Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Weekend in Cmont

Submitted by Michelle

As many of you know, Celeste had surgery to extend the growth rod in her back during our Spring Break. Though she is never excited about being in the hospital, she was very apprehensive about this surgery so we made a deal: Celeste would have the surgery and as soon as she was well we would go see some sort of musical theater. Lucky for me, the drama department at Azusa Pacific University was putting on a production of Crazy For You 1 week after Celeste's surgery.
If you look closely, you can see Celeste's scar in the mirror.

So, off to Claremont we went but with a dual purpose. Not only would we see Crazy For You, I also arranged for Nick to meet my friend Carrie's daughter Samantha. I guess I should add matchmaker to resume!

On Saturday morning Carrie and Samantha drove in from La Quinta and Celeste and I introduced them to the Claremont Village. (Linda was hiking with friends.) Nick met us at Pizza and Stuff, my new favorite spot for lunch, and though he could have easily left us girls to shop after the meal, he decided to hang out with us while we checked out the Earth Day Celebration that was taking place. There was all kinds of tree-hugging, crunchy granola fun to be had!
Celeste made a bird feeder out of a plastic water bottle, a straw and lots of stickers.
She also had her face painted by this cute college girl who looks like she might need to audition for the next Pirates of the Carribean movie with her flowing tresses and buxom bosom.
She made origami animals with the Democrats...
and painted rocks for a school garden.
We even watched some wacky Claremont-McKenna students make a smoothie out of a bicycle powered blender, though none of us were brave enough to sample the "tire smoothie."
After enjoying the Earth Day celebration we moved on to shopping, oddly enough Nick was still with us. Linda met up with us at Stamp Your Heart Out where we had to take a photo of these adorable paper flowers.

While Celeste, Nick and Samantha went to check out some alpaca's that were in the hood for Earth Day,
Linda took Carrie and me to Wisteria Grove, an amazing gift and flower shop. Check out these arrangements!

Once our shopping was complete we had just enough time to freshen up and head to APU for the play.
Megan, Me, Linda, Danielle, Celeste

As is our tradition, Linda brought Danielle, one of her former students, to the play and we also invited our friend Stacey who brought her daughter Megan, also a former student of Linda's. Carrie and Samantha went too and since we had one extra ticket, Nick did us a favor and came along to enjoy the show.

This weekend Linda and Nick are coming to La Quinta for a visit. I'm not sure how I'm going to top animal loving Democrats and rock painting, but I'm sure we'll find something to do though I have the feeling Nick and Samantha may not want to hang out with us grown-ups this time around.

Career Change?

Submitted by Linda
Me with my teaching team Angela, Mary, and Debbie.
Another benefit of being a teacher is doing the crazy events like climbing a firetruck ladder, and being a celebrity scooper at Bert and Rocky's school fundraiser. When I first walked in, I thought this could be a new career option, but after scooping, my arm was tired and I was ready to go back to my day job.
I did have a blast, seeing a few of my kindergarten friends:

Fun kindergarten memories!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Simple Pleasures Part 3: Sweet Peas

Submitted by Linda
This quote and darling artwork was again borrowed from SusanBranch.com. She's got it right- sometimes little things can be so inspiring and encouraging! Today's "simple pleasure" is the sweet peas growing in my back yard.I am thrilled each spring when they start to bloom - they truly have one of the best scents in the world, and the immediately take me back to my childhood backyard memories. If you're wishing for your own 'sweet pea simple pleasures', you'll have to wait a bit. These beauties must be planted in the fall. Craig hung a net up the length of the wall, and by the early summer, they will have climbed all the way up!
This picture was taken by my sister in law Renee on Easter. Craig planted some Cosmos in the front of the flowerbed.
I love bunching them in a vase....
Or upgrading my Easter centerpieces by tucking a few sweet peas.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Just A Few More Cards

Submitted by Michelle

So my back is much, much better today. I did take the day off from school so I could go to the chiropractor and he worked wonders. With most of the day on my hands I decided to create a few more cards that I can use for my card clubs this month. Though I just made a Mother's Day card while I was at Linda's, I needed an alternate idea and I came up with this:

I used the Messages for Mom stamp set from the Occasions Mini Catalog, along with the top note die for the Big Shot. You've got to love the top note. It is so all purpose. You can't see it well, but I also used a Texturz Impressions plate on the Pale Plum cardstock so that there is a floral design embossed in the background. Speaking of the Top Note die, I also made this gift box using the Top Note as a topper.

