Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 by the Numbers (and favorite projects)

For the last few years I've been keeping track of my personal spending.  How much do I spend on clothes, crafts, car maintenance, etc.  I did this years ago and it was enlightening and a little frightening to see what I spent in certain categories.  It is amazing how much I used to spend on pantyhose in the early 1990's!  So glad that one has gone away for a lot of reasons.

So for the last few years, I know how much was spent total on papercrafts - this falls into the slightly frightening category :-)  In 2011 I took it a step further and tried to break things down a bit.  A few dollars didn't get accounted for but I got a pretty good picture of things.  I broke things down into photo processing, cardstock, designer paper, embellishments, inks, stamps, adhesive, albums and miscellaneous.  Just like the first time I tracked all my expenses and got a few surprises.

I really thought I was spending more on keeping up my wide format printer.  It is still a bit more expense than desired but not too bad.  Also, I use it more and more as my regular printer anyway.  I average about $8 a month on adhesive which is a much better than expected because it always seemed I was buying adhesive.

The bad surprise was how much went into cardstock and envelopes - 25% of the total.  Cardstock is about the least exciting thing to buy in papercrafts next to adhesive so this is something to review.  Fortunately I have a good stock built up.   Also, I didn't put much money into education.  I took advantage of a lot of free training via Two Peas classes and YouTube.  I got so much out of these classes.  Next year I think I'll invest more of my budget in some other classes as well.

In college, I took enough accounting classes to qualify for an accounting major so I guess this is where my obsession with numbers comes from.  So, onto more numbers...

I've noticed on various boards that many people track how many layouts and cards they make, particularly layouts.  I estimated in 2010 by going back through my albums and counting.  This year I kept a log and here are the results:

81 Layouts (12x12")
36 Mini album pages
337 Total cards of which
170 cards went to Operation Write Home
50 or so of the cards went to my Mother and my aunt to send for Christmas and other events
and 3 Notebook covers were made.

The number of items made is about the same as last year but I spent a tad less money - a nice surprise.  So my head is now satisfied that I made lots of stuff with at least part of that stuff I bought.  As for my heart...

I had fun, I preserved a lot of memories, and I hope I touched a lot of people with greeting cards.

To me this is Priceless!

Here's wishing us all a productive and fun 2012!  Happy New Year!

Friday, December 30, 2011

NC Apples

Today's layout uses the December Two Peas class Stretch Your Sketch layout.  This is my last project from this 2011 classes.  The 4 monthly classes have been so inspiring.  You can still find all of them at under Classes & Events.  I hear that more classes are on the way for 2012.  Can't wait to see what they have for us next year.

I moved the photos a bit from the sketch and substituted ribbon for a scalloped border.  Also, the bottom part of the sketch contained a series of round embellishments where I used flags with word stickers.  So just some minor changes and the sketch worked nicely for these photos of apple shopping.

To create the apple, I cut the image on my Cricut and then inked with various Stampin' Up inks on sponges. It took about 4 tries to get an apple I thought was 'authentic' enough.  My picky nature on apples comes naturally.

I live in the "apple county" of North Carolina.  On the northern end of our county we have many orchards and they operate apple houses where they sell their apples, of course, in the fall as well as other fruits during most of the year.  It is a treat to get such fresh apples.  My husband's favorite variety is Fuji.  I've had some jaw issues this year so I've switched to the softer golden delicious. They are always perfect for cooking anyway.

We took visiting friends to the apple houses in November.  They used to live here so it was a challenge to find an activity that would be new to them.  Surprisingly they had never been to a local apple house.  It was such a beautiful fall day and the orchards are in one of the prettiest parts of our area.

The layout looked a little bare in the upper left corner so I used some Ali Edwards stamps as I've learned to do in Nichol Magourik's classes. They do create a finishing touch.

Thanks for visiting today!

Ingredients:  Stamps:  Favorite memories by Technique Tuesday
Ink:  Close to Cocoa, Old Olive by SU!
Cardstock:  brown from Crate Paper; prints and letter stickers from October Afteroon 
Brads and chipboard  by Basic Grey

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Papercrafting Sales

Along with almost all the other retailers, papercrafting sources are also discounting this time of year.  A few days ago, I saw an announcement on Stampin' Pretty's blog that Stampin' Up! had added a bunch of stuff to their clearance rack.  Once I saw what they added, I placed an order that day!  It came in this week and I'm delighted with the items.  Here are a few of them:

This paper called Presto Patterns has a texture - sort of like embossing but flatter - that appears when you add ink or spritzes or pastels.  I experimented and like the effect of pastels and inks best.  It is a great use for those pastels that tend to stay in the drawer.  This photos certainly doesn't do them justice.

