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!

Friday, March 6, 2020

Vintage Imagery ATC Swaps-Carousel ATC Coins & Altered Bingo Cards

Allow me to begin with simply describing the work. Then, I will proceed directly to the nervous breakdown I've promised myself and scheduled for this evening. I will not pass Go. I will, however, collect 200+ dollars. 

Preferably from the marital unit.

But first things first.

We have an ATC swap group on swap-bot named Vintage Imagery ATC's. Swap-bot has tons of groups and swaps and accounts are free...we'd love to have you join or just go and have a good time on the site! 

For both swaps we created two pieces to mail to two partners. The first swap was for ATC coins with the theme of "Carousel". 

Naturally, I'm not content until it takes me 12 hours...yes...12 HOURS to finish both. 

Well, off and on. Mind you, I took numerous breaks to yell at the dog/boys/marital unit and to eat my way through a warehouse sized box of various mini cereals because, let's face it...TWO of those tiny things are barely a regular bowl. For me. Whatever. Don't judge.

ATC coins are 2.5 inches. I cut another circle in half to form the slanted top and topped it with Dresden scrap along with rhinestones I colored with neon Sharpies and a vintage Limoges porcelain pendant on the top of each one. I also cut a dowel and glued beads on top and bottom to make the pole. 

The marital unit wandered in to read over my shoulder and began to make a joke about a "stripper pole". To his credit, however, for once he correctly interpreted my withering glance that clearly said "I don't care that you know about stripper poles because you're a (non-active duty) Marine and you probably spent your youth training for ground assaults and obtaining expertise in the engineering of said poles, but don't forget that I rarely find the funny things you say even mildly amusing, so it's best you keep it to yourself and vacate the area that is my immediate presence at once because I'm tired and NOT in the mood to fake even a slight smile tonight."


Alright, now that everyone has been scolded, we shall take our new, somber demeanor and move on to the altered bingo cards.

This was my first attempt at these. The trick is to not cover up the entire card. For whatever reason, I saw an Alice in Wonderland theme. I used nesting dies to cut the holes, collage papers I'd purchased and printed out, along with my mortal enemy: Flower Soft.

I hate that stuff. I only resorted to it because I was too tired to make flowers after the effort I'd put into the cards thus far. Call me lazy...whatever. But I'd just wrestled with Dresden scrap that I'd glued around the edges to hide the big gaps created by the rabbit holes. Judging by the end result, I probably should've left the gaps.  

Normally, when we do swaps, we include little little gifts that can be used for ATC's. Papers, beads, scraps...that sort of thing.

So, I really loaded the gifts on these. Hopefully, my largesse will blind them to the reality of crappy edging. 

Alright. I've reached the end and NOW I'm too TIRED, not to mention too LATE for the nervous breakdown I'd scheduled! I'd put it on the calendar for tomorrow but my weekend is booked! I have a doctor's appointment on Monday and something on Tuesday, it looks like. So the earliest I can reschedule it is Wednesday. I totally blame the Marital Unit for this. 

Why? Because I can. It's my right. It was in my marriage vows and it's also in the Bible. At least that's the way I remember it. This is clearly his fault. And he will pay dearly for it.

Oh look! There just happens to be a Lego convention tomorrow and my HFA (high-functioning autistic) kid LOVES Legos! He'll be bouncing off the walls! He'll insist on arriving the moment the doors open, then he'll be running full-speed from place to place and refusing to leave until close. 

Well, my work here is done. Hope you enjoyed your stay and I'm sorry I'm giving you such an abrupt sendoff but that's just how it is, sometimes. Right now, I have more important and timely things to do.

Namely buying a pair of tickets and hiding a set of golf clubs.

Thursday, March 5, 2020

Technique Junkies NEW RELEASE Watercolor Jewelry from Stamps!!

Well, this one was DEFINITELY a first for me.

The idea to do this actually came from a box of junk jewelry.

In it, there was a handmade pin. It was a piece of purple velvet that someone had stamped with a pansy, glued it to a fragment of broken acrylic and surrounded with Dresden scrap. Then they glued a pin to the back. 

I'd already stamped Technique Junkies New Release stamp Old Fashioned Roses and embossed with gold powder and begun to watercolor. 

After coloring the large rose, I caught sight of that piece and that was all she wrote.

