Saturday, December 31, 2016

Reflections of 2016

2016 was a pain in the drain for many people but some have made it worse than it needed to be, at least in my opinion. Don't borrow trouble. It will find you when you least expect it.

What have I learned and done in 2016?

Don't pay so much attention to media, any of it. The sky didn't fall yet, Chicken Little. Despite the recaps of every bad and sad thing that happened, there was plenty of good in each of our personal lives. Heaven forbid you forgot some big ache that occurred back in April. Are we supposed to be happy that TV, Facebook or some other source will remind us of that pain?
Distance yourself from those who bring you down. If you must do business with these people, keep it professional but don't take their negativity home with you. I'm all for trying to get along with everyone, but YOU are more important than their outlook of gloom. There is no need to attack them unless self-defense becomes necessary. Those who exude negativity and those who are bullies about their beliefs and choices in all matters aren't likely to change because you ask nicely. Smile and do your own thing. Your blood pressure will thank you. Don't borrow their trouble. If it becomes real, it will find you and you will deal with it with energy that hasn't been wasted on "what if" thoughts.
Do what makes you happy. If I only kept my nose to a grindstone, my face would be a bloody mess. Instead, I've knitted since the age of 11 or 12 (despite negative old lady comments), I've made art my whole life (despite criticism from those who should have been encouraging, such as other self-proclaimed artists), I've read hundreds of books (delaying bedtime and sometimes while cooking), and I've always found a reason to laugh (or groan as I do enjoy puns).
I have faced trials this year that I would not have chosen for anyone. How did I tackle this? I took a deep breath, then did it one bite at a time.
I reminded myself every day that what I think matters. Even deep, worrisome thoughts need to be held where light and goodness can shine on them. If you're old enough to understand a reference to Pollyanna , I'm not her but I had the doll. 😉

Be kind to yourself.  You teach others how to treat you. Also, treat others as you would like to be treated. A kind word or just a smile from you might be the only pleasant thing they encounter on a given day.
Be awesome. And fun. And wear red, it is energizing!
Some of my favorite memories and favorite people in photos from 2016. Many special people aren't included out of respect for their privacy concerns. 
My favorite younger man
It is good to be queen!
Reading a story on my iPad. Best part is snuggling!
Only one of us is really a B****
Serenity, a view off our deck
This girl....she might become my partner in crime!
Really Gigi? Yes, really. 
I worked hard to lose a lot of weight, just so I could dress like this!
A favorite relative and I met Jeanne Robertson before her performance in October.
Two of my loves
And two more loves. The pup is Daisy. I don't think she'll mind being identified. 

Monday, December 19, 2016

Money holder Xmas cards

I don't know that this is technically a card as it does not open except for the flap of the present that the snowman is holding. That is where the folded currency will go.
I am a fan of paper punches. This was achieved with punches, one circle template and some cutting and scoring. The snowman's body is a 3.5" circle. You could trace around anything that gives you a look you like, ideally something wider than the present he is holding. Snowmen aren't meant to be skinny. 
I used a 2.5" circle punch for his head and hat. One circle cut in half will makes two hats. I was undecided if his hat would be striped or green. The first one became a combination of both.
I used Stampin' Up's Owl Builder punch, the ones shown above the owl, to punch out the snowman's eyes. These could be drawn on or cut freehand. The nose was cut free hand. The pompom on the top of the hat was cut from the designer paper half circle, then had the green part of the hat glued on top.

