Thursday, August 21, 2008

Seen Online

Sorry I haven't posted since Tuesday. Things are tres hectic trying to get ready for a trip when everything is going wrong at once. Since Tuesday we've had three sick kids (one quite sick) a sick dog, a broken iPhone, our freezer just shut off for no apparent reason and a myriad of other glitches. Thankfully we're leaving tomorrow afternoon and anything not done will have to stay undone.

I saw this great tutorial about how to make a pencil and notebook holder. It looks like this:

Brayden would love having something like that. Perhaps I'll try my hand at making one.

I did a bunch of work on Rebel earlier in the week and was horrified to see that my attempt to morph eight generic characters into six distinct ones did not go as smoothly as I had imagined. "You" would be sitting on a couch talking to Soren and suddenly he'd be Rob for a page or two. There were scenes where both the new and the old characters were present - it's a real bowl of spaghetti. Fortunately my new characters are distinct enough that I can figure out who should be in the scene and change the names accordingly. It kind of makes my eyes cross though.

We leave for Canada tomorrow afternoon after we drop off doggie. Since he's sick, I feel much better about leaving him at PetsHotel as his vet is about twenty feet away and they assured us they will check on him and administer medical care as needed while we're away.

I'll try to post from Thunder Bay but will not be online our six days on the road. Have a great rest of August everyone. We'll be back somewhere around the 1st.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Anko Buns and Another Kit Killed

The last of the anko related recipes has been made. Brayden made these Anko Buns and even took the picture. Everyone said they are good but very hard to fit in your mouth. Asian sweet rolls are really tasty to begin with so I can't imagine the filling making them worse.

Preparations for Canada have been brisk. We are trying to get Chocolate into PetsHotel as it has doggie daycare and hopefully he won't be too lonely. I called the vet to make sure we had all the required paperwork and she assured me he was up to date on all his immunizations. I asked her to double check and as fate would have it, they all expired on August 19th - That's TODAY! So we need to rush him to the vet so the shots will "take" before we drop him off on Saturday. This also means that a year ago today some person threw four little puppies over the shelter fence. Our Chocolate was ripped from his mother's breast one year ago. Poor guy. On the other hand, now he has us and a pretty great life.

PetsHotel with Doggie Daycare is fifty bucks a day... I nearly keeled over with sticker-shock. Of course we can go budget and have him locked in a little cell for a week but we couldn't do that to our precious dog. We decided to split the difference and give him daycare every other day. It sounds cheap of us but if you saw how much our dog sleeps you might make the same choice. Feel free to call me a monster in the comments if need be.

I killed another kit. This one is from American Crafts Amplified Line. As you may recall, it's the "purple kit" that I didn't connect with. I sort of loathed it to be honest. There are a few things that I haven't posted but you've already seen most of it. I like putting it all together though once I'm done.

Starting with two cardstock, three patterned papers and a handful of embellishments I made this (adding extra cardstock as needed):





I'm used to Live Journal so I'm not sure how this works on Blogger. If I reply to your comment in the comments section of a post do you ever see it? Do you get an email or something telling you I replied or am I just talking to myself?

I best get back to work. So much to do before I meet Jason for our write-in. It's been two weeks and I really missed not writing last week. Rebel and I need to spend some time together.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Movies, Motor Vehicles and More

This weekend we went to Swing Vote. I've always disliked Kevin Costner but I like him much better as a boozed-up redneck than as Mr. Suave. He was actually charming and seemed very real. The movie was great. I know people didn't think it was hard-hitting or satirical enough but I didn't think it was trying to be Bullworth or Wag the Dog yet it still managed to have a lot of pointed social commentary. I'd give it a solid seven out of ten.

We drove off to the DMV at 6:30 this morning and were about a dozen people away from the door when the new office opened. We managed to get my ID and his drivers test in under an hour. Before we left I read on Lifehacker how to take a good DL picture. I followed the guideline, jutting out my chin, wearing extra makeup and trying to square my shoulders. When the picture was snapped the lady announced, " Wow, this is one of the best license pictures I've ever seen!" So two other DMV ladies come over and agree with her and comment on how they could not believe it. Feeling hopeful, I watch the screen load my picture. UGH! The angle of my chin makes it the focal point, I have jowls and a lot of neck. I also looked shiny as they took an extreme close-up. It was terrible. I looked back at the ladies who were all beaming and excited to see how I reacted. My face must have given me away and the lady offered to retake it. They looked so crestfallen I put on a big smile, said it was fine and thanked her for doing an excellent job. I mean really, what else could I do?

At the Scrap-room one of my favorite things they do is called Killing a Kit. The idea is that you use up a scrapbooking kit until the pieces left are so teeny you don't have any problem throwing it away. It's great - no storing, no hoarding, no guilt. For the chatterbox "Be Happy" kit we got two pieces of card stock, three pieces of patterned paper, about five chipboard birds and half a pack of stickers. This is what I had left:

And here's what I made:

A Notebook:

Cards and Tags:

And this one Brayden made to really kill off my final few larger pieces, isn't he just the coolest nine year old?

