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April 2012

March 2012

March "Word Play"

It's finished!!  Well, I finished the stitching...but I haven't actually done the finish work on it yet.  
Isn't that always the way, though??  We all stitch all these beautiful pieces, and then they end up all in a flat pile (to avoid creases and being ruined, of course) waiting to be properly finished.  
I'm really trying to finish all the pieces I do, even though it's so hard to keep up, especially when SO many cute new patterns come out which you HAVE to have.  I don't know about anyone else, but I'm a perpetual starter.  I finish the stitching on all the projects, I just seem to stop there.  I don't make them into ornaments.  I don't frame them.  I don't make them into little smalls.   I just start a new project.  
I need to get better at this.
There she is!!  March "Word Play"!!  I love the fibers used for the clovers -- it's called School Yard from CC, and it's a blend of green and brown.  So cool.  The keys that seem to be making an appearance in all of these graphs are so cool.  They remind me of big, iron skeleton keys that would be used back in like, the middle ages or something, to open a cell door in the Tower of London.  
Yes, that's where my mind goes.  Medieval England.  I can't help it.  That period of European history totally fascinates me.
I digress....
This is kinda bright, but I wanted to give you a close-up of some of the stitching.  Like I've said before, I'm totally in love with this series.  I've been working on them in between putting stitches in the big, big project I'm working on.  No sneak peeks on that till the summer.  Just me talking about it.  And I'm not even really talking about it, I'm just mentioning it.  Again.  I don't want you to think I'm not stitching with all of the crazy scrapbooking and cardmaking i've been doing.  Fear not -- my needle and thread have been close to me at all times.  I just can't reveal what I'm working on.
I'm sorry -- but those lambs are SO stinkin' cuteeeeee!!!!!!!  Love them.  LOVE.
I find that there's always one thing in these graphs that just makes me love them even more.  In the February one, it was the flowers.  In this one, it's the lambies.  Who knows which one in "April" will speak to me!
That's all I have for today, dear stitchers!!!  I hope you have a wonderful weekend!!  Mine will be filled with first bday parties and wedding/bridal shower goodies.
Until next week, happy stitching!!!
~~~~ J

An omgsupercute scrapbook album...from scratch!!!

Holy crap, you guys.  Holy crap.  
Ok.  So.  I don't know if any of you stitchers out there are scrapbookers, and if you're not, I apologize for boring you to tears with the cards and scrapbooking that I do, but it's just so fun and I have to share it all!!!!
Now, don't even ask me how I did, because I don't remember even a little, but I stumbled upon this amazing scrapbook designer, Heidi Swapp.  She's super cool. I may have seen something about her on My Craft Channel, but I honest to God don't remember how I found out about her, but I'm glad I did!
One quick thing - if you haven't checked out My Craft Channel, you should.  There are tons of great designers giving awesome tutorials on there.  Bonus.
Back to the story -- I saw on Heidi's website that she was going to be doing a tutorial for this adorbs little scrapbook album with a magnetic closure.  Yup.  Magnets, my friends.  
Ok.  See that flap on the right?  The purple part?  Magnets under there and on the cover keep it in place.  
But guess what?
The magnets are hidden.
This is the album (which is 8x8, btdubs) with the flap open.  Where are the magnets????  Good question.  The answer, however, is a secret.
This is the inside of the front cover and the first page.  Holy cow I need a manicure like WHOA.  I just now noticed that.  Disgraceful.
Samples of two of the inside pages.  I do like my ring, though.  Good choice, Jack.  Good choice.  Still need that mani, though.....
And this is the back cover -- you can see the flap on the right.  So stinkin' cool!!  Naturally, I couldn't resist the paper with music on it :-)
Heidi, in her super awesome tutorial (scroll down to the second season -- it's in two parts, called "Magnetic Book"), shows you a way to make an invisible binding, in addition to giving step-by-step directions on how to create this book with the magnetic closure.  I, however, decided to utilize the fabulous YourStory machine that I got recently (at a superduper discount, I might add) to actually glue the pages in.  So, I saved myself a few steps, but I may try that invisible binding sometime, too, because I'm definitely doing this book again.
There is absolutely a learning curve with this -- I had the video on my phone while I was at my project table trying to do this.  I had to keep pausing and rewinding to see some stuff, but I think I finally got it all down.  I think I did a pretty bang-up job the first go-around though, don't you??  
OH --- I forgot to mention --- sandwiched between the cool paper I chose for the covers, is a piece of chipboard to help keep it sturdy.  
All I have to do at this point is figure out what I'm going to use the album for, get some embellishments, and go to town with all the doo-dads!!!  Yesss!!!!  
