Friday, July 29, 2011

Just A Few Cards Today

Finally got some samples made for Tiana's baby announcements.  She wanted the hippo from Bundled in Love, and a design similar to what we did for her first baby (who got the Bundle of Joy giraffe) but this time horizontal instead of vertical, 'cause a hippo's wider than it is tall.  So here's what I've got.

And here's another version with the colors swapped around a bit:

Personally, I like the first one with the Pear Pizzazz card base.  But I kinda like the all-Pumpkin Pie striped paper on the second one (and that has nothing to do with the fact that I want to hoard the multicolor stripe paper....well, maybe a little...but I still like the Pumpkin Pie stripes!)  So T, which one do you like?

I seem to be in a Pear Pizzazz kind of mood, I made this next.  How fun would it be to have a purple Vespa?

This one just isn't working for me.  I think it would have worked better with a really bold pattern for the paper strip, which would have offset the white space on the right.  Ehh.

And this is what I sent Missy for her birthday, along with the birthday card that had a bunch of clocks on it (totally apropos, no?).  Next time maybe I'll post all the pictures I used for the clock, but they're on the Mac and I'm writing this on the laptop so that will have to wait till next time.  For now, I'm back to stitching while I wait for Lee to get home.  TTFN!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Frivolous Wishes

Yesterday I did some yard work...weeded until I got tired of that, and then mowed the rest of the weeds ; )  As I was doing that, I thought how nice it would be to have some kind of garden fairy who could keep all the weeds out of the yard and give us lots of pretty flowers and stuff.  And then I wished that all my socks were the same height because I hate a pair of mismatched socks.  So if any of you happen across any wish-granting genies, wish for something silly and frivolous like I did.

Guess what?  I've been hard at work the last couple of days making more pages for Sarah and Tiana's baby books, so that's what I'm sharing today.  I've got more done on Tiana's book than Sarah's right now; I'm waiting for a couple of things to come in to work on some of Sarah's layouts.

Here's Tiana's February layout, I know she likes that little truck.  I think I made the piece with the truck a little too big...might go back and tweak it a little before I send it off to Tiana when the book is done.

This is Sarah's February work in progress; I need some smooth 12x12 Pink Pirouette cardstock before I can finish this one.  I'll stamp some big flourishes on the background when I have that.  I used Lucky Limeade for the green color but I wonder if it's a bit too dark...I may switch it out for something else and re-stamp the Eiffel Tower panel, we'll see.  These colors are what Sarah is using to decorate her daughter's room and will match the bedding she has.

I think this might be my favorite layout of this batch...well, this one or Sarah's May : )  I know I've said it before, but I do so miss Crushed Curry, I think it was such a fabulous yellow.  Anyway, since Tiana is now living in the Southwest, I thought it would be fun to have a cowgirl page for her book.  I was at first going to use some more muted colors but that just isn't Tiana, so I found that awesome pattern in the Razzleberry Lemonade paper pack and went from there.

I colored in the medallion with markers to match the patterned paper, stamped it and punched it out.  I used that same medallion stamp on the background.  Finally re-inked my Whisper White craft pad for the first time since I bought it, that's got to be at least six years ago.  Don't known why I didn't do it before : )

Here's the cowgirl panel, I like how this looks.  This was actually the second iteration (first one below)...I had to redo it so that the bronc would be offset a bit and look better with where I stamped "Wanted".  The two stamp sets I used on these pages are Wanted and Bronc Buster, I love 'em both, and now they both fit in one single DVD case 'cause I unmounted them.

My first try at the bronco panel, which was fine but just not quite as I wanted it.  Sometimes it takes me a couple of tries before I get things just so.

My other favorite layout...I fixed the stars on the right page, there's one that didn't stick where it was supposed to and I didn't notice it before I took the picture.  Sarah said there's a big eclipse next May so she requested something celestial with pastel colors.  Well, the colors aren't technically pastel I don't think, but I think she'll like this nonetheless.  I used Lavender Lace for the page base, Ballet Blue for the photo mats, and the patterned paper is Regal Rose from an old retired paper pack whose name escapes me at the moment.

When Sarah asked for something celestial, I thought of this stamp set, Stardust...but I don't own it, Mom does.  And because my mommy is so cool, she sent it to me for use on this layout.  All I got done on baby books yesterday was coloring in the sun and moon with colored pencils.  It took a lot of different colors of yellow, orange and red for the sun, lots of layers of color too.  I did the sky around the sun in purple just because I like orange and purple together.