Fabulous, right?

Stampin' Up! will be introducing a Color Renovation with their new Idea Book and Catalog in July. In an effort to use up some cardstock that won't be making it into the new catalog I pulled out Ballet Blue and made a card with it. The flower is made with 4 scallop circles all scrunched up and piled up on top of each other. I have no idea how it is going to fit into an envelope without being flattened, but I LOVE the look, don't you?

I'm a big fan of the scallop circle card. It is such a nice change from the usual rectangular card. I tried to keep this one simple but couldn't resist the tiny bow made from linen thread. I'm sure the majority of my customers will ask me to make their bows for them but I don't mind.

Now that the hard part (the creating) is done I can focus on prepping materials for my upcoming Stamp Clubs and card making classes. It is going to be a busy 2 weeks so I am glad to be prepared.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Back Pain and Cards

Submitted by Michelle

Self pity is our worst enemy and if we yield to it, we can never do anything good in the world. Helen Keller

Somehow I've "jacked up" (as Tommy and Nick would say) my back. I really have no idea how. I didn't do anything like pick up something heavy or even twist a weird way. All I know is I woke up on Saturday and my back didn't feel quite right and a few hours later, after washing the car, taking a shower and then trying to do some gentle stretching I had a major spasm in my low back and could barely get myself up off the floor and into bed, let alone walk. I spent all of Saturday in bed, which really annoyed me because there were at least 101 things I wanted to do with my day, including stamping! Instead, I watched TV and did more web surfing than one can ever imagine. If I had a DVD player in my bedroom, I'm sure I would have overdosed on Pride and Prejudice, Lord knows I had time on my hands.

This morning, I woke up extremely stiff and began to feel really blue about having yet another wasted day on my hands. I had myself a good cry, lamenting my bad luck and wishing I had gone to yoga on Saturday morning rather than washing the car! It took me a bit, but I finally decided that I had to do something to help myself and laying in bed crying certainly wasn't the something that needed to be done. Based on Saturday's research, I knew I had to get up and get moving no matter how painful it would be in the beginning. The good news is that I was able to slowly get out of bed and onto the floor and stretch my back, which enabled me to stand and walk a little without the help of my walker a.k.a. the rolling office chair from my craft room. Cut to 3 hours later, I'm now showered, dressed and even wearing make up and ready to face the day, even if the day is to be spent at home moving slowly and deliberately.

Since I am up and at em' and done with my pity party, I decided I'd post the last 2 cards for my upcoming Stamp-A-Stack. I made them on Friday before my Saturday morning debacle with my back.

I rarely use Bermuda Bay cardstock or ink and I'm not quite sure why. It's a great color, don't you think? I like the combination of the Bermuda Bay with the Crushed Curry and I'm very pleased that this card is so simple. It will be easy for my customers to make and easy for me to prep. I also like the faux ribbon made from cardstock. It adds to the card but keeps it economical.

I {heart} Hearts is a stamp set that I had to have but have rarely used. Again I wonder why? It is such a cute set. This card was created by Ilina Crouse and I tweaked it just a bit. (To see her original creation, click here.)

Now that this blog entry is done,my goal is to start working on my projects for this month's card clubs. I may have to take lots of breaks and I'm sure the process will be slow, but I think it is a much better option than laying in my bed and feeling sorry for myself. Though I will admit, now that I am able to be out of bed, most of my breaks will probably be spent on the living room couch watching Pride and Prejudice as it always cheers me up when I'm not feeling quite like myself.

Friday, April 9, 2010

What I'm Working On: April 9

Submitted by Michelle

I just got home from 4 days at Linda's house and am so sad to be without my front row friend. We had a great time working on our stamping projects and watching lots of quality TV on Craig's ginormous flat screen. The majority of our viewing time was spent engrossed in our beloved Pride and Prejudice. We opted for the BBC version this round and invested the 6 hours that it takes to view it in it's entirety. Who can resist Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle as Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennett? By the end of our marathon we were amusing ourselves by inserting lines from the movie into our everyday conversations.

