December 16, 2007

still here...

I just wanted to let you all (I know a few people read this!!) that I'm still here... just trying to get healthy again after a wicked cold that's still lingering after two weeks, and keep my head above water getting everything done for Christmas. That wasn't much, actually, in the grand scheme of things- we're staying here for Christmas, so we needed to get our presents wrapped and sent off to the Midwest. I did work on a couple crafty things (that I can't show till after Christmas), but other than that, haven't done much crafting... it was a hard decision, but I finally decided that I wasn't even going to make the Christmas cards this year. I've made my cards for YEARS, and it was difficult to admit that I wouldn't get them done, but for some reason this year it just felt like a chore, not a fun, creative process, like it should be. Not sure what it is- the cold, the overtime I've been working at work, or having to put Cleo to sleep, but something has been sapping my creativity this season... I'm still reading blogs, checking out Flickr, and browsing the Etsy forums, but not doing much myself. I'm taking some time off from work over Christmas, so hopefully I can get in my craft room, do some cleaning, and then get back into a crafty mood. Until then, please excuse my absences and the sporadic posting!

November 29, 2007

Thanksgiving crafting welcomes Christmas...

Thanks for your comments about Cleo from my previous post. (and thanks to you, Mom, for listening to me when I had to make the decision...) I go between feeling like it was the right decision, to guilt (both about the new kittens and about making the decision), to relief that her downhill health slide is over (which leads to more guilt, of course...). But, I do think it was the right thing to do, for her... I realize that her situation had been affecting us more than I thought- the last few weeks seem really disjointed, looking back on them... we did manage to have a nice quiet Thanksgiving dinner (it was just us, the dog and kittens, the roast duck and all the fixings, which included a wonderful bottle of wine that Mom, Dad, and Jackie brought with them when they visited!!).

On Sunday, we decorated our brand-new, 7.5 foot artificial Christmas tree... we put it up Saturday night, which was a bit of a task- it took a lot of unfolding and unfurling of all 1385 individual tips. While we decorated it, I was inspired to do some crafting, which is a Thanksgiving tradition... we always had some craft project to work on after dinner, whether it was something Mom had been working on, a project I came up with, or the first steps of my sister Judy's rubber stamped Christmas cards or gifts for her piano students...

I had been thinking about these ornaments for a while, sort of designing them in my head- they are loosely based on the projects I made at Art Unraveled, which used all sorts of recycled materials, beads, and shiny objects. The Santa ornament was made using the lid from an Altoids tin as the base... I painted the edge gold, so it would match the color scheme, then glued super-fine Art Glitter ( a beautiful deep teal color) and mica flakes to the inside... after that, I got out the smelly-but-powerful E6000 adhesive, to glue on the two bead garlands. Once that dried, I glued in the clip art Santa, which is raised above the glitter with some little plastic thing-a-ma-jigs that Tom had in his collection of hardware... I love how this turned out! I also really love that Art Glitter (check out their website for some amazing glittery projects!) I bought a few containers of it years ago at a stamp store, and never really used it for anything before... it looks so much classier than the cheap glitter you get at the craft store, I think. This ornament is for sale in my Etsy shop, although nothing in my shop has been getting many views, lately. (partly my fault; lately I haven't really felt like hanging out on Etsy to be visible or do any promoting...)

This little Victorian girl started life as the lid from an orange juice can, actually! More glitter (brass colored in the middle, and green around the edges) covers the lid... because the lid really didn't have an "edge" like the Altoids tin lid, I didn't think the bead garland would work, so I got out my stash of sequins (another craft purchase from ages ago that I don't pull out very often) and the E-6000 again... I glued a layer of flower-shaped sequins around the lip and decided they looked a bit plain, so I glued a second layer of silver sequins to each flower. I finished the backs of both ornaments with patterned scrapbooking paper and a punched-paper pointsettia... that way, they'll look good from any angle once they're hanging on the tree. (check out my Flickr page for more pics of them...)

This is the tree, before we got it decorated- Tom and I worked for over an hour to "fluff" it up and get all the branches situated how they looked best. It's 7.5 feet tall, and takes up just a bit more space than we thought it would- it sure didn't look that big in the store display! After seeing it, I was a bit concerned about our ornament collection not being quite up to the task...