The item that really sold me on ordering was the upgrade kit for the Watercolor Wonder crayons.  I had all the old colors but just didn't want to spend $40 in the catalog last year to buy the upgrade kit.  It is now $12 so I'm really happy I waited!  The clearance rack sales stay on as long as they have product.

Also, over at Two Peas in a Bucket there is an extra 10% off sale items and a free shipping promotion through Dec 31.  So far I've resisted this one having already shopped their Thanksgiving sale.

Visit Nichol Magourik's blog for a code to discount Ella Publishing E-books through Dec 31.  These e-books are about the same price as a regular scrapbooking magazine (less with the discount) and you get really tailored content + a bunch of inspiring layouts.

Thanks for visiting!  Happy after Christmas Shopping!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

2011 Tips

"Imagine" what wonderful new things await us in the new year.  I'm already thinking of what I want to make and what direction I want to take my blog.  As usual, I'm getting a bit ahead of myself.  It is still 2011 and a chance to look at what I've learned this year.

A Two Peas customer posted this question on their message board:

"What is the best tip you learned in 2011?"

Many of us contributed responses. (Here's the thread:  Tips thread at  One of my favorite responses to this thread was the reminder that you can learn just about anything on YouTube.  I watched one of those helpful videos a few days ago.  It was on making your own shimmer paint using Crystal Effects or Glossy Accents + ink from a reinker + Perfect Pearls (or another pearl powder).  I experimented and created the flowers on the card above and the hearts on this card...

My paint didn't have as much shimmer as the example but it has a great sheen.  It looks like frosted nail polish.

Watch Roxycar11's video at:  Shimmer Paint

In the video she uses black paper for her base.  I figured out why when I experimented.  You get more shimmer painting on a dark background.

So what is your favorite tip from 2011?

On a personal note, we spent a very quiet Christmas at home.  My husband who wanted to 'skip Christmas' ended up skipping it in bed.  He had a terrible sore throat and some other cold symptoms so he has been taking it easy and I've been his nurse.  I'm a terrible nurse so I'm expecting him to perk up any day now :-) He just ran himself silly in December visiting family and then trying to catch up in about 3 days when he got home.  Fortunately, he is feeling better.

Thanks for visiting!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Peace on Earth

A very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone!

While it is snowing on the little bird in my card, we are not expecting snow here.  In fact, I walked today in near 60 degree sunshine with only a light hoodie needed for warmth.  Hard to believe last year, we were on the eve of my first white Christmas.

Hope you are safe and with those you love this holiday season.

Card Ingredients:  Stamps:  Four the Holidays (greeting) by Stampin' Up!; Bird by Martha Stewart
Cardstock:  Going Gray and Bordering Blue
Watercolors:  Watercolor Wonder markers from Stampin' Up!
Pearls:  Pretties Kit by SU!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Jazzing up Die Cuts

My husband got home Monday night from his trip to be with his daughter when she had her baby and to visit the rest of his family.  So yesterday, we had a nice outing together and a catch-up day.

My tip this week is on jazzing up die cuts.  Die cuts often work well on their own but they can really shine with a few extra layers. Here is what I started with from Crate Paper's Peppermint collection...

To clean them up a bit,  I first trimmed off those bits of paper that stick to the edges and went around the edges with a marker in a companion color.  That alone really makes them stand off the page.

Next I finished the tops of my ornaments with embossing powder.  To add embossing powder only to a portion of your die cut, use a Versamark pen to coat the area you want to emboss.

To jazz them up a bit more, I used some strips of glitter paper on one of the round ones.

To add dimension, I punched part of the design of one of the die cuts out, backed the die cut with a piece of cardstock and then used dimensionals to pop up the punched portion.

Finally, a little stamping and some Ranger glossy accents.  For the stamping, I took a stitches stamp from Hot off the Press and curved it a bit on my block so it would fit the ornament.

And here are the finished die cuts.  Lots more pop!

