Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Man in Black

Alternate title: Not to be confused with "Men in Black"

Johnny Cash's music is rattling around in my head.

"I hear the train a comin'
It's rollin' 'round the bend
And I ain't seen the sunshine,
Since, I don't know when,
I'm stuck in Folsom Prison,
And time keeps draggin' on,
But that train keeps a-rollin',
On down to San Antone."

I don't usually read too much into my random thoughts, especially when songs get stuck in my head. 
Let's face it - music get stuck in my head way too often for me to have really deep thoughts about it. 
This time is different. I think. 
I'm not really sure if it's the "train a comin'" part that I'm concerned about, or the "I'm stuck in Folsom Prison" line that I'm whining about. 



Erm, I'm going with Concern. Yeah. Uh huh. Concern tinged with excitement.


I leave for Barcelona a mere 2 weeks from Friday. Yes really! 

I'm so excited, I'm ready to start packing my bags. Or at least maybe making a list of what I'm going to pack. Yes, a list is a grand idea. I wonder what I'm going to forget on this trip - Allie's law, I always forget something. 

I hope it isn't deodorant (not that it'd make a difference in Europe, they don't believe in that stuff). Heaven forbid UBS (undies, bras and socks - thank a college roommate for that acronym!). I'm sure I'll have extra UBS, just because I'm a wee bit paranoid about running out of the "U" part of that. 

While I go make my list, take a look at the finished shadow box which was a gift for my Canadian friend, Erin.  

I love the way it turned out! I sent it to her in honor of her 2nd Wedding Anniversary, and while it isn't exactly cotton, I hope she'll treasure it. 

Back to the list. Passport (check), Euros (check), iPod (check), camera (check), extra memory card (check), power converter/adapter (check) - well you get the idea. It's endless. How the heck am I supposed to fit 10 days worth of crap stuff into 1 large suitcase and 1 rollerboard?? 

I'm not known for being a light packer either. "kitchen sink" is often muttered in reference to my luggage. Heaven forbid I forget any clothing - the anorexics in Europe don't make fat girl clothes. 

Bottom line - I can't forget ANYTHING. Thus, I must have a list. 

"I fell in to a burning ring of fire.
I went down, down, down
and the flames went higher. 
It burns, burns burns, this ring of fire.
Ring of fire."

I'll let you read what you want into that particular song. 

Enjoy your new day!! 

Thursday, April 21, 2011


I feel like blogging. Hope you feel like reading!

And no, I don't really have a topic in mind. I think that's why I'm not out there ballin like Roo at NiceGirlNotes or trying to make a living off my blog with my etsy shop or e-tail store. And I'm not saying there's anything wrong with wanting to do that. I'm just saying that's not my purpose for being here. Noone would buy my crap anyway!

I'm just here sharing things that happen in my life, products I like (but of course am not receiving any compensation for endorsing - seriously? who would pay me?!), pictures I take, and thoughts I have.

Tonight's one of those "thoughts I have" sort of nights. Ready? OK!

1. Pugs are hilarious critters. Mine crack me up on a daily basis. Each of them have their own personality and quirks. Jessie is my worry wart (and the new alpha in our pack). Bello is the clown/squirrel chaser (notice I didn't say catcher!). Audrey is a diva. I love them to bits.

2. I really don't care about the NBA playoffs. Even though the local team from Dallas is playing. ZZzzzzzz!

3. My BF on the other hand, cares very much about the playoffs. His team (from NY) is also playing.

4. Neither team has a chance at winning the whole thing. But we're watching the playoffs anyway.

5. I leave for Barcelona 3 weeks from tomorrow. Ole!

6. I'm ready for whatever comes next. Oh yeah, I'm ready. I want - no, I NEED - to make plans. Fall travel plans mostly. To NYC, to FL, and to Best Friends/Utah.

7. I realize my posts are boring without pictures.

8. I promise to overwhelm you with pictures when I return from Europe.

That is all. Amen.

Enjoy your new day!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

More Crafty Goodness!!

I needed some zen today, and hid out in my craft room. I wanted to make a gift for a dear friend, and decided to copy a project designed & taught by Lisa Pace at the 2010 Artistic Journey.

