Sunday, August 30, 2009

The 2:00 AM Blogger

Sorry for the lack of posts this past week. I knew waiting thirty days until I start treatment for my back problems was going to be tough, but I had not anticipated also taking a turn for the worse during this time. Surprise! (Note my dripping sarcasm.)

That said, I have some blessings to count:

1. I'm not near as freaked about the spinal injections. Frankly if someone said they 'd like to administer pain relief via a sharp spike through my eyeball, I think I'd be tempted. Plus, I called the physician and learned they use fluoroscopy which is much more exact in it's placement and subsequently a lot more effective. Effective is good.

2. We're getting a boatload of homeschooling done. Making sure the kids get some measure of structure is important to me and by afternoon I'm usually knackered so we are having really awesome homeschool mornings. We're accomplishing a great deal of targeted learning and I was able to get next year's plans more or less hammered out. We're one teeny-weeny lesson away from finishing the last straggling bits of the 2008-2009 school year and then we'll have completed every single thing we set out to do. Woo-hoo. My goal was to be done by September so we came in right on target.

3. This month we put 63% of our income on debt and lived off the other 37%. We've got six days left in our fiscal month and the envelopes still have a few bucks left in them, the cupboards are full, kids have shoes, I bought some glorious white-wash Core'dinations cardstock and Chris has gone out for lunch a handful of times. A budget is pretty much the coolest tool ever. It was so neat to need stuff for school and to have money already waiting in that category. Ditto for the aforementioned shoes etc. In a time that is so mentally taxing, it is an enormous relief to not have to think too hard about money too.

A nice side product of our new financial plan is that gifts mean so much more. When Chris comes home with something special for me (like vanilla soy creamer for my coffee) I know that the two bucks really effected his bottom line and came out of his personal spending money. It's very sweet. And the boys are enjoying how much more time we are spending together now that we are staying home and enjoying the wonderful things we already have instead of chasing after new thrills.

As soon as I'm crafting again - and can think clearly - I'll be back to my old self and blogging like a fiend. Right now, I don't even have the attention span to read the back cover blurb on a paper back, the pain is just too all-encompassing.

Wishing you all lots and lots of love. Please forgive my silences and occasional surliness. I'm doing the best I can and even that is a small, small thing compared to what I'm used to.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Sexy Mermaid Cards

Here is the third and final set of cards made for the swap I'm in.

Mermaid Anchor:

Have you been enjoying all the Bombshell Stamps I've been using? Want some of your own? Bombshell Stamps has a great new forum that will be in addition to the existing one at Paper Craft Planet. If you join the forum you can get a coupon for 20% off your order.

Here's the link Come chat with us.

Monday, August 24, 2009

What To Do With Poor Quality Digital Images

Do you have any really low resolution digital photos? Our first digital camera took 200 KB pictures - at their largest - and the whole card only held one MB. At the time, just being free of film was amazing but I had no idea what to do with the images once they made it to my computer.

Fast forward seven years and I take pictures that push up into the 4, 5 and 6 MB range. They blow up beautifully and are fun to play with. But what about all those memories trapped in a blur of grainy pixels? As a scrapbooker, the easy answer is to make collage style LOs that allow you to print the pictures small enough that the poor quality isn't an issue. For this LO, the largest image was 126Kb and the smallest was 53Kb - yikes! But, at 2x2, the photos look fine.

On a Mac, when dealing with small files, Contact Sheet in iPhoto is your best friend. You can print many photos on one sheet and all you have to decide is how many photos across on your page.

Here is my LO, I got to have fun using all my old standbys - sewing, very linear design, machine stitching, distressing tool etc.


It's really dark here today so the colors look terrible. That's how it is sometimes, what can you do?

Sorry if I offended anyone with my comment about natural childbirth last Thursday. Trust me, I know childbirth is hard. It took 29 hours of labor and three hours of pushing to bring Trenton into the world. He was OP (occipital posterior) so every contraction slammed him into my spine and during pushing, my tailbone snapped. I firmly believe I should have had a C-Section with him and had we been in a hospital I would have had whatever meds they offered. Natural childbirth was my goal because I didn't want to expose the boys to drugs, *BUT* if you've been pregnant since I've known you, you've probably heard me say, "take whatever you have to if you need it."

