Friday, June 29, 2012

Card Cache: By the Seashore

So, um, it's been a tough week here.  I kind of had a bit of a confrontation with someone today and I've given up my volunteer position because, of all the things stressing me out this week, that's the only one I could get rid of.  I'm hoping that will be enough to restore some balance to my life and that soon I'll be back to what passes for normal around here.  And that I'll continue to have fun in my craft room and have lots of pretties to share on here.

And with that, let's take a look at some cards, shall we?  Today's Card Cache is a stamp set that's brand new in the SU catalog called By the Seashore.  Despite not being much of a beach baby myself, I really, really like to get a lot of the beachy themed stamp sets; Ocean Commotion was a favorite and I was sad that it was only around for a year.  So anyway, By the Seashore was on my first order, and here is the first card I made with it:

This shows off some of the new In Colors, Summer Starfruit (the yellow, I'm not sure how much I like it yet...I still miss Crushed Curry!), Raspberry Ripple (the reddish pinky color) and Midnight Muse (the dark, dark blue).  I'm kind of in love with the new firm foam ink pads; the ink coverage is phenomenal and while they take some getting used to, I'd be lying if I said I wasn't salivating at the thought of getting an entire set of them.  But not anytime soon, we just spent a buncha money on Sadie's surgery, and I can do lots of stuff with my current ink pads.

These were for a recent sketch challenge over on Splitcoast; lately I seem to be going back and forth between two sentiment sets, Pursuit of Happiness (on the left) and Perfectly Penned (on the right).  Which is good 'cause I'm using all this stuff I bought, right? After I'd stuck everything down, I kind of wished I'd added some baker's twine or something especially to the starfish card, but I didn't want to unstick it all to do that.

I made 14 of these for a card swap, and when I discovered I'd cut two extra die cuts, I made up two more for my card cache.  I'm kind of in love with Baja Breeze (the card base color) because a.) when it retired as an In Color and we didn't know it would come back, I bought a TON of cardstock that color and b.) it seems to work well with my seashells.  Plus there's SO many color combos to play with, Baja looks good with practically everything.

I tweaked the colors just a bit and made a couple of these for a more masculine version.  Who decided that purple is a feminine color anyway?  Who decided that colors were masculine or feminine at all?  Well anyway, I liked it in this color combo too.

After I made that one card that I seriously disliked, I had to redeem myself and my shells so I made this one using a technique called thumping:  you ink up the stamp in a light color of ink and then use the brush tip of a marker to thump on a darker color, then stamp on your paper.  I suppose you could do more than one darker color, but I just used one for this card.  I was pleasantly surprised how much I liked the effect on the shells:

I tried to take a good closeup shot and this is the best I got.  I want to try this technique with some more natural shell colors, like maybe Crumb Cake (light brown) with thumped-on Cajun Craze (deep orangey rust).  I've also seen some cards on Splitcoast with the shells stamped in white ink on darker cardstock, so I'd like to try that too.  One of these days : )  I've also decided that I have a serious hoarding problem when it comes to 12x12 patterned paper, so I was thinking perhaps I should start another personal challenge to use up some of that stash.  What would I call that challenge though...hmmm.  SU names all their patterned paper packs so I could put those on slips of paper and draw them periodically the way I've started doing with stamp sets; I'm embarrassed to think how many paper packs I have that I've never used even a tiny piece of.  (Lee, you didn't just read that.)  But no stamping for the next couple weeks while we're entertaining Lee's family as we gallivant (still love that word) around London and Scotland.

Sadie update:  She had another vet appointment today and he said she needs to be confined even MORE than she already is because she's moving around too much and she's developing a fluid buildup around the surgery site.  He called it something but I haven't a clue how to spell it.  Poor Say-Say has been having to wear the Cone of Shame pretty much all the time too because she won't quit messing with the leg if we don't put the cone on her.  You have never seen a more pathetic looking dog flower.  I'm still a little unhappy at the thought of leaving her in a boarding kennel for almost two weeks; not that I don't think they'll take good care of her but just because *I* won't be able to take care of her.  Though I wonder sometimes if I'm not doing a good enough job at that.  I just really want her to heal quickly; she just really wants to be a punk and refuses to eat unless I hand feed her every. single. time she's supposed to eat.  She's lost a kilo and a half.  Vader would happily eat anything Sadie didn't want, but if we don't want him to balloon up like a furry sausage he won't get his wish.