We worked on it all Sunday afternoon, and we think it turned out pretty spiffy! 450 colored mini lights, 2 strings of bubble lights (we'll get more for next year), 4 packages of gold garland (need more of that, too), and pretty much all of our ornaments. It's always fun to open up the ornament box; sort of like visiting old friends, in a way... mine came from Gram's collection, flea markets, and other places, while Tom's came from his Grandma- she gave him an ornament every year while he was growing up. Some of them are handmade, too- the kind with the sequins pinned to a styrofoam ball in very intricate patterns- do they still make those?? I never see them at the craft store... The only ornaments I left off are the tiniest glass ones (less than an inch in size) that were always at the top of my mini feather tree; they would have gotten lost in a full-size tree, for sure. So far, the tree is still standing, and it doesn't look like it's been chewed up too much... I think the kittens leave it alone during the day, but when we're home in the evening they get more active, and feel like they have to start messing around in the lower branches... the squirt bottle of water is getting a workout! (again, there are more pics of the tree and our ornament collection on my Flickr page) And hey, Mom, if you're reading this... notice the tree skirt? It's a white bedsheet... hint, hint...??

November 24, 2007


April 17, 1994 - November 21, 2007
Cleo had been losing weight for the past few months, and for the last week or so, hadn't been eating anything at all. Her blood tests all came back in the normal ranges, which most likely meant something pretty dire... so, we made the tough decision to let her go, which I have to believe was the right decision for her. Now, she and Phoebe are finally together again.

November 18, 2007

crafts, cats, and Christmas presents

I worked on a couple ATC swaps over the last couple weeks, and had some leftover painted paper... this turned into backgrounds for a couple more cards featuring cancelled postage stamps. Below is one with a Gambel's quail postage stamp (that is now for sale in my Etsy shop); the other ones are on my Flickr page.

I also whipped up a few Thanksgiving cards the other night. They were pretty simple to make, using printed scrapbook paper, a couple stamps, and artificial fall leaves from the craft store. The hardest thing about them was keeping the leaves stuck to the card until the glue dried; I used E6000 adhesive, which is strong, but quite smelly! (I apologize in advance to anyone I sent this card to, if it still smells by the time you get it.)

On the cat front, Butters and Pandora are getting even more used to the house... we still shut them in the laundry room at night and while we're at work (to avoid disasters!), but other than that, they have the run of the place. Sedona has started to play with them a bit (till she gets a little too carried away), and they're starting to find some hanging-out places in the house, like in this pic- they're behind the TV, on the TV stand... hard to see them back there, unless you know they're there! (last night I thought Butters was lost, till Tom managed to find her behind the TV... of course, this was after I had opened every drawer, cupboard door, and even looked inside the piano!)

And now, to Christmas... it came early at our house! We decided not to buy each other presents this year, and get something we both have wanted for quite a while, instead. This is our combined Christmas present, a Celestron C8SE telescope. I'm not even going to attempt to describe the specifics of this thing (telescope language is still foreign to me!), but I do know that it has a "NextStar" computer system, which has 40,000 celestial objects catalogued. So, once you align the telescope and tell it where you are, all you have to do is push the button for a particular galaxy, star, etc. and the telescope goes to it automatically.

We spent a few hours outside on Friday night, starting to get familiar with it. It's pretty amazing, the things that are up in the sky, that you don't really ever think about... okay, I know that's sort of geeky, but it was really cool! I had my laptop outside too, so when we were looking at something thru the telescope, I also was looking it up on the internet... we did see a few galaxies, Mars, the moon (check out my Flickr page for a couple really amazing pics!) and are starting to get familiar with some of the constellations. When I was young, I loved reading about Greek and Roman mythology, which goes right along with the constellations, so that's also cool for me (also geeky, again). We're hoping to make it mobile, and take a few trips out into the desert with the sleeping bags, eventually...

so, that's what's been going on here; the rest of the afternoon I'm going to be watching the last Nascar race... I know Jimmy Johnson is probably going to win the Nextel Cup, but I have to watch it anyway. Tom is on his way to the airport, for a quick trip to St. Louis and Kansas City, so he'll miss it. (no loss, because neither of us really like either Jimmy Johnson or Jeff Gordon, who is the other potential Nextel cup winner.)

