle and be friendly, but I know that's going to take time. At this point, I am happy that they are not attacking each other. Here are a couple of better pics of Abie. Look at those gorgeous eyes! My fave thing about the siamese breed is their personality. They have it in spades. I must admit, though, that their eyes are a huge draw for me, too. How can you resist those baby blues?

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Wish us luck!

Or, more accurately, wish for no war. LOL. I'm getting a new cat on November 19th. He's a kitty I've met before, as he was my cousin's. She has to move and can't keep all of her pets. Excuse me, she can't keep her zoo (one dog, six cats, seven rabbits). I offered to take her red (also called "flame") point siamese. Siamese are my favorite breed of cat. They're inquisitive, intelligent, active, and very affectionate. Well, they're affectionate with people they know. My baby Athena is a lovebug with me, but she's very timid with others. Sophie, on the other hand, loves anyone who will pet her. So, anyway, this little guy's name is AB. He got the name when my cousin's daughter was learning the alphabet. He's not a kitten anymore, which works fine in our household, since my girls are six years old now.

AB is a bit timid and shy, but I have infinite patience and will try to let him acclimate slowly. In between my other plans for the weekend, I'm going shopping for a new carrier, toys, a litter pan, and blankets to make a cat bed (my girls seem to prefer blankets to actual cat beds). He'll hang out in my spare room and get a little bit of time out of it each day, until he and the girls can get used to each other without lots of fighting and hissing. I'm hoping it goes well. In fact, I'm hoping they get used to each other and come to love each other quickly, but I have to be realistic and realize that it might not happen that way.

So, anyhow, meet AB:
Isn't he precious? I am so sad for my cousin that she has to get rid of many of her beloved pets. I'm happy to offer him a home, where she can come visit him and love on him and know that he is safe and spoiled. I have to stop now, though. My nephew Josh told me so. He said, "Aunt Gina, please don't get another cat after this one. I don't want you to become the crazy cat lady!"

I am sure that over the coming weeks, you'll hear tales of the exploits of introducing a new cat into our home, as well as maybe seeing a layout or two about the experience. I will post more pictures once I have him here and can take them!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Another Christmas card...a few gazillion more to go...

I finished another Christmas card a few days ago, but didn't want to post it and interfere with my DT post for Guylou or the blog hop post for Star, so I waited til today. This makes two cards for Christmas, and I hate to think of how many more to go. I'm actually trying to decide if I'll even send them to anyone other than close family and friends this year.

Anyway, I colored up this image last year and never managed to put her on a card. Well, more accurately, I colored this same image in the same fashion several times and this is just the last one left. She's from Elisabeth Bell and I just love her. She's so serene and lovely! I really love her huge wings, for some reason.
I originally planned to keep this card with a very soft, neutral palette. However, then I added the big snowflake. It came with the gems already attached. I tried to take it off, because I thought it was too bright. Well, I made the mistake of using my KI Gloo. That stuff sticks like dried cement and it was not going anywhere! I swear, I usually love my KI Gloo and can't say enough good things about it, except when I want to actually remove something I've mistakenly attached, that is! So, anyhow, I added all of the other bright blue gemstones so that the ones on the snowflake didn't look so lonely and out of place. It's hard to see, but there's also light blue tulle behind the image and snowflakes. Papers are Basic Grey, I think and the cardstock is Bazzill. I colored the Elisabeth Bell image with copics, but I have no clue which colors I used, since it was almost a year ago!

Two down and so many more cards to go.....Have you started your Christmas cards yet?

Sunday, November 6, 2011

It's a fairy good day for a blog hop!

I am thrilled to be part of Star's blog hop to celebrate her birthday, her blogaversary, and her list of 100 followers. If you are here from my pal Sara's blog, you're in the right place. If not, well, just head on over to Vicki's blog to start over. I've also got the blog roll listed later in this post. Oh, and with this whole daylight savings time thing, if a post is not up yet, come on back a bit later and it should be there. Who knows if blogger feels like cooperating with DST?

Star and I met over on CDAC. She's such a sweetie, with such a great attitude and a caring heart. Happy belated birthday, Star, my friend! It's just like her to offer presents to everyone else on her day (well, we're a bit belated, but still...). She's offering prizes on her blog for multiple winners, but you have to complete the hop. That means, you have to leave a comment at each stop. Don't worry, it may take a bit of time, but it'll be fun and inspirational! Each of the ladies on the hop has a different take on the fairy theme, and I promise that all of their work is outstanding. Star is offering even more prizes if you participate in her challenge. Curious? Well, you'll see once you make it to the end and hit Star's blog!