Well, it's past 10:00 and we have to get up early to go to the airport and of course I have yet to pack.  Guess I should go hand-feed Sadie, put the Cone of Shame on her while I feel like a miserable excuse for a human being with her guilt-trippy eyes on me, and then go pack so I can try to get some sleep.  Oy.  At least we got the house pretty cleaned up (not that we live in squalor, but we always try to have things extra-nice when people come over).

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

A Card & Then Maybe a Rant

Let's start with the positive today, shall we?  This is one of the cards I made on Sunday, and I was really happy with how it turned out:

I'm trying to forget about the part that this is WAY late for Father's Day.  I recently discovered the Dynamic Duos challenge, which is where I got the color combo and to be honest I stole the idea to use French Foliage from there too.  And then I really liked the sketch over at Retro Sketches; I've been wanting to play along over there for ages and this is the first time I've actually done so.  I simplified the sketch slightly by leaving out a little border on the right of the main image and I just loved how this turned out.  Surprised me too since I normally dislike River Rock : )  (Details are here if you want them.)

And now let's go for a little rant because I kind of feel like the universe is picking on me today so I'm gonna have a little pity party, vent on here, and then I'm going to get over it and eat a brownie and I'm going to be happy if it kills me.  Sadie is stressing me out.  She won't quit messing with that leg where the incision is, but if I put the Cone of Shame on her, then she pants like crazy and she either can't or won't drink any water while wearing it, so I'm concerned she's going to get dehydrated but I don't know what else to do.  And if she's not wearing the Cone of Shame, I'm yelling at her to quit messing with her leg and then I feel bad for yelling at her.  In between dealing with Sadie, I spent the morning cleaning the house, trying to get things ready for when Lee's family gets here this weekend, worked on some swaps and then I made a card I hate (they can't all be winners).

Then I went into the kitchen to make dinner.  I started browning some beef for lasagna and made some cookie dough (I'm sending cookies to my brother later this week) and then I go to look for one of my lasagna ingredients and I don't have it.  What?!  I could have sworn I had it.  This should be no surprise when on Sunday night, I was making spaghetti and discovered the only spaghetti sauce we had had gone moldy in the fridge (ewww).  So now the beef for the lasagna is back in the fridge to be made up tomorrow, and I'm cooking the backup dish, which is a new recipe I'm trying and so far I'm not too hopeful we'll like this one.  Argh.  But now my timer is going off so it's time to see if it's edible or if I'm eating a brownie for dinner.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Notre Dame, Part 2

Sadie update:  We took Miss Bee to the vet on Saturday morning and he says her incision looks "smashing" but that it looks like she's messing a little bit with her leg--she had some red above the incision where she'd been licking it.  She doesn't mess with it if we're in the room with her, so now if we have to leave her alone, she has to wear the Cone of Shame.  Even then, she doesn't fight with us when we put it on her, she just does her darnedest to look SO pathetic that you can't help but laugh at her and then you feel like a horrible human being for laughing at her.

I have a lot of stuff I need to do in my craft room right now (swaps, late Father's Day cards {yeah, I totally missed that one}, birthday cards, etc.) and I didn't want to leave Say downstairs by herself all day yesterday, so I convinced Lee to carry her up the stairs and put her in my craft room.  She spent most of the day in there with me yesterday, chillin' underneath my craft table while I stamped up a storm (seriously, I got SO MUCH done yesterday), and she really didn't move around more than she would have in the kennel.  I thought she seemed happier for the change of scenery but maybe I'm projecting my feelings onto her.  She's been a very good little girl with this whole recovery process thus far, so I just hope she won't be subjected to the Cone of Shame for very long.  (And because I am a horrible human being, I do have CoS pictures of her...but not for today's post).

Sooooooooo Lee's family gets here on Saturday and we're going to be gallivanting (love that word, gallivanting) about the countryside for two weeks while Sadie and Vader are in jail (though Sadie is pretty much in jail anyway) and that means I won't be posting Paris and Italy pictures unless I figure out how to schedule posts and actually take the time to *write* like a dozen posts for while we're gone, and come on, when has my time management ever been *that* good?  So we'll just truck along as far as we can this week and see what happens next week.  To that end, I bring you more Notre Dame pictures, but this time we got there early in the day and paid our money to climb lots of stairs (stairs, I love stairs!) to the top of the church to meet some gargoyles.

