Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Rubbah-dultery

In JanTink parlance, rubbah-dultery is *cheating* on your Stampin' Up stamps (we're both SU demonstrators) by purchasing and stamping with products from other companies. Gasp! And that's what I did yesterday, I committed rubbah-dultery. Oh, and for those of you not in the loop, "rubbah" has become the general Splitcoast term for rubber, as in rubber stamps. I think that one was JulieHRR's fault, she got us all saying (and typing) that. But on to the crimes! I mean cards!

Stamping Bella is probably my favorite company to commit rubbah-dultery with; I own quite a few Bellas and a bunch of the Chichiboulie fairies (as seen above), plus I would love to own at least half of the Huggabugg line but I don't have any yet. I think a kind soul on Splitcoast is sending me some Huggabugg images to play with. Anyway, back to the card, this is a birthday card for my friend Jamie. I just couldn't quit adding STUFF to this card--bunches of brads, lots of Prima flowers, the glittah on the wings (ok see, that -er being replaced by an -ah is getting more and more widespread. The people at Webster's should be afraid, very afraid). This was inspired by a photo that Em, the Queen Bella herself, posted on her blog. I took the yellow, green, and charcoal gray colors from the picture and then added lavender because life just needs more lavender. I love that sunshiney day sentiment as it always reminds me of my great-grandmother, Mimi, who would always tell us, "Drink your orange juice, it'll put sunshine in your day!" I think of her every time I have any OJ at breakfast (the drink, not the criminal).

More rubbah-dultery! But, in this case, I didn't actually *buy* the stamps, Amber gave them to me for my birthday. Is this little chicky not the CUTEST thing since PUPPIES? The colors and sketch were challenges on Splitcoast, and I'm not too thrilled about either one and yet still I like this card. I'm sending it to my friend Allison back in the States for her birthday which is today (Thursday) so I think it's going to be late. Possibly. :p Anyway, this card is made with a few stamps from a set by Hero Arts; there are four kokeshi doll girls, the fan, the big line of flowers I used on the background, an Asian lantern, and a single flower stamp. They're acrylic stamps which I don't use very often but I won't let that stand in the way of adoring these little girls!!

Ok, to atone for TWO counts of rubbah-dultery in one day, I made SIX of these cards last night after Lee and I went to the gym. He still needed some non-girly thank you cards so this is what I came up with, using the current sketch challenge on Splitcoast. Lee approved, he said it's not too girly even with the flourishy seaweed and curly font on the "thanks" part. I think I'll like doing sea scenes (seans? nah) with this stamp set--I just tore a piece of scratch paper (I have lots of typing paper that I printed something on and then don't need it anymore so I use it as scratch paper) and held it on my white cardstock, then sponged the "sand" in with Sahara Sand ink (how appropriate). Then I sponged all around the edges with two colors of blue and stamped my seaweed and shell. Didn't even take me too long to do six of these. I do really like this stamp set, Ocean Commotion...I think it will come in useful for my scrapbooks too if Lee ever manages to take some good underwater shots of all the fish and other creatures he sees when he scuba dives.

So that's it for right now. I did get a few stamps in the mail yesterday from Unity so I'm sure I'll be committing more rubbah-dultery in the near future, there's this one stamp that...well, you'll just have to wait and see. For the next little bit I may be posting more stamping/scrapbooking projects until we go do something interesting on the island. I should look at the March tour calendar and see what's available...I think Lee is all flower-fested out so maybe we'll find something else to do. In the meantime, let me know you're out there! I'm feeling a tad lonely here :)

Oh, I almost forgot...I was doing the grocery shopping yesterday and passed by the bakery where they were selling pie by the slice. I took a look at it just because, and you can get hippie apple pie, or blue belly pie. Not blueberry, blue BELLY. I got quite a giggle out of that :)