November 11, 2007

kitten update

well, it's been a week now, and so far, everyone has survived. The kitties are settling in, and Cleo and Sedona are adjusting (as much as can be expected, anyway). I have learned a couple things, though, including "Never hold a kitten over a dog's head, especially when the dog can jump." I was being helpful (so I thought) and was going to carry the yellow kitten to the laundry room (where their food bowls are), but Sedona really wanted to get her. So, the dog started jumping, the kitten started spitting and growling, and I got my hands scratched and bitten for my stupidity. It all turned out okay in the end, and my hands are fine- one of the kitten's teeth broke off (in my hand), she bit me so hard- a baby tooth, I think. Cleo doesn't really know what to think of them yet, except she doesn't really like the intrusion- actually, the kittens being here has made her come out of her shell (and her hiding place in the bathroom) a bit more... she occasionally comes into our bathroom, or up on our bed, to voice her displeasure. I am definitely glad we got both kittens, so they can keep each other entertained, and leave her alone for the most part. This is the yellow kitten, all puffed up and mean-looking (the dog was right there, I think). She is definitely the more timid of the two (except when threatened- see story above!), and is a bit more reserved than her sister. We named her Butters, after a character on the Comedy Central television cartoon South Park... you'd have to watch the show to really get it, but his nickname is a play on words (Butters Stotch is his full name), and somehow, she just reminds us of him. (I put a pic of Butters from South Park below) Just something in her expression, I think...

The other kitten's name is Pandora (Tom thought that one up on the way to the vet's office), because she is a trouble-maker!! She tries to sneak out of the laundry room the minute you crack open the door, and she gets into everything!! (Right now we're keeping them in the laundry room, while they recover from getting declawed, and till the dog gets used to them... We let them out for periods of time while we can supervise, and we also give the dog a time-out in her crate once or twice a day, so the kittens can explore.) Below is a pic of Pandora hanging out under the piano, from this morning when they were playing... hopefully her tendency to chew on everything is just because they're at that "baby teeth falling out" stage??

Butters, waiting to pounce, as soon as Pandora gets close enough... they have such focus!

Action shot! I know it's not the best pic, but they're really quick! They don't seem to feel too bad from their declawing, but we are keeping them in the laundry room to keep them quieter (they wouldn't settle down out here, at all), and the vet sent home some liquid pain medication.. boy, administering that is fun, let me tell you! (it takes a team effort, with Tom keeping the kitten wrapped in a towel, so I can shoot the medicine into their mouth... I'll be glad when we're done with it, and I'm sure they will be, too! (There's a few more pictures of them on my Flickr page...)

November 04, 2007

about the lights...

thanks, Jackie- I was a bit remiss in that last post, wasn't I?? Yes, we did get the light fixtures, too, in between running to the ATM machine to get cash to pay for the cats... we didn't have any checks with us, so had to get cash, and of course one of the three ATMs was being worked on, and there were at least four people in line at each of the other ones... Tom installed the light fixtures last night- new track lighting, in the kitchen- black, with much smaller can lights (halogen bulbs). It looks so much nicer and more contemporary than the "1970's look" can lights that were installed when the house was built.

Of course, we also came home with a scratching thingie, a litter box, new food and water bowls, a bag of kitten food, new cat litter... (pretty expensive lights, when you look at it that way- of course, the cats purr and play with string, so they're more multi-purpose than the lights!)

November 03, 2007

we went out for light fixtures...

...and came home with cats. We headed to Casa Grande to get new track lighting fixtures for the kitchen, and possibly to look at artificial Christmas trees. After having lunch at our favorite Mexican restaurant, we headed to the local PetSmart, which was having its grand opening celebration, just to look around. Whenever we go to a pet store, I always check out the adoption center, just to see if they have any kittens, but they usually don't. Today, however, they did, and totally unexpectedly, we came home with these little girls. We knew ever since we had to put Phoebe to sleep last November that we wanted to get another cat... we played with both of them, made our decision, and then decided to go ahead and get both- they're litter mates, and maybe this way, if Cleo absolutely hates them, at least they'll keep each other entertained.

Right now, they're hanging out in the laundry room, till we can get them introduced to the dog (we'll do that in a bit, to see what happens). I forgot how much fun kittens can be; we put Sedona outside, and the cats were just bouncing all over the kitchen, chasing the cat dancer, each other's tails, and pretty much everything that moved!

And, I keep calling them "they" because we haven't decided on names for them yet. Their names were Fancy (the orange one, after a Reba Macintire song- ick!), and Fallon, but those will be changed as soon as we can think of something else... Pumpkin, Amber, and Ginger are all possibilities for the orange/butterscotch tabby, and Callie (short for Calico) has been thrown around for the other one, but I was also trying to think of Native American names, too... who knows what they'll end up being called, but they can certainly be called cute, that's for sure!

(If there are any major disasters, I'll be sure and document them, too... hopefully not!)