Ho-hum.  Same thing, different century.

So some of the gargoyles are fantastical creatures and others are clearly based on real-life animals, but they're an interesting mix.  Some of them are kind of deteriorated; well, even if they weren't put on the church when it was first begun 849 years ago, they're still pretty dang old.

View of Paree from the top of the church.  You can see the Eiffel Tower in the distance towards the left on the horizon.

And here it is zoomed in a bit.  It was a little hazy this particular day.

More gargoyles, facing in toward the center of the church.

Hard to get good pictures from this angle since it was backlit.  They only let a certain number of people go upstairs at a time, which is good because the walkways are narrow, but when we went up there were these two extremely silly girls who were flipping out about the height.  I'm not convinced it was actual acrophobia or if they were just pretending, but WHY would you pay the money and climb all those stairs if you know you're terrified of heights?

There's one of the downspouts that killed Frollo in the Disney movie :)  Oh, speaking of which, you know the part where Phoebus follows Quasimodo up the stairs and they're arguing about how Esmeralda has sanctuary in the church and they're on this little bitty spiral staircase?  Pretty sure we walked up those exact same stairs.

Is it weird if I say this gargoyle kind of looks like Tommy Lee Jones?  Maybe just because we saw Men in Black III last week.

Another view of the Seine and part of the city.  Apparently there was some kind of demonstration or something going on, you can see all the traffic backed up and on the right, on the bridge, you can see a line of police.  We didn't go towards that area of the city when we finished touring Notre Dame, so no idea what was going on.

This one reminds me of that really creepy Goya painting of Saturn eating one of his children.  Don't click on the link if you don't want to see said really creepy painting.

We were also able to climb up into the bell tower, but Quasimodo was nowhere in sight.  This isn't a great picture; it was dark in there, and the original photo all you could see was a little bit of the reflection on the clapper.  I read a sign that said the current bells at Notre Dame are actually of rather poor quality (older bells were lost in the anti-religious fury of the French Revolution) so they are currently raising money to purchase new bells for the church's 850th anniversary next year.  Also, if you look the bell tower is all done in wood (as it was in the Disney movie) because the wood absorbs some of the vibration from the bells and keeps it from damaging the stonework on the rest of the church.  Interesting, huh?

The gargoyles' facial expressions are kind of funny to me; I imagine that one in the middle is saying, "What on earth are they doing down there?"

And this is what he was looking at in the square in front of the church.  No idea why this chickie is dressed in a Santa outfit and probably freezing her buns off.

I kinda like this picture and I'm going to ignore the fact that the horizon tilts to the left.

See, this one is nowhere near as creepy as the earlier gargoyle.  Maybe because he's eating grapes and not something that looks...non-planty.

See, here's another one who is either surprised or horrified by what he's seeing.  I think it's kind of interesting to have this ancient gargoyle juxtaposed with the modern skyscraper in the background.

Some of the detail on the church.

And some green statues.  They don't do a tour really, just let you up onto the roof to walk around and then usher you back down, but to be fair the walkways are so narrow there's no way to do a tour for any group larger than say four or five people.  There was a small shop where they sell books and stuff relating to the church, which is where we bought our tickets to climb up to the top, but I didn't get anything there because I didn't realize you don't get to go back through it on the way down.  Oh well.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Friday Flashback: Elegant Notes

Sadie update:  she seems to be doing okay for the most part.  She whines a little sometimes, but I think if I were the one who'd had knee surgery, I'd be whining a lot more than she is (and I wouldn't be stuck in a kennel, either...I'd still get Internet access).  Last night she was realllllly fighting going to sleep, which was kind of hilarious to watch because she had her tongue sticking out just a little bit and she'd start to lean over like she was going to conk out and then she'd catch herself and straighten up again, only to repeat the process about 30 seconds later.  I think maybe she's afraid if she goes to sleep again, someone will shave the other half her back end.  Poor little Say-Say.

I stayed downstairs with her last night and slept on the couch, and she was quiet all night--it was Vader who woke me up over and over.  We've got wood flooring in most of the downstairs and he kept getting up and moving around and he's got the LOUDEST TOENAILS ON THE PLANET.  Yeah, if I spend tonight downstairs with Sadie, I'm going to lock Vader upstairs where he can't make as much noise.