Monday, February 23, 2009

Christine's Keepsakes

Several weeks ago, there was a challenge on Splitcoast to make a scrapbook page layout to donate to Project Christine's Keepsakes. Christine was a mom to four young kids, and she died last year of a heart attack at the age of 35. Some of her friends have stepped in and started this project to get all of her photos scrapped as a gift to her family. I don't do too well with creating pages without particular photographs, so I emailed the coordinators and got some pictures to work with. Here's what I made:

These are Christine's 3-year-old twins (I put the white circles over their faces because they're not my kids and I figure it's only polite not to put other people's kids' photos on the Internet without asking them). This one came together really quickly; I took my colors from the twins' PJs, looked for a sketch and boom, done. I really, really liked this one, maybe because of the bright colors.

These are photos from when the twins were born and this layout just gave me so much more trouble than the other one. I had a hard time picking colors and finally decided on Pink Pirouette and Almost Amethyst, but I think I should have used a darker purple on here. Then I couldn't find any flowers in a color that would go with everything else, so finally I just picked some that are a very pale blue and called it done. These will go in the mail to the project coordinators later today.

On a more cheerful note, I also scrapped MY kids' Halloween costumes from last year. Remember Mom sent me bee and ladybug costumes for them? I was mean and made Vader the ladybug since Sadie's nickname has always been Bee. Anyway, this one is for the doglets' scrapbook.

I had so many pictures that I liked from Halloween that I made a second layout for our regular Okinawa scrapbook. I lucked out in finding stamps of a bee and a ladybug that were about the same size and style (they came from different stamp sets) so I used them on both these layouts. I usually don't do white or vanilla backgrounds for my pages, but I tried several colors and nothing was working for me so vanilla got the job after all. I'm always paranoid I'm going to get a big smudge on such light colored paper because you know it's gonna show up if you get *anything* on it. I was careful enough that I managed to get this layout done and into page protectors without major mishap.

Last weekend was VSN (Virtual Stamp Night) on Splitcoast, which means two days of fun challenges. I got to be a hostess this time, so my challenge was to make a card inspired by a quote, any quote, from The Princess Bride. I think people had a lot of fun with it; we ended up with a good-size gallery of cards which you can see right here. This was one of my samples which was inspired by the song that plays over the closing credits (which I suppose isn't technically a quote, but hey!) Love the combination of Pink Pirouette and Baja Breeze, and seems like I've been using a lot of Close to Cocoa lately (the mats are actually a medium brown, not black).

Anyway, the rest of this week is going to be pretty busy and I still need to write my last paper for the class I'm finishing up, plus register for my next two classes. No rest for the wicked. Have a great day!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Bedraggled

I'm sure I've mentioned it before, but I am a total sucker for puppy dog eyes. So, even though it's raining, I took my two puppies out for a walk today. Ironically, Sadie *hates* to go out in the backyard when it's wet out, but she doesn't mind rain at all if we're going for a walk. It was only sprinkling when we left the house, but we got rained on pretty steadily by the time we were midway through our normal route. The things I do for my kids.

I did get to wear my oh-so-stylish and uber-cool plastic poncho, though. That was fun.

So here's the kids after our walk; I kinda wish you could tell just how wet and bedraggled they really looked but it's sometimes hard to photograph mostly-black dogs. (Sadie is getting more and more brown on her sides and Vader isn't pure black either.)

Yeah, sure, *now* she looks pathetic but she was having a grand ol' time on our walk!

Usually it's Sadie who can't hold still for everything, but today Vader just was not in the mood for a photo shoot. I got a couple pictures of his tail as he was walking away...

And then this one, which really makes me laugh. Sometimes if I fall asleep on the couch I wake up to this view, it's a little bit alarming when you're just waking up, lol!