October 29, 2007

trick or treat

The "Trick" since it's close to Halloween, and all: okay, I have to warn you, the following picture is not a pretty one, especially for any arachnaphobes like myself out there, but rest assured, even though it looks alive in the picture, it is very dead. Tom found it in our garage Sunday morning, caught in one of the sticky traps our pest control guy set out last time he was here. (thank goodness for Raid!) I need to look it up on the web, to figure out what kind it is- that's the only reason for taking a picture of it. I don't think it's poisonous, just really yucky. We do have poisonous spiders in Arizona, the worst of which (I think) is the black widow, but luckily we haven't seen any of those (alive, anyway) since we've moved into the house. Now, on to the treat part of this post- last night, I finished a couple new ATCs for a swap-bot trade... this one was a new concept for me, and was a bit of a challenge. It was a "7+1" challenge, where you are required to include seven specific elements on the card, plus one more that you choose. I sent them off in today's mail, so I don't want to show the entire cards yet. For now it will just have to be sneak peeks: The seven items were: music notes, a flower, a postage stamp, something with wings, the sun or moon, a brad/eyelet/button, your user name, and one more thing of your choosing (I chose ribbon). Thanks for looking, and if you've gotten this far, thanks for reading past the icky spider picture!

October 23, 2007

graffiti book pages

This past Sunday I spent all day at a (sort of) local stamp store in Scottsdale, Frenzy Stamper. I spent the day painting, stenciling, scribbling, and gluing, in a Graffiti Book class with Kelly Kilmer. (I took a class with her at Art Unraveled that was alot of fun, so I was kind of excited to take another one.) This kind of painting is sooo not my usual style, but there's something really "freeing" about it. We painted the fronts and backs of 5 12 x 18 pieces of paper, using all different techniques for color mixing and layering, some of them using metallic glazes. Then, we dug into her amazing stash of rubber stamps, stencils, markers, and paint pens, to give it the graffiti look. After that, we bound the pages into a book using a 3-hole pamphlet stitch. (I really need to remember how I did this, so I can do it again.) This first book turned out 6 x 6 inches square. I decided to make my book open vertically, since that's how I did most of the stamping... Kelly has such an amazing stash of rubber stamps... I did buy a couple while I was there, so I'm working on my own- lol! One of the interior layouts- it didn't photograph too good, but the bluish page has a wash of silver metallic paint over the colors; it's amazing how that totally changes the colors! The darker page has "graffiti-type" scribbling on, using a Sharpie paint pen, and some glitter glue, I think. I cut my pages smaller (those large pieces of paper intimidate me, I don't know why...) so I ended up making two books. I folded the pages off-center for the second book , so some of the interior pages are smaller, more like a flag book. This way I can attach something to them, or turn them into pockets, or something... One of the other classes Kelly taught over the weekend was a "taped journal," which is why she had a great collection of decorative tape... I never even knew there was such a thing- of course, now I need to keep my eye out for it when I'm out shopping! It took a couple days for me to wash the paint and glue off my hands, but it was totally worth it. Check out more pics from these books on my Flickr page. (I think she'll be back again for another class in January- I can't wait!)

it's a small world after all...

(worldwide web, that is...)

It's just amazing how you can put something out there into cyberspace, and the neatest things happen as a result?? In a recent post, I added a photo of a collage from the Heard Museum in downtown Phoenix... the artist added a comment answering my question about the asphalt (yes, it is real asphalt). Turns out that he lives in Phoenix, shows his work around town, and he has a blog with even more of his really cool collages! check it out for yourself:

I realize this post is NOT photos of the graffiti book that I promised, but I will post those later tonight. For now, I just had to share my amazement at the "smallness" of the entire world!

October 22, 2007

good mail!

I've gotten some pretty fun mail lately; here are a few pictures of the latest. The first two are photos of my very own felted sweater kitty, purchased from a fellow Etsy seller, Fluffy Flowers. The shopowner, Felicia, also has a blog; somehow we ended up reading each other's blogs, and commenting on each other's posts occasionally. From that, I found her Etsy store where I fell in love with her kitties, tree sprites, and bunnies. She writes the cutest stories about all of them, too! She made my kitty (named Phoebe... ) after I sent her a photo of my very own Phoebe. Phoebe the sweater kitty is now perched on the bookshelves in my craft room. Perhaps a sweater bunny is in my future, too... check Dixie the sweater bunny out here! (she's a bit afraid of flying, it says, but I might convince her to travel to Arizona someday... lol!)

