Sunday, May 3, 2020

Vintage Imagery ATC's "Masquerade"

In a hurry...ALWAYS in a hurry, it seems.

I have an ATC triptych due in 3 days and my new release stamps for June from Technique Junkies are on the way, so this post will be short, people.

But stay tuned...I did a very early Father's Day for the Marital Unit and I KNOCKED IT OUT OF THE PARK. 

And you won't believe what the 2 gifts were that rocked his world. 

AND bought me the peace and quiet I've craved since...well...pretty much since we married and procreated. 

Stay tuned....

Sunday, April 26, 2020

The Juggle is Real...No matter WHAT age you may be...

I HATE this to learn how to photo balance a dimensional and tricks appreciated at the bottom!

And 10% off if you use TJ10CARMEN

I know, I excuses. 

But you HAVE to understand the week I've had.

First, there came the news that school has been cancelled until 2030. Or some date so far in the future I despair of ever ridding my home of "hormonal y-chromosome ordure". 

THEN, the wireless went down Thursday night and didn't reappear until an hour and a half ago. And due to my being a chronic procrastinator, I didn't have this post ready and now I'm late. 

And then it was my birthday.

It all started with a call from my mother on Wednesday.

"Happy Birthday!", she sang. "I remember 52 years ago having my first child, a little girl, and you were so beautiful! I held you in my arms and for whatever reason, I decided I wasn't going to name you Rosie, as I'd planned all along. I would name you 'Carmen' After the beautiful opera of the same name". 

"You said you named me after the, and I quote, 'cute little Puerto-Rican dancer from the Dick Clark show that could really move!'", I said.

She sighed, deeply, "I just loved how she danced!"

"Also," I reminded her, "you said when you went into labor and they doped you up on Scopolomine, all you remembered is the doctor holding up his hand and snapping each finger of his glove in some weird, creepy manner."

"Oh, I'm sure that was a hallucination." she said, thoughtfully.

"So you remember me being born?"

"Wellllll..." she tutted, "maybe not actually being born but I remember my beautiful girl!"

"Mother," I said, sternly, "there no pictures of me as an infant and, according to you, it was because I was born an entire month late, and due to the fact my head was lodged in your pelvis that extra month, I was born with a deformed, pointy head!"

"It wasn't deformed, it was" she said, warily.

"Dad said I was so weird looking that he showed me off as a future lab experiment that would make him a millionaire!" 

"That was just the alcohol talking, dear. Don't believe everything you hear." she said, briskly. "But let's get to the good part! What do you want for your birthday?"  

"Well, I think I'd..." I began.

"Now wait!" She interjected. "Remember what happened last year! We went out shopping because you said you wanted clothes for your birthday. So, I bought you clothes and then you ruined it all by losing weight and not being able to wear them!"

"I wouldn’t call that ruined…", I said, slowly.

"The year before that you wanted Botox and you wore that out after two months!" she said, sternly.

I gritted my teeth. "I happen to have custody of your three grandsons. But if I turned them over to you to raise, I bet that Botox would last..." I began.

"But who's keeping count?" she broke in. "Let's just concentrate on the positive. What do you want this year?"

I took a deep breath, "Mom, I want a kayak."

There was silence for a moment. Then she said, "But can you swim?".

Look people, I’m certainly not one-up on this parenting game. I wouldn’t even call myself accomplished. I think my claim to fame is that I have survived puberty of three boys and managed to keep my car dents to a minimum and my sanity, thanks to good medical care, excellent pharmaceuticals and virtual therapy.

I’m calling that a win.

But, what I can say is when it comes to things like rollerskating, bicycling or… I don’t know… swimming, I know exactly which child is independent in what medium and which child needs to be accompanied by myself, a guardian and back up EMT.

And extra virtual therapy.

But when it comes to swimming… Swimming!  How do you not know if your kids can swim or not??