I need to get crackin' on making my Christmas cards. Plus, I haven't played with my Sweet Pea stamps in entirely too long. I love Ching Chou Kiuk's work. She is a phenomenal artist and I have quite a few of her images. Lynette at Sweet Pea stamps sells not only her images, but also many others that are also amazing. Check them out!

Here's my card, using Holly Fairy. I love her. She's so ethereal and just a little bit mischeivous, playing in all of that holly.

Papers are My Mind's Eye. I added bling to the image using stardust pens, and made the holly berries shine with glossy accents. It's hard to tell, but the ribbon has glitter in it. The charm says "hugs and kisses". Here's a close up of the image, so you can see the shine and bling:

One Christmas card down, what feels like a gazillion to go! And now it's time for you to continue on with the hop. Your next stop is my dear friend Brenda's blog. Bren is super talented. I promise, you're going to love this whole hop! You should have figured that out already, but I can't say enough how talented, fun, and awesome this group of ladies happens to be. Have fun! Here's the blog roll, so you don't get lost:

Gina (that's me!)
and the woman of the hour, STARLA!

Friday, November 4, 2011

We're thankful over at Guylou's!

It's that time of year again to think about all that we have to be thankful for. Yeah, yeah, we should think of it all year long, but the fact of the matter is that sometimes, we get so caught up in whatever is happening in our lives that we don't pay attention to those little things that should make us feel grateful. Well, this time around, we're calling attention to it. It's Sara's turn to host. Sara is a dear friend of mine who listens to my vents when I'm not feeling thankful, and shares my joys when I am. I love you, girl.

Ok, enough sappy stuff and back to the challenge. Thanksgiving is fast approaching and all you need for this challenge is a bit of gratitude and a turkey. Yeah, I said a turkey. That's our challenge, after all. Make a thank you project and include a turkey somewhere on it. Easy enough, right? Here's my card:
Even though the image doesn't have a turkey on it, I gravitated towards it because I love images with apples. Plus, I still had some cute apple paper left over from another project. The image is colored with copics. You can't tell in the pic, but there's glossy accents on the apple and the wine that's in the glass.

Now it's your turn. Make a thankful project and include a turkey. Link it at Guylou's Inimitability by November 17th at 10 p.m.EST. G is offering a $10 gift card to her store for one lucky winner! If you're stumped (or even if you're not), check out the projects by the rest of the DT, too. They're a talented group and I am thankful to call them friends.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Together again

That is what I am telling myself today to get me through the day and sad times. I have known Tori since high school. I then met her parents and grandfather when we were both members of the Glen Burnie Volunteer Fire Department. We all became great friends. Her grandfather Poe was an angel on earth. That man was always ready with a smile and kind word for everyone. You couldn't help but smile when you were around him. He was 86 years old when he died on Sunday, October 23rd. I went to the funeral today and let me tell you, I was pretty much done in when Taps started, but I held it together. That is, until they folded, saluted, and presented the flag. Holy canoli! What I am telling myself now is that Poe is where he was happiest; he is once again by his wife's side. She preceded him in death by 14 years and he told me once that he missed her every single day. They were married for 56 years!

I wanted to make a special sympathy card for the family, to not only share a memory of Poe but also to let them know that a donation had been made in his name to Hospice of the Chesapeake. This is what I came up with, and they must have liked it since they displayed it at the funeral home:

Rest in peace, Poe. You will be missed.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Truer words have never been spoken!

I am way overdue for checking out the blogs I follow. My schedule has just been so nutso lately. I'm behind on leaving love in the gallery at I'm behind in the challenges I've entered. I need to make three sympathy cards within the next day or two, ship off the RAK from our Guylou surprise birthday blog hop, get stuff ready for my visit with my gram this weekend, do a crapload of laundry, unpack from my camping trip, clean my house...well, you get the jist. I know I'm not the only one with a hectic schedule at this time of year, so I'll stop whining and get to the purpose of this post.

I was trying to be good and catch up on some blog comments tonight. I didn't get far, because I saw this quote over at Nicole's blog and it just made me stop and think. Here it is (I copied it direct from her blog; I hope she doesn't mind):
As most of you know because I'm not shy when talking about it, my husband Rick died unexpectedly on September 18, 2009. He was exactly one week past his 38th birthday. We had been together for a little over 11 years, and were friends for 5 years before that. It's a horrific loss that I still struggle with every day. I can't even tell you how many people have told me that they admire my strength. I hear quite a bit, "you're so strong. I couldn't be that strong." I've heard "I'd just curl up in a ball and die with him" or "I'd just go into a corner and never come out" and other variations on the same theme. My response is always something like, "you don't know that. You have absolutely no idea what you'll do until you are in the situation yourself. Nothing prepares you for it, and you just don't know how you'll handle it until you're there." I think the quote that Nicole posted is so much more eloquent. I think I'm going to use it on one of the pages of Rick's memorial album. It speaks volumes to me in one little sentence. Thanks, Nicole!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

It's one of the only kinds of recipes I like (again).