Also, thanks for the input on spinal injections. The doc described it to me like this, " make a tight fist and then shove a needle through it. That's what it will be like getting to your spine through the bone disease." Which scared the crap out of me. He also said it won't be as bad as a spinal tap - something I've had the unpleasant pleasure of experiencing. That's good. Perhaps he just has a really terrible bedside manner. Hearing your epidural stories made me think it won't be too awful.

Again, thanks for all the support the last four months and especially last week.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Cowgirl Pin-Up Cards

This is my second set of swap cards. This time I used Retro Cowgirls, I think this is my favorite stamp set in the world and it's always the one I suggest when people ask me which Bombshell Stamps set to buy first. Whenever I'm not feeling creative, the cowgirls are who I reach for.

After last weeks Caardvarks/Core'dination blog hop I was really, really excited about using some of the cool two-sided cardstock. I highly recommend it, it has a great feel and grip to it.

Here is the card with Bazzil:

And here are my swap cards using the Core'dination paper. The embossing takes a much bolder role:

Hope you're having a great weekend and hello to all the Willows :-)

Friday, August 21, 2009

Four new Caardvarks Cards

I am running late on getting my cards made for a swap I'm in. I want to do Bombshells but eleven super-rad chicks is a whole lot of coloring. To make it easier on myself, I'm making three sets of four cards. That way I won't get bored.

The current challenge at caardvarks is to use pink, black and white and I thought it would be a perfect color scheme for Man's Ruin. Pink and red is also the challenge this week at Copic Creations, lucky me! As you can tell, I did a terrible job of mass producing my cards; I just need to make them individuals ;-)

The set:

The cards:

And I decorated the inside a bit to make writing easier, and cuter :-)

All the big jewels and the cool game card are from Gauche Alchemy and the paper is by Pink Paislee.

Thanks for stopping by :-)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Health Update Plus a Little Wealth

The internet is a funny thing. What to share, what to keep to yourself. What news to break to friends over your blog and what deserves a phone call. For me, things that will impact others, like " we're moving" are best done personally but things that only impact me can get a pass if I share like this. How do you decide?

Yesterday was my big day at the pain clinic. It was a lot different than what I expected. Among other things, it wasn't until an hour in that I realized the young guy I was talking too was the PA, not the nurse and so I didn't go out of my way to impress him. Oh well. That was good too. ( I wasn't being classist, just nurses have a job to do and I didn't want to get in his way. Doctors tend to want to hear the whole story, nurses want a note to add to your chart. Plus, when someone comes in and takes your blood pressure...) On a superficial note, I didn't fit in there at all. Everyone seemed so (excuse my frankness here) pathetic. Unwashed hair, empty eyes, no pride in themselves - seriously broken people. The worst part was on the surface they didn't seem to be physically that bad, just really beat down by it. I made the effort to look my best and I'm pretty sure I surprised them when they assessed how bad things really are. I guess Billy Crystal's "it's not how you feel, it's how you look and you look mahvelous" made a big impression on me as a kid :-)

All chit-chat aside, here's the skinny:

* The scroiliitis is not what is causing all the trouble. It is causing a lot of trouble. Also, my old doc was a huge idiot (this is almost a direct quote). According to these guys, they've never seen SI put someone in a wheelchair and I should, "wipe that from my mind" as "it's not going to happen". Since we've been on a countdown for the last five years and each degeneration was met with, "maybe this is it", hearing there is no it was rad.

* My broken tailbone circa '96 is either still broken or has healed really, really bad. Like crazy bad. And it's causing a boatload of hurt to my already diseased spine.

* I have two or three herniated discs in my lower back - you guessed it, near my tailbone and sacrum. Talk a bout a triple threat.