This layout is also photo-less as I have no Christmas photos at all from my childhood.  I do have lots of happy memories.  Nobody gets ahead of my Mother for a good holiday bargain...


If I could have one Christmas photo from the
‘70’s and ‘80’s, it would be of my Mother on top of the racks at Eckerd’s drugstore in Charlotte’s Eastland Mall while she pulled the sale ornaments off the display trees.  Every year we went to Charlotte on the day after Christmas to snatch up decorations at 50% off.  Nobody discounted before the holiday.  And nobody can raid a sale bin and find the best stuff like my mother.

My Mother decorated her home for Christmas each year I was growing up.  I remember assembling their first artificial tree one color coded branch at a time.  The tree was set up in the enclosed unheated breezeway. On warmer days I would go into that room to admire the tree and wonder about the presents.  I spent hours each year dog earring the Sears Wishbook.  On Christmas morning, Daddy would build a fire and I would get to see what Santa brought, but no earlier than 7:00 a.m. 

After remodeling the house, Mother set up our tree in the living room.  She decorated the gorgeous tree with fancier ornaments bought at the holiday sales. I wrapped everyone’s presents including the ones to me after she had taped them shut in boxes.

Since I moved out, not a bow or ornament has been put on her mantle or in the living room.  All the decorating takes place at my house.  It was her idea to do a garland on my stairs and she got me started even donating some of those sale ornaments from years past as well as more she snagged from sales in Florida when they made their annual trips there after Christmas.  I’ve added many ornaments from local stores, too. I typically do a real tree, but now the garland is my favorite holiday decoration. 

Thanks for visiting today!  I plan to post again before Christmas but if you are taking a break or if I inadvertently do, I hope you have a safe and happy holiday season!

Ingredients:  Crate Paper Peppermint Collection Kit
Embossing Powder - Silver from American Crafts
Thickers:  Fancy from American Crafts
Letter Stickers:  Oliver from Basic Grey

Monday, December 19, 2011

Shoe Sale

What's better than SHOE shopping?
Buying on SALE!

Remember Imelda Marcos, wife of Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos.  She is famous for a collection of 2700 pairs of shoes!  My husband loves shoes so we refer to him as "Imelda."  Now he doesn't have that many pairs of shoes, not really so many shoes at all, but he does love to shoe shop.  And if there is a big sale, even better!  On this day, he got two pairs of sandals at 80% off plus an additional $5 if he signed up for text messages from the seller.  Neither of us text, but he did it anyway to get his extra savings.  Nothing beats new shoes, like new shoes on sale.

For the page, I used October Afternoon's Campfire 8x8 paper pad and some OA stickers from various collections.  The denim trim with grommets came from Walmart years ago.  The little yellow pom pom trim is on clearance now at Stampin' Up!  I love that trim so much I put the other colors on order, too.

Thanks for stopping by today!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Welcome baby!

We welcome a new baby into the family!  Lenny's daughter had a son on Sunday.  Baby Emmett is named after his father.  Mother and baby will be home from the hospital soon and are doing fine.  Everyone is very busy so I haven't pestered them for photos.  Hopefully, I'll have one to post in a few days of the proud Grampa holding his grandson.  BTW, I am "Miss Lisa" to Jaime's children so I think I'll stick with that this time around, too.

For my card, I used the Cricut and the Accent Essentials cartridge to cut the wheels, tires, handle and undercarriage of the baby carriage.  I cut the body of the carriage by hand and used the scallop punch for the cover.  Scallop scissors helped out with the trim.  All the paper and the stamp are Stampin' Up!

It was a fun card to make, I don't get to do many baby cards.  Thanks for stopping by today.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

TIPsy Tuesday - Making Matching Fabric

Keep a little plain muslin fabric on hand to make easy matching embellishments for your pages or cards.

Despite having a ton of discontinued fabric sample books in my basement, I knew it was unlikely I had any fabric to match the light blue/green on this page.  That color is still popular in fabrics and really isn't discontinued yet.  It was just easier to make my own for a quick embellishment anyway than sift through all those books.

I used a ruler and a Baja Breeze marker to draw crosshatch lines on a piece of muslin.  Then I spritzed the muslin with a little extra color.  For the flower I used some mist made with Baja ink.  For the leaf, I used Peeled Paint from Ranger.  I had both of these left from other projects.

Then I just cut out a flower image and a leaf image.  I distressed the edges with a little more ink.

