Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Dragons are animals too, right?

I was in the mood to make a card tonight and had colored this adorable Sweet Pea dragon by Lisa Victoria. In fact, I thought he was so cute that I colored him in purple, then stamped him off again and colored him in green.
This little guy seemed perfect for this week's sketch at Mojo Monday (week 193 already!). I was about to use the purple version, but then I discovered a large piece of the Bazzill bling in my scraps pile. It matched the green guy perfectly. Then I happened to remember that I had this cool embossed paper that looks like scales, which also seemed perfect for a little dragon. Unfortunately, I suck at cutting straight angles. You'd think cutting a square into quarters would be easy, but I somehow mess it up every time. Maybe I should measure instead of eyeballing it, but that's too much like effort. Oh, well.

This little dragon is colored with copics. I highlighted the scales along his back and his wings with a green stardust pen. I used a red stardust pen on the flames, and liquid applique on the marshmallows.

I'm entering this card in the Do You Stack Up (DYSU) challenge for this time around, too. This time, the challenge is to make an animal inspired card. Well, dragons are animals, too, right? Make believe ones, perhaps, but animals nonetheless. Even if he doesn't count, I hope the paper with scales is enough animal-like stuff to count for the challenge, at least. Come on, pretty please???

As always, thanks for stopping by! Have a wonderful week!

Monday, May 30, 2011

More stampin' with Sweet Pea

Things have been crazy busy, hectic and stressful in my life for the last few weeks, since I got home from vacation. I haven't had the time to create as much as I'd like. My house needs tons of things done, but I decided that if I didn't get in some time at my craft table today, I wouldn't be a pleasant person to be around this week. It's a stress reliever for me to sit down and lose myself in coloring, putting together a card or layout, and just generally futzing around at my craft table. Unfortunately, I just didn't have any mojo at first. I just wasn't feeling much of anything as far as creativity and energy goes, but I finally forced myself to sit down and try.

When I get like that, it helps me to use challenge blogs to get the creativity flowing. This time, I tried the challenge at Sweet Pea Stampers to use lace and pearls with a Sweet Pea image. I chose one my newer stamps from Elaine Cox. Once I got started, I just kept wanting to throw more goodies at the card and the final result is this:
I colored her with copics. Her cheeks don't look as flushed as they are in this pic, and the colors are blue and cream, not blue and light yellow. I don't know what is up with my camera today. It's probably a result of the lighting, but anyway.... I added glossy accents and bling to the image, punched up some butterflies and prettied them up with pearls, added some flowers from Wild Orchid Crafts (the little blue roses), and a fairy charm. My friend Tracy sent me these awesome lace photo corners a while ago and it seemed perfect to use one for this challenge. I am not sure yet where this card will go, but possibly to my adopted soldier. I'd like to have a bunch of cards set aside for her and the other soldiers. I like having cards ready to go because I don't always have time to make one when it's needed.

Again, a very heartfelt thank you to all of our soldiers, past and present, for their sacrifices, dedication, and heroic efforts!!!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Sweet Pea for a soldier

Given that it's Memorial Day weekend, I figured it's a good time to share my latest undertaking. I've joined Soldier's Angels. Soldier's Angels is an organization dedicated solely to supporting our soldiers, be they retired, wounded, or active. There's so many different groups within the organization. If you're not crafty, you can sign up to write letters to soldiers or send cards to soldiers needing additional support. That's just a few of the things you can do. I signed up for both of those groups, but I also adopted a soldier. That basically means I've agreed to send her a letter a week and a care package per month for the length of her deployment. I figure it's the least I can do, given that she is in some hellhole, sacrificing for us each and every day. I know that not everyone can afford to do that, though. I still urge you to look at the site and find some way to help a soldier that fits your lifestyle. At the risk of sounding like one of those latenight telemarketing campaigns, a stamp per week to send a letter costs less than one cup of coffee or one soda, and it touches the life of someone who has dedicated theirs to this country. Just think about it, ok?