Obviously, she forgot the many checks she wrote to the YWCA in Greensboro, where I learned to swim. Not to mention all those summers I spent at camp Tapawingo, where I was a counselor and forced to swim with young children in the resident lake, which caused trauma I struggle with to this day.

Whether that trauma is confined to just swimming in lakes, being around hordes of small children or both, I’ll have to continue to work out in counseling.

But how does she forget those years of my strapping a Styrofoam bubble to my back and jumping off the diving board until I worked up my courage to dive? And all in front of her!

What about all those summers at the Moose Lodge Pool? Or down in Florida where I swam in those crystal clear waters… Until I saw a manta ray under my raft, a horse shoe crab stalking me and the movie Jaws… then it was over for me. But that’s not the point!

"Are you still there?" my mother asked

"Here, mom. And yes, I can swim."

"Do you have a life jacket?"

"Yes, mama I have a life jacket."

"Well, I’ll pay for the kayak but I’m not sending the money until I see a picture of you in your life jacket! Don't think you can trick me… You’ll never know when I’ll show up down at the lake! And if you’re on that boat without a life jacket then that’s it… no more kayaking for you..

Just my luck. My mother doesn’t remember whether or not I can swim but she sure remembers how to ground me

Monday, April 13, 2020

Fusion Card Challenge-One of my very 'gnome' creations

I can't help but believe this is my first Fusion Card Challenge! And I'm so excited to have found them! 

The concept at fusion is simple: Use the sketch OR the photo OR fuse them together. I decided to fuse those suckers.

For whatever reason, I had my mind set on using my Memory Box Gift Bag die. I've never made a gnome before but they looked simple. So, I combined the 2 with the most adorable Easter paper I've ever seen! And I have no IDEA what it is!!! I'm so sorry.

I'm spending the next 30 days working on design. I can build anything or create anything when it comes to building scenes or any of that...but card design is HARD. 

I was really surprised I wanted to do this challenge. First of all, the first thing that popped into mind was a sign I saw in someone's garden that said "Gnome Sweet Gnome" and I was done for. See, I hate puns. I hate them so much that, at any opportunity, I'll begin thinking in puns. I'll actually torture myself with them and, being ADHD, there is NO way to stop (or medicate) myself out of it.

The only way to break the cycle is to put on Broadway show tunes.

Seriously. No joke. And I have no freaking idea why this works. All I have to do is slap on "Hamilton", my current fave, and I can rap myself out of any OCD-related repetition.

My kids HATE Hamilton. They loved it at first because it's written in rap and hip hop. Until their female parental unit-who is STILL convinced she was a hip-hop artist in a previous life-decided she would be ready in case auditions were held in Burlington, NC and there was a need for a 52-year-old, slightly chubby, so-white-she's-almost-translucent female who (thinks she) can rap her a** OFF!

Granted, I may miss a word or two if it gets really fast or my timing lags (which is where skipping a word helps me catch up) but there has to be a place for me somewhere on this show.

When it first came out, I practiced like a madwoman. I rapped at every opportunity. I nearly brought my entire household to its knees. They'd clear whatever room I was in if I started rapping about fighting in the Revolutionary War. I'd be halfway through "Hamilton", rapping my heart out about the founding of a new nation while fighting (rap style) with Aaron Burr, as I picked up the middle kid from school. 

I can't tell you how many times I caught that kid trying to crawl into other people's cars or hiding in the last stall of the bathroom after school let out. Finally, the guidance counselor met me in the car line and asked if there were problems at home. I told her yes. After an hour of telling her story after story of the rejection I suffered from my Marital Unit and the Y Chromosomes I'd birthed as I worked to make my Broadway dream to join the cast of "Hamilton" come true, she asked me to wait a moment, then ran to find the kid and dragged him to the car. From then on, she was there to shove him in the back before I'd even fully braked. I barely had time to wave goodbye to her before she frantically motioned me to drive on. Not even when the kid's backpack got entangled in the door and I dragged him 50 yards did I have a moment with her.

