Sunday, February 20, 2011

Happy Spring!

Well, I know it isn't spring yet (although it sort of feels like it lately), but I've made something that will help celebrate spring when it does arrive. The idea is NOT mine at all. I found it on a blog yesterday and fell in love with the whole idea. That I own the main Cricut cartridge that was used to create the scene made me giddy. The mastermind behind this idea is a super creative gal named Tamara and she blogs at Happy Life. Crafy Wife. When you click on the link, you'll see her Summer version of the same idea (and yes, I totally want to try my hand at that one, too). My jaw dropped when I saw it and I think I said, "Oh. My. Gosh." In the post she references her first effort here. I clicked over and my jaw dropped again! This is the one I have copied. Take a look around her blog...oh boy, I love what she creates and I've added yet another blog to my reader. This type of papercraft project just makes my heart sing. I love cutesy and I'm not going to ever deny it. 

I used the Create a Critter cartridge for just about everything you see here, with the exception of the flower and the words. The flower is from Lacy Labels and the letters are from Tear Drop. While I adored the papers Tamara used, I don't own any of that line of paper. I do have that DCWV's Cotton Bloom stack and that's primarily what I used. I added a few pieces of solid cardstock here and there where needed. Oh and a couple of pieces of polka dot paper from Nana's Nursery stack. When the girls wandered in to see what I was up to and I showed them the pictures I'd printed off her blog, they both told me it was the most adorable thing they'd ever seen and were very excited that I was going to try to create it. I took LOTS of pictures. Hope you don't mind. Enjoy!

 Amy's favorite is Mr. Sun. hee, hee. I thought I'd curl the wire around a pen to make it a little more interesting, since I can't hide it. Tamara used grass from a cartridge I don't own. And I wasn't about to go out and buy it (even though it IS on sale) just for the grass. I was pretty tickled to see something in CAC that I could use.

 I just loved the way she made the flower. Jessica thinks the little dragonfly is her favorite.
 You could definitely fly a kite here today, it's kind of windy.

 Hello, happy little turtle.
 This little worm is so cute. Please forgive the bad gluing job I did on the grass.
 I added the ladybug on my own. I just thought she was adorable. She's cut at one inch and is still pretty big, but I thought she'd look cute tucked in the grass.
 Hello sweet snail and happy frog!

It wasn't until I started putting this together that I realized I made the butterfly the same color as the flower. Oopsie. It still looks okay, right?

Sigh...I'm just tickled to have found and been able to create such a happy little scene. Thanks for looking! And thank you, Tamara for sharing this wonderful idea!!

Thanks so much for stopping by. I hope you've had a lovely weekend and are ready to start another week.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Feels Like Spring...

Hello and Happy Friday to you! I hope you've had a great week and are ready for a fun and relaxing weekend. Boy, the week definitely flew by for me. I've been tackling a few not so fun, but much needed projects around the house this week. Our bathtub surround got a good scrub and the pantry got a much needed purge and straightening up.

Today I was able to head into the craft space and work on a couple of cards. The weather has been very spring like this week and I do believe that has influenced what I decided to work on today. Well, that and a very cool card idea I discovered on a blog I discovered this morning called Creations With Christina. Specifically this video showcasing a card/tab feature on the Paisley Cricut cartridge. Yes, I'm still having lots of fun with the Cricut. So, if you were hoping for a stamped project, I'm sorry, this doesn't have any. I am hoping you will like it anyway. *Ü*

Here's what I created:

What I learned is that there is a card/tab feature on this cartridge. And this cut I can actually DO on the baby Cricut. I had to cut it at 4 1/2, because any larger and it would be too long for my mat. I thought the fold and closure was fun and different:
I'll bet you could use this as the front of the card, but Christina's video showed how you could cut the card and the cutout of the butterfly that would fit perfectly. I never paid much attention to this in the booklet as I know cards are tough to cut the right size on my size bug. Isn't this a fun card? I used Berry Sweet(K & Co) for the pattern paper and Kiwi and Bubblegum (CTMH) cardstock. I ran the Bubblegum through the Cuttlebug and sanded the dots to get the white. Gosh, I haven't done that for a long time! The flowers are Prima (from Alanna...thanks again sweetie). The glittered brad is from Paper Studio at Hobby Lobby (If I remember right) and the ribbon is CTMH. I pop dotted the circular piece and varied from my inspiration card by adding the Kiwi as the background. I just didn't like the white. Then I added some pen stitching. I had a blast creating this. 

But wait! I had fun on the inside, too!
This cartridge also has a "button" feature. I felt like dressing up the inside (being inspired by Christina's card), but I didn't want to add more bulk with a flower/brad combo. So, I cut the same butterfly shape as a button at one inch, then at 1 1/4 inch using Kiwi. I love how it turned out. A nice, finishing touch, I think. And this would still fit in a standard envelope. Whoo, hooo!