Anyway, you can probably tell there's not a whole lot going on around here at the moment. Since the weather has been so icky we haven't been able to go back to get more pictures of the cherry blossoms, and a lot of the blossoms are gone already. I've been working all this week on some projects but it seems like I don't have a lot to show for my efforts...I'm going to work on a couple of scrapbook pages this afternoon though, hoping to get some done. My third class ends next week too so it's time to register for the next round; I'm going to double up this time so I can finish a bit faster and not be doing my comprehensive exam when we're trying to pack up to move back to the States at the end of next year.

Yep, we've got just 2009 and 2010 on the island and then it's back to the US. Lee and I keep talking about certain events and saying, "If we don't do it this year then we only have ONE more chance!" Like the dragon boat races (which I think we'll miss this year, I think Lee will be back in the States when those happen) and the Naha tug o' war with the world's largest rope made of natural materials. That's a limited amount of time to do the traveling we want to do too; I think we're going to try to go to Kyoto after Lee's trip to the States. We'll see what happens. For now, I'm going to go try to accomplish something crafty.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Eeyore Island

You know how Eeyore has a cloud over his head that follows him everywhere he goes? That's what it's like on Okinawa right now. It's been solidly overcast for four days now, and it always looks like it's going to rain any second although we've just had some minor sprinkles here and there. It's kinda chilly here too and do you think my dogs let me take the day off due to weather? Heck no, man, we went out anyway. They get totally stir crazy if we miss our walk.

Anyway, since the weather outside isn't exactly fabulous, I've been staying inside and working on my scrapbooks and cards.

Amber called me a punk for including the picture of her on the scooter in Target on these pages; these pics were all taken when we were in Washington last October/November. D'you like the apple paper? I was looking for something totally different when I came across it and I thought hey, this is just perfect!! But I used up most of the two sheets of it that I had, so hopefully I won't find myself in dire need of more apple-themed paper anytime soon. I just love how the color combination turned out on this, it came to me while I was trying to get to sleep one night and just worked out great with the photos. At least I think so.

This is for a swap I'm in; Amber came over a while back and we spent an afternoon working on swaps. This stamp set, Ocean Commotion, was the first one on my order when the new Stampin' Up catalog came out. It was in the Australian catalog before we got it and I was soooo hoping that it would be in the US one :) I thought it would come in handy since Lee's a scuba diver and all.

And here's my second swap card (I signed up for two spots). I made a set of these yesterday and was putting them all together when I discovered I had stamped the top part on the wrong color of paper so it didn't match the patterned paper on the bottom. Now this might not bother most people, but I can be something of a perfectionist so it bothered me. So I stamped 14 new flower panels that DO match the patterned paper, but I couldn't just throw the other ones away...

So I turned 'em into 14 thank you cards (yes, the paper on this one IS a different color than the paper on the first one. Trust me). One can always use thank you cards. In fact, Lee needs some to send out to people who gave him birthday presents, but I'm thinking this is a bit too girly for that. Granted, these are the colors he usually wears, but with all the flowers...yeah, too feminine. Maybe I can come up with something quick using that Ocean Commotion stamp set instead.

When I shared the photos of birthday cards the other day, I forgot about these two that were still down in the kitchen so they're getting their time to shine today (we need *something* to shine, I haven't seen the sun in days!) This is from Sharon in California, isn't it pretty?! The butterfly is punched out of patterned paper. Just love the colors and the edging...but I think that's a Martha Stewart punch and I refuse to buy any of her products on principle. She just creeps me out *and* her stuff is usually pretty expensive. When it first got to Michael's she made a deal with them that people couldn't use the 40% off coupons that Michael's does every other week or so...well, her stuff didn't sell because it's expensive :p Serves you right Martha! Anyway, rant over, suffice it to say I just still refuse to purchase her stuff, but I won't try to talk other people out of it, and some of it is cute--she has some great punch shapes. But I won't buy 'em. Nope. Not gonna do it. Wouldn't be prudent.

Can you tell that I've been up since 4:30 and didn't get much sleep last night? We started back at the gym at 5:00 this morning. It's good to be back...but I'm gonna be hurting tomorrow. I'm just glad to be over the stinkin' cold.