Just to be clear...this is not my design. Not my idea. 100% copycat. (cuz crafters can get persnickety about stuff like that, even if it's inadvertent).

Supply list:
Maya Road shadow box
Jenni Bowlin mini-papers in a variety of red, cream & black patterns
Maya Road mini chipboard tag set and miscellaneous shapes (spool, needle, butterfly, heart, lock, key and tree)
Craft pearls (I don't know what these are called - they are half of a bead, and found on clear plastic so you can cut a string of them really easily!)
Glass glitter (silver)
3 Pearl buttons
Chalk ink - creamy brown
Craft knife
Adhesive (I used Glossy Accents, glue dots and tacky tape - yes, all THREE. hush)

The trick to this project is layering the mini tags, chipboard shapes and various paper patterns. Throw in the pearls and some glass glitter (BLING!), and a few heartfelt words from your printer, and voila!

Okok, so like, it took me most of the day to do this. But isn't it worth it???

Here are my creation steps:
1. Paint the backside of the shadow box, set aside to dry.

2. Choose the background papers - shuffled them around until I got the order I liked. I numbered the inserts and the back of the paper to keep everything together.

3. Assuming the back is dry, paint the front of the shadow box, and inside. Set aside to dry.

4. Choose the chipboard pieces that would go on top. And the paper that would go on them (again, I'm copy-catting this, so it was a little easier to choose the shapes). Then I numbered the chipboard pieces based on the squares, so I would remember which one goes where.

3. Using Glossy Accents, glue the chipboard onto the paper, and set aside to dry.

4.  Still using Glossy Accents, glue the background paper to the insert squares, and set aside to dry.

5. Lightly dab the gold chalk ink around the outer front edges of the shadow box.

6. Put a healthy dose of Glossy Accents on the chipboard that is getting glitter, add the glitter, and set aside to dry.

7. When chipboard shapes are dry, go ahead and begin to cut them out with a craft knife.

8. Outline all the chipboard shapes and the background squares with Creamy Brown Chalk ink.

9. Assemble each square. I used tacky tape to adhere the chipboard shapes to each other, and to secure in the squares into the shadow box.

Now, I will say this picture doesn't include two small personalizations I added - I still want it to be a surprise! I added an initial to the middle square (oval tag), and a date to the tag next to the tree in the lower left square).

I also wanted to share a few little tips with you that made this project come together for me (the classic imperfect crafter!).

1. It's difficult - even with a craft knife - to cut the paper around these scallop shapes. I do the best I can with the craft knife, and then refine with an emory board (nail file). Even then, it still isn't 100%. I used the creamy brown chalk ink to outline every shape - it ties all of the patterns together, and hides imperfections. In the pic above, you don't notice them. But look what happens when I blow it up:

2. I used gold chalk ink to highlight the shadow box itself. It gives some depth to it, instead of a flat black. You can really see the gold in the zoomie pics above and below.

3. I love glitter. I hate the fact that once you break out the glitter, you walk around looking like you got lost on the way to the club 15 years ago your entire household will be wearing it for weeks. I also hate the fact that glitter tends to shed with any accidental touch or bang. One way to avoid that is to seal the glitter with Glossy Accents. Keeps the shimmer, keeps the glitter in place. Especially with the glass glitter which will tarnish as time goes by.

4. Twine - this is not butcher's twine unfortunately, it's craft twine, and you need to add some sort of wax to it to keep it from driving you crazy make it easier to work with. A simple bar of white soap will do the trick. Run your length of twine through the soap a couple of times and it'll coat it just like wax. This is a trick I learned waaaay back when my mother tried to teach me to - well, I don't remember what she was trying to teach me to do (sorry mom!).

I enjoyed my day in my craft room, creating this gift for a friend.

Enjoy your new day!!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Queen of Hearts

In case you missed it, Michele at The Scrap Shoppe had me as a guest poster earlier this week.

Here's the reprise of that post!

About a year ago I created this little shadow box for an Alice in Wonderland-themed craft challenge I hosted.

Excuse the poor pic - it was BC (before camera!). Ironically, the winner of the challenge was our very own fabulous crafty one - Michele. The shadow box was the prize for the winner, and it now lives with her.