This was an envelope that came in the mail today... the first envelope from my "recycled inchie" swap partners. (I signed up for an internet swap, and one of my swap partners ended up living in Phoenix- how funny is that?!?) This batch of inchies is from Jessica, a high schooler; she recycled everything for this swap except the envelope and the stamp... they look like candy wrappers, maybe?? I love the colors, and the resourcefulness of her recycling!

In other news, Tom is on the road in the Midwest all week (he will be in Michigan, the Chicago suburbs, St. Louis, and the Kansas City suburbs- it'll be a long week for him!) so I will have the table covered with crafting supplies by tomorrow night... LOL! I took a journaling class at a local stamp store on Sunday with Kelly Kilmer (check her blog out for some great journal pages!)... I made two mini books (will post pics tomorrow) during the class, and want to keep working on them while I still have the inspiration going. Right now it is bedtime for me, as I am working 10-hour days at work right now, and 3:15 am tomorrow will come awfully early!!

October 18, 2007

crafting HAS taken place...

I just can't show the entire pictures yet! These pictures are sneak peeks for a couple swap-bot packages I sent out, and I want to make sure the recipients get them first... I don't want to spoil the surprise!

These two images are peeks at two ATCs I made for a "Back & Forth" swap- my partner sent a packet of paper, embellishments, etc. to me, and I made two ATCs from them, using the materials she sent (along with a couple of my own things). I sent paper and other materials to my partner, and she sent me back a really cool ATC using the menu from our favorite Chinese restaurant, along with a fortune-cookie fortune, and some origami paper. (I will post it as soon as I take a picture.)

These two pics are sneak peeks at two sets of inchies (1 inch x 1 inch collages) I made for another swap, "Recycled Inchie Art" that was a bit challenging for me... I'm still not used to the 1 inch size, and had to work a bit finding small enough images. It was all about using things destined for the garbage or recycle bin; once I got into it, I had a good time finding papers and images to use in unexpected ways- I dug thru my recycle bin for teeny paper scraps, went thru some junk mail and pamphlets, and scavenged from the Ikea catalog, a catalog of posters, and a home decorating catalog (all of these things were dug out of the paper recycling bin). It's amazing how much paper and cardboard packaging we get; it was nice to use at least a tiny bit of it for an art project.

My next swap is also going to take some thought- it involves finding seven specific elements to decorate 2 ATCs with... it should be a lot of fun, once I get into my stash of stuff! I also dug into my stash of felt and am working on some new fall-themed felt pins, since it's starting to cool off here and feel a bit like fall. We don't get fall-colored leaves here in the desert, so I'm going to make my own!

October 14, 2007

a good time was had by all...

My parents and sister came to Arizona for a visit... they put well over 6000 miles on the car by the time they got back home, I think. My parents drove from Illinois to Kansas City, where my sister lives, and from there, they headed west, through New Mexico (Santa Fe and Taos), and eventually made their way to our house, south of Phoenix. We showed them some of Arizona, and went to a few local attractions, including the Heard Museum on Saturday. Located in downtown Phoenix, it is a wonderful museum that showcases SouthWestern history, art, and culture. It's not all baskets, pottery, silver and turquoise (although they have quite a collection of those, also!), as the following photos show: These shoes were part of a special exhibit, Sole Stories: American Indian Footwear. There were also beaded tennies, boots, and shoes worn by Native Americans, including a pair of Will Rogers' boots.

This collage intrigued me- it is at least 4 x 6 ft (?not sure...), and titled: "Adjustment Line for Miss Petite" and was done by a Mexican/American artist named Fausto Fernandez. It says "Collage- Asphalt" and I'm not sure if that means it contains real asphalt??

This picture was taken Sunday on the Apache Trail east of Phoenix... my parents and sister are standing next to a grouping of Saguaro cactus outside the Saloon in Tortilla Flats (population: 6), where we ate lunch. The Apache Trail is a scenic drive east to Roosevelt Lake. "Some of the most rugged terrain in Arizona" is putting it mildly, in my opinion- 1 lane bridges, switchbacks, gravel road for miles, no guard rail, and drop offs into canyons filled with saguaro cactus make for tense moments on my part, at least, but also some very beautiful scenery!