The moon was faster to color because it's smaller than the sun and also not all the different sections and stuff.  The moon is pale gray with some lavender shading; both the moon and sun have blue eyes.  And of course I've got some more flourishes for Sarah : )

I managed to get this layout done for Tiana's book in a single sitting, I wanted something bright and orange.  The colors on the photo look darker than they are IRL; it's really overcast today so the colors aren't photographing quite right.  Trust me, it looks better in person.  Anyway, the butterflies on this layout are from a really old stamp set called Flutterbies.  I had another small butterfly cut out and was thinking of putting it below the journaling block, but then I decided that it was fine as-is and took it off.

I think I'm done with baby books for the day.  I'm going to watch The Last Unicorn and work on my stitching until time to make dinner.  Hope you're having a great week out there on the interwebs.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Revisiting Hawaii

Well, I have no baby book updates this week...I said last time I was going to let them sit for a day or two while I waited for a brain wave to strike about the color combo for the next couple layouts, and here it is over a week later and I haven't done anything on them at all.  I have, however, made progress on my unmounting project; had to stop on that for now because I ran out of both cling foam and stamp cases.  I wish I'd taken a "before" picture of my collection though so I can see exactly how much impact this project is making on my storage space : )

So what have I been doing?  Well, Lee has been working insanely long hours the last couple of weeks, and will be for a while yet, so I've been managing the home front:  taking care of the dogs, making dinner (which he usually has to reheat whenever he gets home since I never know when that will be), watching a few movies I know Lee wouldn't care to watch with me (read:  old Star Trek movies), cleaning house.  Yesterday I did six loads of laundry, dishes (I hate dishes, but I do them a lot since we don't eat out that often here), cleaned the shower, vacuumed, and straightened up our bedroom and made it look nice.  So I haven't been totally idle.

Last week I finally got to see the season finale of Hawaii Five-0...yes, British TV is behind the American schedule, but at least I didn't have to wait so long to see the season finales of NCIS and NCIS:  LA.  Haven't gotten to the end of Castle's season 3 yet though.  Anyway, I digress.  In honor of the finale of Hawaii Five-0 (and because Missy wanted to see them), I thought I'd revisit Hawaii a bit today and show you pictures of our helicopter tour.

My dad couldn't believe that Lee got me on a helicopter without drugging me first.  I actually did okay, until we were about 2/3 through the ride and I started to get a little green around the gills.  Luckily, I can still say I have never actually thrown up on an airborne vehicle of any kind, although there have been a few close calls.  I hate getting motion sick.

I couldn't even count the number of rainbows we saw during the ride, which was 30 or 45 minutes, I forget.  And of course we're stuck with that annoying bit of schmutz on the camera lens...need to get Lee to edit some shots before I have photos printed for my scrapbook.  He's got time on that though, I have *hundreds* of photos already printed that I can work on...these baby books are higher priority right now though.  Anyway, Lee took enough photos that if you click through them fast enough it looks like a movie, so I just pulled a very few out of probably 200 that we have.

Love how bright the rainbow is in this one.  Hehe, Rainbow Brite.  Ok, I amuse myself.

There's Diamond Head off to the right.  We toyed with the idea of climbing it, but then we remembered that Missy and Bennet weren't with us so what was the point.

I love this shot, just seeing all the colors in the water so you can tell where the deep bits are.  Lee took all the pictures during the ride; a.) he's still better at the camera settings than I am and b.) I was trying not to get sick.

Just kind of fun to see all those houses sandwiched in between the bare mountains.

Rainbow out the other side of the helicopter.  It was a small helicopter, fit I think just five people plus the pilot and it was a little squishy in there.

I think this was coming over the northwest side of the island.

Big waterfall...not the one we saw at the botanical gardens, this one is much higher.  From what I remember, people aren't allowed to hike around this one, I can't remember the whole story about it. 

That's the Dole pineapple plantation; if you click on the photo to see it bigger, you can see the pineapple maze in the middle.  I believe Dole supplied the pineapple for SpongeBob's house.

Out towards Pearl Harbor...pretty impressive with all the ships, huh?

There you can see the memorial at the USS Arizona.

And now we're heading back in towards the airport.

Know why I'm smiling?  'Cause I didn't throw up on the helicopter.  WIN.  Know what else?  That helicopter was the same one that was used in an episode of Hawaii Five-0, which we hadn't seen at all when we were there...I started watching it with my dad while I was back in Texas before we came to England.  It's been fun too, 'cause when I watch I see certain things and I'm like "I've been there!" which is cool.  Lee watches with me sometimes, but not always.  He likes to poke fun at how they have a chase scene in every single episode but that's okay, I like the show : )

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Slaving Away in my Craft Room

For the last couple days, I've felt like I'm working hard but don't really have a lot to show for it, which is kind of a bummer.  I'm temporarily stalled on baby book production; I'm having trouble picking colors for the next layout I want to do, so it's probably better to let it sit for a day or two while I work on unmounting more of my stamps.  But I do have three more layouts completed.