That's it for today!!  Be sure to go see the wonderful things Heidi has to offer on her site (she has great products that recently came out, too, if you're a scrapper)!!!  
Go forth and be crafty!!

My sewing machine and I are bff's.

It was a dark and stormy night...
Well, not really...but it was a dreary Saturday, Sunday morning and afternoon until the sun came out.  This also equates to a 3-day headache.  Friday was gorrrggggg outside (i had to weed, people.  weed my garden.  unacceptable for march.), and then the storms came.  Such drastic changes in the weather usually mean certain headaches arrive.
And they did.
No migraine, thank goodness, but a bad enough headache to sideline me for most of the weekend.  When I was able to function for a bit, I decided to do bond with my sewing machine, something I haven't done in a while.  Quite possibly since I made my sister's apron.  That was a long time ago, peeps.
So, I grabbed one of the most recent tutorials from the Moda Bake Shop, which uses jelly roll strips.  This is called a Strippy Pillow, and I thought it was just so cute and it looked super simple, that I decided to give it a whirl.  I have many leftover jelly roll strips from when I made myself a nook cover, so I figured this was a perfect way to use up some of the strips.
This is SO easy.  SO EASY.  Seriously.  If I can do this, so can you.  It only took 2.5 hours, and that includes cutting the fabric, ironing, and pinning each strip.  Start to finish - 2.5 hours.  I was on a time-crunch, too -- GCB was starting at 10p, and I had to make the start of the show.  I so did.  Annie Potts + Kristen Chenowith = pure gold.
OK!!  Adorbs!!  This would make a fabulous gift for a teen girl for her bday or Christmas or whatevs!  It's a sham, if you will...note the back --
This fits a 16" square pillow (which i don't have at the moment, but i'm sure i can scrounge one up at joann's with my 40% off coup - gotta love coups), and it totes washable, so you don't have to worry about it getting dirty!  You can just throw it in the wash with the dark delicates, and viola!  All clean!
I haven't quite decided where this will finally make its home, but rest assured it'll be in a place where everyone can see it :-)
That's my craftyness for today!  I hope you all had a wonderful weekend!
Go forth and be crafty :-)
Much love :-)
~ ~ ~ J

So many cards, so little time.

Last night I left work and went straight to the accountant's office so I could file my tax return, only to get there and realize I forgot THE most important documents -- my W2 (I mean, really.  Who forgets this.) and the 1098 for my mortgage insurance.  I had every other single document.  Except them. 
So, I left with a homework assignment: get them and send them to the accountant.  Like, tomorrow.  ASAP.  Stat.  
I felt so stupid.  I couldn't believe it.  Oh well.  Nothing I could do about it at the time, so I'll just have to scan them today and send them off.  
After I gathered all the appropriate docs and put them right into my canvas tote that I carry to/from work with very important things such as my change of shoes and my hearty lunch, I ran up to my craft room.  It's not often I have an extra hour lingering about at night during the week to do much of anything, so up I went!
I'd been waiting for some time to cure these pots that I'd painted.  Why, you ask??  Because I painted the bottom of them with CHALKBOARD PAINT.  Holy fun in a garden basket!!!  OMG.  I saw this idea on Pinterest (but for the life of me cannot find it again, so please, please, please, if you pin this picture, PLEASE credit the original source.), and as soon as I saw it, I knew I HAD to do it.
I had to "cure" the chalkboard paint with actual chalk before using my new favorite thing -- chalk paint pens.  These are amazing.  They go on wet, and then dry like chalk.  You remove what you wrote with water, and viola!!  Good as new and ready for whatever you decide to put in them next!  I think this is an amazingly cute way to remind you what seeds you started in your kitchen window before transplanting them to your garden -- it beats the heck outta those silly little tags you stick in the soil and they get all ruined and just...ugh.  Way cuter and prettier and funner.  Yes, I just made up a word, but you're over it, b/c these pots are awesome :-) 
This also solidified my decision to paint one of the smaller walls in my craft room with chalkboard paint for those moments when I need to jot something down so I don't forget the fabulous idea I had, or to do sketches and such to keep me inspired.  
I need to quit my day job so I can play in my craft room all damn day.
What else could I be doing up there?  Only making these awesome thank-you notes for my lil' sis :-) (yes, these will go with the rest that I showed you all the other day in a big set that I'm making for her for either her wedding gifts or her shower gifts - whichever she chooses to use them for)
Seriously peeps.  I have so much fun doing this stuff.  I was talking to one of my friends about it last night, and made the decision to make a bunch and sell them in my (currently vacant) etsy shop.   So, keep an eye out for upcoming announcements about when I add stuff in there!  Who knows - you may even see some of my handmade sewing projects pop up in there, too ;-)
The fun doesn't stop there, folks.  It continues right on with the other half of Danielle's wedding gift.