Ok, enough with the salespitch. I'll get to the card now. I made this card to send to my soldier. I've already made her another one that will be sent out with her first care package, but I can't show you that one yet, since it's for Guylou's DT. This card I'm showing you here tonight is the second card I'll be sending her. As I've said many times, I am in love with Sweet Pea stamps. Lynette has introduced so many new artists over the last year or so, and I'm loving it.
I colored her with copics. I tried to shade it so that it looks as if the light is coming in from her right (your left as you look at the card), but I am having the hardest time with that lately. I added glossy accents to her lips and eyes, glitter to various places (although it's hard to see), and liquid pearls to the leaves and her hair. I got the idea to put them in her hair from Vicky's header on her blog. (I think she might have used a signo or similar pen, but it gave me the idea, so I am giving credit). Thanks for the inspiration! The patterned paper is K&Co and the cardstock is bazzill. The lace is from Hancock Fabrics and the frame around the image is a Spellbinders die. I think that about covers it!! As always, thanks for coming by. Please take a minute to remember our soldiers!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

No more showers, it's time for flowers!

I have heard that saying, "April showers bring May flowers" since my childhood. For some of us, the flowers are here and blooming beautifully, despite the fact that some April showers choose to come back through every once in a while. My personal fave are black eyed susans. My friend has tons of them where she lives in Pennsylvania, but I haven't seen one yet this year, and I live in Maryland. It's our state flower, for pete's sake. Okay, okay, I'm digressing again. I'll get to it now. Really, I will. It's time for a new challenge at Guylou's Inimitability and I think you may have already figured out what it is. If your brain is as fried as mine has been lately, maybe I didn't lead you down the right path or you're just not so sure. In that case, I'll go ahead and tell you. This time around, we're focusing on flowers! We're not going to make it that easy on you, though. For one, although you can use flowered patterned paper if you choose to do so, the plan is for you to use floral embellishments, like Prima or Wild Orchid Crafts. Not too hard, I hope. Secondly, we've even got a color palette for this one:
This challenge was my wonderful DT teammate and friend's choice and I personally love it. I love this color combo, I love flowers, I love all things girlie. Yes, I am a girlie-girl. I freely admit it. Plus, I just got a new order from Wild Orchid Crafts. Boy, I had fun breaking into that box!

For my card, I chose to use the wonderful cat in a basket image. He always makes me smile, because he reminds me of my girls. They love to explore all containers. I could see them choosing a big basket as their new home.

I colored him with copics. As I've already stated, flowers are Wild Orchid Crafts. The circle and scalloped circle are from Spellbinders dies. Papers are K&Co. The stitched border is actually a stamp from Sassafras Lass that I inked up with purple cat's eye chalk ink.

The challenge starts today and you have until June 2nd at 10:00 pm EST to enter your card. Remember to let the colors above inspire you and use some flowered embellishments! You can read all of the rules at Guylou's challenge blog. Come and play along!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Prepare for a long, picture heavy post...

In honor of National Scrapbooking Day over on Scrapbook.com, they are hosting a challenge to complete a mini-album about yourself. It could be any topic, as long as it pertained to YOU. I struggled a lot with this idea. One, I suck at mini-albums. I don't know why they are so challenging for me. You'd think I'd see it as a bunch of card faces put together, but I just have the hardest time with them. Two, I couldn't pick a topic. I was so wishy-washy about it. Not like me at all. Usually, I'm pretty decisive. Three, I didn't have much time this week. It was a crazy busy week, with Robby's wedding, dinner plans with a friend, taking my car to the dealership for it's 50,000 mile check-up, work, etc.