You know, the kind that means you don't have to cook! It's my turn to host the challenge at Guylou's Inimitability. This time around, with the help of some brainstorming from my fabulous friends on the DT, it's a recipe challenge! Since I love so many things about fall that I could not pick just one, I picked a few! I love the colors, the leaves, and the textures of everything. Heck, if I could have figured out how to add the smell of campfires, I'd have done that, too! Since I couldn't, our recipe just deals with colors, leaves, and textures. Make a card using the following recipe:
F - fabric
A - amber (as in the color, not the stone!)
L - lace
L - leaf or leaves

Easy enough, right? Here's my card.
I had the hardest time picking which image I wanted to use, simply because Guylou has so many great ones for fall. I finally settled on Chuck with his pumpkins. I colored the image with copics. Here's how I fulfilled the recipe:
F (fabric) - the houndstooth paper is actually a thin piece of fabric that I inked and adhered with glue lines. The leaves are felt.
A (amber) - well, hopefully, you can see the color in the paper I used to mount everything, and in the button.
L (lace) - this card went to my father-in-law for his birthday, so I didn't want to make it too girlie. I found a strip of lace that would fit through the buttonholes.
L (leaves) - I added felt ones and stickers.

I colored Chuck with copics. It's a bit off topic, but I have to tell you a funny story. I gave this card to my father-in-law last night. He was asking me about the image, because he thought it came colored like that. I told him about my incredibly talented friend Guylou and how this is one of her images. He's heard about her already, so that wasn't the shock. Then I told him that I colored it. He said, "you can do that with crayons?" I told him that I used markers, and he said, "how did you stay inside the lines?" My reply: "because I'm not five anymore, dad." I guess we never grow up in the eyes of our parents. Or, in this case, my adopted parent. Funny part is that my FIL didn't even meet me until I was in my 20's!!!

So, anyhow, you have until November 3 at 10:00 p.m. EST to cook up your own card or project using our recipe. Post it over at Guylou's Inimitability for a chance to win a $5 gift card to her store, where she has some super cute images! And while you're at it, why not try for a shot on the DT? Details on the GI blog!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Congrats to Colleen!

Congrats to Colleen Holmes! You have won the RAK for the surprise birthday blog hop that we had for Guylou. That means you get: a 4 pack of copic multiliners, a 2 pack of stardust pens, a black memento ink pad, and a $5 gift card to Guylou's Inimitability store. Please email me at (email removed).
Congratulations, Colleen!!!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

DT Call at Guylou's Inimitability

Hey to all of my fellow crafters! Just in case you haven't heard, we're looking to add a design team member over at Guylou's Inimitability. There's lots of perks, like free digi images and "hanging out" on the Net with a fun group of crafters. For more information, check out the details here. I'm going to shut up now, in the hopes that you'll head over to the GI blog and share your talent with us!!!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Hoppin' over to wish G a happy birthday!

***if you made it hear from the wonderful Trina's blog, you're in the right place. If not, head to Brenda's and start your hop!***

As you all know by now, I'm a member of Guylou's design team. G and I have been friends for several years now. She's stood by me through lots of stuff. G has always been compassionate, supportive, and a bit protective, too. She's a kind, caring, wonderful person and I am blessed to call her my friend.

When the calendar told us that G's birthday was just about here, Bren came up with the idea to have a surprise birthday blog hop to celebrate. So, G, are you surprised?!? G's not the only one who gets something out of this, though. I'm giving away a RAK to one lucky person. All you have to do is leave a comment on every single blog along the hop (including mine!), then head on over to Guylou's blog to wish her a happy birthday. Yep, that's it. Not too hard, right, especially considering that you get to look at several fun, inspiring creations along the way! What you could potentially win is: a 4 pack of copic multi-liners, a black memento ink pad, a two pack of stardust pens, and a $5 gift card to Guylou's Inimitability.

In case you got lost, here's the blog hop order:
Gina (me!)

And then head on over to wish Guylou a happy birthday!

Now that all of the chatter is out of the way (come on, you all know how I love to chatter), let me share a birthday card for G. It's actually my second one, because the first one got mailed off over a week ago. G will get two cards from me this year. Here's the second one:
Once again, Happy Birthday to my dear friend, Guylou! I hope your birthday is everything you could wish for and more. LUG!!!!