This picture, and the one below, were taken at the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum outside Tucson- we headed there on Monday. It is a combination zoo/botanic garden, "a world-renowned zoo, natural history museum and botanical garden, all in one place!" (quote from their website) The picture above is of the mountain lion, relaxing on a rock... The picture below is from the cactus exhibit- the middle grouping is Organ Pipe cactus- there are many other varieties that I don't know, but the cactus on the left is a small saguaro. There are over 20 acres altogether, and more than 2 miles of trails

On Tuesday, they set out on their way back to the Midwest by way of Tucson (to stop at the San Xavier del Bac mission) and White Sands National Monument in New Mexico. It was a bit chaotic at times, having 5 people in the house, but it was really wonderful to have them visit our home and see a bit of our Arizona. (Sedona and Cleo both loved it too, I think- Sedona got so much playing time in she didn't know quite what to do with herself once they were gone, and Cleo got some good quality lap-time with my mom.)

(Look for more pictures soon on my Flickr page.)

September 26, 2007

yes, we're still here!

Man, it's amazing how the time flies, isn't it?? I have done some crafting lately, and have posted a few new pics to my flickr account. For a crafty blog post, you can check out this link to my latest post on the Phoenix Craft Mafia blog.

Things will probably be pretty quiet here in the desert (at least on the blog, anyway) for the next couple weeks. I need to pick up my craft room (yet again, since it turns into a disaster at the drop of a hat) and turn it into a guest room for real, since my parents and sister will be here soon. After their visit, I will definitely have lots of things to show you- as long as you like Native American baskets and pottery, turquoise and silver jewelry, desert scenery and landscapes, that is!

September 16, 2007

the Sunday round-up

In other news here in the desert:

Finally got my eyes checked earlier this week- first eye exam in over 2 years... thankfully, my eyes haven't changed a lot (since my eyesight is terrible as it is)... it was kinda funny- the Dr. said "look into this machine, and you'll see a house in a green field." I told him I'd have to take his word for it, he did some adjustments, and then said "your eyes are bad, aren't they?" Which is true- I've worn glasses since the 3rd grade; still haven't gotten the courage to look into surgery, even though I can't even imagine how nice it would be to wake up in the middle of the night and be able to see my alarm clock.

Tom is getting ready for a week of travel to the east coast... he flies into Jacksonville, Florida and will drive up the coast, eventually ending up outside Philadelphia, where he will fly from on Friday. (I think.)

Yesterday I did lots of errands in town- recycle place to drop off the plastic and glass (which they don't pick up at the curb here...), post office to mail a swap package to Israel (unsuccessful, since the local post office doesn't have counter service on Saturdays- which stinks!), grocery store to stock up... I also did my first Curves workout at the local Curves franchise yesterday. I joined earlier this week; they're having a "back to school" promotion- bring in 10 school supply items and they waive the signup feel. I finally decided that the 100+ degree temperatures here in the summer isn't really a good enough reason to not exercise.

Yesterday we cooked our first steaks on our gas grill- the grocery store had NY Strip steaks on sale for half price... I did a bit of internet research, and we ended up marinating them in olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and worschestershire (sp?) sauce. They turned out pretty good, considering our meat thermometer doesn't work. (we found that out when we were checking the steaks for doneness, unfortunately.) The steaks are still on sale for a couple more days, so I'm going to pick up two more, and we can try it again!

Today, we hung out, had Filiberto's breakfast burritos for lunch, watched the Nascar race, and Tom changed the oil in his car while I did the laundry. (You know, those annoying things that have to be done, no matter how much you don't want to do them.) Tonight, we're grilling again (just hot dogs, this time) and it will probably be early-to-bed for us- that 3:30 am alarm clock is a bit annoying. This evening, I will spend some quality time with the heating pad to counter some of the effects of the computer on my arms, and I will try and stay away from the computer next week, although you can see how well that's working right now, can't you! ('s not!)

have a good week, everyone!

great mail week!

I recently joined swap-bot, which is a great internet site for hosting and organizing all sorts of swaps, including craft supplies, handcrafted items, postcards, letters and lists, and ATCs, which are my main thing right now. (Check out swap-bot here.) This week was a great mail week; I got envelopes from 5 people, 2 different swaps that I'm in. (Much better than just the usual junk mail and bills!)

These are ATCs from a swap titled "Flower Power Postage Stamps" where you use the postage stamp as inspiration for the card. Jeannie sent me some extras, too: the cutest metal dragonfly brads, and some shiny red Christmas paper (which didn't focus too good, so there's no pic of it here) which will definitely be put to good use!

These are only part of what Dawny sent me for a painted ATC background swap. She even painted her envelope! (you can see the rest, including the envelope, here) The red and green ones are perfect for another swap I'm in for Christmas ATCs. The top right one is painted felt, the bottom right one is collaged, and the red and green ones were made using crackle paint, I think.