"Do you need an ambulance?" she yelled, with surprising volume from that distance. 
"No," I screamed back, disentangling the kid from the door latch. "Maybe just some bandages and gauze."
"Oh good! I'm glad he's fine. I'm sure you have band-aids at home. Now, move along! You're holding up the line!" She turned back to directing traffic, at a much slower pace now that we'd passed through, I noticed.
I sighed. I was sorry to have lost that sympathetic ear.

As to the moral of this story? There isn't one. Other than it's fine to suffer delusions of grandeur and that one should be required to maintain these delusions when one is a parent. I guess the other takeaway could be when picking up your children from school, try your hand at a little old school rapping. Especially when they hit eighth grade on up. 

Nothing like a rapping mom to keep your teenage kid humble. 

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

ANOTHER Technique Junkies NEW RELEASE? Yep! April!! With DISCOUNT!!

Let me first begin by saying that I want to take a moment to celebrate...well...


My generosity, that is.

You see, not only am I going to selflessly hand you not one, but TWO coupons for Technique Junkies new April releases and one discount coupon good for the rest of the TJ site, I am also going to share my mind-blowing, delicious, mouth-watering and highly secret recipe to my Banana-less Banana Pudding.

By the way, yes. You read that correctly.

Banana-less Banana Pudding.

But we MUST follow a linear path in terms of importance. Granted, dessert is #2 on my priority list. #1, however, is crafting. On down the list would be all things offspring-related and rounding out the top 50 would be something pertaining to the Marital Unit. Though, as to its importance, I'd have to check. As usual, however, I digress. Back to our #1.

Technique Junkies April New Releases are TOO much fun! And so that you can see for yourself that it's just not bias speaking, here's 15% off on said New Releases!!


 AND to really drive the point home, here's an additional 10% off those New Releases!! This can also be used on the rest of your TJ purchases as well! But you've GOT TO TYPE IN THIS CODE.

The code being TJ10CARMEN

For my project, I used the beautiful background stamp Butterfly Collage with Text

I stamped it with Versa Mark on Sticky Canvas and embossed with blue glitter powder. When I first saw the stamp the first thing I thought of was Moulin Rouge!

As my fave scene was the first time we see Satine on the swing as "The Sparkling Diamond", I set about to create the swing with chain trim from Hobby Lobby and chipboard. I regret the 2 pieces of wooden trim on the sides, painted red, because all I can think of are Twizzlers Strawberry Licorice. The Marital Unit contributed this and all I can say is that I was exhausted and clearly out of my mind to listen to him in the first place.

Dresden trim dressed up the top and bottom. The lion and wings are also Dresden. 

But the BEST part was finding Satine!! 

As I was googling images, I ran across this beauty by Cory Jensen. He's a wonderful artist who, as far as I can tell, simply shares his art with everyone. I asked permission to use Satine and offered payment because you have to admit...she's worth it!

I resized her and cut both pieces out. I used my glitter pen on her just a little so she wouldn't get lost. If you click on Satine, you'll find yourself on Cory's Facebook page. He also has a RedBubble page (it's a terrific graphic arts company, very supportive of artists, mostly t-shirts) and I encourage you to visit both.

Now, speaking of "visiting", I also ask you to visit Technique Junkies and the rest of the gals to see what they've done with April's New Releases. And don't forget...that 15% off is ONLY good through the 8th! After that, you'll still have the 10% coupon but nothing beats picking up New Releases using both discounts.

And NOW...on to priority #2. Dessert. As promised, the recipe for my my mind-blowing, delicious, mouth-watering and highly secret recipe to my Banana-less Banana Pudding.

