A Sympathy Card

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One of my new supervisees’ grandfather is really ill and not expected to make it.  I made this card, thinking of her, but knowing that if he did make come-back I could keep it for another such occasion.  The theme at the Twist of Faith Cards challenge this month is “Harvest”, and that just seemed to fit really well sympathy card (http://twistoffaithcards.blogspot.com.au/2013/10/challenge-60-harvest.html).

I found the photo of cross-shaped grave markers in the tundra in an old National Geographic (my go-to magazine for beautiful images).  Even though the colors certainly don’t scream “harvest”, I was just really drawn to the picture.  I searched for “harvest” references in my Bible app, knowing that there would be one that was related to the end of life, and found the quote from Matthew 13:39 “The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels.”  Even though the reference was to a much larger ending (a foreshadowing of Revelations, it seems), I think it works really well with the passing of an individual, especially one who has lived a long and rich life.

I wanted to get some color in the card, because my coworker’s grandfather has been ill for quite some time (both with dementia and with physical ailments), and in cases like this death can be somewhat of a blessing- both for the person who’s finally passing after years of suffering and her/his loved ones who have had to bare witness to that suffering.  Just like there is some beauty in autumn, with the colors of the leaves and the bounty of the harvest before the cold barrenness of the winter, there can be beauty in passing, surrounded by family and friends, after such suffering.

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My first postcard swap

I’m so excited!  I’m participating in Do What You Love’s Great Big Stitched Postcard Swap (http://dowhatyouloveforlife.com/blog/2013/09/the-great-big-stitched-postcard-swap-is-back-design-course-giveaway/).  It’s my first “swap” of any kind and it’s so much fun.  I’m swapping a postcard (as the title suggests, it has to have some kind of stitching on it) with someone in New Zealand.  This is especially fun because my parents have vacationed in Australia and New Zealand a few times and I’ve heard so many stories/seen pictures that they brought back.  This makes it feel even more “close to home”.

So, here’s my card:

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I used a few pieces of scrapbook card stock paper as a stiffish background (knowing that it would be going a LONG way).  I cut the butterflies out of another piece of paper and glued them on then sewed over the top in a kind of a flight pattern.  I used butterflies because of the airmail connection (you know, because butterflies fly).  I can’t find the normal foot for my machine so I used the “N” foot and a stitch that’s made for elastic.  I actually kind of like the way it came out.  I used a metallic thread on top and a dark green in the bobbin- which made for a neat contrast.  The theme for this swap was “Celebrate!”, so I stamped on that word with the subtitle of “Fly Free” (to go with the butterflies).  I’m celebrating my first swap!

I taped a piece of white cardstock on the back to cover up the stitching and write my message and used washi tape around the edges to firm it up (and as a bit of a border).

I can’t wait to get MY card, and I’ll be sure to share it when I do.

Oh, and just for the heck of it, I’m entering my card into a few challenges:

Created With Love Challenges’ “Sewing- Real or Faux” challenge (http://createdwithlovechallenges.blogspot.com/2013/10/cwlc-62-sewing-real-or-faux.html).  I absolutely love sewing on paper and there are some great entries in this challenge.

Twist of Faith Cards’ “Things with Wings” challenge.  The butterfly is such a powerful symbol of inspiration (rebirth and resurrection) that I think this is perfect for their challenge.  (http://twistoffaithcards.blogspot.com.au/2013/10/challenge-59-things-with-wings.html)

Ooh-la-la Creations Challenges’ “Things with Wings” challenge (http://ooh-la-la-creationschallenges.blogspot.com/2013/10/things-with-wings-at-ooh-la-la.html)  I love all the birds and butterflies in this challenge, but my favorite is a winner from the last challenge, Marina, with a little girl with wings.  Her card is stunning.

It’s been a while… and a few cards

As promised, my new job has been somewhat overwhelming.  But the launch of our department is tomorrow, so hopefully all the hard work will pay off (or it will be a complete disaster, I’ll get fired, and I’ll have all the time in the world to craft and blog).  Today was a holiday for us, Columbus Day.  It’s actually one of my least favorite holidays, because of the tragedy of his story that we end up glorifying and celebrating, but who can knock a day off?  I ended up working about 3/4 of the day to get ready for tomorrow, but I spent the rest of my time off making some cards.  I needed that.