The plan is to start with epidurals. They'll inject lidocaine and steroids into my spine (for the SI) or my coccyx and see how I do. I might do awesome. I'm *super* excited about big needles in my spine. I watched Incredible Hulk and Blonski - who's a real bad ass - screamed in pain. How on earth will I do? Funny aside, PA says to me, "You've had three kids, you know what an epidural feels like." I said, " Nope. Had mine natural as I couldn't bear the thought of putting narcotics in my babies itty-bitty blood streams" He writes something on my chart. Smiles. " I just wrote we don't need to worry about you and pain meds."

If that fails, we're going to discuss a tailbone-ectomy. Who knew you can cut the silly thing off without too much fuss? Back surgery is always a lot of fuss, but you don't need a tailbone. And since mine is a real brat, this might be the direction we take.

So, right now I'm in the 30 day hold portion of the plan. You have to wait 30 days for treatment while drug tests go through and they gather up MRIs and such. Which means in Nicole terms, 30 days of huge agony before they start making me better. At least now I can put big X's on the calendar. I had my MRI done yesterday so now we wait.


We did the books this morning as it's payday and I nearly fell over to see we have put 61.4% of our income on debt this month. That means we're living on 38.6% - we never managed to make it on 100% of our income before. Yippee. And this month has had a lot of dumb stuff. My first grocery budget ever and on day three we ran out of flour, ketchup, mayonnaise (vegan of course), worchesterchire... all the staples you "never" have to buy. It certainly hasn't been a case of living off of full cupboards and a stocked freezer. We've even had fun! Go figure :-)

Thanks for all your prayers. There is some rough water ahead for me but at least I'm not looking at ending up in a wheelchair anymore. That's pretty awesome.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


It's 4:00 AM and DH has been up for hours trying to track down intermittent bursts of continuous chirping. I've been up on and off all night but haven't been playing hide and seek as my mobility is giving me grief.


This happened last week and we never got to the bottom of it then either. Our alarms are on a circuit which adds to the fun. The sound seems to be echoing and whenever you think you're close, it stops.


At least it only woke up one of the kids. The other two can sleep through anything.

I finally mounted all my stamps. It took a couple of days but it's done. Mounting stamps is right up there with cleaning bathrooms in my book which is why I usually don't bother. But, I like the additional cushion so I did it. And now I won't have to again for a long, long time. Yay.

CAD # 16:

This was my first time using a template (Bazzil) for stitching instead of free-hand. To be honest, I don't really like it. While it's a bit faster to make the holes, they aren't near as close together and neat as I would do myself. Next time I'll use the template for the shape and then make an extra hole between each of theirs.

Monday, August 17, 2009

CAD #15: Twice as Nice?

Crafting while in pain can go either way. It can be the absorbing love-craft that takes your mind off the misery or it can just be an additional layer of frustration. Sadly, last night everything was just. so. difficult! The sketch was very simple and I thought I had more than enough bandwidth for it. An hour later the table was covered in bits and pieces. I salvaged the best of them and ended up with two cards - SCORE. There's nothing that wrong with them but I know I can do better.

Speaking of... Did you now one of the best tips I've heard on simplifying that I've employed for years is that you don't always need to do your very best. Huh? Yes, that goes against the grain for how most of us have been raised or how we conduct ourselves as adults. But there are times when your best isn't appropriate.


* Your kids won't die if you occasionally have pancakes for dinner. It doesn't always need to be Beef Burgundy.

* Non-crafty people won't notice if you don't ink all your edges, sew your seams etc. You'll make their birthday or christmas cards in half the time.

*The sink can wait, play a board game. The inverse is true too. You don't need to be #1 playmate for your kids 24/7. They can amuse themselves while you go and clean the bathroom.

Bombshell Stamps: Bombshell Angel

Stamps: Odd Bird Planet Kelly's Icy House

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Julie & Julia, Money and Cards

We went to Julie and Julie last night. The first 3/4 was terrific, very enjoyable, and Meryl Streep really stole the show. But we had to leave because my pain went way beyond what I could manage. It was a 'skin of my teeth' sort of night with hourly debates about whether a trip to the ER was due. I'm very pleased to report that we made it through and this morning things are significantly better. Still bad but not go-to-the-hospital level.