One last Bella birthday card from Angie (aka Renski) in Sasketchewan. Love it! I love that patterned paper...I need to buy like six more packs before it retires. I've used it several times for cards and scrapbook pages and I just love it. I have my eye on several other packs of patterned paper too, SU has done a really good job the last couple years coming out with paper that *rocks*. Just wish they did more with the purples...I could use some patterns in Lavender Lace.

That's it for now, folks. Gotta get these swaps in the mail and get to work on the next couple of projects...so tata for now!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Hah! Now Lee is Old Too

Yep, Valentine's Day is also Lee's birthday so now he's old too. Yay! We went out to dinner at Jack's Place for teppanyaki (that's the Japanese steakhouse thing where they cook your dinner on the table in front of you). I was surprised that we got in pretty much immediately; there were a lot of cars in the parking lot but maybe we got in quick since it was just two of us and two are easier to seat at this kind of thing than a group of six or eight would be.

After dinner we went and bought a movie to watch (Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist, I think I liked it better than Lee did) and got an ice cream cake at Baskin Robbin's. Now quit laughing, Lee picked this one because it was the most appealing combination of cake (chocolate) and ice cream (chocolate chip cookie dough) flavors. Turns out Lee prefers cookie dough ice cream to cookies n' creme. Me, I love cookies n' creme, but my favorite is rocky road.

Anyway, so that was what we did for Valentine's Day. And since it's been a while since I shared any paper crafting goodies with you, how's about a little eye candy?

Got this cute lil Valentine card from Kim in North Carolina. Sometimes I miss all my patterned paper, most of which is at my mom's house...out here all I've got is what I've bought from Stampin' Up and sometimes you get tired of one company's style, KWIM? But now I've got a big fat binder full of 8.5x11 paper that my mom sent me :)

And this Valentine is from Janice in California! Super cute, no? I think she used Nestabilities, little die cutting things that come in a range of nested sizes. I'd love to have the scalloped circle ones but I don't know if they'd work in my Sizzix machine...

I've got a few more birthday cards to share that I got in the mail. Lee apparently doesn't have as many online friends as I do, snort! Anyway, this beauty is from Janice as well. Love the white flowers and the shading.

Isn't this just stinkin' adorable? This is from my Bella Sistah Jamie! Loooooooove that summery floral paper. Oh yes, love it love it love it. Such fun colors and looks great with da Bella!

And this one is from Susan in Canada! The photo does not capture this card's cuteness, the washers are GLITTERY. Love that retro patterned paper too.

This was a BRAK (birthday Random Act of Kindness) from heavensent (that's her SCS user name). I've always loved this dress stamp but never bought it. I'm in the RAK group on SCS but I'm ashamed to say I don't participate much. Lately I've been focusing more of my energies on scrapbooking rather than card making.

Cute little turtle thank you from Adrienne, who thanks to the Bella Sistahs received lots of fun cards from all over while she was convalescing from her surgery. She says she felt really glamorous to be getting international mail from Canada and Japan :)

See, I told you I'd been working on my scrapbooks, and this is one of the layouts that made me giggle. These are all the pictures that I think Mom was talking about when she said she'd gotten some photos that "really captured our personalities" during their trip out here last September. I love this color combination but I'm not sure it's right for a really goofy page like this; I couldn't help but use it though because it matched the photos so well. And just to reinforce how crazy I am...I had cut out the entire title in blue before realizing that the last letter would have to overlap the blue patterned paper, and therefore wouldn't show up. So I cut out five letters from the light purple paper to fix it...and if you need a G, o, r, c, and s in light blue cardstock, let me know ;)

I've been wanting to start a scrapbook just for Sadie and Vader for a long time, and now I finally have...this is the first layout I've completed for it. It won't be the first layout in the book since I think I'm going to be working from most recent photos back to the oldest ones--we have a LOT of photos from when Sadie was a teeny pupster but I need to go through and sort them by date. Anyway, this is my ode to Sadie and Vader's many nicknames, my two favorites being Fluffy Butt and Little Man. Cracks me up that I got to stamp "Fluffy Butt" for a page title.