I had the cutout butterfly from the window and wanted to use it. Christina showed another cut that is actually a nice envelope, but the cut (to allow the card to fit into) is too large for my Cricut. So, I set out to create a standard sized card. 
Here is what I ended up with:
I used the button feature again and cut the pink butterfly at 3 inches. So, I layered the pattern butterfly on top to see if it would look good and I really liked it. After cutting the mats, I felt like it needed something. Then I remembered some doilies I purchased a while back and keep forgetting I own. I'm very happy with the final look. The butterfly probably could use some more bling, but sometimes keeping is super simple works, too, right?

So, that's it from me for today. I thank you so much for stopping by and I hope you have a wonderful start to your weekend.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Cinderella Ball

Thought you might like to see some pictures from the Cinderella Ball the 2nd graders had today. I was one of the parents who went in to help decorate the gym. I have to admit, the place looked really magical when it was all said and done. The music teacher bought lots of boxes of white light strands and we parents were able to use them to transform the gym. She also bought lots of sparkly foil snowflakes and streamer type things. She has a lighted arbor that was set up at the opening of the gym and each "couple" were announced as Prince and Princess and their first names. It was so adorable. They librarian for the school was Cinderella and the boyfriend of one of the 2nd grade teachers was her prince. They were announced after all the junior princes and princesses. In a lot of the pictures you can see that Jessica is trying to watch the lovely Cinderella. (so sweet).

There are a bunch of pictures because even though I KNOW the lighting is terrible, I cannot help myself from thinking I just might get a decent shot indoors at the school. I did the best I could with editing in PSE.
 A couple of shots of the gym
I didn't get a shot of the lit arbor they walked through, darn.
 Jess and her partner were announced
 Trying to sneak a peek at Cinderella
 Ready to dance and waiting for the music.
 A lovely couple indeed.
They look like they were having fun, too.
 Still trying to sneak a peek at Cinderella
 The second dance was a line dance.
 The kids did a great job.

I liked how I caught the twirling of Jessica's dress.

And at the end, the clock (gong) struck midnight. Cinderella and all the princesses ran off so as not to get caught by the final stroke. 

The Prince and young princes were perplexed.

Then we headed to the cafeteria and the princes and princesses were served Royal Sundaes.

So cute and a lot of fun!

It was a magical afternoon.

Thanks for stopping by. I hope you have a lovely weekend.

(the kids were so happy with the Valentine's I made them...yay)

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Valentine Treat Boxes...

Oh my gosh! I've been having a blast these past few days making up some super cute Valentine gifties for the girls, some of their friends, and their teachers. I've been chomping at the bit to share them, but wanted to get all of them done first. The kids are celebrating Valentine's Day tomorrow instead of on Monday. There is some big-wig coordinator for the academic program they've started this year coming in on Monday to see how the school is implementing the new program. So, the fun has happen earlier.

A little back story before I show you what I made. If you have read my blog for a while, you know how much I've enjoyed using my Cricut lately and that I've been pining for an Expression (the 12 inch wide version, versus the Baby Bug I have). Well, last month, I came across a really good sale on a program for the Cricut called Cricut Design Studio. You install the program onto your computer and you then hook up the Cricut to the computer via a USB cord. When running the program, you can do all sorts of designing of the images that come on the cartridges. You can resize the images, weld them together and as long as you own the cartridge, you can cut out what you create. This program has been out for years, but I never paid much attention to it, not realizing just what you can do with it. I've been playing with it for a few weeks and it's been fun. Then at CHA, Provocraft announced that they are going to be releasing an online version of the Design Studio, that will be free to use. At first I was a bit miffed that I just bought the program, but after thinking about it, it may be nice to NOT have to be online to design or use the software, so it's all good.

Then, I started thinking about a program I've heard about called Sure Cuts A Lot. It's a third party software that you can use to design images NOT on Cricut cartridges, but you can still cut them out on your Cricut. (not endorsed by Provocraft at all, and it will void the warranty if your machine is less than a year old-mine is 4-5 years old, so I'm good). I was chatting with my friend Erin and she recommended a similar program called Make The Cut. They are similar in concept, but she told me with SCAL you have to pay for upgrades and with MTC, upgrades are free for life. Plus the owner is constantly improving the program based on customer feedback. Based on Erin's recommendation, I bought MTC. I haven't figured out all the ins and outs of what all it can do, but I have been playing with it. Then I came across a blog called Under A Cherry Tree. Oh goodness, this gal does adorable things with svg files (a type of file used in the program) from Lettering Delights.