As most of you have read, we are doing the Total Money Makeover and working hard to take down our debt. Through some Herculean stone squeezing we've managed to drop 57% of our income on debt this month. Who knew we could spend less, eat cheaper, drive less, cancel or sell anything within reach and make some significant, lightening-fast improvements to our financial bottom line.

Yesterday I sold gold. I know... who knew? Turns out gold is very expensive right now so I looked into my options like "gold for cash" mail-in deals ~ CAN YOU SAY SCAM! But, a local company, in business 50 years, appraises and then pays cash so we went there. I had a baggie of broken chains and bent, single earrings. A very small bag. We were hoping for about forty bucks as broken closet clutter didn't seem worth anything but I certainly wasn't going to throw it away. Our experience was awesome. An appraiser sorted it all, explained how the jewelry business works, scratch tested the gold (SO COOL) and then offered us $205. That's huge! We took it, happily, to the bank and deposited it in our account and then rushed home to cut a check to the car company. Yippee. That trip to the mall netted us half a car payment.

CAD #14

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Feeling Fall

Up at 2:00 AM with barfing boys. Yuck. Hope this flu passes quickly.

Here's yesterday's CAD. It really wasn't a super-fun one, but I did it. That's the thing I love about challenges - they stretch your creativity.

I have my Etsy back up and running. If you are so inclined, please check it out here.

It's VSN weekend at Split Coast Stampers, so I'll probably be updating all day long. Therefore, I'll keep this one short.

Good morning Willows :-)

Friday, August 14, 2009

Laura's Sketch 32

This weeks sketch at 2Sketches4You looked like it would be perfect for a guy card.

Here's my take:

Bombshell Stamps: Speed Shop

Welcome Willows :-)


Good Friday, everyone.

Woo-hoo! The weekend is almost upon us.

I'm trying to get back into the swing of things with card and LO challenges. This week the sketch at CPS was super-cute so I took a crack at it.

The sketch:

My Card:

I've been in a lovey state of mind :-)

And here is CAD #12, I got to use one of my favorite Bombshell Stamps too :-)

Welcome Willows :-)

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Simple, Delightful Cards

Okay, calling your own work "delightful" is probably odd but these cards really do delight me in both their simplicity and the end result.

All you do is find a picture. In my case, I took these photos myself but if you're not so inclined, an amazing source of floral images is Stamping Mathilda, in addition to having one of the most inspiring blogs on the net, she offers beautiful free floral photographs at the start of each month.

Tip: Whenever you buy flowers quickly take a close-up shot using your macro setting. We bought pink daisies to place on the graves of Chris's Grandmas and that photo has been used in at least four projects.

Slice the picture into strips. Here I used one inch strips but you can vary the width for interest. Avoid too thin strips as they can break up the image and obscure it. Or not :-)

Sand all four sides of each strip. Attach to cardstock. Mount on patterned paper and then on your card.

Easy. Peasie. Pudding and Pie.

Here's the results:

I think clouds would make a great sympathy cards. And the daisies would be good for get well soon or a just because card.

Gauche Alchemy is having a giveaway on their blog. Check it out. Have you seen their new kit, Pitching a Tent? *Swoon*

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


Last night we went to Authorpalooza at Barnes and Noble. The event hosted 30 local Utah writers, including the guys from Damn Interesting - who I also have the pleasure of calling dear friends, Jason and Alan.

It was a neat event. Some of the authors were very pushy and others seemed to have their feelings hurt when we didn't buy there books. I'm guessing many of them hadn't built up a thick skin yet. I was pretty limp and shuffle-y, so I couldn't even make a quick getaway. LOL.