Here’s what I came up with, and the challenges that inspired them:

ImageI made this for Sketch N Scrap’s  http://sketchnscrap.blogspot.com/2013/10/card-sketch-11-special-prize-alert.html.  This has been one of my favorites, as having the sketch gives me a nice backbone to work off of.  I made it for my new church birthday card ministry.  I’ve sent cards out to about 4-5 people each month for the past couple months and it’s been really fun.  Now I have to go to my list and find some October birthdays that haven’t already passed.

The colors in this card came from The Paper Players’ color challenge this week (http://thepaperplayers.blogspot.com/2013/10/pp167-jaydees-color-challenge.html).  Jaydee chose Midnight Muse, Pool Party, and Whisper White.  I found perfect great paper for the background in a huge book of origami paper my wonderful wife bought me last weekend in NYC (I go to NY and one of the only things I got was actually from the Barnes & Noble that we hung out in to kill some time before our dinner reservation).  It had that perfect Pool Party color, so I popped it on the background (also, the sketch had a really neat polka-dotted background, so I thought this worked well).  I used a midnight blue stamp pad for the small letters on the stamps, the Sharpie-drawn partial frame, and the ribbon.  Funny thing about the frame is that was actually the side of my sewing tin that I traced.  It was the perfect shape for the sketch:

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The Whisper White is in the background of the background paper and the white Pitt Pen I used for the first letters of “Happy Birth Day”.  I love those little tags but they’re ordinarily so expensive that I’d never spring for them.  They were one of my finds at Resources for Rhode Island Educators (https://craftymadre.com/2013/08/25/heaven-im-in-heaven/).

I’m also entering this card in the Simon Says Stamp Blog Wednesday Challenge  (http://www.simonsaysstampblog.com/wednesdaychallenge/).  The challenge was to use Rubber or Clear Stamps.  I used my favorite set of clear cling stamps from Hero Arts for the small letters.

The second card I made this afternoon was inspired by the Paper Craft Star photo challenge  (http://papercraftstar.blogspot.ca/2013/10/challenge-165.html).  They post a photo to use a photo for inspiration, and the photos are always really neat.  I’ve checked out their challenges before, but never been able to think of anything that seemed to work.  This week’s photo was a great autumn massage storefront scene, complete with pumpkins and foliage.  People seem to be making a lot of Halloween cards, but, to tell you the truth, I’ve never really given a Halloween card.  I didn’t think of it as a “card” holiday.  So, instead, I made a birthday card using the colors.

ImageThe background was a page out of the aforementioned origami paper book.  The paper’s all square (for obvious reasons), so I used the piece I cut off to add a little accent (folding it to give it some dimension before taping it on and then adding some ribbon on top of that).  The folded paper is one of my favorite ways to add the ribbon look for gift wrapping (and might just be my Quick Tip Tuesday tip for tomorrow, if I can get around to posting about it.)  I used some awesome Tim Holtz cardboard letters I’ve had tucked away for just such a look and glued them on.  I really love this color scheme, and the challenge was the perfect way to show it off.  I’m also entering it in Tammy Scrapin’ Corner’s Fall Colors themed challenge:  http://www.tammyscrapincorner.com/2013/10/challenge-84-at-tammy-scrappin-corner.html and House of Gilli’s Anything Goes/Fall theme challenge:  http://houseofgilli.blogspot.com/2013/09/challenge-54-anything-goesfall.html.

Finally, I made a nautical themed card for the Simon Says Stamp Blog’s MONDAY CHALLENGE (I love that they have 2 challenges a week on two different blogs named for the days they’re posted- it’s always easy to know when they next one will be up).  (http://www.simonsaysstampblog.com/mondaychallenge/challenge-nautical/)

ImageThis was my least favorite card of the bunch, and I wasn’t really sure what to do with it.  The theme was “Nautical”, and it’s not something I’ve done much with.  But, I happened to have this ship stamp and the “Bon Voyage” in my collection, so I figured “What the heck?”.  I used a 3rd piece of origami paper (trust me, there were over 800 pages, so I have plenty left to actually use for origami).  I used my midnight blue stamp pad to color the edges a little and then stamped it up.  I finished it off with a square knot at the top.  I didn’t really make this for anyone in particular, but it can go in my card box for the next time I need a going away card in a rush.

