Thursday, July 31, 2014

Retro Birthday Card (and the demise of the local stampin' store)

Submitted by Linda
Back in the day (and I mean in the early days), my mom and I started stamping when the best resources we could find were at the Lane County Fair (Eugene, Oregon), where we learned how to emboss using your household iron (a dangerous and cumbersome project, for certain).  I think this was in the mid 80's.

At some point after that, Stampin' Up emerged (thank goodness), and local stamping shops. When I started teaching in Claremont in 1988, this little gem was in the downtown village.

My mom and I used to go down there, find a sample that we liked, and buy all the supplies (right there and then) and then go home and make the card. As time passed, friends joined me in my oft visits to SY{heart}O, and it became our go-to place for our favorite ribbons, adhesives, dies, tiny calendars and papers. For holidays I often hinted that I would really enjoy gift certificates (or Stamping Bucks) from there, and I always seemed to have a stash of those certificates on hand. I even had some from this past Christmas, when I got an email that said Joan, the owner for thirty-some years, was retiring and closing the doors. What? Say it isn't so!

Joan doesn't know me, but she has been a gift to our community by contributing to projects to support our local schools and Shoes that fit, so it's only fair that I give her a shout out here.
Well, I immediately went to the store to spend my 'bucks' and was sad to see the dwindling merchandise.  I went back several times over the next two weeks and stocked up on ribbons, and other supplies, but I couldn't believe it was closing. 

Recently I even had a dream where it was still open, and when I awoke I was so bummed.  Sadly, more of these independent little stores seem to be closing. Anybody remember Scrappin' Good Times in San Dimas? 

Well, don't lose hope quite yet. There's still a gem of a store in Redlands, which is a short 30 minute drive from my house, thanks to the 210 extension. Called Collective Journey, they have a plenty of stamping supplies, embellishments, dies, ribbons, and a darling gift section. They also offer fantastic card classes, which you can check out online. Click HERE for a link to Collective Journey.

Last time I went there, which was in late spring, I did exactly what my mom and I used to do. I saw a card I loved, and bought all the supplies to make it. 
To be honest, all I needed from the store were these two darling party kid stamps, and the cute scrabble paper. The backgrounds are both from the October Afternoon stash that I had on hand.
I also recently heard of a cute stamping store in downtown Orange, called Stamp Fever. Click HERE to see the link. I'm sure I'll be taking a field trip there sometime before the summer ends. Let me know if you'd like to ride along!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

God Bless America, and Sparklers for All!

Submitted by Linda
Here's a cute patriotic card for y'all today. The stamp set is "Sparklers" by Lizzie Anne Designs. It's hard to see in the photo, but there is a watermark print of fireworks in the background. I can't get enough of that silver glimmer paper and the tri-colored twine!
The creator of this card is our friend, Carrie, who is pictured below at a recent 'Stamp Club' event.  Her helper is Michelle's doggie Marley.
Thanks for checking in!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Happy Birthday, Tommy!

Submitted by Linda
It's hard to believe that my kids are adults. My nieces and nephews are getting married and having babies. I'm teaching students whose parents I taught (that one is the worst, and I feel like I'm 100 years old!) Time is marching on. 

I do love my life with Craig as a 'sort of' empty nester - Tommy lives here but works a ton. He also is a cooker, so he's fun to have around to cook with. He's also paid rent during college, and lived with people who trashed his stuff, so he's grateful to be back home and is easy to have around. This past June he turned 23.  In the spirit of nostalgia I'm sharing this picture of Tommy when he wasn't even two! Such a cutie-pie.
Here he is on his birthday with his brother and two good friends. We were happy to take them to dinner at Joe's Crab Shack to celebrate!
One of the boys snapped this one of Craig and I. In the old days I was always taking the pictures, and rarely in the pictures, so it's fun to have kids who will grab the camera and snap a few.
I'm not sure either of my boys care about 'handmade cards' but I think they may take offense if I gave them a store bought card for their birthdays. So this year, I needed more of a grown-up card.
I used the Chalk Talk and In the Stars (retired) sets, and used the current Stampin' Up 'in-colors' Pistachio, Brown Sugar, and Coastal Cabana. I didn't think this one up.....You can see the original on my pinterest board HERE.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Avila Beach Projects

Submitted by Linda

Several weeks ago, Craig and I had the opportunity to go to Avila Beach for a week of rest and relaxation. This tiny jewel of a town is just south of San Luis Obispo, on California's central coast.  What we realized on this vacation, was that it had been years (maybe since our honeymoon) where we were away for an entire week without kids, friends, or APU folks. This is also one of the first times where we didn't have a big sightseeing agenda.
Our boys stopped in for a couple of meals, and then made their way north to visit friends. I didn't even get of pic of them, but I got one of Craig and me, eating at the Custom House restaurant.
Though I'm embarrassed to say that my feet never touched the sand, we did take the five minute walk each day to see this! During the weekend the beach was crowded, but this was the weekday crowd. It's like a little secret beach that no one knows about!
On the walk back the way we came, you can see the San Luis Bay Inn (the pink building), which is where we stayed.
This snack cart was so cute- isn't it something you would picture at a California beach? I never saw these at Newport where we vacationed for years. My boys would have been obsessed with a cart like that (and all the goodies) when they were little.