Using your markers and ink on fabric gives you even more mileage out of your ink purchases.

For the rest of this layout, I was determined to stay away from the edges.  I'm always running my layouts all the way to the edge of the paper.  I wanted to try a cleaner style.

The subjects of this layout are my aunt and uncle who are 88 and 96 years old, respectively.  They are 'more than neighbors' to us as they are family and a wonderful source of inspiration.

Thanks for visiting today!

Ingredients:  DSP:  October Afternoon Thrift Shop and various 8x8 Paper Pads
Twine:  Doodlebug
Thickers from American Crafts
Sticker:  October Afternoon Farmhouse

Monday, December 12, 2011

Making Cards Page

There are tons of posts and projects related to scrapbooking holiday activities.  I think most of them are called "December Dailies."  At first I didn't think I would want to do something like this because I just wouldn't have enough activities and wouldn't have the discipline to get it done.  I admire everyone who is doing these. Now, every time I do something holiday related this year I think that is something that could be scrapbooked in a daily album.  There is still that discipline thing; maybe next year.

For now, I'm just doing a page or two on favorite activities.  I did one last year on holiday decorating and here is one on making Christmas cards.  I started doing them for myself a few years ago and then I made some for my Mother to give and for my aunt to give.  I also make a lot of Operation Write Home holiday cards and we've done a couple of Christmas themed card classes in the past couple of years.

For this page, I spent a lot of time on the background. I wanted to capture the images I'd used on the cards without overwhelming the photo. Several of the squares of Crate Paper's Peppermint collection are stamped with gray or black images I used on cards this year.  Then I placed them on the diagonal and zig zagged over the whole thing.

The page is for Scrapbooker's Anonymous challenge in December to use a holiday theme, glitter and tags.  I'm not a big glitter fan but did have these Thickers and of course the page is holiday themed. For the tags, once I got started it was hard to stop.  I think there are 6 - several from the stickers and die cuts with the collection kit.

The page also has label stickers as instructed in the final Products You Love class at Two Peas.  Through the 2P's classes, I've really seen how versatile label stickers can be.  These are part of the collection kit but I also bought quite a few October Afternoon label stickers in my last order.

Have you made Christmas cards yet?  I mailed mine late last week.  I haven't received many cards yet.  Oh, that is another thing I could put in a December Daily is a photo of the cards we receive.

Thanks for visiting today!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Scent to drive for

At the end of the gentle yoga class I take, the instructor does a very brief scalp massage as part of the relaxation portion (everyone's favorite) of the class.  My regular instructor is on vacation.  When her substitute got to me on Friday, she had the most amazing scent on her hands.  After class, I immediately asked about it and she showed me a bottle of Tranquility massage oil from O My Soap.  She told me she got it at a local farmer's market.

It was as if that oil was catnip and I were a cat!  I could not get the smell out of my head - literally for about 2 hours and then for the rest of the day.  I had to find it.  You see, it smelled just like my favorite Caswell Massey lotion that was discontinued a few years ago.  It is like hyacinths. 

So Saturday morning I woke up thinking "farmer's market." Those are usually on Saturdays so I started my quest.  The market is closed for the winter but in my search I found the Oh My Soap people at a local craft fair where they did not have any of the Tranquility oil.  Boo! But she gave me the number of their business and I went over there.  After a bit of waiting, I finally had a bottle of this marvelous stuff in my hands!  I also picked up some Peony soap which smells wonderful, too.

Of course, I'm delighted to find this smell but also to promote this local business.  Oh My Soap has been in business for 10 years and they make all their products in our area.  Here is their website: O My Soap. It is a shame you can't smell stuff on the Internet.  Maybe that will be the next product - a computer that lets you smell.

Now I just need my masseuse but he is busy delivering a baby.  Well, not literally, but shortly I'll have info on the latest addition to the family...

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Giveway winner and weekend

Good morning!  The generated winner of the Stampin' Up! set is #5 Tracy!  Thanks for your comments.

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend.  I've got a holiday layout in progress but it will have to wait awhile because Mother and I are going to a local craft/gift show this morning.  I found out about a wonderful locally made product yesterday that I just have to have and today it is at this show!  I'll share more when I get my hands (and more importantly my nose) on this. That's a teaser, isn't it?