The wedding scrapbook continues

The network was down at work today so I came home, cleaned up my crafty table, and did another couple pages in our wedding scrapbook.  That was so much more fun than working!!  (Unfortunately, I’ll have twice as much work to do once the computers are up and running.)  I used sketches for challenges for both of them.  Challenges really inspire me and give me good inspiration that I can then build upon to make my own.  Here they are (with little iPhone app stickers to cover up the kids faces):

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This was inspired by the Scraps of Darkness and Scraps of Elegance.  It’s called “The Black Album Sketch Challenge” (http://scrapsofdarkness.com/Forum/index.php?topic=3531.0).  We had a lot of our photos printed in sepia, which I love and which seemed perfect for this challenge.  These photos are of my wife and myself with our boy (my “Best Man”) and our two flowergirls (on the left) and my wife and her “Maid of Honor” (on the right).  We went to a park near our house to take the photos and they turned out beautifully!  I like all the rounded edges and flourishes in the sketch, that I tried to get with some stickers.  The border was done with a white Pen-Touch marker (I’ve really been loving using white marker on dark backgrounds).

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This is for one of Sketch ~n~ Scrap’s September challenges (http://sketchnscrap.blogspot.com/2013/09/card-sketch-10.html).   It’s designed for a card, but it’s fun and easy to use the sketch in a scrapbook layout, too.  The sketch featured the three thick lines and a big circle around/through them.  I thought this paper worked perfectly because it incorporated the circle and the time element was at the forefront of the beginning of our wedding day (we were in a MAD RUSH to get everything set up)!  We had centerpieces made of different sized mason jars and vases with assorted purple ribbons tied around them (kind of a shabby chic look).  The florist made the bouquets a little more full than I had hoped (I was hoping for more of the sparse, loose look), and they actually ended being top heavy.  That, paired with the wind that day, had them all falling over as soon as we put them out.  With a couple hours before everyone was about to show up, we were desperately trying to add pebbles (from our rock garden) to weigh them down.  When that didn’t work, we just pulled the flowers out of all the taller vases and laid them down in the centers of the tables.

Here’s the completed page with my journalling added (the sketch didn’t really have a space that I could neatly fit journaling in to because it was made for a card):

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Both background papers are from Die Cuts With a View’s (http://www.dcwv.com/) “Heirloom Stack” (I love their paper.  I have that one and “Tattered Time”, with a cool Steampunk feel)

 

 

Baby Cakes (and a bouquet)

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My much bragged about diaper cake is done!  My lovely wife got some baby goodies to decorate it so I was able to finish it off.  But first I’ll start at the beginning.  I found this excellent tutorial already written on this “Crafty Chic’s” blog (http://craftychicsblog.blogspot.com/2011/07/diaper-cake-getting-started.html) (and in much better, more precise detail than I’d every use) so I’ll just run through the highlights of mine (and alterations):Image

I started off by flattening the box the diapers came in as the platform and I used some awesome paper I got at Resources for Rhode Island Educators to cover the top (see my post on this amazing place here: https://craftymadre.com/2013/08/25/heaven-im-in-heaven/).

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I rolled about 60 diapers and tied them with embroidery floss.  Keeping them rolled while I tied was not as easy as I was hoping, so I grabbed a pipe cleaner to temporarily hold them closed while I tied (the instructions suggested rubber bands, but I didn’t have any and I had this vision of a rubber band snapping and whacking my friend’s baby in the head at 3am).  I used a really plain ribbon to hold each layer together but then decorated them with a fancier ribbon.

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The top layer is just one diaper in the center with about 6 others around it.  For the middle layer, I made a top layer again and then put a row of diapers around the outside.  For the bottom layer, I made the middle layer and then put another row of diapers around that (Crafty Chic really broke this part down to a science).

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Then, I piled them all up and put a skewer down the center to make sure they didn’t all topple over in the car or something.  Like I said, I tied much prettier ribbons with nice bows around each layer (I really tried to make the bows as fancy as I could, but they’re definitely a skill I need more work on).  And I added all kinds of fun baby stuff as decoration: baby spoons; wash cloths; a little set of keys; travel-sized lotion, shampoo, baby wipes, butt cream, and baby powder (I actually pulled out the middle diaper from the top layer and stuck the powder in there).

Voila!

 

I also promised the bouquet I made for our other friend who’s having a baby:

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I took a few left over diapers from the box and rolled them a little more loosely, tying them with just one string.  I stuck them on skewers that I had tied and glued pieces of ribbon to as “leaves” (really, just to hold the diapers up).  I stuck spoons in some of them (just because they were one of the goodies my wife brought me to add), put some washcloths around the outside as “greens”, and filled the vase up with some more travel size baby stuff.  Another little bow finished it off (I did better with this one).

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I’m actually entering the cake in a Craft-Dee BowZ September challenge, because there’s a bow-making kit up for grabs: http://craft-deebowz.blogspot.com/2013/09/september-challenge.html.  I could certainly use it!