One thing that struck me was this mom waving signs and calling to everyone about how her fifteen year old son got published because he's TV-Free. I really didn't like how she turned his success into a big show of her fabulous parenting. It felt like she was trying to take credit, something all us parents have earned, and the timing was grossly inappropriate.

Here is a card I made for yesterday's CAD. I wanted to make a granny inspired card and I think I got the old lady vibe down pretty thoroughly. Now if I can make it smell like lint covered cough candies from the bottom of a purse I'll be set.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

2 New Cards, Healthy, Wealthy & Wise

Good Morning!

Here's my last card with the My Little Shoebox paper. I really like using something until it's all gone and then moving on, but I'm sure it can get dull for you ladies. This is CAD #7, I also used it for a "mom's birthday using pink and flowers" challenge at Scrapbooking and Crafting Friends. My mom is a "more is better" kind of person so I really piled on the love. But, I'm also an obnoxious child so I gave in to my dark side and put HB2U which will send her into fits of irritation. LOL. I'm not perfect yet.

And here is CAD#9 which is made with Basic Grey Ambrosia:

Doing a Card A Day challenge with sketches is tricky. Usually when I do any "a day" challenges I have the freedom to make whatever I want. This is a neat exercise as I have to really work hard to wrap my head around some of them.

Among a lot of crafters I know, mixing paper companies and patterns is the holy grail of papercrafting. I love mixing manufacturers but sometimes, when thinking is harder or time is short, grabbing a bunch of paper that was designed to work together is just the thing. Don't let imagined "good, better, best" standards hold you back from making something on days when complicating the issue will make it impossible.

Healthy: I have the flu. And I sort of want to roll over and moan. Blecht. But on the happy-happy side of life I got my pain clinic appt. for next Wednesday. The hard part of pain clinics is getting accepted into the program so this is a huge step forward.

Wealthy: We've been doing the Dave Ramsey Total Money Makeover for 2.5 weeks and following a budget for six days. We haven't used our credit card since the 24th! We've "found" $700 (selling stuff, getting overcharges fixed, reimbursements etc.) and cut more than $400 from our monthly bills. Our gas consumption has gone down by half. Right now, thanks to the "found money" and cuts we are able to put 57% of our income onto our car payment. Isn't that cool? We should have that paid in no time. I wonder if Visa is worried that we died *giggle*

Wise: I've been reading a lot. Some light, some how-to books, nothing too heavy. I've also been setting goals for myself. I think I might start an art journal to record them and the steps I want to take to make them happen. To quote Alice in Wonderland, If you don't know where you're going, you'll end up somewhere else.

Please leave a comment telling me your healthy, wealthy and wise list.

P.S. If I owe you an email please forgive me. Between having the flu and migraines it's been a bad week and possibly the worst one for my back ever. With the meds and the yucks I'm a little behind.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

A Card and a Winner :-)

I'm having so much fun making pink girlie cards. I don't know what is with me lately but I reach for the feminine stuff first.

Thanks for all the jokes, they definitely added zest to my comment section. You gals crack me up.

And the winner is:

Lisa n Roxy

Timestamp: 2009-08-10 14:37:00 UTC

Congratulations, Lisa! Please email me your addy. My email is nicolemaki at mac dot com


Do you ever do something you thought you couldn't do and even though it's just a little thing, you're insanely proud?

Well, that's me this morning. I made this:

Snagging someone else's always felt wrong but I had no idea how to make my own. So I spent sometime banging away at it and I'm reasonably happy with the (simple) results. You've got to start somewhere, right?

The digi elements were free from Shabby Princess.

If any of you would like it for when you get pubbed please email me - I'm very happy to share.

P.S. One more day to enter the drawing for my RAK.
P.S.S This is my 300th post!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Simple Lay Out and a Trick

I really enjoyed doing a simple LO to drop into my album. All the scrapping I've done the last few months has been for guest design team spots which is a tremendous honor but can be stressful. It was nice to make something that wouldn't be judged, evaluated, submitted or even my best work. Just paper, adhesive, memories and an interest in recording them.