Backgrounds from Kimberly.. the top 2 went right into my album; they're too pretty to use as backgrounds! The other three were made (somehow) using sandpaper, crayons, hairspray, and rubber stamping, from what she says. I need to find out exactly how she did it, cause they're really cool! I'm not sure I want to cover those up, either...

Flower power postage stamp ATCs from Kasia. The stamps are from Poland, and she watercolored scenes onto the cards that continued the scene in the stamp. The one on the left is a view thru a hotel window, with a flowerbox on the balcony.

She also sent me an envelope full of these great extras, which I can't wait to use!

Backgrounds from Susi from the ATC background swap; the gold and white ones will also be great for Christmas ATCs- they're tissue paper, I think. The other ones, I have no idea how she made them, but the colors are gorgeous!

September 14, 2007

some of my favorites-

another post of links...

the first link goes to my Etsy favorites. I mark items as favorites more for inspiration than for possible shopping- looking at them, my favorites are mostly birds, flowers, and things from nature- coincidence?? I think not- that's mostly what I make, myself. Check out the link for some really cute things, and some really great Etsy sellers! I only wish I could categorize them, but Etsy doesn't allow that right now (maybe someday??)

the second link goes to my Flickr favorites. Again, it's full of inspirational artwork, images, and people's photos- mostly of flowers, birds, and nature. (with the occasional dog or cat pic added in for a dash of cuteness!)

the third link is to a medical website that talks about cubital tunnel syndrome, which is sort of like carpal tunnel, but causes your ring finger and little finger to "fall asleep" due to pressure on the nerve that runs thru your elbow. This is something I've been dealing with for the last few weeks, and finally went to the Dr. about last week. I have an appt with the physical therapist next week- hopefully he can give me some advice, exercises, etc. that will help. Something besides to "rest" although I know he'll say that... (yeah, right! kinda hard to do that when my job uses the computer all day!) This is also why I've been staying away (or trying to, anyway) from the computer at home, but I miss you all, my bloggie friends! I have been working on some ATCs, and had a great mail day yesterday that I really want to show you- probably over the weekend!

September 09, 2007

a post of links

hi! it's another Sunday night here in the desert... just a few short hours till we have to hit the hay (so to speak- we're not that primitive out here in the desert!) to get ready for another workweek. 4 am comes awfully early!

The first link: the Phoenix Craft Mafia blog... check it out to see pics and coverage from our latest Trunk Show, which was yesterday.

Yesterday's show was pretty good- we got a late start due to some technical difficulties at the restaurant, but it was a lot of fun! I took a project (Christmas cards) to work on, but ran out of doublestick tape before I got finished. After the show, I had just enough time to relax a bit and change my clothes before we headed out to a barbecue hosted by Tom's boss. It was a nice evening- Richard and Susan are gracious hosts who open up their home to their employees a few times a year; it was also a celebration of Richard's birthday, so plenty of family and friends were also in attendance. We didn't stay terribly late, but needless to say, we didn't get up early this morning!

The second link: a new blog belonging to a fellow Mafia member, PackRat Stash (aka Tressa), who knits and crochets: The Chronicles of Yarnia (clever name, isn't it?) How did I get through almost 40 years of my life without ever hearing about "yarn porn" before?? Now, now, it's not what you think; people who knit, spin, or hand-dye yarn use this term to refer to their addiction/lust for yarn and all things colorful. I know the feeling; it's how I feel when I get new stamps or patterned paper!

Here's link number 3: the Holiday section of my Etsy shop- I just posted a couple sets of holiday gift tags- it's Christmas time, in the shop! (read that line to the tune of Silver Bells for the best effect...) More Christmas items coming soon... now, I'm off to make some ATCs for a trade I'm in that need to be mailed tomorrow... bye till later!

September 04, 2007

you may also be able to find me at:

the new Phoenix Craft Mafia blog... starting today! We're all going to post on this blog, so you can sometimes read about Crimson Cat craftiness there, as well as here. Over time, you can also read up on the other crafty members of the Phoenix Craft Mafia... check it out!

September 02, 2007

Newest ACEOs

I got crafty with the paper, glue, and paint again today... over the course of the last week or so, I made at least 10 ACEO backgrounds, and I finished some of them up today. I say "finished up" but it's more of an ongoing process for me- I have to think about the backgrounds for a while, then decide what images I think will "fit" with the backgrounds, both in terms of the "feel" and the colors. Sometimes, I'll even change my mind midstream, and go in a totally different direction- sort of makes it a surprise to see what I end up with!