Along with the TV time, we also spent a lot of time in Linda's craft room. She worked on graduation party invitations for Nick (which she will blog about soon) and I started brainstorming and creating projects for my upcoming stamp clubs and Stamp-A-Stacks. Here are a few things I came up with:

A masculine birthday card that is 4 1/4" square. I really like the size, the simplicity and the argyle designer paper. And best of all, it fits in a regular sized envelope and requires no extra postage.

A monochromatic birthday card that uses up retired designer paper and hodgepodge hardware. (The little clip thingy that is holding the ribbon.) Ginny Gossett, a Stampin' Up! demonstrator designed this card, I just changed the colors. I used watercolor wonder crayons to paint the flowers. I have some new customers who need an introduction to the aqua painter and the crayons and this card will keep it simple while giving them a chance to play a bit.

A Mother's Day card, of course. One can never be too prepared and since May 9th is just 1 month away it is time to get ready. The design for this card comes from another Stampin' Up! demonstrator, Michele Reynolds. I changed the color combo and added the flower and brad.

I've got a few more things up my sleeve but they aren't quite ready for their close up yet. I'll post them when they are complete. Until then, I highly recommend watching Pride and Prejudice. The BBC version if you've got time on your hands; the Kiera Knightly version if you've only got 2 hours. You won't regret it!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Monday Morning Inspiration

Submitted by Michelle
Monday morning dawned my first official day of Spring Break and I decided that it was high time to change out the banner that I have hanging above my work desk in my craft room. (Last December I made a cute Christmas banner and have had it hanging until now!) With the help of my Big Shot, some old designer paper and my circle cutting system I made this beauty.

It didn't take me long at all, and I really like the ease of cutting out letters on the Big Shot using the Go-Go Boots alphabet.

I threw in some embellishments on several of the letters to add some interest. This flower is from the designer brad set.

A button is always nice and I threaded a small piece of paper in the holes of the button rather than using linen thread or ribbon.

Another brad, this time an epoxy version from the Sending Love set that was offered in the Occasions Mini Catalog. I suspect these brads might find a permanent home when Stampin' Up releases their new Idea Book and Catalog this summer. They are too cute to only offer for a limited time, don't you think?

I clipped all the circles to a long piece of hemp twine, add bits of left over ribbon that I had laying around and now my craft room is refreshed and ready for Spring and Summer.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Easter Treats!

Submitted by Linda
Way back in early March, I had a wonderful pre-birthday in LaQuinta, where Michelle and I stamped our hearts out. I had a relaxing time doing what I love with my longtime front row friend. One of our goals for the weekend (besides eating way too many coconut cupcakes) was to complete our Easter treats. This is what we came up with:
Again, I'm making good use of my big shot "top note" die cut for the header. The tiny tag says "For You on Easter" and is from the Eggcoutrements stamp set. Pretty cute!

Occasionally, people in my my life will comment about my creativity, but I have to confess: I'm really just a stealer (and most crafters are)! We look for great ideas and then we tweak them a bit. I enjoy having some creative friends, and here are some of the treats I received. If only I'd had them a week earlier, than I could have stolen these clever ideas!
This tiny tin houses a chocolate covered oreo perfectly!
"Whisking" you a happy spring break! And the whisk is PINK!
Oh, how I love this pun!
Recently, I saw this fresh idea for a teeny tiny easter basket, made out of a peat pot. I decided this is a must have at our family's easter dinner for placecards.
I had purchased the Eggcellent Eggs Kit from Stampin Up, and found that the little strips (meant to be holders for decorated eggs), worked perfectly as a pretty little liner in my pots.
I was going to add each person's name with a tiny tag, but our family gathering has grown so large, I'm just going to have one at each place setting as favors. I did add the little tag at the top with sentiments, and I love the final outcome.
I hope you have a blessed Easter with your loved ones. As our family says, "He is Risen!"