***shoot, I almost forgot to tell you: you have until Sunday night to leave comments for all of the hop stops and Guylou (don't forget to wish her a happy birthday!). I'll use to draw a winner on Monday. I'll be checking to make sure that you commented for everyone! Thanks for hopping along with us, and more importantly, helping us to make Guylou realize how special she is!***

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

With Sympathy

Sympathy cards are so difficult for me to make, not only because of the overall design issues (keeping the colors more subdued, going for elegant or CAS rather than fun and over the top, etc), but because they make me sad for the recipient. I know what loss is like and I always find myself getting upset when I make these cards for my friends, because it hurts me that they are suffering losses, as well. This time around, it's for a coworker who just lost her dad. Here's the card, the design of which was actually inspired by the paper:
Paper is Prima's Madeline line. The big rose is from Recollections (Michael's). The brown ribbon was purchased at Hobby Lobby ages ago. The sentiment is from Verve and was cut using a spellbinders die. The little butterfly brad is from Oriental Trading Company, I think. The little leaf stick pins were in a pack at Joann's. I think that about covers it!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Fall Fun

I love fall and always have. September is a rough month for me now, but once I get through it, I can usually jump into the joys of fall a bit more. I love the changing of the leaves, the brisk feel in the air, the smell of campfires, Halloween, pumpkins, the whole nine yards. Last weekend, my friend Kim and I took her son to the Fall Festival at Homestead Gardens. They had tons of activities for the kiddos, like a hay bale maze, pumpkin painting, a jungle gym made from hay, a little train, pumpkin bowling, horseback riding, and even some llamas. We had a grand old time, even though it was a bit cold.

Jami hosts a sketch challenge at each month. The first week's sketches for October inspired this two page layout:

And just in case you are interested in reading it, here's a close up of the journaling:
What's your favorite thing about fall?

Friday, October 7, 2011

Pink is my favorite color for many reasons... of them being that it promotes breast cancer awareness. It seems like everyone knows what that pink ribbon means. This time around, we're encouraging everyone to be aware. Think of someone they know who is fighting or has survived breast cancer. Think of your good friends and remind them to take care of themselves by doing regular breast self-exams.

My good friend Sara is hosting the challenge this time around at Guylou's Inimitability. It's a pretty simple challenge, really. Make a card with pink ribbon and make the predominant color of the card be pink, as well. Guylou even made a brand new image for everyone to use, called Gabrielle and Ribbon. Check her out on my card:
Isn't she pretty? I colored her with copics and highlighted her wings with a silver stardust pen. Guess what else? You can get her for FREE between October 7-14, just by using the code BCA-Gabrielle at checkout in Guylou's store. So, you don't have any excuses this time around. I think the rules are pretty easy: pink and ribbon. The image is free, plus you've got until October 20th at 10 p.m. EST to upload your project to Guylou's Inimitability.

If it helps, think of someone you know who is a survivor, or who is currently fighting this awful disease. You could even send this card to a friend, just to remind her to be aware and do breast self-exams. Breast Cancer is the second leading cause of death in women, and the best means of prevention is early detection. I'm sending my card to my aunt, who is a survivor. She's strong, she's awesome, she has the most positive attitude and sense of humor, and she knows how to kick cancer ass; she fights like a girl and I am so proud of her!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Calorie-free cupcakes. Really!

Calorie-free but I don't think they'd taste too good. Isn't that always the way, though? If something tastes divine, it usually has a gazillion calories floating around in it. You know, the kind of calorie count where not even a two-hour session at the gym will fix the fat that went right to your hips when you ate it? Anyway, I was recently approached to make a "crafty" (her word, not mine) favor to use at a baby shower. I initially thought of boo-boo bunnies, but nobody who is childless wants those things. So, then I thought of making a diaper cake for the mom, but since this was supposed to be a favor to give out to guests, that wouldn't really work. Plus, I don't think I've got the skills of frustration tolerance for that. I came up with this idea to make cupcakes using washcloths, pom-poms, stick pins and patterned paper. Once I figured out that I needed two washcloths per cupcake (yes, I admit that I got thin washcloths, but that was because all of the thick ones were funky colors), and then I figured out how to fold them, it wasn't so hard and the rest came together pretty quickly. I made not quite 2 dozen. Here's a pic of my calorie-free, no cook cupcakes:
As with most handmade things, some look better than others. They were super simple to make, though, and were a pretty big hit. I'm not much good at tutorials, especially without pictures. I don't have pictures of each step, so here's a description and I hope you can figure it out.

square washcloths - 1 if it's thick or 2 if they're thinner
red pom-poms
straight pins
patterned paper that fits your theme
a border punch
adhesive to hold the patterned paper in place