Rather than throw out her invitation, I put it to good use!  After I took this, I added glitter accents (yes, glitter), and roses in the bottom left corner.  I'm waiting for a pic to come in so I can replace the upside down one I placed in the bottom right for placement.  Fun, amiright??  :-)
Alright my crafty & stitchy friends.  I'm off to bed.  Insomnia parked itself for a visit the past week, so hopefully it's done with me and has moved onto its next victim.  I need sleep, dagnabit!!
May you all have a creative crafty day :-)
Much love ~ ~ ~

Thank you, TypePad, for giving us a widget to display our Instagram pics!!

I'm always taking pics, especially for the photo a day challenge, so keep an eye on my left sidebar for all the different things I see through my iPhone camera ;-)

It's finally finished!!

Holy guacamole.  I honestly thought I would never be able to finish this wedding gift for Danielle!  I swear, every time I would come close, the thread would run out.  There is a warning label (which I clearly either didn't see or just didn't heed) on the pattern which reads, "blah blah blah color -- 10 yards".  Clearly this means, J, that you need more than one skein of thread if you're using overdyed threads.  Huh.   
Whatever.  I'll have you know there are plenty of graphs out there (which will remain nameless to protect the guilty....) that do not tell you exactly how many skeins of thread you need, so I guess I just never paid attention.  I'll be sure to read every letter on these graphs from now on to be sure I have the proper thread amount so I can finish the piece without 19 trillion trips to my LNS.
I'm tellin' ya.  
It's finally done.  The wedding gift I started for Danielle all those many weeks ago, is finally finished.
It's  WDW Bubble Gum, to be exact.  But, Danielle is a pink person (her bridesmaids wore black dresses and had hot pink shoes on...and Danielle had hot pink shoes on under her dress), so I think this is very fitting for her.  Hooo boy is it pink, though.  Haha!! :-)  The black I used is Blackbird from CC.  Nothing too crazy.
Here's a closer look at the center with the personalization.  I'm not sure how I feel about those giant they might change before I frame it....but we'll see.  
It's a very simple, but pretty piece, since all the outer work is so integrated with one another, it makes it almost look like lace.
Despite the fact that it's super pink, I think it turned out great, and I hope Danielle likes it :-)  I have another project I'll be working on for her to complete her wedding gift, so stay tuned for that!  I hope to finish it this week, but I won't promise anything, since apparently every time I promised to post something, the entire month of February just disappeared, and I didn't post a daggone thing.
Alrighty peeps.  Time for this tired stitcher to head to bed.  Thank you for stopping and taking the time to check out the crafty & stitchy things I do!  I love your comments - I read each and every one, even if I'm not able to reply to them all.  You all inspire me, and I hope to do the same in return!!
Much love ~ ~ ~

I should have just started all over with today....tomorrow.

Ever have one of those days where you wish you could just have a time-turner and start all over again???
Today was totes one of those days.
I was watching the news while I got ready for work, as per usual, and during the traffic report they said that Rt. 1 northbound was closed.  All three lanes.  Shut down.  Accident.  At least I found out before I left the house, amiright?
Bad news is, I had to take the only other route to work, which literally takes me all around the outskirts of the city.  Yes, there are quite literally only 2 ways for me to get to work.  NOT good when you work in/around a major city.  So, even though I didn't hit any traffic on my way to work (thank you Action News!), it took me a solid 20 minutes extra because I had to go all the way around the city.  I did get to see my favorite place to be in the summer --- Citizens Bank Park --- and got super excited that opening day is LESS THAN A MONTH AWAY!!!  WOOP!!
So, that happened.  20 minutes extra on the trip to work.  Then, to make matters slightly worse (after jinxing myself, of course), I got the heel of my shoe caught between the sidewalk cracks, and it scraped the leather off my heel.  AWESOME.  That was at 0800, and I still had a solid 9 hours of the day to go.  Amazing.  
Needless to say, when I got home, I needed nothing more than some tunes and my craft room.  Like whoa.   
First up -- the finishing touches on this frame for the pic of the gals at D's wedding in October --
The theme for her wedding was pumpkins, and her bridesmaids were in black dresses with hot pink shoes, so I used the black & pink to keep with the feel of the night.  Her wedding was SO much fun.  Seriously.  A total blast.  Can't wait to celebrate with these girls again at my sister's wedding!! :-)
Next up -- some cards I made --
This one came out way cooler than I thought it would.  I got a window punch a week or so ago, and am still getting the hang of it, so I think this turned out pretty good for a first-timer!  I stamped the "Merci" on a piece of grey paper over and over (not always re-inking), and then put the window on top for the layered effect.  Pretty cool, right?!