You can see where I pulled the old velvet piece on and put a thick coat of glue over the same piece of acrylic and placed my rose on top (after fitting it to the piece and trimming the rose until I got the same fit). I used clothes pins to hold all edges down until it dried. Then, I glued new Dresden scrap around the edge. I let everything dry overnight. The next day, I coated the top with Glossy Accents and it was done.

Personally, I thought it came out much better than I originally thought. And God knows how rarely THAT happens!

Don't forget! Technique Junkies New Releases  are 15% off (no code needed!) until March 8th! 

PLUS, if you use my code, you get an EXTRA 10% off the New Releases along with everything else you buy! 

So go!! Buy, buy, buy!! But don't forget my code! 

Sunday, March 1, 2020

Technique Junkies MARCH NEW RELEASE!! Eggs, Music Boxes and Jazz Hands!!!

Well, here we are again! It's March 1st and on the first of every month
 you should know I'm ready to celebrate! 

Mostly because another 28-31 days have passed and none of the offspring have wrecked a car, flunked out of a class or been hit with a restraining order. general expectations list is small for a very good reason when it comes to 3 y-chromosomes who are in the throes of puberty and secreting odors I have never experienced in my LIFE. Therefore, I say keep those expectations low.

But  the main reason for the celebration is that we throw one Hades of a party at Technique Junkies with the NEW RELEASES!!!

This will be picture-heavy blog and, as always, I urge you to hop your heinies to each of my TJ Design Team sisters and see their creations as well. 

Last thing before we get to it: Now through the 8th you get 15% New Releases AND an additional 10% of them as well! Not to mention an additional 10% off everything in the store if you use my code. TJ10Carmen  Your 15% on New Releases come off automatically. But NO 10% for you if you don't use my code!!   

After the tutorial, I'm adding my Diary of a Desperate Housewife "Spring Easter Play" for your pleasure. Now, lets go!

This is the second egg I've made but the first with a music box attached. 

 You can purchase the paper mache' eggs fairly cheap at Hobby Lobby. I also grab lots of their pearls and sparkly things when they're on sale as well. The gold Dazzlers I had to order online. This whole idea came from one of the stamps I watercolored from Technique Junkies New Release stamp Old Fashioned Roses  (Remember...15% off automatically through the 8th with an additional 10% off using my code TJ10Carmen through the 8th).

Using a rubber band to mark a center line, I cut the egg in half. I painted the inside with gold acrylic paint and used a bright, sparkly blue embossing powder for the outside.

The little music boxes can be found everywhere I took half the white plastic off, unscrewed the key and then took a sturdy chipboard piece to attach to the top. I made a little stand for the water colored rose pin (that tutorial and full project coming up VERY soon!) which I'll attach. Then you can remove the pin and wind the box. Mechanically, I could've moved the key elsewhere but liked the placement here. Using a cheap, wooden stand from Hobby Lobby that I pained gold and used pearl and crystal stickers, I cemented the egg and it was ready to go.

Oh...and the song?

"I Never Promised You a Rose Garden".

Now, time to get hopping! Here are the designs and creations from the rest of the TJ Design Team! And don't forget...15% off New Releases (No code needed!)  until the 8th with an additional 10% off with my code TJ10Carmen. (Code needed)

Diary of a Desperate Housewife


It’s a time of rebirth and renewal.

That is, unless you happen to be me and stuck with your Kid’s first grade spring
It began with a phone call.

“I’m so glad I caught you at home.” The familiar, patronizing voice oozed from the
“No habla ingles.” I said, desperately.
“You are so funny.” Ms. Parisi said in a voice that let me know I was in no way amusing to her.
Ms. Parisi was the Kid’s teacher and had been for the last two years. She loathed me and was so professional in making me feel incompetent, I knew her management position would be safe even if the Devil did decide to downsize Hell.
“We need a parent to coordinate the spring recital.”
“Uh, I really don’t know anything about stuff like that. Really.” I tried to keep the panic out of my voice.
Ms. Parisi ignored me. “We need you to put together the play. The other volunteers will meet you this afternoon at three.”
When I arrived, the other parents were staring at me accusingly.

“Hi, any ideas for the play?” I said, in what I hoped was a calm voice.