Now it's confession time. I'm not super good at relaxing. I will admit that I took a ton of naps, and sifted through the giant pile of magazines that I brought to catch up on, but I knew I would need something else to keep me busy.  So, yes, I brought some paper crafting. Does that surprise anyone?Here is my happy workspace in the condo. I will say that a 'must bring' for any type of crafting is my Ott Light. If you craft or stitch, you will want to invest in one of these, and they are always on sale at Michaels or Joanns.
I didn't want to bring a ton of supplies, so I brought three different Christmas tags to work on, packed neatly in kits with all the materials included. (You'll be seeing them later in a post about our annual Tin o' Tags project).  So after I made 300 tags (Yes! I said 300!) I got to get creative with a bunch of October Afternoon supplies.

Usually when I make one card, I often create a bunch more, since the hard work is in designing the prototype. In this case, I had packs of 'miscellany' that had only one or two of each item included. So I leisurely was able to create one card at a time.  Though I am super loyal to Stampin' Up, I do love love LOVE these October Afternoon lines of papers and coordinating supplies. The first two cards are from the "Farm Girl" line.
You may have noticed the darling handwritten words on both cards. They are from Simon Says Stamp, and are designed by artist Kristina Werner. You can follow her blog HERE, and you can find all the stamps designed by Kristina HERE.

One technique that I always admire and never take the time to do is paper piercing. Since my vacation was all about relaxing, I took the time to paper pierce many of the cards I made, and I love the effect. For me, it's worth the time, unless I'm making a huge amount of cards.
The next few cards are from the "Cakewalk" line. Another technique I am addicted to is sponging the edges of the papers with brown in to give it a distressed, vintage vibe.

I have found many of these supplies at scrapbooking stores here and there, but I got most of my stuff at Peachy Cheap. This is a scrapbooking website where they offer a daily deal and you can sign up to get a daily email with the day's deal. Over several years, I've only ordered the deal 4 or 5 times, and have been very happy with the supplies and the deal. To shop Peachy Cheap, click HERE.
Again, the "Happy Birthday" script below is designed by Kristina Werner for Simon Says Stamp.

Thanks for taking a look!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Masculine Birthday Card

Submitted by Linda
It seems like I'm really good at cute 'girly' cards but never have enough 'manly' cards for the men in our family. So earlier this spring I created this easy duo, using the now retired "Howlstooth" paper. On the first card I used "Memorable Moments", which I love because it can be personalized for someone's real birthday.
This one is a bit more generic with a birthday greeting from "Happiest Birthday Wishes". The ribbon is Stampin' Up's burlap ribbon. 
Thanks for looking!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Rustic Bridal Shower: Spring 2014

 Submitted by Linda
If you know how many pins I have on pinterest, you may be surprised to know that I've only been a 'pinner' for just over a year. I started back in June 2103 by searching "kindergarten classroom",  and now checking my feed on pinterest is a fun daily ritual.  

I have always enjoyed planning parties, but now it is even more fun to have pinterest as a resource! My task was to host a bridal shower for my teaching friend Alisha, who's engagement to Alex happened in Mammoth during an annual family fishing and camping trip. I felt a 'rustic' theme coming on, so I copied the vibe of her 'save the date' cards, using the woodgrain embossing folder with a heart.
 My next step was to enlist the help of my niece, Kyan, who you may remember from her rustic wedding. Click HERE to see all of her cute details. Since her wedding, she has opened an Etsy store to sell her handmade banners and other homespun projects. Click HERE to visit her Etsy store!
 Next up, menu planning. The shower was held after school, so light snacks were all that were needed. I tried several different s'mores cookie recipes before I decided on this one (it has chocolate chips in the cookie, along with graham cracker crumbs)!
I also discovered these darling cupcakes, decorated with a pretzel fishing pole complete with a fishy cracker on the line. What I learned in this process is that I MUST learn how to pipe frosting onto cupcakes. Mine are not nearly as pretty as the pinterest version.
For me, decor is a big part of a successful party (though I'm not opposed to an impromptu gathering now and again). Philosophically, attention to detail, like setting a pretty table, should be one of the 'five love languages'. Nothing makes me feel more welcome than knowing that my arrival at a party was excepted and anticipated. This is something I would like my guests to feel, anytime they walk through the front doors of my home. 

What could be more welcoming than vintage thermoses with the trademark plaid design? I hit up my antiquing pal, Liz, to borrow hers.
I also enlisted a helper to create the cute twiggy dip container, shown in the center of the photo below. After a windstorm that left bunches of branches on the ground early in the spring, I gathered a pile of them up with that project in mind. When my friend Nancy offered to help with the shower, I promptly sent her the pin (of the idea) and loaded the pile of twigs into her car. LOL!

The tiny red lantern was a fun Pier 1 find, and the log slices were courtesy of Craig. Pictured below is the entire tablescape, complete with a fishing rod (holding the banner) and a net that was shared for the party by the bride's mom, Debbie.
In addition to the sweets, veggies and dip, 'bait' and 'rainbow trout', I added the little 'pigs in a blanket' with homemade sweet hot mustard. Who doesn't love a hot dog on a campout?  I've found the that little pigs (crescent roll dough and little smokies) are a hit at any party, especially for the guys.
My stamp club friends insisted that I prepare a take-home treat. I found this printable 's'mores to go' tag and added it to a cello bag full of marshmallows, chocolate, kettle corn, and graham cereal. My friend Patti assembled these for me.
 Here's the bride and me after she arrived at the party. Yes, I am wearing a school T-shirt because the party was on a Wednesday, which is 'spirit day'.
This beautiful picture is Alisha and her mom, after the gifts. I love their smiles!
 Somehow, I realized that I had a bunch of extra green hearts from making the invitations. So this summer, I created a stack of coordinating 'thank you' notes for the bride. Because, what bride doesn't need 'thank you' notes?
 The wedding is coming quickly, in mid-August. It will be such a happy day!

To see all of my pins and the recipes, click HERE.