Considering that was five pieces of paper and it cost five dollars, I think I did good. Now to kill that dreadful purple kit that I just didn't connect with...

Sunday, August 17, 2008

New Hair

I went to Salon Dante and met the sweetest hair dresser ever. Nicole and I decided that a cut just wasn't fun enough so I asked her to dye my hair red with blonde highlights - my favorite color combo. She layered my hair and then colored it all the while providing terrific company. After my hair was blown out I wasn't sure if the color was true ( I can be a stickler about hair color - too much experience makes me picky) but as soon as I saw how gorgeous it was in natural light, while shopping, at home... I was smitten. She did a perfect job and gave me exactly what I wanted. I'm posting three pictures to show the difference light makes on this pretty color. Let me know what you think.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Road Trip and Some Flattering Things

We're going to Canada. Push came to shove and our best option was to make a trip to the motherland and visit those dear to us. Great White North here we come! We leave on Friday night (the 22nd) and will be back the following weekend. We haven't been to Thunder Bay since I was a pregnant twenty-four year old. Brayden and Avery haven't been at all in less you count Avery's trip in utero. Traveling out of the country brings all our immigration issue into focus which is stressful but can be good as we need to take care of the last of our paperwork. Another plus is that Chris is finally getting his Utah drivers license (two and a half years after moving here) and I'll get my Utah ID. It's tricky enough crossing the border without contradicting identification.

The only thing I'm stressed about is being without our sweet Chocolate pup for a week. I wonder if he'll like the doggy hotel with it's new smells and friends to play with or if he'll pine for us. He's not much of a piner so I think he'll be fine. One option is to get him a deluxe room with dog movies and a speaker phone so we can call him. It also has a video camera so we can go online and see him. Personally I think that's nutty and I bet hearing our voice over a speaker would confuse the crap out of him. I do like the idea of him being isolated from the other dogs. Our vet said even the best kennels are rampant with kennel cough or worse and we have a very good chance of getting him back sick. What to do? I think we'll go with a non-wired room and hope for the best.

On the crafting front I've had some nice things happen lately. Someone from a juried craft show in SLC contacted me through Etsy and offered me a spot in the show. I would have loved to participate but it's during two of the five days my mom is visiting. I haven't seen her in two and a half years so I doubt she'll want to spend her time watching me hawk cards at a craft show.

I got to design one of the samples for the scrap-room newsletter this month. it was a real pleasure to work with Susan's sketch. Here's the LO I did:

Thanks, Susan for the wonderful opportunity.

And finally, I am thrilled to see my work in the gallery at Bombshell Stamps. Shannon the owner is the sweetest lady ever and I just love working with her awesome stamps. Having my work in their gallery is a real honor.



I've been letting Reality Show Rebel churn about in my head the last few days while I make cards and I think I'm getting ready to start work on it again. I'd initially given up the project because I thought Reality TV was dying out - could I have been more wrong? Anyhow, stay tuned to hear more about writing a choose-your-own-adventure for adults and trying to get someone to buy it.

My attention span hasn't been large enough to work on any LOs so I've been making cards for my Etsy shop. With Halloween being the 2nd largest holiday people buy decorations/cards etc. for it seemed like a good idea to add some to my shop. Here are the latest, they'll be uploaded over the next few days:

Card Set:



Thursday, August 14, 2008

Painting with Markers (Tutorial)


Water based markers
An old CD (Thank you AOL)
Paint brush and water or a water brush
Smooth Card stock or Watercolor paper
Piece of paper towel

Optional: Sharpie, waterproof pen of stamped image that has been heat embossed using embossing powder. For my examples I used a stamped image and embossing powder.

Painting with markers is a technique I learned at a beginner stamp class at Stampin Cat Studio about eight years ago and it has come in handy time and time again. It's also a great way to let your kids paint on days when you can't bear a mess. Let's get started.

1. Start with your image, you can draw something with a waterproof pen as I did here:

or you can just start painting as you would with any water color picture.

2. Choose the color you want to use and scribble that color on the CD. Pick up some of the color with a wet brush and start painting.

The amount of water determines the intensity of the hue. This is the best part of painting with markers because you can have the "perfect" light green match for your dark green by using more water. This takes a lot of guess work out of your color choices. Here is an example of the color options from one light leafy green marker. The teal shades were made from picking up ink where a blue scribble met the green:

In this picture, the red in the cowboy boots is the same marker as the pink test line near the CD(sorry about the picture):

Let your images dry before using them and your done. See, I told you it was easy.


* Some people apply a wet brush directly to their markers. This works but you don't have the same level of control over the color and you shorten the life span of your pens.