I don't know when the idea came to me to do an album about my grieving process. Originally, I was going to do one about how losing Rick has changed both me and my life. My outlook on life is totally different now; I'm not the same person I was 19 months ago, that's for sure. I was struggling with the journaling when I met a new widow. I met her through my job. She had just lost her husband the day before, totally unexpectedly. I offered my condolences and we got to talking. I told her about my grieving process. I know that talking to other widows helped me, and I was hoping to help her in some small way. We talked for a long time. Then her sisters showed up and I talked to them, too. As I was leaving, she told me that I had helped her more than anyone. It got me thinking and the idea popped into my head to do a lessons learned mini album. So, that's what I did. Grief is definitely a monster. Now, here come all of the pictures. The journaling was a piece of cake, but I had the hardest time with page design. Oh, well.

Here is what the journaling says:
There are so many things I’ve learned about myself as I’ve journeyed through grief. It’s crazy how one experience can change you and your life so profoundly. You never really know just how much it will until it happens to you. Some things I’ve learned:

It’s okay to put yourself first sometimes.

It’s okay to ask for what you need.

It’s okay to demand what you need.

Saying “no, thanks” doesn’t mean you’re ungrateful.

Tears are not a sign of weakness.

On a similar note, refusing to cry in front of others is not uptight or wrong.

Lack of tears is not about strength; sometimes, tears just don’t feel adequate.

The shower is a great place to cry.

If you don’t have the energy to deal with something, find someone to do it for you.

If you want to do it yourself, it’s okay to take your time.

Some things will wait. For those that won’t, don’t sweat it. Just do what you can.

Don’t let anyone make you feel guilty for grieving in your own way and on your own timetable.

Don’t get rid of personal effects until you are ready, and don’t let anyone rush you into giving them something.
Every loss is different. You may have all lost the same person, but that loss will affect you all in different ways, and take something different from each of you. Have patience with others, they’re trying to find their way through the path of grief, too.

Grief is like an ocean. Some killer waves will knock you on your ass. Quiet waters will make you feel complacent until that next killer wave knocks you on your ass again. It’s okay. Ride the waves, because the quiet waters come back eventually.

Most importantly, be gentle with yourself. Don’t expect that you’ll be fine in no time. Don’t get mad at yourself when you are not fine or when things don’t go like you expect. After all, nobody really expects what grief does. It’s not only an ocean, it’s a monster and it might take multiple battles to kick it down. Fight hard and rest between battles.

Time does not heal all wounds. It just makes them smart a little less.

Memories will pop up at unexpected times. Don’t push them away. Let them comfort you.

To paraphrase a book that really helped me, you CAN go on living when someone you love dies. You are stronger than you think, and you can pull through. Every person we meet puts their footprint on our soul and it’s our job to carry that footprint on its next journey. Live your life; it’s the best gift you can give your deceased loved one.

I warned you it'd be a long post! If you read all of that, you are a more patient person than I am!!! (oh, and thanks for doing it!)

Sunday, May 8, 2011


Sometimes, I get to feeling sad or just plain old down. I sometimes get sucker-punched with memories that I'm not expecting. When you lose someone so close to you like I lost Rick, you lose so much more than that person. You have to readjust your ideas and desires for the future. It changes your day-to-day routines in a way that you're just not ready for. A part of you goes with that person and you never get that part of you back. You're changed in a way that you weren't prepared for and may or may not like. You don't just have to rebuild your life, you have to rebuild yourself. It's a hard job, but I feel like I'm hanging in there with it. Well, most of the time. I'm still working on his memorial album and that has helped me in so many ways. Here's a page I finished for it this weekend:

It is mainly about his sense of humor, and how much I miss it. And what a sucker punch it is every time I go to share one of our private jokes and realize he's not there to supply the punch line.

Then I hear about someone losing their child and I think, "wow, how in the hell do you handle that?!?" I wasn't ready for Rick to go, but at least he got 38 years here. I got to share 16 years of my life with him. We got to build memories together. His parents got to watch him grow up and get married. Yeah, it's a total suckfest that he is gone and that I don't get to build more memories with him or share our days together. I mean, it sucks more than I can express. But I got that gift of time with him. I got to see him achieve dreams.

