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.