Anyway, I do have some non-dog-related stuff to share today, so how about we resurrect the Friday Flashback?  I was pretty pleased when I drew the name of the stamp set out of the hat for today, because it's Elegant Notes and you know how I love music.  Turns out I'd only made one lonely card with this stamp set and I didn't much care for it:

The Elegant Notes gallery on SCS is pretty sparse too.  I rarely have much luck when it comes to using Bravo Burgundy.  I don't know, that sketch kind of has potential, but the patterned paper and the stamped scripty background are just too close in scale to look good together.  So yes, I needed some pretty Elegant Notes cards for today, and here's the first one:

I stamped the Basic Black cardstock with one of my old favorite background stamps, Filigree, and then clear embossed it which I think looks pretty classy.  The rest of the card was super-simple and fast too; I cut out the shape with my Labels Framelits (my new favorite toy, seriously I've used them a ton this week), stamped and sponged it, threw on some ribbon and bada-bing bada-boom.  Then I decided that this would be a good card to make multiples for a gift set, so I made 8 total with coordinating envelopes and on the 8th one I realized I had totally run myself out of adhesive.  Oops.  So I had to buy a cartridge to last me until my Great Rewards (Lee, that means I got it for FREE, it's an SU deal) adhesive order gets here.

The other night I was flipping through photos of my old card creations and came across one that I liked the layout, so that was the genesis for this card. I've got a couple boxes of patterned paper scraps, so I flipped through those until I found a big scrap of Bella Rose paper, and then I made 3 of these cards because that scrap was *that* big.  Then I used another scrap of Bella Rose paper for this card:

So yeah, I totally love the treble clef because a.) I used to play flute and piccolo, you can't get more treble than that, and b.) I think the treble clef is more recognizable as being music-related than the bass clef if you show it to someone without musical training.  But I saw this sketch and thought oh why not, so I did the treble and bass clefs together.  I think this might be my favorite of the cards today, I like the super-clean lines.  And it's pink and purple.  Maybe I could have added something like some ribbon or something, but I kinda like it simple and easy to mail.

I did two girly-looking music cards so I wanted something blue and, if not masculine, then at least more gender-neutral, so this is what I came up with.  The three little squares were already cut like that in my scrap stash, so I just went with that when I found the sketch.  After I stamped it though I kind of thought that the three stamps on the main image panel just kind of look like a random assortment rather than a cohesive collage-y group, so I'm kind of meh about this card.  And then I thought maybe a bigger flourish would help.

Ta-da, bigger flourish.  You can see I was experimenting a bit with the placement of the elements here.  When I started work on these, I thought I'd give Bravo Burgundy another go and see if I could make something I liked with it, which is when I discovered that SU hardly ever makes patterned paper with that color in it.  Thank goodness for the paper stacks where they do monochromatic patterns in every color : )  I also stamped the inside of these, since you kind of have to do an insert on a Bravo Burgundy card base or you wouldn't be able to read anything on the inside.

So the only stamp in the set that I *didn't* use is the one that says "This music belongs to" because when do you need that?  I do have quite a lot of sheet music but it's been in storage for several years and I'm not about to stamp it all with my name on it.  And then I thought really, today most people's music is all on their iPods and then I thought wouldn't it be freakin' HILARIOUS to do a "This music belongs to" tag for an iPod?  Well, I thought so, but I didn't make one because really, I'm not going to stick it on my iPod for real because I'm always moving my iPod from place to place, oftentimes in a case.  But the idea tickled me nonetheless.

Dude, I really do talk a lot.  If you're curious, all the details and recipes for each of these cards will very shortly be up in my SCS gallery.  Once I get that done, I'm going to go sit with Sadie in the living room and cross stitch for a while.  Ta-ta!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Aww, Poor Sadie!

We just got Sadie back from the vet after her surgery; she had the surgery yesterday and then they kept her overnight for observation.  The vet said she's been coping pretty well but she gets so excited when they go near her that they couldn't get her to stand up and go outside to potty; all she wanted to do was melt into a puddle on the floor and have her belly rubbed.  Classic Say, she loves new people. 

So we've finally got her back home and we got a kennel for her which is where she's going to be living for at least a month (minus short potty breaks).  She's not thrilled with her new jail, and probably is even *less* thrilled at her funky new haircut:

You can just see her incision right over the joint.  She's gonna look goofy for a while; I told Vader it's not fair to laugh at her (and then I got online to post these pictures, I'm such a mean dog mama).