There was a mutinous muttering but I made sure not to look them directly in the eyes so certain tragedy, probably involving dismemberment, was temporarily avoided.
One mother finally spoke up. “There’s this cute play about an Easter egg trying to find a basket he belongs to. He’s all sorts of colors so the blue eggs don’t want him and neither do the red. In the end, he realizes how unique he is and how much he has in common with everyone. It’s all about learning to be happy in your own skin.”
One of the other mothers threw her a disgusted look. “Is that skin botoxed? If so, some people here should be awfully comfortable already.”
“Okay, ladies.” I tried to sound firm but friendly. “We have to get a recital going here. It’s the Easter Egg with the identity issues play. Is everyone in agreement?”
I took their heavy silence as an affirmative.
“I think it would be cute to have someone dress up as the Easter bunny and hand out treats before the show.” A woman spoke up from the back. “I’d be glad to do it!”
I jumped on her offer at once, completely ignoring the wide eyes and slight head shakes of the other parents.
“Terrific. Rehearsal starts tomorrow at three.”
I managed to walk nonchalantly to the door, feeling the weight of their glares. Once outside, I broke into a run.

  The opening night of the play found me struggling to refrain from mayhem directed onto my own offspring.

“Mommy,this play is really stupid.” The Kid tried to put his hands on his hips but was
prevented from doing so by the egg costume he wore.

“Look, Kid. Eddie the Egg is a great play. Well, maybe not great but the dance routine that Karen’s two daddies put together really gives it a spark.” I said, trying to stuff more newspaper through the Kid’s armpit holes.
“The dance routine is dumb too. What’re jazz hands, anyway?” He sulked.
“Look, I don’t like it anymore than you do and if I’d known my karma would involve my being roped into this, I certainly would’ve done things a little differently like donate a kidney or eyeball just for the heck of it. Both would be less painful than this.”
I pushed the Kid toward his basket and took a final look around. The play was done and I felt confident I’d finally shown Ms. Parisi that I wasn’t a total waste of atmosphere. Feeling pretty good about myself in general, I watched as the Easter Bunny came hopping through the back of the auditorium doors to the delight of the children in the audience. I had to say the volunteer mom was doing a great job. She was really getting into it. She hopped, then danced a bit, tossing candy to the kids as she worked the crowd.
“She’s great!” I said enthusiastically to two other mothers nearby.
They raised their eyebrows in unison and stared over my shoulder.
The Easter Bunny was now gyrating and slinging candy at everyone. The candies were hard and the people who were getting pelted were crying out in pain.
“My eye!” someone yelled.
As if that were her cue, the Easter Bunny stopped and removed her costume head. Several children screamed in horror. The screams were followed by moans of disgust as the Bunny threw up in her basket. Then she replaced her costume head, stumbled to the nearest seat and collapsed. I could hear her snores from backstage.
“That’s MaryAnn.” One mother said. “She’s supposed to be in rehab but skipped out.”
“We tried to tell you.” The other mother said, accusingly.
Mercifully, the parent acting as stage director was on top of things and sprung into action. The lights went out and the kids took the stage. Half of them spent the entire play trying to either stuff newspaper back into their costumes or remove it entirely. The dance number was hit but only because the kids refused to dance and Karen’s two daddies performed the entire routine on the floor in front of the stage, jazz hands and all.
Eddie the Egg decided to join up with the blue eggs instead of the multi-colored ones and, halfway through the play, the Bunny woke up and started to sing Barbara Streisand’s ‘People’.
The audience sat, frozen. The chaos on stage ground to a halt.
“Hey, we’re through. You need to clap.” An angry, red egg yelled at the crowd.
I’m sure that, at some point, Ms. Parisi took the stage and ‘thanked’ me for my efforts; I wouldn’t have known. I dragged the Kid out the emergency exit and sped home where I tossed the Kid, egg costume and all, into bed.
“But Mommy, how am I supposed to sleep like this?”
“The same way I deal with going to sleep with the same man who promised to love and cherish me forever, then took away my call waiting, which is why I’m in this state of humiliation. You’ll find a way to cope.”
When my husband came home, I was curled up on the couch in a fetal position and unable to speak.
He stared for a moment, sighed and handed me a bag. “I figured. That’s why I brought you this.”
Inside, there was a chocolate bunny and a bottle of vodka.
Now that’s the way to celebrate Spring.