I heard recently about a couple in Texas who lost their son to anencephalopathy. Thomas was only two days old when he died. I cannot even imagine what his parents are going through. I can't even fathom it. I wanted to help in some small way, so I made some pages for his baby book. It doesn't feel like enough. 

The pages for Thomas'es album do not include pictures, as they will be added later by his parents or a friend. Little Thomas gets my first ever attempt at felt roses. He gets lots of prayers from me too, as do his parents. Like I said, I can't even imagine their pain. I feel so badly for his mother, on her first mother's day that she was supposed to be cuddling her precious baby, but instead, her arms are empty. I feel badly for Rick's mother. She should have had the chance to hug her son today, too.

Hugs and prayers for all of you moms today, whether your children are gracing this Earth or have become angels in Heaven. Every footprint, no matter how small, makes its mark on the world. (I read that somewhere, so I can't take credit)

Friday, May 6, 2011

We're having fun at the hop for Guylou's Inimitability!

It's a new release from Guylou's Inimitability and I am so excited that I've got that old tune "Let's go to the hop" in my head. Good thing for you all that you can't hear my singing voice on a blog, isn't it? I can't carry a tune any better than I can dance. Guess I should just hop instead, which leads us back to what in the heck I'm supposed to be talking about.

Guylou has released two new sets of images. We've got the sweet, loveable Leah puttering around in her garden (Leah in her Garden series) and some funny but cute fish (Dysfunctional Fish Family). Guylou and her DT want to show them off, so we're having a hop! It will start today, May 6th at 9 am EST and end on Mother's Day (May 8th) at 9 pm EST.

Here's the new goodies:

Don't they make you smile?

What's even better is that you have the chance to win them! Play along with our hop today, and you could win one of three awesome prizes. The first prize is a card kit that I put together just for the grand prize winner, who will also receive the whole set of Leah in her Garden. For the sake of keeping this post from being way too long, I'll let Guylou show of the card kit on the Guylou's Inimitability blog. Second place is the full Leah in her Garden series. The third place winner will receive those funny dysfunctional fish. Cool, huh?

Here's what you gotta do to win: follow the hop. It'd be nice of you to leave comments for the DT along the way (it's also required to win). At the end of the hop, make sure to leave your name and email (not visible) on Guylou's Inimitability site.

The hop order is as follows:
Guylou's Inimitability
Gina (you're here!)
Guylou's Inimitability

Now, I gotta tell you, G's DT has been one busy bunch. Not only are we hopping, but we're playing along in a contest, too. You should join us! We're making shaker boxes using the new images. This challenge was the fabulous Kim's idea. If you are clueless about making shaker boxes, check out this video. All you gotta do to win two free images from G's store and the opportunity to be a guest DT in a future challenge is to make a project using a shaker box and post it to the Guylou's Inimitability by May 19th at 2 pm EST. Easy peasy and fun, too. Here's mine.

I used buttons, removing the shank beforehand, as well as flat-backed rhinestones. Leah is colored with copics. I had to use lots of pink, because, well, that's my favorite color. Leah looks like a pink girl to me, don't you think? Flowers are wild orchid crafts and some silk flowers I got at Michael's. Buttons were in the dollar bin at Michael's.

So, go hop. Don't forget to leave comments on the way and especially at the end, on the Guylou's Inimitability blog. Then give the shaker box a shot. Come on, you can do it!

Monday, May 2, 2011

On vacation...

I will be on vacation until May 3rd and will not have access to my blog. I've got one post pre-scheduled for a DT assignment. Otherwise, you won't hear from me for a bit. If anyone has any questions about any projects, or if I happen to be lucky enough to win any random draws or RAKs that I've entered, please have patience! I'll reply as soon as I am back to blogland! Thanks and have a great couple of weeks. HAPPY EASTER!!!