I used Scor-tape on the glittered paper as I've had better luck with that adhering than using a tape runner. Whatever you find works best for you is what you should use.
The snowman's feet are small ovals, another Stampin' Up punch. The 1" circle punch cut his hands which hold the present.
Here is the back view of the snowman. I attached his head to the back of the present rather than the top edge of his body. There was more surface to support his noggin this way. The ribbon scarf isn't truly tied around his neck. I cut a length, folded it and glued the crease to hold the streaming ends as shown, then added a bit of score tape (the white rectangle on the red ribbon). I turned that over and adhered the scarf to the back of the present in what would be the neck area.
The other two snowmen used a different patterned paper. The gold glitter-paper flower-like trim on the top of the hat is almost lost in this picture.
The present (cash or gift card holder) is a 7.75" x 3.5" strip of paper. Score at .5" and 3" with the short side at the top of your scoring board, then rotate and score at 3" and 6.5".  Crease all of your folds. The narrow 1/2" sides will be cut away from both sides of the flap. On the first two snowmen with the penguin print gift holders, I trimmed only the flap. On the paper shown above, the 1/2" was trimmed all the way down to the 3" score line, making the gift holder a little less bulky. The image on the right below is before trimming, I should have placed them in reverse order. I used a 1.25" circle punch to take a bite out of the 3" side of the holder. This will make it easier to grab the cash or gift card. 
I used narrow score tape on the tabs that are seen in the above right image, forming a pocket. I used two strips of wider tape to adhere this to the belly of the snowman, then attached the head as shown a few steps back. 

The only thing left to do is add some repositionable tape to the flap of the present. This will hold the gift closed without ruining the whole snowman when the recipient opens it. 

The white highlights on the eyes were done with a white Signo Uniball pen. Explaining this and adding the photos took longer than making them!

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

A beatutiful bell

Doesn't this look like a shiny, 3-D bell? Would you believe it is a three-layer stamp?
It is! It is from Holiday Style, a stamp set by Sunny Studio
Even the first attempts weren't bad, not something I can always say about layered stamps, even when using a MISTI. My first attempt was this red bell. Ideally, you need a light, medium and dark shade to get the bell to look its best. My reds weren't different enough in value. I used Stampin' Up Melon Mambo, Watermelon Wonder and Real Red.
This gold bell, using Stampin' Up colors Daffodil Delight (lightest), Hello Honey and Delightful Dijon (darkest) looked better:
Next, I tried Memento ink colors London Fog, Gray Flannel and Tuxedo Black. I liked this but thought it could be better.
I swapped the Gray Flannel for Encore 's Metallic Silver and used London Fog and Tuxedo Black on this and all the other bells I made:
I use my MISTI almost every time I stamp something. I love that if I don't get a good impression the first time around, I can re-ink the stamp and it will line up perfectly. I didn't always have great success with other devices. I began by stamping the sprig of greenery and deciding where the bell would be placed. The first stamp used to make the bell got the lightest color, in this case the silver.

In the view below, the MISTI is open with the ink pad just sitting there for the photo. The yellow things are magnets that hold the paper down to the magnetic surface under the foam pad of the MISTI. The magnets are extremely strong and if the get stuck together, they are hard to separate. You only need to catch your finger between them once to never want to do that again. The yellow on each magnet is a bit of Washi tape, wrapped around the magnet with a tag created to help pull them apart. The stamp is in place on the paper but not stuck to the top plate of the MISTI yet.
The grid you are seeing it the top plate of the MISTI (it opens like a book). Closing this over the stamp causes the stamp to cling to the underside of the plate, ready to ink up and stamp.
The next stamp is this one which reminds me of ice cream topping (yes, I'm hungry!) and uses the London Fog color. I lined up the second stamp over the stamped image on the paper, closed the MISTI to adhere the stamp, inked up and the second image below shows that result.

Same process lining up the third stamp with the Tuxedo Black color.

I needed a dozen cards and had only done the greenery on the first few samples to figure out where the bell would hang. Here is the sprig stamp lined up, ready to ink up with Old Olive.
Inked, stamped, and looking very green right here

To make the sprig look a little more lifelike, I scribbled another shade of green, using a Tombow marker on the ends of the needles. You can see some of that here.
I scribbled a brown Tombow over the woody parts of the spring and stamped that. The sprig looks reversed here because the MISTI is open, the stamp has been colored and is ready to be turned (MISTI closed) onto the stamped image.
I added the words from the same stamp set, and inside used "Believe in the magic of Christmas". The bell on this card is the one without the metallic silver ink. It was cut smaller than the last view below it. The green border on the first card reveals a bit of the white card base.
On the rest of the cards, done with silver, gray and black inks on the bell, the green mat is cut to the same size as the card front.
It sounds like a lot of steps, but working production line style, this didn't take long at all. I am very pleased with the result.