These two programs have helped me feel better about not having the Expression and the cost for both is considerably less than the bigger machine. I have all the functionality I want. Yes, it would be lovely to be able to create larger projects, but I'm quite content now. *Ü*

All that to share how I came about creating these super cut treat boxes for Valentine's Day. I used Animal Boxes and Bags from Lettering Delights and was completely inspired by this post. If you have some time, you should check out other posts by this gal. She is super creative!

Aren't they cute?? I realize I didn't take any side shots, but these are little boxes that have a flap that folds over the front. The faces are attached to the flap. Inside the boxes are 5 chocolate heart candies. I tried to choose critters that fit the personality of the recipient, or was something the recipient liked. The lion (I made two) is for one of the teachers. Our school mascot is a lion. The bunny is for Jessica and the owl is for Amy. They are tucked away in a cupboard so the girls don't have a clue that I've done this. I can't wait to surprise them tomorrow. I'll be handing them out after school.

In other news, Jessica's grade level is having a Cinderella Ball tomorrow. The kids have been practicing a dance and the parents are invited to come and watch. Afterward, they will be having Royal Sundaes (in lieu of a Valentine's Party). I can't wait. Jessica is really excited about the program.

Okay, that's it from my neck of the woods. It's supposed to warm up very nicely this weekend and I hope to enjoy as much of the nice weather as I can. Hope you're having a good day wherever you are.

Thanks so much for stopping by!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

I Stamped Today!

Hope you didn't faint when you read my post title. LOL And I did use the Cricut a little bit.

I totally cased Dawn McVey's beautiful card seen here. I love the crisp, clean lines of her card. And I totally didn't do it justice, if I'm being completely honest. In fact, I don't like my stamping at all. Specifically, I don't like the ink coverage. I don't have a good deep brown color in my stash of inks. The inks I have are all CTMH and I don't know if after a while they just don't cover well anymore or what. They are juicy stamp pads, but when I inked up my clean stamps, the ink is all gloopy and splotchy on the stamp. Completely frustrating, if you ask me. Now I'm wondering if I need to look into some new ink pads. Sigh...

I used Honey and Cocoa ink (and the Cocoa only because the Chocolate brown looked worse than the Cocoa).

I cut the mats with my Lacy Labels cartridge. Everything else is pretty obvious, I think. The stamping on the white piece is actually a couple of different stamps in the PTI Sweet Love set.

In other news, we've survived the deep freeze and the girls are heading back to school tomorrow. The break was actually a good thing for Jessica, who ended up waking up with a fever on Thursday. I worried she might have strep, but I don't think so. Some ibuprofen took care of the fever and I made her rest all day. She complained about being bored, so I knew she wasn't all that bad. We watched tv together and played some board games. By evening she was feeling pretty chipper. Whew.

Amy survived a hugely busy day yesterday. She had to go to basketball early for picture day, then had the game (they lost by ONE point, darn). She was home for a little less than half an hour before I had to take her to the venue for the Me and My Guy Dance her Girl Scout troop was hosting last night(I believe they were expecting over 300 attendees). She had to help set up. I stayed to help and we were there for three hours. We headed home for some quiet time, then she, Jessica and Steve headed out to help finish up the set up and attend the 3 hour dance. They also had to stay after it was over for a little bit to help clean up. She handled it like a real trooper, but probably fell asleep before I turned out the lights after tucking them in. And my usually early bird waker slept in this morning. By all accounts it was a fun evening for them. The troop has been working on this dance pretty much since they started the year back in September. I'm sure they are all relieved it's behind them. I don't have any pictures of them before they left because they were running a tad late and they needed to get out the door. There was a photographer at the dance who took pictures. Hopefully it will come out nice. Otherwise, their memories of their time together will have to suffice. {wink}.

That's the latest from my neck of the woods. Thanks so much for stopping by. I hope you have a great start to your week. Now I'm off to watch the Super Bowl. I honestly don't care who wins. I just hope it's a good game, not a lopsided or boring one. Hopefully the commercials are good, too. *Ü*

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

A Little More Decor...

It's a balmy 9 degrees outside today. Still pretty dang cold, but better than below zero right? Not sure what the windchill is though. The girls and I hung out this morning, then I took them to McDonald's for lunch so they could run off some energy in the play area. When we got home, they wanted to go to a friend's house to play. While they've been gone, I took the opportunity to create some more decor items for Valentine's Day. All you need are some (okay, a lot of) circles of felt, pins and a styrofoam ball. I got the felt and styrofoam at the thrift store (not all at the same time). Pins are from Walmart. You fold the circles in half and then in half again and pin them to the styrofoam. And you end up with these:
Oh, you might want to get some ribbon from the Dollar Tree, too. I also added a couple of packages of Red Hots to the vase to "ground" it.
This little vignette is the bottom shelf of the tea cart I bought at the thrift store last year. And I've added a few more thrift store finds. *Ü* I really like the dark gray thing. It came without a tray (and cost me $1.50), so I hunted around and found a cookie pan at Home Goods that fit pretty near perfectly.
Here you can see them separated.
And how nicely it fits.
Add a little thrift store tray and it's the perfect spot for some felted decor. 