Spring Symphony #1. for sale in my shop.

Like so many of them, it was not what I had originally planned. The image was a vintage one I found on Flickr; the image is from an 1883 issue of St. Nicholas Magazine. I watercolored it and cut it out; originally I was going to put it onto one of the painted backgrounds I made (pic below) but the colors just weren't right. I think it fit much better on this background. It still looked like it needed "something" which is where the twigs came in. They are sewn on with very thin gold thread. These are three painted collage backgrounds, waiting for their focal images. They were made basically like the journal pages I made in the Art Unraveled class I took with Kelly Kilmer. (as good as I remember, anyway- I didn't take notes during class!) Only much tinier, of course, since they're only ACEO size!

Fly without Fear. For sale in my shop.

When I started this background, I didn't like it at all. Once I finished it, I loved it! Just goes to show you that you have to see things through to the end, I guess. I left a bit of vintage dictionary paper showing in the corner; it is the definition for the word "impunity" which I kind of liked. The colors are much more luminous (? I think that's the word I want) in person, because the entire thing was covered with a light coat of turquoise Lumiere paint, which adds a shimmery glimmer of color to the whole thing. The flying bird stamp wasn't facing the right direction, so I stamped it onto a flat piece of rubber, then stamped it again onto the paper- this switches it around and gives you a mirror image.

Home- Where One Starts From. For sale in my shop.

This background ended up a bit darker overall, with the red and blue colors in the paint I used, so I thought it needed a more graphic image to off-set the background. This clipart house fit the bill, I think! I finished off the edges of both the house and the card with Sharpie marker.

August 29, 2007

finished ACEOs

No, these aren't from the backgrounds in the previous post- I don't work quite that quick! They are from a couple days ago; I just realized I didn't post pics of them! I made these over the weekend, again from a batch of backgrounds I made ahead of time... The butterfly cards are, from top to bottom, Flight for Life: depicting the migration of a monarch butterfly to Mexico (using vintage map paper I got in an internet trade), and Flight Pattern: which was made with sewing pattern tissue as a background, with real sewn accents (embroidery floss and vintage mother of pearl buttons.). I sort of made them up as I went along, and thought the names were a neat play on words... someone else must have liked them too, because they both sold only a few hours after I listed them in my shop! That's the quickest sale I've ever made, I think- pretty cool! I have another one in mind, I just have to make it... Flight of Fancy, which I envision with gold and lots of glitter...
These three ACEOs were made using clip art images I cut out and took to the Art Unraveled class, but never used... I call them my "Ladies of the Evening" (the evening dress, that is! haha! well, anyway, that shows you what my sense of humor is like, anyway...) All three use text cut from a vintage book, pertaining to a dance/night out on the town. I like how they turned out, too- the pink one is on a tissue paper background, and the other two are on backgrounds of textured Bravissimo paper, which is really nice quality specialty paper (I've had it for ages- I think the package is from a shop back in Illinois, before we moved... see, these things do eventually get used). These three cards are also for sale in my shop.

work in progress

So today when I got home, I had an idea to make a couple ACEO/ATC backgrounds... I still have card ideas in my head, and I also have some internet swaps in the works that I need to make cards for. (The swaps are via a site called swap-bot, which is great! someone posts an idea for something theyd like to trade- recipe, craft idea, supplies, whatever, and if people want to get involved they sign up- trades can be international or US only, and from what I see, lots of people are having lots of fun swapping things.)

Anyway, back to today's work in progress- I decided to cover some blank cards with vintage book text and vintage sheet music (from the thrift store), and then I decided to do some collage-style backgrounds using magazine pages, sort of like the art journaling class I took at AU, then it kind of just snowballed from there. I had gel medium (from gluing) all over my hands (it doesn't wash off, by the way- it sort of has to peel off... it's weird... and of course the phone rang!), and then I decided to dig a home decor catalog out of the recycle and rip it up to use some of the pics, and all the sudden the kitchen counter looked like a paper explosion:

Now, they're neat little ATC/ACEO background sandwiches, stacked between layers of waxed paper and Harry Potter books, drying and flattening. I'll show you what they look like after they're dry. (and like usual, I started out to only make a couple, and I think I ended up with at least 10- but, I'll have them when I want them.) So, the kitchen counter is back to normal, and my creative spurt has ended- till after dinner, anyway!