And the goofy page titles continue with this layout I finished a day or two ago...pictures are from when Vee hurt his foot and had to wear the cone so he'd leave it alone to heal. Have you ever seen a more pathetic-looking dog? That third picture is my favorite :) I stamped paw prints all over the bottom of the pages but the Creamy Caramel ink doesn't show up too terribly well. It's pretty subtle in real life even.

I'm already working on my next layout. I've finished eight pages this month so far but Liz is still zooming off ahead of me--she really took advantage while I was out with the cold. Urgh! At least the cold has given up all but the last vestiges of the cough so I can function normally again. So now I need to finish my swaps, make some St. Patrick's Day cards, and scrapbook LOTS to catch up with her!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Ok, Ok...Orchid Festival, Part 3

Since you guys asked.... ;) Here's a few more pictures from the orchid festival. After this I'll have to find something else to blog about.

I took this one before we even got into the festival. Aren't these flowers gorgeous? Just love the contrast between the white petals and the...what would you call that color in the middle anyway? C'mon Crayola, what's the name of that color?

This shot is a lot like that one I took of the white orchid way back when that I loved so much with the crazy camera angle. This purple orchid is like the first one that Lee bought me last year (which has unfortunately gone to Orchid Heaven because I have a black thumb. Very sad). I went to the shoppette tonight to grab dinner at Subway, and they have some little Valentine gifts that include this type of orchid.

Ok, so for this one I'm seeing like an old-fashioned Russian hat and the bottom of the flower is the guy's beard. Maybe I should go watch Anastasia this weekend...I love that movie. I like Russian history; I once took a class in Slavic & Eastern European studies for *fun* when I was working on my undergrad degree.

Some orange orchids just for you, Liz!

These kind of remind me of hydrangea, the way that it's a bunch of blooms on one stalk. I took a picture of some that are more yellow too. The flowers on these are pretty tiny compared to the other types of orchids.

Told you there was an orchid wedding dress. It's got a wide gold ribbon for a sash and then a crown of flowers...kinda bad lighting in there, and there was a small group with some kids so I didn't want to try wrestling with them to get a better photo.

Me with all the white orchids, but I think this one is a bit blown out--the white on the flowers is a little too bright.

I thought this little guy was pretty funny. Not only do the people here flash the peace sign for pictures, so do the shisa!

After we got the tickets, we came in through an archway and this was the sight that greeted us. That whole thing behind me with all the different colors is completely made up of flowers.

I wanted to get a shot of the inside of the tower because it looks SO cool, but I couldn't get a picture that really conveys the cool factor. If you look at the first picture on Part 1 of the orchid festival pics, you'll see that there's a thing running around the outside of the tower where you can climb up to the top of it. The inside has the same spiral pattern and it's all lit up cool, I just wish I could have gotten a really good picture of what it looks like in there.

Ok, so that's all for the orchid festival. Now I need to go take pictures of something else to share on here...actually, it'll probably be some more of my scrapbook pages next. I just finished a layout tonight that makes me giggle :) G'night everybody!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Orchid Festival, Part 2

More orchid festival pictures! I could do this for three or four more posts without posting the same picture twice, but I won't. These are the last of the orchid festival pics I'm going to put on here unless I get begged for more ;)

So technically this was taken before we got to the orchid festival, we saw this somewhere in the park as we were walking that one kilometer to the orchids. Check out the trunk on this plant, is that not wild? 'Course I suppose the Japanese also gave us square watermelons so why should I be surprised. I think that they tie the stems together when the plant is young so eventually they kind of fuse together and that's how they get the pattern.

We saw these at the entrance to the Flower Tower. I kind of thought they were funny, but also creepy...