We are also on baby watch.  My youngest step-daughter who lives in Little Rock is expecting a baby boy any day.  Tonight is a full moon and she has already been to the hospital once on a false alarm.  So the cell phone will be on today for sure.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

15 pounds of fear

We are having a thunderstorm in December!  It is even hailing!  I was working on some cards and thought I heard someone at the door.  There wasn't anyone there and I'd just gotten back upstairs and was listening to the rain beat on the skylight in my upstairs bathroom when I remembered.  Jasper!  My kitty was in the sunroom where there are 11 windows and 3 skylights!  Well, he was dry but he raced in the house as soon as I opened the door and headed straight for the basement. He is 15 lbs of fear when it comes to storms!

Here's a warm card.  I made a few of these for Operation Write Home using Splitcoaststamper's card sketch this week.

On the inside it says "A very big heart."

Have you entered my giveaway of a Stampin' Up! Hostess Set?  Click here to enter.  You have until Friday night.

Thanks for visiting!

Ingredients:  Stamps:  Happy Heart Day
DSP:  My Mind's Eye 6x6 Everyday Flair
Ribbon:  Leafy American Crafts Dear Lizzy
Cardstock:  Hawaiian Shores by Papertrey Ink

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

TIPsy Tuesday - Making Felt Embellishments

Felt shapes are very popular in scrapbooking embellishments.   You can do your own with your die cutter or punches and a needle and thread.

Here is how I did the little mitten:

I cut the mitten with the Cricut (using SCAL software but you could cut any image using a cartridge)

Then I took the negative space and used that as a pattern to draw my mitten on felt.  I flipped the pattern and the felt over drawing and cutting from the back side.

I cut it out with scissors and whip stitched around the edges.

It's easy to cut out your own felt shapes just use your die cutter to make a pattern for you.  I found the negative image to make the best pattern.  It is easier to trace inside an image rather than around the edge.

Thanks for visiting.  Have you entered my giveaway?  Scroll down to yesterday's post to leave a comment or click here.

Ingredients:  Stamps: Cute Christmas from Stampin' Up!
Cardstock:  Baja Breeze, Real Red
Twine:  Martha Stewart

Monday, December 5, 2011

Giving Thanks and Giveaway

Here are 7 of the 11 photos on one layout!  Yipee!  That is what we are up to on Shimelle's 4x6 photo love class.  I missed last month but am back with my Thanksgiving layout.  Ask anyone who knows me and they will tell you I like to cook but am not a fan of fixing the traditional Thanksgiving meal so this is a layout about this year's meal which was successful without a turkey.  I made a few other changes - minor ones that no one would really notice - that made the day go a lot easier on me.  So the layout was a good chance to get those ideas down for next year.

And now there are 11.  To squeeze in 11 photos, Shimelle has class participants to add a 6x12 page protector filled with 4 photos and two journaling areas.  I didn't have one of these so I took her suggestion and stitched up my own using a regular page protector.  In future, I think I would buy these types of protectors.  It was a tedious sewing job to mark and sew the plastic sleeve.  I didn't get some of the pockets cut straight either so I'll probably replace this with the real thing eventually but that will be a cinch.

Otherwise, it was a very fast layout for so many photos.  I've used mostly My Mind's Eye papers from a couple of collections but also mixed in some other companies and raided my stash for a few old embellishments that were gathering dust.  I also used the Boho blossoms punch that hasn't been out my punch drawer in awhile.  This is a three flower punch from Stampin' Up!  It is tough to punch through cardstock so fortunately my hubby did the actual work for me.

And now for the Giveaway!  It is the season of giving and I have a little gift for one randomly drawn commenter - this stamp set from Stampin' Up!

Just leave a comment on this post by Friday night, December 9 at 9:00 p.m. Eastern Time.  I'll post the winner on Saturday.  (If you do not have a Google account, leave a comment under Anonymous with your e-mail address, blog address or your firstname + last initial if I know you personally.)

Thanks for visiting!

Ingredients:  DSP:  My Mind's Eye So Sophie Open Your Heart, Little Lady and Life is Beautiful 6x6 pad;Petite Prints Bon bon Daisy Doodlebug ; Studio Calico Star from Classic Calico 
Stamps: One of a Kind by Stampin' Up!
Ink:  Rich Razzleberry; Vintage Photo by Ranger
Thickers:  Regards and Fantastic  by American Crafts
Stickers:  October Afternoon
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