Here's Sarah's July page, which I like for the most part but I think the Cherry Cobbler paper I used for the page base is just too dark.  I was out of Riding Hood Red 12x12 cardstock that's not textured.  Call me weird, I like all the pages to match so I don't want one layout to be textured and none of the others to be.

Sarah requested pumpkins for her November layout just in case her daughter doesn't cooperate with a birthday in October, so here's what I came up with.  I bought Carved & Candlelit (the stamp set I used for the pumpkins) the first year I started stamping, kind of fun to get out an oldie every once in a while.  The leaves are from a more recent favorite, Falling Leaves.  I had to use the polka-dotted leaf to go with the patterned paper.

Sarah also likes flourishes and I thought the pumpkin panel looked a little bare, so I stamped the flourishes in the background and now it reminds me of the scene where Cinderella's fairy godmother turns the pumpkin into a carriage.  I want a fairy godmother, but that's neither here nor there.  I showed Sarah the colors I was working with before I put the layout together and she was surprised by the Baja Breeze (blue color), but I think it really works with the other ones for a lovely fall layout.

Tiana loves the animals in Bundle of Joy and Bundled in Love, so I used every single one of them on this layout for her : )  I paper-pieced the square behind the bunny and giraffe, it's supposed to look like a quilt.  I kind of think maybe I should have sponged the edges of each pattern with some ink before I adhered them, but I can't pull them up now.  I do really like how this one turned out though, I think the colors are perfect--all I have to do is find the right patterned paper and the rest usually falls into place.

I've also done some birthday cards this week but since I haven't sent these out yet, I just won't say who each one is for : )

Seems like every year when the SU retiring list comes out, there's at least one stamp set on it that I'd looked at before but never wanted enough to get...*until* it showed up on that list.  So that's why I now have Sense of Time with the clock image : )  I'm converting all my wood-mounted stamps to cling foam and putting them in the stamp cases that SU sells, and since I'm trying to condense as much as possible, I've been putting two (and sometimes more) stamp sets in each case when I can fit 'em all in.  I try to put stamps that are similar theme/style together to make it easier for me to find them, and Sense of Time now shares a case with Wing It, and old favorite of mine which is where the rose came from.

I think it was a year ago that SU came out with the adhesive rhinestones and pearls, and of course I bought them shortly after they debuted...and this is the first time I've used any of them, heh.  I do like them though and I don't think they'll cause any problem with mailing things, so I may start using those babies more often!

Last card I made on Monday.  Apparently I was in the mood for some bright colors, all three cards use Melon Mambo and two of them use Tangerine Tango.  Been a little rainy here lately, maybe that's why I wanted bright colors.  Anyway, I need to go get ready to meet up with Lee for lunch, ta-ta for now!

Friday, July 8, 2011

London's SeaLife Aquarium

I am having one of those days where I just feel really tired...I even feel like my limbs are extra-heavy today.  I hate days like this; I feel like I wasted the day because I ended up falling asleep for 4 hours this afternoon.  And I've still got so many ideas percolating for the baby books I wanted to work on those today and here it is 6:15 on a Friday night and the only time I've gone in my craft room today was to vacuum.  Well, at least I got the vacuuming done (or Hoovering as they call it here!)

I'm behind with posting pictures from last month's trip to London.  I told Lee that he had to pick what to do/where to go this time so he chose the SeaLife Aquarium, which is on the banks of the Thames within sight distance of the Houses of Parliament and right next to the London Eye.  The day we went (whatever day that was, I forget) was the first time that we've had the stereotypically dreary rainy English day, so good thing we were inside for most of it (although we did get rained on going back and forth to Tube stations and to the restaurant where we ate lunch).

You're not allowed to use a flash when taking pictures inside the aquarium, so none of these is really stellar but not too terrible I think under the circumstances.  We saw several of these things on the walls; reminded us of Disneyland and how they always decorate everything to the hilt.  The aquarium was quite nice but totally crowded and I was reminded why I dislike small children.

I think this may have been our favorite thing to look at, judging by how many pictures we took trying to get a good one.  These are snakelocks anemones...they kind of remind me of Fraggle Rock or Muppets or wait, they look like Treasure Trolls hair!!  I used to have some of those, I wonder where they are now.

This was in the largest tank in the aquarium, no idea what it is but I liked the vivid lime green color.  This tank was so big that they had windows on a couple of different floors and from all different sides, including a tunnel along the bottom of the tank.  It was home to lots of fish and several types of sharks.

So you can see a bit more of the tank and my lime green whatsits.