I can't take credit for the decor idea. I've seen them popping up all over the crafty blogs I read. 

This is a pretty easy craft idea, but a little tip or two for you might help. The middle red one above, I made last weekend. I used a Nestability circle and my Cuttlebug to cut the felt. I realized after I was done, I had felt dust everywhere! I knew I wanted to make at least three more, so I figured that wasn't going to be the best idea. Today I cut a paper circle and used it to trace circles onto the felt and cut them out by hand. I still have some felt dust, but not nearly as much. My hand it a little tired, but if you make just one, it shouldn't be too bad. I didn't even count how many circles I cut. I just traced a bunch, cut them out and stuck them on. Then cut some more. I started around 1:30 or so and finished them about 3:45 with a few breaks in there to rest my hand. Not bad, I don't think.

Thanks for stopping by. I hope you are having a wonderful Wednesday!


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Taco Soup Night...

Well, I checked our school district website and they've closed schools for tomorrow as well, due to the anticipated snow (even though there is none predicted) and the subzero temperatures. It's currently 1 degree outside with some sunshine. The breezes though are keeping the windchill pretty cold (-27 at the moment). So, the girls had one day of school this week and are now off for the remainder of the week as Thursday and Friday were already scheduled off for teacher in-service days. Today, they were fine staying indoors, but I suspect tomorrow they'll get antsy to do something. I may get antsy, too.

In the meantime, they requested Taco Soup for dinner.
I made it for the first time a couple of weeks ago, following the recipe linked above, and it was a big hit. So, it's simmering on the stove as we speak. I like chili just fine, but this stuff, omg, tastes way better than chili to me.

We played some games, Bonkers, Toss Up and the Wii (Race-o-rama {the Cars game}) and the girls played Barbies for a good chunk of the day. I also worked on a new puzzle. Nice and quiet and warm.

Baby, It's COLD Outside!

This number doesn't tell the whole story...according to the news, there's a windchill factor to consider. -32. That's 32 degrees below zero. Baby, I don't care who you are, that's flippin' cold.

Guess what? There's no school today! Steve snorted when the girls told him last night. He thought "they" (the powers that be) were wimps. LOL The roads aren't bad. But then, he grew up in Sioux Falls, SD. Where it gets pretty darn cold, pretty darn regularly. And I wonder if Kathi is snickering a little, too, up there in the frozen tundra. Me, I'm happy not to have to be out and about today. Yeah, this born and raised Southern California transplant, who actually enjoys snow, doesn't like so much this type of cold. No school means no parent teacher conferences today and no Girl Scout meeting tonight. 
So we can hunker down and do a little of this:
and a little of that:
and maybe bake, play some games and generally just keep warm.

No word yet on school tomorrow, when it's supposed to be 9 above zero as a high, not sure on the wind chill. A peek into the forecast shows 40s by the end of the week. Gotta love the extremes of Colorado.

Thought I'd share a little of the Valentine's decor I've put out:
Red Hots and Roses 
Marshmallows, licorice, mints and you've gotta have conversation hearts. 
Oooooh, I have Cupid Corn tucked away...maybe I'll switch the mints out.

A little love on the mantle. Those red and pink balls in the hurricane lamps are two packages from Hobby Lobby (by the floral department) 1 red, 1 pink, mixed together. Those pink suckers were chock full of static electricity! LOL Dollar Tree wooden frame with a glittery puffy heart. Loved the color of the wood in the frame.

More Dollar Tree heart picks.

I wanted to fill this large container and the little balls seemed to work well. The heart wire thingies are from Joann's.

As you walk in the door, this is what you see.

A Dollar Tree plastic plate decorated with paper. Hard to see, but the word love on the heart and the arrow through it are glitterized with Stickles. Next to the plate on the left, a thrift store candlestick and to the right and apothecary jar filled with Hot Tamales, Valentine colored.

I saw this at the thrift store for a couple of weeks in a row and passed it up thinking, I could stitch that up for sure. The reality is, I probably won't get to that, so this past weekend, I found it again and bought it, for all of a dollar. I'm so glad I did!

I thought some extra heart ornaments looked good on this wire piece hanging over the bench.

I still have a few more things I want to work on. I would like to hang a garland and create a few more decor items. Maybe today? Most likely not. But soon!

Thanks so much for stopping by. I hope you are staying safe and warm in your neck of the woods.