This came about because my offspring inherited my good sense when it comes to the travesty of fruit traipsing around in dessert, as if it belonged there.
Spoiler alert: It doesn't.
Fruit in desserts are impostors. Raisins are merely "pretend" chocolate chips.
Besides, fruits in desserts are liars. They insinuate that whatever you're about to eat has some type of nutritional value. Fruits will innocently sit there in 1,000 calorie per bite desserts and claim that what you're about to eat can't possibly be that bad, could it? Because it's fruit, right?
Chocolate covered strawberries? Pffft. Don't bother. I'll take chocolate covered chocolate and be done with it.
I know you think me harsh. It's not that I'm not flexible, however. Take cake, for example. I give cakes a pass. Fruit baked in cake or folded into icing makes sense. The cake and icing are clearly the stars of the show-the fruits are the proverbial "back-up dancers". Where they should be.
My mother tried to disagree. "What about homemade apple and peach cobbler?
"Ok Ma. Take out the fruit and you have just the juice and extra bubbly homemade pastry on top. No pesky apples or peaches to mess it up. Just the goods." I said.
She was silent a moment. "Well, I guess I see what you mean."
HAH! See? This is why I was determined to come up with a banana pudding that wasn't swimming with nasty bananas that turned black about 2 and 1/2 seconds after putting it on my plate. Not to mention one of which I could openly partake without having to surreptitiously peek over my shoulder as I tried to scoop just cookies and pudding onto my plate. Which was a lost cause because the ingrates that stole my youth, natural hair color and face collagen (along with half my DNA) had already gotten to it and done the same thing.
So, I did it. I created it. And now, I will share this accomplishment with you. Mostly to prove that I'm right about the whole Fruit-less Dessert thing and to justify this rant.
Not to mention it's pretty da*n good and I'm really feeling a little snooty about it.
So there.
Banana-less Banana Pudding
1 lg. box Instant Banana Cream Jello Pudding
3 cups whole millk
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 c sour cream
8 oz whipped topping-divided
1 package wafers
Combine condensed milk, sour cream, vanilla and mix. Add pudding and 1 cup cold milk and mix on medium then add additional 2 cups making sure everything blends together. When pudding thickens, fold in 4oz whipped topping. Layer bottom of dish with wafers then spread pudding on top. Repeat, using as many wafers and creating as many layers as you like. Top with remaining whipped topping and wafer crumbs. Chill for a couple of hours. Serve. Eat. Give thanks to Carmen and consider sending her a monetary gift.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Weddings and Their Gifts are a BEACH!

Groom's Boutonniere

Bridesmaid Corsage

Bridesmaid Corsage

Groomsman Boutonniere

Both Grooms and Groomsmen Boutonnieres

I was asked if I would create 4 boutonnieres and 2 bridesmaid corsages for a beach themed wedding. The colors were turquoise and tangerine.

I have to tell you, friends, my jury was out on doing the project. Mostly because I can't seem to get 5 stamping projects done in 3 weeks. Much less 6 wedding thingies from scratch...something I've NEVER done before.

Then, I was told the wedding was actually being HELD on the beach.

Needless to say, knowing that the element of fun had been kicked up a couple of notches, I was close to being in---CLOSE. But not quite there. Mostly because the beach themed wedding stuff on pinterest was simply crapola. And I wasn't in the mood to create stuff from scratch.

But then, she closed the deal. "They're wearing cut off pants and gauzy dresses with uneven hemlines. And did I mention all the guests have to take off their shoes and leave them in baskets before they cross the sand and take their seats?"

Now I know what fish must feel like when they discover that tasty morsel has a hook in it.

At any rate, I knew I could have fun with it. Therefore, I committed. Plus there were only four guys and a like number of ladies so I didn't feel too overwhelmed. Until it came time to use my Scan N Cut.

Contrary to popular belief, the Scan N Cut won't cut through much of anything. For me, at least. Even with brand new blades. Except the mats. The Scan N Cut will ALWAYS find a way to cut through the mats, even when the pressure and blade is set to 1. It's truly miraculous, in a way that speaks to pure evil and possible possession by some entity with a yen for crafty electronic products.

I had one piece of laser cut coral. I scanned it and managed to cut 19. Of those 19, approximately 4 were close to perfect; 8 were okay and the remaining 7 were an embarrassment to sea life everywhere.