See the title? It's not really orange. What? I only had pale peach Thickers left so I covered the color with a deep yellow to take down the pastel-y-ness of the shade and then edged them in red making sure to pounce a bit over the yellow. I think they do a passable job standing in for a deep orange. To add interest I used my paint pen to make dots. The paint and ink sunk into the fabric top of the letters and it blended very well. I'll be adding coloring my Thickers to the tricks up my sleeve.

It's day three of our official budget and we've run out of flour, pasta, tomato sauce, coffee and the tires on our Explorer need to be replaced ASAP. This is sort of funny as I bulk buy those staples (like 50lbs of flour at a time) so running out is a fairly rare occurrence. Fortunately, I know exactly how much money we have for each category so I can test this whole plan under a non-stressful "crisis" and it'll show the holes in the system.

The pain clinic is sorting my details out and I'll be meeting with them for my five hour appointment sometime next week. Thanks for the prayers.

You still have two more days to enter my RAK drawing: Leave a joke (of any sort) in the comments for an entry and follow my blog for a second entry. You can read more about it here.

Hello Willows, hope your having fun hopping :-)

Friday, August 7, 2009

Flat and Not-So-Flat

I've been really into making mailable cards lately. I love piling it on as much as the next gal but as I said earlier this week - lump tax bugs me. Here is a mailable card that I think has as much detail and texture as it's deeper cousins:

Stamps Used: Butterfly Queen by Bombshell Stamps

Speaking of piling it on, I made this very over the top valentine with a bunch of my red and pink color kit from Gauche Alchemy:

Remember, leave a joke ( off-color is fine) in the comments for entry into my drawing for a RAK. Follow this blog for an additional entry. Thanks for playing.

P.S. Welcome Willow Traders Blog Hoppers :-)

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Card a Day #4, a RAK and Budget Cuteness

I've noticed that I alway use up my generic cards first so I thought I'd make one for Sketch 4. This is a sketch that was used by Caardvarks back in the winter and I was really unhappy with how mine turned out. It was nice - albeit intimidating - to take another crack at it.

On this card I used a printable image of the tree and rainbow. They were previously available by Marieke Vermeulen Design and I have got so much use out of them. Here's the card:

When we refinanced our mortgage last week we were delighted to learn that our next mortgage payment isn't until October. This is HUGE as we can put the entire mortgage payment on other bills and pay them down much, much faster than we planned.

I also put together our emergency fund:

I really need to be literal right now and this insures our emergency cash isn't spent elsewhere.

And our envelope system - I bet you knew it was going to be cute :-)

Yesterday we visited the doctor and Avery has pink eye. Yuck. I always think of it as a little kid disease - and a gross one at that. He's had it for a week and none of us have caught it so all that hand washing must be working. I also heard really good things about the anesthesiologist who is taking over my case - what a blessing as I've been nervous about the whole thing. To be honest, I've been having nightmares about the pain clinic. I know it's not designed to cause pain but my experience with medical treatment is that they fix one thing and make something else horribly worse. One med I took solved a neurological problem but kills your liver - fast. I had to go to the fire station every other day to have my vitals checked. Uncool! I can only imagine what torturous plans the docs have for me this go around. (Now where did I leave my optimism? Must have been in my other pants. *snort*)

I'm rapidly approaching my 300th blog post and am thinking about sending a RAK out. Here's the rub though, I could really use a laugh so you need to tell me a joke in the comments. You get one entry for the joke and a 2nd entry for following my blog. I'll draw a winner on Monday.

The RAK will include:

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The Budget Starts Today!

I have a new online friend named Christy who is a real sweetie-pie. She sent me an envelope of stamped images so I could try out the new Hot Rods from Bombshell Stamps. I thought that was super nice of her.

Here's the card I made, I was really intimidated about coloring a shiny surface but I think it turned out okay. Shannon is awesome about posting her images in color so you can see a suggestion of how to color yours.

