Saturday, November 30, 2013

Balloon Ride

Hello. Today's 6x6 card is the November digital stamp of the month by From the Heart Stamps. I am very grateful to Faith Skrdla for her monthly image - and the opportunity to get the next one free by simply doing what I love and posting a card with the image each month. What a deal!  Of course, I have also purchased a number of them. Still a deal.

At any rate, the November stamp of the month was a challenge because of the balloons. I found lots of good tutorials on YouTube by searching on "Copic translucent balloons" or "coloring translucent balloons."  Some will recommend starting with the back balloon and moving forward, and some will do the opposite.  If you try this technique, you may want to experiment on a scrap image before attempting your final piece. 

Here's a closer look at my coloring. I thought it came out rather well for a first try! You'll also see in this shot that I hand-stitched the card, a move I wouldn't necessarily recommend unless you're going for a more informal or rustic look. Nevertheless, I'm happy with my result.


The papers for this card are Bazzill textured French vanilla and My Mind's Eye Vanity Fair 6x6 paper pad. This is a combination I haven't tried before, and it produces a fairly feminine look.

I've also been trying to pay special attention to the inside of my cards. It adds just a little extra surprise when your recipient opens the card.

Well, that's it for today.  Time for more fun before our dear cousins head back to Michigan. Thanks for stopping by - and may God bless!

A Grateful Heart

Happy Thanksgiving weekend!

How wonderful it was on Thursday to celebrate another day of thanks to God for all the wonderful blessings he has bestowed on me and my family! We thank God every day, actually, but Thanksgiving is a time to especially remember all that God has provided. Our holiday was a happy day of love, laughter, and peace.

The day was especially nice as we spent it at home with my darling husband's first cousin and her husband. They traveled all the way from Michigan to visit and have a traditional, Southern Thanksgiving meal.  We feasted on turkey, giblet gravy, ham, cornbread dressing (a.k.a. stuffing), green beans, potato salad, cranberry conserve, apple pie, pumpkin pie, and other assorted sides. Whew! A blessing in every bite!

Yesterday, we traveled around eastern North Carolina seeing the sites. Although we live in the region, we still saw several new places and had a wonderful time.

While our Thanksgiving meal was magnificent, there was nothing new in the fact that too much of anything is finally enough!  Last night we had a different meal and some wonderful ice cream in a nearby town. Emily discovered the lemon flavor on their last trip to visit, and we couldn't wait to try it again, so this was a much-anticipated treat.

Cousin Emily and Buddy

Darling Husband (DH) Jim

As we move from the Thanksgiving season to Christmas, may we all be ever mindful of the many blessings we have been given from God - and then each do our part to bring joy to others, as well. 

Thanks for stopping by, and please stay tuned for a new card before the day is out!  Peace.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Get "Well"

My mother sent me an obituary from my hometown a few days ago. A "girl" I went to high school with passed away this week. It isn't the first time someone my age has died, and I suppose it's to be expected as I advance in years.

I hadn't seen my high school classmate in years - and didn't know she'd been sick. How sorry I am that life was so short for her - although who's to say?  Perhaps we assume that more years is better. Yet, sometimes we see (or hear of) people who do more living in 10 or 20 years than some of us will ever do in 90.  I hope she packed a lot of living into her 55 years.

As I read her final tribute, I began to ponder the "Get Well" cards I put in the mailbox just Monday morning. There were three of them. One was for cancer, one for a stroke, and the third was for a cousin hospitalized for days with severe bronchitis.  

It occurred to me today, though, that we probably should send out more of these than we do.  There are many more sicknesses than just those of the body, although there are plenty of those to go around. There are sicknesses of the mind, the spirit, the heart, the world, etc.  Do we send out enough cards to those who suffer from one of these? Why not?

It seems to me that the world has a serious lack of encouragement. Physical illnesses can generally be seen, but what about the others? That may be more difficult to detect.  What does it mean to us to "get well"?  Is the sentiment only for the body?  Would someone not physically ill understand if they received a get well card?

Today I'm featuring a get well card - in the traditional sense. This digital image is called "Drenched" and is sold by From the Heart Stamps. I truly enjoyed coloring this darling image with my Copic Sketch markers in primarily purple and gold colors. It isn't visible in this picture, but I used Glossy Accents to make the raindrops and water puddle shine.

The image is die cut using Spellbinders Nestabilities Labels Eight - and offset, with the left border trimmed. The purple Bazzill textured cardstock is punched with Fiskars' Sunburst border punch, which appears to be discontinued. The punch is used on the front of the card - and is repeated on the inside, using a staggered orientation to simulate the appearance of streaming water. I really enjoyed this effect!