1. Put the washcloth down on a flat surface so that one of the corners is facing you (like a diamond). If you're using two cloths, just layer one on top of the other before folding.
2. Fold the corner facing you about 1/4 of the way into the center. Then continue to fold the cloth until it's in a long tube.
3. Now begin at the end and roll the fabric into a cinnamon roll shape, making sure that the center comes out a bit higher than the rest, so you have distinct "rolls".
4. Once it's all rolled up and looks like you want it to look, use a rubber band to secure the bottom. Don't worry, the paper will cover it later.
5. Now cut a strip of paper, about 1 3/4" wide x 8-10 inches long (depends on how fat your cupcake is; it needs to go around the bottom of the cloth cupcake).
6. Use a border punch to make a fancy edge along the top of the paper.
7. Wrap the paper around the bottom of the washcloth cupcake. I used a 1" glue line to secure it shut. You want it kind of tight so the washcloth can't fall out the bottom.
8. Put a red pom-pom on top of your cupcake and secure it with a straight pin. Ta-da!!! All done!

I'm not a good cook of real food, which is probably a good thing or I'd be fatter than I already am. These cupcakes, though, are just my kind!!!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Memories and stuff

Today marks the two year anniversary of my husband's passing. I was going to go away this weekend, but decided I needed time at home by myself instead. Well, not totally by myself. My girls are here and they must sense my mood. Sophie spent yesterday glued to my side, following me all around the house, laying on me as soon as I sat down, and crying at me if I didn't give her enough attention. Today, it was Athena's turn. She actually did the "pay attention to me, damnit!" meow that she does only when she is frustrated because you are ignoring her. Sorry, cat. I was trying to eat my lunch! Sheesh.

I came upstairs after lunch today to get some scrapping done, which was when Sophie decided it was her turn again. She wouldn't get off of my chair. Every time I put her on the floor, she jumped back up. As soon as I got up, she was in the seat. Do these eyes scream, "pay attention to me. I'm cute!" or what?

Ok, so they also look a bit belligerent. LOL.
Anyway, I have been working on some layouts recently. My card-making mojo just isn't around much. I manage to eek out the cards for G's DT work but I can't seem to get my heart into anything else. I just want to flip through my pictures and get them onto paper with pretty embellishments. Today, I finished four layouts. I also did two last night. I'm just putting them together here and there, as I get the time and the energy. Energy is hard for me to come by during September, because I just get to feeling blah about things. Enough moroseness, though. Here's a few layouts I've completed in the last week or so:
Athena learned how to turn the water on in the sink when she was about four months old. Now she would have a hard time fitting in the sink! She's not fat, but she's not a tiny kitten anymore, either. We'll blame it on a smaller sink since I had the bathroom remodeled, though. I wouldn't want to give her a complex or anything!

This is the girls playing on the day after we brought Sophie home. Athena and Sophie are from the same breeder and are born only one day apart. However, we got Athena in November 2005 and didn't get Sophie until January 2006. Aren't they adorable with their 3 pound selves?

This is the bear that Tammy of made for me, using Rick's wool scarves that he always wore with his favorite bomber jacket. I love this bear!

Another LO for Rick's memorial album. He sat down on the bench in front of Kings Arms Tavern in Williamsburg, VA. It was snowing outside at the time.

Ok, that's enough for now. Thanks for looking!

Friday, September 16, 2011

It's time we said thanks!

It's time for a new challenge at Guylou's Inimitability. Our wonderful leader and the creator of GI images, Guylou herself, is hosting this one. We all have someone in our lives that has done something generous or thoughtful for us. Some of those people even do those things frequently, putting themselves before others or simply just thinking of us when we're feeling low or need a hand. It's time to thank them! Your challenge this time is to make a thank-you card. Since those people make our lives shine brighter, your card needs to include at least one star on it. I'll give you an example. Here's mine, made with G's new clown image called Binker:
Isn't he cute? I colored him with copics, then added glossy accents to his nose, shoes, and the balloons. I also used my signo pen to add some highlights. The "thanks" sentiment, border on the card edge and strings on the star balloons are doodled. Two of the star balloons are popped with pop dots, and the blue one says "you lift me up."

Thanks, once again, for taking a peek at my blog. Now go make your own card and enter it. Come on, you know you have someone who deserves that "thank you."

Details: projects are due by 10 p.m. EST on September 29th. Check out the rest of the DT work for some inspiration, and post your own creation over at Guylou's Inimitability.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

It's back to school time at Guylou's Inimitability!