So yep, now we start the long recovery process.  We take her back in on Saturday for a checkup and then again next week.  Since she'll be locked up for so long, we got her a new toy to help keep her occupied (see the lime green thing under Lee's arm?).  As soon as Vader got on the scene, he tried to stick his nose between the wires of her kennel to get the toy.  Maybe we should get a second one for him...

Actual conversation between Lee and me while I was writing this post:

Lee:  That's so mean, posting those pictures of Sadie.

Me:  She doesn't surf the Web, how will she know?

Lee:  You don't know, maybe she *does* surf the Web.

Me:  Well, she certainly doesn't have Internet access in that kennel.

Lee: wonder she's ticked about being locked up in there!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Disneyland Paris, Part 2

After my last post, I was struck by the undeniable urge to watch Sleeping Beauty.  And then I watched it with the commentary.  We've been on a little bit of a Disney movie kick lately; we've also watched The Princess and the Frog, Atlantis:  The Lost Empire, and Robin Hood (twice, for me at least).  Between the Paris trip and when we left for Italy, I also watched The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Aladdin, and maybe Hercules...not really sure if I actually watched Hercules or if I just thought about watching it.  But anyway, tangent.

We were just about done looking around the Sleeping Beauty exhibit in the castle when we heard music, so we went out to the parapet (isn't that just a neat word, parapet?) and saw the band:

Yay for bands, I love bands.  Even if this one is all brass and percussion, no woodwinds.

I took a picture of the Cinderella fountain for my SIL Adrienne, whose favorite Disney movie is Cinderella.  (Personally, I find her a bit hypocritical since she talks at the beginning of the movie about how they {her wicked stepfamily} can't stop her from dreaming, but then she tells the dog he shouldn't dream about catching the evil cat.)

Self-portrait as we boarded the happiest cruise in the Seven's a small world (hey, it's done with all lower-case letters in the Disney parks so I'm doing it the same way).  Lee took me to Disneyworld for our last spring break in college and we went on this ride the very first day, and then Lee sang the song from it for the next week.  The problem with that is he only knows part of a verse in Spanish and part of a verse in English.

For some reason when we go on that ride and I try to take pictures, the only ones that come out are the hippo and the French cancan dancers.

I'll have to dig up the scrapbook layout I did from that trip to Disneyworld, 'cause same pictures.

Here's the Haunted Mansion, which is pretty much the same as the one in California.  I can't remember for sure but I think maybe it was done in a mix of English and French for the speaking bits.  Or maybe just French.  We were disappointed though, no ghosts tried to hitchhike in our Doom Buggy.

This mosaic is on the floor of this arcade that runs along behind some of the Main Street shops; there's a thing where you can go in and it has something to do with the Statue of Liberty, I guess since she was a gift to the US from France?  We got bored fast since my French wasn't quite up to translating whatever it was they were saying in there, so we moved on.

We saw this sign kind of to the side and underneath the castle and I guessed (correctly) that "taniere" means "lair", so we went in and saw...

Maleficent!  I want a pet dragon, can I take this one home?  I think she'd get along fine with Sadie and Vader, don't you?

We went through the castle towards Fantasyland and found this neat Alice in Wonderland labyrinth that was actually really fun.

Lots of it is a hedge maze and you're trying to get to what I think is the house of the Queen of Hearts?  The maze was pretty good, tall enough that even Lee couldn't see over and cheat to find the end.  They had a fun bit where fountains shoot water at each other in patterns but somehow I didn't take any pictures of that.

The Cheshire Cat's eyes move like he's a ginormous clock.

It took some work to crouch down there so my booty didn't show on the side of the card.  I need a smaller booty.  Or maybe I just need to be shorter, pretty sure that picture opportunity was meant for kids.

There's my sweetie pie!  We did eventually find the building in the middle of the labyrinth.

Just 'cause I thought he looked cool.  We climbed up into the building and you can see down to all the people trying to figure out which way to go in the maze.

One last castle picture and that pretty much wraps up our day at Disneyland Paris.  I think our last ride was Pirates of the Caribbean again, and then we left around 8 o'clock because we were tired and our feet were REALLY unhappy with how much walking we did during that week, not just at Disneyland but in Paris in general.

Ok, I'm off to my stamping room, here's hoping I create something pretty today.  TTFN!