* You can also use a water based ink pad the same way. It would cost big $$$ to have as many colors of ink as a one dollar twelve pack of markers so this is not the option I prefer but go for it if you'd like.

* To make caucasian skin tones you are better off using a watered down brown than shades of pink. I use so much water with a brown marker that the paper barely changes color. It usually dries to a pale tone close to my skin color. Using brown also provides good shading options like this:

* This technique is really fun and once you get started you'll want to paint a whole bunch of stuff. I usually make up a sheet of images and color them all at once so they're ready when I am.

* You can mix colors on the paper. If your yellow is too bright go over it with a swipe of brown, the colors blend beautifully.

* If you add too much water or make a mistake, quickly blot up with paper towel. It won't remove all the color but it does take off a lot. This is also a terrific way to make clouds.

* When you're done, wash the CD in the sink. For stubborn dried on marker use a soapy sponge.

Here are some examples of projects I've used this technique on. In the past few posts I've also shown cards painted with markers. Click to enlarge:

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Making Cards

After all the fun stamping, painting and embossing yesterday afternoon I was excited about taking the images and making them into cards. Here's what I ended up with:

Tomorrow I'll post a tutorial about painting with markers - I'm sure you crafty ladies already know that trick but I find it's a great no-mess way to let your kids paint too so maybe the moms will like it.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

My First Bombshell

My Bombshell Stamp set arrived last night and I couldn't wait to start playing. I thought this little lady would be a perfect stamp for the card I had in mind for the 2sketches4you challenge this week featuring a gorgeous sketch by Laura. It was so much fun finding my pigment ink and embossing powder and painting again. I'd forgot how much I love watercolor paper.

Perseids Meteor Shower

Man, am I ever wiped out. (Chris said it's the 2000s, we should probably give up "man" and switch to "dude" but I feel a little too old to say, "Dude, I'm really wiped out!") Yesterday we drug ourselves through the last nine or so Parade of Homes. I felt awful as allergies have spiked up to 7.4 and my immune system is going nutty so subsequently my back is very swollen. We finally made it home around 8:00 PM and the boys didn't get to sleep until well after ten. Later it occurred to me that the Perseids were last night and we needed to get up in two hours or miss them. So Chris and I tried to get to sleep as quick as possible and almost as soon as I laid down, the alarm went off.

The meteor shower was wonderful, we didn't see as much as last year but I think it may be because our neighborhood is more built out than it was so there was more light. What we did see was spectacular. The best part was being wrapped in blankets, huddled together with the boys against the cold night air.

And it was cold! We had at least seven blankets and we were all shivering. The boys spent a lot of the night reminiscing over other meteor showers they've seen. I think they were five, four and three the first time we went outside to look.

Finally around four we came inside and went back to bed. It was so blissfully warm that none of us stayed awake for long. Today we'll be lounging around and catching up on our rest.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Kennecott Utah Copper Mine

The Kennecott mine has intrigued us since the first time we drove down Suncrest Drive, turned the corner and saw that the mountains to the east of us had a big huge scoop missing out of a large chunk of the range. In the winter it looks odd and in the summer startling. Imagine tree-topping on a mountain. I'll have to take pictures and show you. This Saturday we finally made the trek and went to see the mine close-up. It was awesome. All those pre-school years watching Mighty Machines never prepared us to the grand scale of the largest open-pit mine on earth. You can see it from the moon!

The machines they use for mining are as large as a house and they make full-sized loaders look utterly diminutive:

And no picture can accurately portray the scale of a mine that is three and a half miles across! Here's Chris and the boys outside the visitors center.

We watched a really interesting movie in the visitors center about the history of Bingham Canyon and how the rock ore which contains less than one percent copper is processed and the minerals are extracted. Kennecott is a surprisingly green company considering the horror they are committing against the landscape. Sorry for sounding hard-lined but they cut off more than half of a mountain - I can't imagine who thought that was a good idea. But they do generate more than 60% of their own power through the steam that normally would just be released into the air and they recycle everything from materials to the water used in the process. They also have a pretty neat program where they acquire mined out properties and restore them to a beautiful natural area.

After the movie we looked at the displays and Kennecott impressed me again with the quality of their educational materials. We learned more in an hour there about the role of minerals in our life than I have in a lifetime. They also seemed to have a healthy respect for the people and the animals in the area before our time.

Our favorite exhibit was about minerals in your home. Click on the pictures to expand them if you're interested.

This was the perfect start to a study we'll be doing on the elements. While it's a very basic text, I'm going to use Fizz, Bubble & Flash!: Element Explorations & Atom Adventures for Hands-On Science Fun! (Williamson Kids Can! Series) as a jumping off point for our discussions. It looks fun in a way that Brayden and Avery will appreciate.

A big, huge, love-filled Happy Birthday to Andrew Dudney and Jeff Maki.