Here again with the window effect, I just swapped the square for a circle, and just used it as a little addition in the corner.  Not too much, but just enough.  I find that with this pack of cards I got, you don't need to add too many adornments to make it really special.
I have a ton more of these thank yous, which I swore I posted here somewhere, but can't find the post to give you a link back.  Maybe I dreamt I posted them.  Altogether possible.  Anyways....they're going to be part of my shower gift to my sister, which she can then use for either the shower or for her wedding thank you's.
IMG_1008 ADORBS did this come out??!!?!  This is for my friend's baby, we'll call her T-girl.  Her 1st bday is coming up, and I clearly had to make her a very special card for the occasion.  The base card is from my favorite paper store and yours, Paper Source.  I believe I got them on sale, so they may not have these particular ones anymore, but I'm sure they have something similar.  I also got the bday cake stamp there.  So funky and fun.

 And you have all been so patiently waiting for me to show at least one cross stitch WIP, so wait no more.
For those of you obsessed with the With Thy Needle and Thread "Word Play" series as much as I am, you'll know that this WIP is "March."  I seriously love this series.  Love.  They're so simple, yet so....nice.  I don't know how else to say it.  I just love each one so far.  "April" just came out, so I'll have to get that...hopefully this weekend.   This pic came out kinda dark, and I apologize for that, but I just couldn't get it any brighter so you could see the fiber colors.  I'm stitching it on 40 count "Purely Primitive" by Silkweaver.  At least...I think that's the name.  I know it has "Primitive" in the name.  Man.  I need a vacay.
Alright peeps.  That's all I got for now.  Do something creative today!! Stitch your hearts out!
Much love ~ ~ ~
PS - before you even ask...all my pics were taken using new obsession.....

Just right quick...

A small little peek at a few of the pics I've taken so far for the March Photo a Day challenge I told you about recently.
Have I actually taken a photo a day?  Um, no.  I did at the beginning, and then there were a few prompts that I just couldn't do, mostly because my work day is so freaking long.  Like the 5p prompt?  Who wants a pic of the inside of my cube?  No one.  So, I'll just wait till I'm somewhere amazing at 5p and I'll snippity snap something then.
Anyhooter, here are a couple peeks --
This prompt was "up", so, naturally, I took a pic of my pretty hardwood staircase :-)
This prompt was "fruit". (duh)

And I'll leave you with this one - "smile".  This fat pastry chef is hanging in my kitchen.  Love him :-)
That's all for tonight, kids.  Just a glimpse at the fun, scattered things I've been doing recently, along with that super-secret-on-the-downlow stitching project I'm doing...
Thanks for stopping at my blog -- I do so hope you all enjoy the crazy crafty things I do.  I'm so inspired by so many amazingingly talented people out there (blogs are amazing for inspiration.  totally amazing), that I hope I can provide at least an inkling of creative inspiration for you all :-)
Love and stitches ~ ~ ~

I think this is a pretty cool idea...

Hello there blogger friends!!  I don't know if any of you have joined the Instagram craze, but hoo boy, is it ADDICTING.  Some people just capture the most beautiful pictures with their iPhones, and are then able to share them on Instagram.  So cool.
Anyway.  There's a "photo a day" challenge that I found by following and searching and just generally stumbling upon all these creative people's blogs and sites.  For some reason, this appealed to me, and trust me when I tell you, I'm no pro photographer.
Marchphotoaday-finalThis photo originated on Chantelle's blog -- visit her to check this out!!!

For this challenge, there is a word a day, and you are to take a picture with that word as your theme/inspiration.  Yesterday's word was "up".  It is definitely a challenge to see what your creative mind can do with the words and what type of pictures you can come up with.
´╗┐Now, I know some of you are thinking, "Seriously, Jack?  With all the other crazy crafting stuff you're doing, you had to add this one in there, too???"  Well, I decided to do this because I want to scrapbook the pictures in a mini album for each month.  I think it will be a cool and different idea to have an ecclectic mix of pictures all collected and put into a book.  Plus, I just think it's a cool idea!!!
If this sounds like something you'd be interested in, definitely go check out Chantelle's blog.  I plan on waiting until the month end to post a few pics that I took for the challenge, so stay tuned for what I come up with for this (or, if you have an iPhone, download Instagram for yourself and follow me!! my handle is the same as it is for my twitter account)!  Today's challenge is "fruit".  Shouldn't be too hard, so we'll see what i come up with!!!
Much love ~ ~ ~