So, I glued 3 together to make the 4 boutonnieres that I needed and painted them with a metallic turquoise. The arrangement of shells speak for themselves. E6000 and Copic markers achieved what I couldn't with the pearls and shells arranged to look like clams with little pearls inside. I really wanted to make the Groom's boutonniere meaningful so I put a "dove" from a sand dollar on the mini starfish as a reminder to keep Christ first in the marriage and to spread His message of goodwill and peace.

You would think that after creating something so meaningful and true that I would have smooth sailing. Yes. You would certainly think that. Read on, friends. Read on.

The boutonnieres were relatively easy. I only needed the flowers. Which should have been the easiest of all things to find. But they weren't. The flowers became the straw that broke the camel's back AND my bank account. How? Not only did they cost a mint, they also robbed me of a chunk of porcelain veneer on my front tooth. Granted, it could just be coincidence that it just happened to shear off at that time but considering I did a lot of teeth clenching and grinding during the flower debacle, I'm saying it's all on the flowers. All 1800-2500 it'll take to fix because both front and the two on either side have to be replaced. Why? Because of the *&$%^%$ COLOR MATCHING.

But back to the flower problem before I go apoplectic over the tooth situation, of which I'll find out the damage during my 7:40 a.m. appointment tomorrow morning.

Let me explain. About the flowers.

The flowers I used are called Mini Dendrobium. Kind of an Orchid. I bought them because I'd seen this corsage on pinterest and fallen in love with it.

I wanted to use similar flowers but couldn't figure out what they were. A friend of mine who works for a florist helped me look and the closest she came were the Dendrobium.

I thought they'd be perfect! Until I saw the price. 40 bucks with tax. But delivery!!

Wait. Just kidding. It DID give me pause. But I justified it by thinking I hadn't spent anything so far AND it counted as a wedding gift AND since I WAS going to duck out of going at the last minute (no one knew that yet...I'm just not really big on social activities. I'd like them a lot better if not for the whole "people" aspect of them) then 40 bucks wasn't really that big of a deal. Although, it's kind of sad to see the Dendrobium now.

(I made sure to shoot it in the portrait filter so the empty, green limb isn't as prominent and the fact there are only 4 blooms left isn't too obvious.)

This is the first-and probably last-bridal contribution I'll make. Unless there's money involved. Quite a bit of money.Their money. NOT mine.

The 40 bucks really seemed to be a great deal for me. Normally, I'm not one to really find great deals like many of my friends. It's really rare I stumble on a real find. So, to get out of a wedding gift for only 40 bucks seemed pretty decent for me. Until the tooth. So, I hope the couple appreciates my 2k wedding gift. It's certainly the most expensive I've ever given. Okay...I'll stop being snarky. I'll just deal with it and have it fixed.

But I can guarantee that it won't be the mother's who are the only ones crying over this wedding.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

A Stamp-n-Storage Junkie Comes Clean

It was bound to happen at some point.

Crafters have a need...a deep-seated, gnawing desire for organization. 

We want it...we crave it...we have to have it. Yet, when it comes time to choose between an ink pad holder and a new set of ink pads, well, we can't help ourselves. Product over product placement, almost every time.

Until the scale tilts just a little too much and you've had it. You need SOMETHING. Just one or two things to hold the *&%^&^ paper and pens. Just to keep them organized and near to hand. So you start searching. And in my case, 8 years ago, I stumbled on a company that was just starting up, who made simply awesome products out of wood. Some guy in Minnesota, whose wife happened to be a stamper and put him to work making storage systems for her craft room when he got home from work.

On a side note, she could make a fortune with seminars titled "How to tell your husband to do something in a way in which he does it. Immediately."

THAT'S a few million just WAITING to be made, people.

I'm kidding, of course.

I liked these people because they made high-quality product for really good prices. And they're people who stand behind what they make. They're also people of faith. I like them and their company. A lot.