Here's Ree with the vanda orchids. They're hanging in little baskets I think, with the roots trailing out all over the place--they grow on trees, and don't need soil or anything on their roots. Click on the picture to see it bigger and you'll notice that it looks like Lee's wearing a wig made out of roots, hehe!

This was one of the flowers in the vanda section of the festival. Bigger blooms but I just didn't think they were as pretty as some of the other types. I also discovered that our camera sometimes doesn't read the blue-violet end of the spectrum too well; I took a bunch of pictures of blue-violet flowers and some of them looked much more pink. And sometimes it doesn't do well with red either--the red comes out really bright and vibrant, but you can't see any detail or texture on the red object. But other than that, this camera is fabulously perfect ;)

More orchids with interesting patterns on their petals. Is anyone else seeing eyes on the two side petals and then the bottom looks like a tongue sticking out? Just me? Ok.

We saw several of these, I call 'em the bullfrog orchids because that little cuppy part reminds me of a bullfrog. I don't know what kind they *really* are.

Lee took this one of another bullfrog orchid--click on the photo to see it larger and you'll see that it's got hairs!!

I'm thinking this could have been one of Queen Amidala's outfits in the Star Wars prequel trilogy. This reminds me of The Phantom Menace, you know the things the Gungans are riding in the big battle and they had feathers sticking up when they come riding out of the fog...? Ok, maybe not, I realize that not everyone is a Star Wars nut like me.

More frilly Cattleyas (I think these are Cattleyas anyway). A lot of the flowers didn't have much scent to them that I could tell (remember though, I do have a cold) but the Cattleyas were really strong. Even with the cold, I could smell them from some distance away and I think that made my nose mad, my cold didn't seem to like these flowers much. But they sure are pretty! They had a little thing where you could smell some perfume samples that are made with orchids, they smelled pretty good! Still a bit strong for my liking, but a good scent.

I just had to share this one because I think it's oddly shaped, kind of starfish-y. And the petals looked almost waxy.

A purple zebra orchid! So yeah, I've been giving funny names to all my flower pictures, maybe I shouldn't be taking so much cold medication...I tease, I tease! The only thing I've taken the last couple days is Ricola cough drops and I hardly think those would mess with my head. I'm just normally this way.

This is the Scooby Doo ghost orchid! Seriously, this looks like a person dressed up as a ghost to be the villain on an episode of Scooby Doo. The *original* Scooby Doo that was actually good, not the current Scooby and Shaggy cartoon. Just watching the theme song for that cartoon makes me feel like I have ADD or ate some funky mushrooms or something. But What's New Scooby Doo was pretty good. Yeah, I'm a Scooby fan. But not Scrappy, Scrappy is the devil! Anyway, I think this picture might be upside down, but I'm not sure. Anyway, I put it this way because of the resemblance to a cartoon villain.

In one of the buildings, they had an exhibit of all kinds of wedding bouquets made with orchids but I didn't take any pictures in there. My wedding bouquet was purple hydrangeas and white gardenias, it was gorgeous...but anyway, back to the orchids. Another room had these...things...I don't know what you'd call them, they just had different arrangements of flowers. I liked this undersea one, I thought it was cool.

And how's this for a dress?? When you look at it from where I'm standing, you see the framework and all the little individual flower pots. It was set up for Japanese ladies so I had to scrunch down a bit on the steps so that the flower dress would start at the right place. They had a whole thing set up in a gazebo of white orchids made to look like a wedding dress, too.

Last photo, one of our self-portraits that we took up at the top of the tower :) I think we do this just about everywhere we go; we should have done it when we did the cherry blossom festival because all the photos of us turned out too dark and Lee says he can't quite fix 'em so they'll look good, so that's why we have to go back up there.

And if that's not enough floral photography for you, my friend Casey was telling me about the lily festival they have every year on Ie Island, I'm going to have to check that out!!