They had this big thing on the bottom of the tank that was supposed to be a whale skeleton or something I think (I'm sure it was fake).  Kinda cool looking.  And since I couldn't use a flash, the fish look like they're moving REALLY fast ; )

We looked in this tank and Lee said, "Huh, those things look like jellyfish turned upside down."  We checked the sign next to the tank and sure enough, they're called upside-down jellyfish.

I got four or five pictures of this dude that just look like a blur with stripes, so I was happy to get a photo that's this clear.

This starfish reminded me of Flo on Finding Nemo, how she stuck to the side of the aquarium and watched the dentist work.  We saw some cleaner shrimp too : )  They also had several tanks with seahorses in them but I couldn't get any photos (darned kids).

And there's my sweetie pie!  One of the last exhibits in the aquarium was all about Antarctica and they had a colony of Gentoo penguins.   We had fun watching them; they're super fast in the water and look so funny when they pop up onto the bank and waddle around.  There was one who kept going to the waterside like he was going to jump in, then he'd chicken out and walk away.  He did that five or six times before he took the plunge.  He was so cute!

The aquarium was pretty nice, but it's got nothing on the Churaumi Aquarium in Okinawa.  Of course, that one is like the second-largest in the world, so it's bound to be impressive.  Still, we had a good time although I think it would have been better had it been a bit less crowded.  Eh, what can you do.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Independence Day

How's your holiday weekend going?  I am celebrating the fact that I am once more independently mobile.  Lee's car, Ron the Rover, turned out to be a Death Eater in disguise (apparently Rovers are infamous for having engines that break down not only frequently but expensively), so we had to go car shopping again.  So now the Rover's new name is Rookwood.  I, for one, think car shopping is akin to torture, but on Saturday we bought a car.  Behold:

This is a Toyota Yaris Verso, and the dude who sold it to us opined that she's a girl, so now we need a name.  We've still got Harry the Honda (I was feeling alliterative when we first named our England cars) but I kinda want to stick with the Harry Potter name theme for this one and I can't do alliteration with Y or V (well, Verity, but I was thinking one of the more central characters, and girl so it's not Voldemort).  So what do you reckon:  Ginny, Luna or Hermione?   Had she been silver, she would have been Luna no question.  I kind of like Ginny but Mom voted Hermione (not having even seen a photo so we'll see if that changes anything).

Lee has been working all weekend (yes, all weekend) trying to get ready for a big project he's starting at work this week, so I've been chillin' at the house with three dogs...we're dog-sitting Ellie, a sweet chocolate Lab, who is like Stealth Puppy.  I keep looking for her to make sure she's okay, not that she's misbehaving (because she isn't) but just because she makes no noise.  I'll be working in my craft room and look around and there she is; five minutes later I look again and she's not there anymore.  But she's a good little girl, unlike Sadie who is currently putting her nose up on the dining room table and begging for Ellie's dinner.

So, while I'm chillin' with the doglets, I've been working on the new baby books for Tiana and Sarah.  Here's Tiana's October layout:

It's reasonably cute, right?  I'm not 100% sure I like the batty background but I don't think it's terrible.  I'm trying to make the new books a little different from their first books so I've kind of been reinventing the wheel a bit coming up with some new designs.  I worked for a very long time on Sarah's October layout:

SARAH, YOU HAD BETTER TOTALLY LOVE THIS.  Sarah's favorite holiday is Halloween so I wanted to make this layout really, really cool.  She wanted bats and jack o' lanterns and I thought I'd try using the three characters from SU's old stamp set Best Fiends, whom I have dubbed Agnes, Frankie and Drac.  What took so long on this layout was coloring in the three fiends with colored pencils.

Here's Agnes, the flash reflected a little bit on her (she looks better IRL).  I also masked off all three of them and sponged on a bit of light blue ink for background (yes, it took forever to cut out the masks and I know I'm crazy for doing it).  Agnes was the easiest to color since most of her outfit is just black (well, I shaded with 3 or 4 different shades of gray, but you know what I mean).

Frankie and Drac took longer to color in, but I think they turned out pretty nice.  The color doesn't look quite right on Frankie's shirt in the picture; it's actually a purple that matches the inside of Drac's cape.  I chose the background stamp for the page base because the circles reminded me of the eyeballs in Drac's boo-quet.

Since today is the 4th of July, I couldn't just post Halloween layouts, so I spent the afternoon working on Tiana's July layout:

I'm not sure if I'll do Sarah's exactly like this or not, I've got some other stamps that I might want to play with (and I'm totally tired of coloring!!)  That said, I think this is the first time I've come up with a July layout that I really kinda liked.  Well, we'll see what I end up doing later, 'cause it's dinnertime now.

Hope you're having a great holiday and remember to thank a service member if you get the opportunity : )