So, I became an Ambassador! That's where I say lots of nice things about them that are all true and tell you that you should get your butt in gear and buy their products and make your life easier while protecting your investment. This is also true. Just use my link if you do. That way, I earn a percentage that I use to buy more SNS. I haven't earned a dime yet, but feel free to be the first to help me do so!

All right...let's go! 

I'm in the process of redoing this wreck of a craft room. Here's one side that's in pretty good shape. My pano isn't so bad either.

I'm going to have to walk the dog in a bit and want to post this so I'll come back in a bit and identify everything...I promise! But for now, I'm going to give you pics and basic explanations.

Still shots left to right on the pano

Tim Holtz Distress Pad/Reinker/Marker Holder also for Dioxides Also regular inkpad holder. Two types punch holders. Also just got the awesome little holder for alcohol inks and reinkers on the desk.

Another punch holder and one of two 6 drawer sets. One of many shelves I have from SNS. This is a smaller one and a bigger one is to the right

ANOTHER punch holder but this is how I make my flowers! I LOVE my Mcgill punches!!

NOW...the OTHER side of the room...

Just had large shelves put in to replace space eating bookcases. I'm waiting on a third 8-1/2 x 11 paper holder with 15 slots instead of 12. They just started offering this after I purchased these two or I would've ordered them! 

Embossing folder holder

I have two diecut holders I'm reorganizing. I use SNS magnet cards too. 

NOW...I JUST GOT THIS AND I"M SO EXCITED!!! Since starting with Technique Junkies, I'm already drowning in stamps. Nice problem to have, but still need a way to file them in a way I'm not running out of space, right?? Well, here ya go!

SNS has stamp storage cards and stamp cards. You take the stamp card and peel off one protected side. You can fill both sides using poly stamps or one side with rubber stamps.

Naturally, I'd put another sentiment stamp next to these because there's more than enough space left on this side. But, afterwards, I take the pics of the stamps (because i can NEVER figure out what a stamp is) and put it in the back of the stamp folder with the stamp card.

For the tab at the top, you purchase these Avery labels. I bought 2000 for 9 bucks from Amazon

Then you put the card in the crate. 

The crate holds 100 of these!!!! WOOT WOOT!! 

Granted, it'll take time to get it together. But when I'm not feeling creative, this is what I do. And it makes me feel a LOT better to find stuff when I need it. At some point, I'll tell you the true story of how I ended up losing over a hundred bucks worth of merchandise, which was the catalyst to my looking for-and finding-SNS.

So, my friends...that's my, click away!!! 

Monday, March 16, 2020

More March NEW RELEASE Fun-Bandanna Mandalas

Hello everyone! 

It's Carmen and it's my turn to feature one of our new release stamps for March!

Bandannas! I LOVE this stamp! 

I was a little intimidated because it was so bold and gorgeous that I knew I wanted to make it shine by itself but couldn't figure out what to do with it. Then, I remembered a cool technique I learned from watching a youtube video from many months ago. For the LIFE of me I can't find it again...I had to use a small canvas I'd made as a guide. But all you need are the following:

1-A regular pencil (with an unused eraser)
2-A fat pencil with an unused eraser (think pencils for kids beginning to write)
3-Small, round dowel (I used a 1/8)
4-A tiny tool to make a dot. I used a flower shaping tool but you can use a stylus
5-Acrylic Paint and some metallic paint

I stamped the image in black on some hot pink cardstock. Then, I simply started dotting. When I finished dotting, I dotted inside the dotting!

There was a LOT of dotting going on here, people.

But I really loved the effect. And it truly is VERY easy. Once you do the first one, it's a cakewalk after. I PROMISE!

I ALSO promise to give you 10% off this stamp purchase or ANYTHING you purchase at Technique Junkies! Just type in TJCarmen10 in the coupon code when you checkout and it's all yours, baby!

Go ahead...try the mandala art! You'll be shocked at how good you are on your FIRST attempt! That's another promise!

Enjoy stamping!