School seems to be on the minds of many right now. Whether it's your kids, your neighbor's kids, your sibling's kids, your grandkids...well, you get the picture. Shopping trips show empty shelves formerly full of school supplies. I know that my brother and I have done a few shopping trips so far for my younger nephew and my niece. Those kids are getting so old! My oldest nephew is a senior this year. His brother just started high school and my niece ventured into the world of middle school. I've got friends who are sad to see their kids grow up and start their very first day of school ever. Ok, okay, enough with the sadness and pangs of nostalgia! We're going to have fun with this school thing, darnit!

Your challenge this time around is to create a project with a school theme and it must include at least one apple. I chose to make a thank-you card for a teacher, using one of Guylou's newer images called Teacher Leah.
I cropped the image to suit my card. She's colored with copics. The sentiment is also from Guylou's Inimitability. Papers are from a kit sold by Oriental Trading Company. They're really thin, so I first made the card out of heavy white cardstock. If you untie the little bit of pink and white striped twine, the card opens. I finished the card off with some rain dots and an apple button. You all know that I have a button for pretty much every occasion!

Now it's your turn. Make a school-themed project. Make sure to include an apple. Then upload it to Guylou's Inimitability by September 15th at 10 p.m. EST. You could win the opportunity to act as guest DT on a future challenge, plus a $5 gift card to spend in Guylou's store! What are you waiting for? Get to it!

Monday, August 29, 2011

He wants to think he's big and bad...

..but my nephew Josh is still an angel at heart. He's such a caring, giving kid who often thinks of others. He loves animals. Today, he rescued a turtle from the road and put it in the park. Don't get me wrong; the kid's not all sappy sweetness. He's ornery at times. He loves to play practical jokes and tease. He's got a devilish streak, with a wickedly sarcastic sense of humor. I love every last inch of this kid and his personality.

For Christmas a year or two ago, I snagged a big box of pictures my brother was hoarding at his house. I organized them all and put them into this photo box that I bought at some home store. He let me keep the doubles. When I saw this picture, I had to have it. Friday night at a crop, I finally got around to scrapping it. Take a peek below and you'll see how cute this picture is, and hopefully, you'll fall in love with it, too!

Josh is 14 now. I have no idea how old he was when this picture was taken, but I'm guessing around 4. He's grown and yet maintained his cuteness. He's a bit of a chick magnet now, and he's loving that. When he was younger, he attracted the older women who wanted to mother him and pinch his little cheeks. Now he's attracting other teenagers, including ones older than him. What 14 year old wouldn't love that?!?

Friday, August 26, 2011

Birthday wishes

Happy belated birthday to my friend, Trina. I sent this card on her actual birthday, so I know it was at least a day, probably even two or three days, late. Sorry, girl!

Trina is one of my fabulous and fun DT friends. She has some serious talent. Go check out here blog HERE. I had fun making this card for her. Ok, so once again, the picture sucks. What happens is that I tend to create late at night, when I am up and energetic. The problem is that there's no natural light at that time. I could hold off on taking the pic til the next day, but then what happens is that I'll forget. In this case, I had to send the darned card, so I made it, wrote the note inside, and shoved it in the addressed envie before I had the chance to forget. Cut me some slack, people. It was already late enough!

Anyway, the card is not cream and brown, as the bad picture portrays. I already admitted the pic is bad, so no need to remind me. The card is white and brown. Image is Elisabeth Bell from Ladybug and Friends. It's colored with copics and accented with flower soft, then cut out with a spellbinders die and inked on the edges.

Thanks for stopping by. If you're in Irene's path, take care and do your best to stay safe, please! I'd like to keep all of my followers, k?

Saturday, August 20, 2011

If the airplane is functioning just fine, what else is there to do but jump out of it?

When Rick was alive, we decided to go skydiving for our 40th birthdays. His would have been this upcoming September 11th. His brother, sister, and mine and Rick's friend Missy all wanted to follow through with our plans and honor Rick's memory. Today, I went skydiving for the first, but hopefully not the last, time. Wow. I have been psyching myself up for it since we booked the jump. I felt pretty excited with a healthy dose of frickin' terrified. When we got there this morning, excitement was pushing that little terrified dude to the back of my brain. I was bouncing off the walls to go. Here's me, grinning like a fool, harness on and ready to go.
That's Bharat with me. He's a nice guy from work. We had a group of guys from my work as well as some of my family and friends jumping.