I bought several shadow boxes when I bought this one, and they've been patiently waiting for me to find my craft mojo. When Michele asked for guest bloggers during her maternity leave, I knew it was time to brush the dust off the shadow boxes and bring out this idea again.

I was also inspired by the recent similar craft posted by the uber-fab Bev at Flamingo Toes

Except I don't sew. Ever.

With those thoughts in mind, I gathered my basic supplies:
Black & white patterned paper
heart stamp sets
Real Red & Eggplant Stampin up ink (for a choice in colors)
Heart punches
Empty Ikea shadow box

I should probably explain that I'm an organic crafter. Pesticide free and all that - hehe. Okok, what I mean is that I generally start my crafting with an idea, and some basics, and enhance it and build it as I go. So where I start is usually not where I expect to finish.

This little project was no different. I thought I was recreating the original, symetrical Queen of Hearts. WRONG! I went with a more - well organic - look.

I started by stamping some images in both red and purple. Purple because I intend to accent our master bedroom in purple. Then I cut out each of the images. One of my favorite tidbits: move the paper and keep your scissors still for a more clean cut out.

I realized that the white cardstock I used to stamp the images on, and the white chip board I intended to use as a backdrop were a wee bit different. Enough to make it noticeable. Time to dig into my paper stash to look for an alternative.

EUREKA! I had a stash of sugar (glitter) paper, and a black that would make a nice background. I cut the background to size (9x9 in this case), and then used my heart punch to cut hearts out of several different black and white patterned paper.

I began to arrange the hearts on the background

I liked the glitter as background, and the pop of the red. I love the black and white hearts too. But I felt it was very flat (well DUH - paper + paper = flat!). And there's a lot of negative space (I can't handle negative space!)

I set out to correct those two issues quite easily. First, I added another heart to each row. Then I either folded the black and white hearts, or wrapped them around a finger to bend the paper and make them pop. Lastly, I dug into my extensive ribbon stash to add a little more pop. And my button stash.

I used FabriTac as my adhesive - it allowed me to flutter the ribbon a bit, and be precise with the various paper bends. Plus I knew it'd work well with the glitter paper.

Then I simply insert the finished piece into the shadow box.

But I wasn't done yet. I went back to my ribbon stash to add a little more flare. and then - then I was DONE.

(Uhm, please excuse the glare. Some things I haven't quite figured out how to avoid yet)

What I really love about this project is that the background can be changed by season, by holiday, or even by decorating whim. I'm going to create another one with the purple for my room.

Thanks for looking, and enjoy your new day!!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Tulips and Herbs

Kinda like Peaches and Herb, but, well - not.

I don't see tulips here too often, and certainly not in grocery stores. Imagine my delight when I found these babies at Central Market last week:


I was also pleased to find these gorgeous herbs which are destined for the big flower pot on my front porch. 

Basil, oregano and chives. Nothing like fresh herbs!! 

Enjoy your new day. 

Monday, April 4, 2011

The Bedroom - Finish!

Our love nest is nearly completed.

I don't have a before pic - the carpet was just too hideous and disgusting to bother documenting it. Here is the before furniture, with the new floors:

Queen iron canopy bed (which I still love, but it was small for 2 of us), the Ikea cube shelf, old TV/stand in the left corner, and I refused to take a pic of the old dressers that were in there. Suffice it to say they were old, but not antique-cool old. And not nearly enough storage.

Then came the floors, and new furniture:

King size storage bed (look at those three drawers at the end!!), matching night stands, dresser and chest. And new rugs on either side of the bed too (a bargain at $50 each!!!).

Then the touches - new coverlet and lamps (courtesy of Target!).

We just need a couple of king pillows now, and that's it. I originally wanted to repaint the walls from their current Russian Blue to a gray. But now with the bedding in there, and the lamps, I actually like the blue much better. So it's going to stay blue.

Oh, what? You want a closer look at the lamps. Sure! They are one of my favorite things in the room (aside from the uber-huge bed of course).

Oh, you said you can't find that delicious trimmed lamp shade at Target? Me either. I bought plain white shades, and then added Maya Road's zipper trim with a bit of FabriTac. It was just.that.easy.

Here's a closer pic of the shade:

I love that the zipper adds a bit of silver to it.

Enjoy your new day!!