Today we start our budget officially with envelopes and everything. We've been doing smart things for over a week but the big bad budget goes into play this morning. Wish me luck. So far I've cut over $350 dollars from our monthly expenses and "found" close to $300 more. It's four kinds of crazy to be able to find so much money in a week. We just hadn't been paying close enough attention.

For anyone else embarking on budgeting and economizing here is a list of low hanging fruit we started with:

*Check cell phone plan. DH was able to drop from 900 min. to 450 per month which saved us $30/month
* Scan bills for overcharges and call to correct them (We found over $200 in mistakes)
* Make sure you've submitted reimbursable work expenses.
* Cut non-essentials. Our list was embarrassingly long but none of it came all at once. HBO one month, six months later, Netflix, Game Fish, craft kit clubs - seriously, it all adds up.
* Make sure your tires are full and aligned properly, oil is clean, fluids are topped off, brake pads are thick enough etc. With cars, prevention is key. We didn't notice a misalignment and now we have to replace our tires a mere eighteen months after purchase because of funky wear. That could have been avoided.

Monday, August 3, 2009

It Pays to Read the Label and a Card

Card a Day (CAD) #3:

I think I'm officially a stamper. These product only cards just don't hold the same thrill for me as a stamped one. Good to know :-) On this card I tried a glitter pen for the first time. They are very fun although the card has to be in the light the right angle for it to sparkle.

In our house, staining is a job the kids do on their own. Dad showed them how and we point them at our square foot garden supports - no problems so far. One curiosity was that the two garden beds were stained the same color yet look completely different. We chalked it up to "oh well, must have been a mistake" and forgot about it.

So yesterday I decided to stain the picnic table. I grabbed our trusty can of stain, got directions from my ten year old and went to work. Half way through the table top the stain went from a dark, almost sheer walnut color to a thick, paint like light brown. Turns out that the last few painters forgot to mix the stain and also forgot to make sure I mixed it. So I hustled to mix the brown into the black sections and hope to blend it enough that it doesn't look completely ridiculous. Then I ran out of stain... which should make the rest of the table fun to paint as matching this unmixed monstrosity might be tricky.

When I tried to wash myself and the brush off the boy exclaimed, " I forgot to tell you it's not water based and you need gloves." Scrub. Scrub. Scrub.

So, my advice to you is to only trust your kiddos instructions to a point. Or you'll be scrubbing your skin and puzzling over your furniture for longer than necessary.

When DH came home I told him the whole story and he said he always mixes it before giving it to the boys so they've never seen him do it. But, the stain I used was some decade old mongrel he'd found in a box. It was on his work bench as a reminder to dispose of it properly. The stain we normally used was on a shelf nearby.

DH thinks we should strip the table and redo - I'm not sure you can strip stain and I hate doing things twice.

I did it!

On Friday I publicly pledged to finish one of the three projects I had scattered about and half done. The one I managed to complete was my Calaca piggy bank. She's very sparkly and divine:

And I made this card based on the sketch Angie provided for Day 2 of Card a Day. I've been shy about stamping and coloring as I'm still so shaky. I decided I'd rather do something a little simpler and be less of a perfectionist than not make anything at all.

Stamps: My very favorite Bombshell of all ~ Retro Cowgirls and the Saddle Up is by Unity Stamp Company but I think it has been discontinued.

P.S. Amy at the Gauche Alchemy blog had some very sweet things to say about my card. Thanks, Amy!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

One Sketch Two Ways

This month's diva at TSR is having a card a day challenge and she posted the cutest sketch from Page Maps. I always need a ton of cards in the fall - Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas - so I thought I'd use that challenge to get ready for those holidays.

While card making I had an epiphany: Sequins are like buttons, just flatter.

When mailing a lot of cards the last thing you want is to pay an extra dime per envelope in "lumpy charges" but flat cards look too... flat for me. What's a girl to do?


Since I have a ton in my color kits I decided to try it and I like the results:

This card was made with paper I just hated. And guess what, I love it now. We just needed to get to know each other better:

Hello Willow Traders Blog Hoppers, thanks for stopping by.