Oh Baby, part II

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Here’s my second baby card.  For this one, I used title of one of my favorite Dr. Seuss books:  “Oh, the Places You’ll Go“.  (My absolute favorite is “The Lorax“.)  People give the book for graduation presents all the time, but it’s a perfect theme for a new baby, too (I think).  The other bonus- Dr. Seuss shares a birthday with my lovely wife AND is from my very city.  Yes, I’ve been on THE Mulberry Street (it’s no where near as exciting as he portrays it to be, unfortunately).

I used a map I picked up from a brochure stand on our recent weekend in Vermont for the “O” and Sharpie for the rest of the letters and the road and water.  I cut the pictures out of an old Highlights magazine (I’ll be so sad when my boy is no longer young enough for me to justify a subscription).  The “grass” around the bike is non other than my famous glitter spray.  Oh, and the background is my homemade spray ink (see here for details: https://craftymadre.com/2013/07/18/a-few-more-icads-on-the-home-stretch).  On the inside I just wrote “Welcome to the world.”  My diaper cake is almost done and I’ve gotten started on the diaper bouquet for the parents of today’s kiddo’s card.  Stay tuned!!

I’m entering this card into a few challenges:  http://chocolatecoffeecards.blogspot.com/2013/09/challenge-48-anything-goes.html – How could you not love this blog?  Coffee, chocolate, and cards (3 of my favorite things)!

http://bunnyzoescrafts.blogspot.co.uk/2013/09/september-challenge-something-blue.html – A “something blue” challenge, this month (good thing the baby’s a boy).

http://cutiepiechallenge.blogspot.co.uk/2013/09/challenge-53-cute-one-for-boys_22.html – The Cutie Pie Challenge is not something that a lot of my cards would necessarily work for, but I definitely think this one is “cute”- and it’s for a boy.

http://cardmakinmamas.blogspot.com/2013/09/cmm74-for-kids-sponsored-by-bugaboo.html – The Card Makin’ Mamas “For the Kids” challenge is another fun one.  I’m loving all these kid cards at the “back to school” time of year.

and

http://cisforchallenge.blogspot.com/2013/09/challenge-6.html– The theme is “make is sparkle”.  I’m hoping my glitter glue will count for that.  The prize is 6 meters of white lace.  (I’m not quite sure how long a meter is, but I really like lace!)

And, just for fun, here’s a photo from the Dr. Seuss Memorial sculpture garden near our house.  (Yes, that would be Horton.)

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UPDATE:  Shoot!  I just realized that the car’s on the wrong side of the road.  Maybe we should move to England before the baby’s born.

Weekly Photo Challenge: From Lines to Patterns

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The theme for the Weekly Photo Challenge is “From Lines to Patterns” (http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/09/20/lines-patterns/).  Today we went to a pop-up sculpture garden in a nearby orchard called “Art in the Orchard” and had an amazing time.  (http://www.parkhillorchard.com/art)  I took this photo of a shed that was covered in mirrors on the outside and the inside was a huge, walk in pinhole camera obscura.  It was amazing.  I think this fits the theme with the lines on the reflected image from the seams of the mirrors (part of the cool part of the mirror panels was that they were all different sizes, seemingly “found mirrors”).  I took pictures of several of the little signs detailing info about the pieces and the artists, but am kicking myself for not getting this one.  All I can find about it on-line is that it’s called “Shed” by Maggie Nowinski (http://maggienowinski.com/)

Here are a couple of my favorites from this week’s collection:

Illuminating the Invisible posted a series of black and white photos from the Otago University campus and wrote about her experience in such a beautiful way: http://illuminatingtheinvisible24.wordpress.com/2013/09/22/from-lines-to-patterns/.

Women Who Think Too Much has a few, very different, entries.  One groups is of aerial photos, which I love.  This one is a pattern of palm branches and maybe some kind of starfish?  I can’t tell, but it’s beautiful (and reminiscent of a mandala).   http://womenwhothinktoomuch.wordpress.com/2013/09/21/weekly-photo-challenge-from-lines-to-patterns/

And these, from WryGrass, are of Fort Macon.  They really remind me of a fort that we had an amazing time exploring on our honeymoon in Puerto Rico (El Moro in Old San Juan).  I took several pictures with similar angles and viewpoints.  I love her perspective.  http://wrygrass.com/2013/09/21/weekly-photo-challenge-from-lines-to-patterns/

Hope you enjoy exploring some other photos from these week’s prompt.