Then we went up in this teeny, tiny, itty bitty plane. It was like one of these:

No big deal. The four of us (two instructors, plus two jumpers) were shoved in there pretty tightly, but the mood and gorgeous scenery made up for it. After climbing up into the air for about two miles, it was time to hook in with our instructors. No biggie. I was still ready to go, filled with anticipation. Then Bharat's instructor opened the door, got Bharat into position, and BAM! they were gone. Just like that. At that point, I focused my bugged out eyes on the blank spot where Bharat used to be. I think that was when I decided that maybe this was not the best idea I've ever had. Yeah, I was flippin' TERRIFIED. This picture is me, hiding my terror behind what was supposed to be a happy, jaunty wave and comes out more like, "WTH did I sign up for?":
(notice the death grip on the harness with the hand that is not pretending to be jaunty and happy). Seriously, WTF was I thinking?!? Daniel didn't give me much time to decide. He hustled my chubs to the door, where I steadfastly refused to look down and did just what they told me to do: I stuck my head back against his shoulder. This is me, less than 10 seconds into that first freefall, realizing that my terror was all for naught and this was going to be one of the very best experiences of my life:

We're already planning the next trip. Try it. You will like it.

Friday, August 19, 2011

"Sketch"y behavior at Guylou's!

Come on in! Today, we're behaving in a bit of a sketchy fashion at Guylou's Inimitability. It's Carmen's turn to host our challenge and I am stoked about it. Not only because my behavior is sometimes a little less than stellar (i.e., sketchy!!! LOL...I am not as innocent as I look, people), but also because I just love her sketches. She is big into layering, which I love because layering up those pretty patterned papers is one of my favorite things to do. Rather than just talking about it, let me show you what I mean. Here's Carmen's sketch.

It's awesome, don't you think? I used it to make yet another card for the troops. I've been running low lately. I'm down to one card to use for sending a letter to a wonderful soldier. I need to build that stash back up, so I used the perfect image for it: praying soldier.

Isn't he powerful? I left him in black and white, because I think it makes a stark contrast against the muted military colors of the card. What do you think? Do you think I should color him or leave him in black and white?

So, that's it. Here's your challenge this time around: make a card using Carmen's sketch and upload it to Guylou's Inimitability by September 1st at 10 p.m. EST. You could win a $5 gift card to her shop, as well as the opportunity to appear as a Guest DT in a future challenge. Come on, you know that sketch is calling you!

(Hey, my fellow Americans...check out the links for Soldier's Angels and Operation Write Home in my sidebar on the left. Let's give back to our troops, who give for us every single day!)

Thursday, August 11, 2011

What about your friends?

I don't know why, but the TLC song popped into my head as I started to write this post, so the title comes from there. Anyway, I don't know about everyone out there in blogland, but I have been blessed to have some very wonderful, supportive, compassionate, caring friends in my life. When Rick passed away in September of 2009 (coming up on the 2 year anniversary. Terrible thought....), I was lucky to have a strong support system of friends and family to help pull me through it. I honestly don't know where I'd be today without them. My friend Brenda is among that group. She's simply amazing, and I treasure her friendship more than she can possibly know. Bren is celebrating her birthday this month, so I sent her a goodie box and added a card just for her. Here it is.
I had a lot of fun making this card. Papers are Graphic 45 Romantique and Bazzill cardstock. I used my spellbinders, some flowers from Wild Orchid Crafts, a couple of buttons from my stash, some antique lace, pearls from Queen & Co, and a cuttlebug embossing folder.
Thanks for stopping by my blog. I hope you are blessed to have close, caring, wonderful friends like Brenda in your life! Oh, and speaking of Bren, go stop by her blog. She's having birthday candy madness this month. Check it out here. You've got two days left to enter! Follow her blog while you are there, too. She's not only a great person, but she is uber talented. Happy Birthday, Bren!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

A weekend not totally wasted

I don't know about you, but I am one of those people who starts thinking on Monday about all of the things I want to get done during the upcoming weekend. This weekend, I planned to clean my house from top to bottom. Um, yeah. That didn't happen. I just couldn't get motivated to do much of anything. I did the dishes and laundry, straightened up here and there, hung up the shadowbox I made a bit ago, changed the sheets on the bed, and that was pretty much it for household stuff. I was hoping to get all of the household stuff done so I could create. Well, I didn't have much mojo for creating, either. I managed to eek out one card and one layout. I'll show you the card later. The layout is one that I made for a challenge on Basically, you scraplift the person who signed up before you. I lifted a LO called "Love" by Amy (abk32276 on You can find her layout HERE. Here's what I did with it.
The picture is a little crooked. Sorry about that. This is my friend's son Brent. Papers are all Bungle Jungle by Sassafras Lass, with the exception of the yellow cardstock and the leaf paper. The leaf paper is Creative Imaginations. They're a great company for shaped and themed papers. The little paws are buttons; I cut off the shanks.
I haven't been scrapping much this year and I'll admit it's been kind of hard to get back into it. Scraplift challenges are great for that, because it takes the guesswork out of designing the LO. I've joined two other challenges at this month, too. Now I just hope I can pull something out for them, as well!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Holy cow, what a challenge!