As I look forward to the arrival of 2014, I making a resolution to "get well." While I have several chronic ailments, and it would be nice to be rid of them, my meaning will extend far beyond the physical. I'd like to attend to my spiritual health, the love(s) in my life, my attitude, and more. I'd like to focus on what's really important to me so that the world, whatever that may be next year, won't beat me to a pulp!

How about you?  What do you resolve to do, be, or have in 2014? What are your dearest desires?

Hope to see you back here soon. Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

My "Big" Brother


My card for today recently marked the birthday of my "big" brother. Dan is three years my senior and was always there for me growing up. I'll always remember how he scared the neighborhood bully away from me when he caught him twisting my arm behind my back. He "politely" informed him that if he ever bothered me again, he'd have to come through him first! Wow! What a day that was. I think it's the first time I realized that my brother actually loved me. For anyone who has one, you know that brothers don't just go around getting all mushy with their little sisters.  :-)  He didn't exactly declare his love that day either, (although he has many times since), but his actions spoke loudly enough.

Anyway, Dan and I don't get to see each other much any more. We live 250 miles apart, and he works six days a week through most of the year. I only get to go home about 3-4 times a year, and since Dan's a truck driver, the last thing he wants when he's off is to get in a vehicle and drive.  With only one day off a week, he would be driving more than visiting anyway.

Well, here's Dan's card for the year.  I tried to make it masculine, but I expect the best I can hope for is that this is sort of gender neutral. I tried to go a little rustic with background papers and the bulky twine for the bow. At any rate, I know he was glad to be remembered.

For this card, I used Flourishes' Pinwheels and Popsicles stamp set.  I cased this card from Tosha Leyendekker, in a card she called "planted pinwheels." Her card was uploaded to the Flourishes gallery on September 1, 2013. 
The pinwheels are colored with Copic Sketch markers. The excellent design of the stamps meant it only took a few minutes to color each pinwheel - with a great result!
I've already made numerous cards with this set, which is very versatile.  I repeated a shadow-ink pinwheel for the inside of the card. (See the faint image at bottom right.) The corners of the white cardstock are punched and embossed.
Well, that's it for today. The hour is late, and tomorrow starts another big week at work. It's also time to count down the days until my husband's first cousin and her husband are coming to us for Thanksgiving. We can't wait! We always have such fun!
Thanks for visiting, and please stop back soon for another card. I should also have a new video coming soon.  May God bless!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Beginner: Single Crochet - Take One, Two, Three


My mom taught me to crochet when I was ten years old, and it's been a lifelong passion. So, I found it funny (in a strange sort of way) a few years ago when I discovered that I had been doing the simplest stitch "wrong" all these many years!

Now, I wasn't really doing anything so terrible, but what I was doing was making the final look of my crocheted pieces something they weren't intended to be. You may be doing this, too!

So, today I want to focus on the single crochet stitch. First, let me say that the final look of your piece is entirely your choice, so if you've been doing the same thing I did, it probably doesn't matter. Most of my crocheted items are afghans - where only the right side of the piece is going to show most of the time. Now, my husband has trouble with this. He says the "wrong" side, a.k.a. the back side, is prettier than the front. I'm always telling him to turn the afghan over on the bed. Fact is, if I had been doing the stitch the standard way all these years, it might not make any difference at all.

Here's what I mean. Let's compare three different treatments for the single crochet.

Take 1
This single crochet sampler uses the "correct" method. When I work on the next stitch, I put my hook through both loops of the single crochet stitch. This is the stitch most patterns are talking about when they call for a single crochet.

Take 2
This single crochet stitch features placement of the hook through the front loop of the stitch only. Now, this is what I've been doing for years in error. While the stitch works up just fine, every other row has a noticeable ridge line running through the work. The line is made from the back loop that wasn't used when working each row. 

Take 3
Now for my final method. This method uses the back loop of the single crochet only. When this is done, the finished piece appears to have hills and valleys in the rows.

This has a very different look and feel from either of the other two methods, and it will significantly change the gauge (height) of your work. For example, 12 crocheted rows using this method is about the same height as 10 rows in sample 1 (yellow) above.

Now that you've seen how the work looks using these three variations, here's a short video on how I achieved each look. You may watch on YouTube if you prefer.

If you're a beginning crocheter, I hope you find this video helpful. Perhaps it will start you on the right path to many lovely handmade pieces in the years ahead.

Thanks for joining me today, and please come back soon. May God's blessings be plentiful!