Sunday, December 27, 2015

Year end review

To paraphrase John Lennon, another year older and what have I done?

Not so much new lessons learned as old ones reinforced although some new craft techniques were learned along the way. What were the reinforced lessons? Don't sweat the small stuff. Enjoy the journey. Get away from negative people as much as possible. Do what makes you happy.

Our Disney cruise last January was derailed because our daughter-in-law's pregnancy was too far along for Disney rules. Was that crushing? Nope. We're going in 2016 and used last year's airfare to go the Nickelodeon Resort in Orlando. A change in plans meant unexpected pleasure. Who knew I'd meet such *interesting* and *famous* men?


Here's some of that "small stuff" that is growing and blossoming before our eyes, our granddaughter:


And of course we have her big brother who has made 2015 a year of discovery and much laughter. Did you know you could grow a handlebar mustache before the tooth fairy made her first visit? Did you know that when the tooth fairy decides to visit, she sometimes comes multiple times in one month?


Okay, enough about small stuff. I could go on about those two sweethearts forever but I wasn't going to do that in this reincarnated blog. Let's discuss "enjoying the journey". 

In June of 2014 I rejoined Weight Watchers. I have lost 85 pounds so far, 37 of them disappearing in 2015.  I write about that journey here. The reasons why I was struggling with weight finally made became clear to me. It isn't that I learned a new method (trust me, I tired dozens of fads and gimmicks over the years) but that I finally understood myself. Better late than never!

Getting away from negative people was next. I go days without watching any televised news and scroll past some people on Facebook when they are in what I consider "rant" mode. I know that sometimes we all need to vent but that can be catching and pretty soon everyone in a group is up in arms. That gives me a headache. 

Lastly, doing what makes me happy. I have done more of that in the way of crafting than in many years before. I've always enjoyed my hobbies but sometimes felt I should be doing something else that seemed more practical or productive. 


I am not going to solve the world's problems by sitting here worrying about them or feeling guilty. What I can do is be happier and maybe that will be catchy to someone on the fence about feeling crabby that day or trying a little harder to find some joy and humor in their day. 

The card that I make, the mittens I knit or any of the other things I create make me happy during the process. When I hear that someone was touched because they recognized I was thinking of them during both the process and the act of giving them something, little bursts of happy fireworks go off for me. 

A card making group that meets monthly made snowmen out of socks this month instead of paper crafting. The ones we made were larger than these but so easy and cute, I bought a package of baby socks and made these little ones for some of the members of the Monday morning Weight Watchers group. A few were struggling with issues beyond the scale. I don't know them well enough to have addresses or even know their last names, but I thought these snowmen might let them know I care. 

The expressions of most who received them was wonderful and the comments a week later by two nearly had me in tears. These little guys apparently helped at least two women get through a difficult week. 

We don't know the struggles strangers are facing. A smile doesn't cost us a thing and is good exercise. Maybe that is the only smile someone will see that day. Wouldn't it be nice to know your smile, holding the door open, or handing out a coupon you don't need brightens someone's day?

I might not have it in me to solve the worries of the world, but I will make my corner a little brighter bit by bit. Yarn, glitter, paper and off tune humming will be involved.

I end most of my weight loss blog posts with 'Onward and Downward' meaning I am still going strong and the scale numbers are going downward. I think my words for the coming year on this blog will be Sparkle On or something similar. Not all crafts need to sparkle but our happy hearts should.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Cards, Christmas edition 2015

Yikes, over a month without a post. It must be the holidays....

The first card I made this season was this one. It folds flat for mailing when you omit the battery operated tea light inside. The window and sentiment are Stampin' Up dies and stamp as is the image done on vellum. I really liked this until it hit me that a flickering glow would be from a fireplace or candle inside the house, not out in the snow. Unless the house is on fire, this shouldn't be!

Sticking with the window die (Hearth & Home) and Stampin' Up's Brick Wall embossing folder, I made this next using images from Holiday Home. The tree above is from Happy Scenes, both SU products.

The sky has a watercolor wash, the snow has a bit of white sparkle on it by way of a glue pen and sprinkle of fine glitter. It needed some greenery and thankfully, a friend came through with a baggie of greens from a punch that I believe was from the Martha Stewart line and has been discontinued. That looked much better, and I was happiest when I added some red berries  (Stickles). I made 15 cards in this style. 

My knitting group members were recipients of this card made with Lawn Fawn's Baaah Humbug stamps. The black background was done with a white ink pad over Tim Holtz' Holiday Knit layering stencil. Since not much of it showed on the front but did look like a ski sweater design, I used a bit of that on the inside, writing my own greeting.

This card may not have happened, certainly not by the dozen, without the use of a Misti stamping tool.  See the Misti here   I avoided this purchase for a long time because of the price but haven't regretted once since that first use.

Another group of friends received this card which was fun to do, assembly line style. The instructions came from Connie Stewart's blog detailed here.  The stamped sentiment is from Laugh Out Loud Christmas by Clearly Besotted.

One neighbor with young children didn't need them confused by the above sentiment, so his house received this card. The stamp is Jolly Santa by Woodware Clear Magic Singles. Santa's face is marker and colored pencil, hat and background are markers, his beard is glue and white glitter and his eyeglasses have a coat of clear gelly roll pen on the lenses.

One more Stampin' Up die got a lot of use this year, the Delicate Ornaments die. I used it on glittery paper from a pad purchased at Target and on metallic papers from either Michaels or Joann's. Those were my favorite. The weight of the paper made them easy to work with.

Silver metallic over green glitter on left, Silver over white cardstock on right.

Silver metallic over green glitter on both. 

Left has yellow glitter and silver metallic over gold background, right has silver metallic and red metallic over gold. I have no idea how I should have photographed these. They look much better in person.

These ornaments were from a matte gold, textured paper. The branches were embossed with matte gold powder. 

It would have made more sense to pick one card and make all of them the same but choosing just one design is like picking your favorite child....impossible!