It's time for another challenge at Guylou's Inimitability, and what a challenge it is! Well, at least, it was a challenge for me. This time around, our wonderful shop owner and the creator behind Guylou's Inimitability digi stamps, Guylou herself, hosted our challenge. She likes to push the limits of creativity, I think. Rather than just doing a color challenge OR an "anything but a card" challenge, she decided to do them both at once. In other words, it's time for an Anything but a card color challenge! Whoa.

Here's the colors you get to play with:
For most people, I guess that wouldn't be an issue. The colors are beautiful, bright, happy and cool, all at the same time. However, I tend to create with more subdued colors, or maybe it's just that I'm in a vintage/shabby chic mood. Either way, this color palette really challenged me. To top it off, I wasn't allowed to make a card. Sheesh...talking about testing my imagination and creativity. I guess that's why they call it a "challenge."

I came up with this idea to make something using my shrinky dink plastic. At first, I attempted a magnet, but I used the wrong type of shrinky dink paper. The ink from my printer ran all over the place. Oops. So, I paid attention to what I was doing the next time around and grabbed the inkjet shrinky dink plastic. I intended to make a ring, but the image didn't shrink as much as I thought it would, so it became a pin instead. I used Ben. Check it out:

Here's how I did it:
Step 1. Crop the image and size it bigger than you need. The package says it will shrink to about a third of its size. I don't think it shrank that much. Then again, I suck at eyeballing these things.
Step 2. Print the image out on INKJET shrinky dink plastic. It is very important that you use the Inkjet kind, or the ink will run.
Step 3. Color with a stayfast medium, like copics. The colors will change slightly when they heat up. Mine got less vivid. I promise that I started out with the bright colors of the challenge.
Step 4. Cut around the image in the shape you want. This can't be done after you put the stuff in the oven, so do it now! If you want to make a charm, don't forget to hole punch the image at this point, too.
Step 5. Bake at 325 degrees for 1-3 minutes.
Step 6. Pull image from oven and hold wax paper flat over image for about 15 seconds, to flatten out any residual curling.
Step 7. Once image is cooled, add a pin back, ring, or other jewelry fastener/notion. This is also the time to add any embellishment, like the rhinestone I put on my pin. If you don't have a pin back, use some strong glue and attach a safety pin to the back.

It's quick, it's easy, and it's fun! Who doesn't want to head back to childhood and play with markers and shrinky dinks???

You have until August 18th at 10:00 p.m. EST to enter this challenge. Random draw will choose a winner to get a $5 gift card to G's store, as well as the opportunity to be a guest DT on a future challenge! Let's see how creative YOU can get!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Well, that only took forever.

Finally! I'm getting back into the groove of scrapbooking again. I've been making so many cards over the last few months that I think I've only made one, maybe two pages for my own scrapbooks. In fact, the current page isn't even for a scrapbook; it's a shadowbox to hang on my bedroom wall.

I've been redecorating my house for a while now. I'm moving the efforts into my bedroom. I got my old furniture back from my mom's house. It's all white and all beat to heck and back, since it's been used by three girls/women and one guy since it was originally purchased in the late 1960's. I was going to replace the knobs, sand the furniture, and repaint it. However, I kind of like the beat up look it has. I might just leave it. I supplemented those two pieces with a headboard I bought online and an old elementary school desk that I found at an antique shop for $50. The desk became my nightstand.

Now that my furniture is set up, I've moved my efforts to the walls. They're already painted sage green, which I love. I found some artwork while vacationing in Florida. Check it out:
The walls look more olive in this pic, but they're actually sage. The artwork is from a talented guy named Alan Foxx. You can find more of his work here. The pictures have some green in them and actually look great on the walls. They pop just the right amount. Please look at his link, because this picture really sucks!

I bought one of his angels to go on an opposing wall, and made a shadowbox to hang with it. Here's the shadowbox layout. It only took me forever:

And here's how it looks actually inside the shadowbox frame, with a little Willow Tree figurine added:

The picture is one of me and Rick taken a year or two before he passed away. The tag says: "Memories are the most beautiful pictures our minds can paint, and nothing can ever erase them." The lace and doily are from my recent trip to Germany. The figurine and couple ornament are Willow Tree. Paper is Graphic 45 Le Romantique collection. I distressed the edges, then added white crackle paint. Flowers and butterflies are prima. I think that about covers it! Now I just need to get this sucker up on the wall. Maybe this weekend, or maybe not. I've got so much other crap to do! It'll get there eventually!