Saturday, April 30, 2011

SATurday Show And Tell

If you live in the Phoenix area or plan to visit, you really should not miss going to the MIM--Musical Instrument Museum. You don't have to be a history buff or a music lover to enjoy this experience. Even if you don't like museums--go to this one. It is amazing!

The museum opened its doors last year--a  bright, open and dramatic building filled with a collection of musical instruments from over 200 countries and territories. The Orientation Gallery on the first floor gives you a taste of the instruments by themes. This impressive gong such as those used in Buddhist temple rituals in Thailand stands at the bottom of the stairs which takes you to the second floor.


With the wireless headset that you have been given on your way in, you head to the second floor where the galleries are organized by geographical locations--10 major regions of the world.


As you stand in fromt of each display, you hear and see the instruments being played on the flat panel screen. More often than not, the music is also accompanied by people of that country dancing to the music.
That in itself is just as interesting as the instruments. 

Signage with information about the instruments is there as well,
along with maps for orientation.
May of the locations are very remote!


You can take all the pictures you want, just not with a flash.
Here's a few I took----I was particularly intrigued by the
inventive recycling ideas--


New Zealand



Africa

Bhutan


Bolivia


Burma








Tanbura (lyre)-- Bahrain


Trinidad and Tobago


Mongolia


South Korea


The museum has aacquired 10,000 instruments so far and all of them go through 
the lab for cleaning, repair, and labeling.



So far 5,500 are on display.
The goal is to acquire instruments that have actually been used.
Most of them are purchased, rather than loaned or donated.

There is an Interactive Room where you are free to play many different types of instruments.
There is also an auditorium where numerous musical programs are
being held throughout the year.

Because there is much too much to absorb in one visit,  
I can see that I will have to go back to see the rooms I missed. 

Oh, and by the way, even the cafeteria is great!
Kid you not---

Did I mention--
Free admission
Such a deal!

I came away from this experience reminded that:
  • Music is the universal language of the world.
  • Beautiful and interesting sounds can be made with anything from bones, to jade, tin cans to ivory.
  • Music plays a huge role in all civilizations.






Friday, April 29, 2011

Strawberry Cake Roll

My husband's cousin, who is an excellent cook and a high school culinary arts teacher, brought this dessert for Easter. It was so beautiful and delicious that I asked her if I could take a picture of it and share the recipe with you.


4 eggs, separated                                              1/4 c. flour
1/2 tsp. salt                                                        1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 c. sugar                                                        1 c. Cool Whip
Strawberries                                          

Beat egg whites with salt and vanilla. Add sugar till stiff peaks form. Beat the egg yolks, then fold into the white mixture. Next fold in the flour.

Spread wax paper on jelly roll pan (can spray lightly). Bake at 375 degrees for 12 minutes. Cool five minutes.

Place roll on cloth  (with light powdered sugar).

Spread with Cool Whip, then sliced strawberries.
Roll up.

Dust with powdered sugar and decorate with additional strawberries.
Chill until ready to serve.
Slice carefully with serrated knife.


              Friday Freebies--Free Printables


from Embellish



from Embellish



by Martha Stewart
Laminate and keep handy!



"I have friends in overalls whose
friendship I would not swap for
the favor of the kings of the world."
--Thomas A. Edison

Thursday, April 28, 2011

A Wave of Nostalgia

Monday I ventured into a quilting store while I was waiting on some prescriptions that were being filled near by. I had been meaning to go there for quite a while, but just hadn't taken the time to stop.

I wanted to inquire about having my 40-year-old Kenmore sewing machine tuned up as I am thinking of dabbling in some sewing projects again. It has served me well over the years. I made teaching clothes when we were first married, maternity clothes, toddler clothes, mother-daughter outfits, Halloween costumes, and my son's first "big boy"  pin striped polyester pants and vest. In later years, I could not have done without it for alterations, hemming, and crafts projects.   

The memories really started  flooding back when I saw a dusty basket behind the counter made with rope wrapped with strips of fabric coiled in a circle. Yes, I had made those! Then I recalled my first quilted piece. After I had caught on to the technique, I had moved on to my one and only patchwork quilt. I remember the tedious task of choosing coordinating fabrics! The patchwork Christmas ornaments and potholders, stuffed Christmas trees and pumpkins--yes, I did it all.

The fabrics are as gorgeous as ever, just not as countryish--a sea of beautiful hues and patterns, each color range in its own cubicle. I wanted to go over and look at the patterns so badly, but I knew I had better not! For if I did,  I would have been too tempted to leave with a purchase that I did not need! I worked my way to the front door as quickly as possible..... without hardly even touching any of the fabric at all.

I made this card a while back when I had scraps on my desk, and I thought this would be a perfect time to show it to you. I'll stick to paper quilting for lack of space if for no other reason at all.

I started with a white 4" square and three 1-1/4" black/gold squares
 which had been run through the Zyron so were sticky on the back.
The first square was affixed dead center.
I used a T-square to assist me in keeping everything in a straight line,
both horizontally and vertically.
The other two squares were cut in fourths.
This will give you the eight triangles you need
for the points of the star. (Try to be careful in lining up the points.)
Once I had everything where I wanted it, I ran the piece through the Cuttlebug,
using the Textile embossing folder.
I layered it onto a 4-1/2" square, then a 4-3/4" red square.
I added the label (Spellbinder) and sentiment(SU) with twine. 
The white card base was from a pre-made pack by DCWV. 
I liked that it had embossing around the edge.


I have always told my friends with young children--live in the moment
and savor the memories of their childhood,
for it is all over before you are ready for it to be. 
Even your craft projects will wait. 
Time in park or library hour
will mean much more in the end.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Mah Jongg Chatter

I have a card to show you but I think I will save it for tomorrow since it is getting late.

However, It is never too late for a little mah jongg chatter and I have been promising that for two weeks now...


We've been playing with the 2011 card for about a month now and everyone seems to be enjoying it so far.

I'm seeing what I call the "fall back hand" being played quite often,
and I've done it myself more than once or twice. 
You know the one--FFFF11112222DD

I call it the "fall back hand" because it seems as if this is a good alternate if you are long in one suit but can't fill it in, start drawing flowers, and have been able to save the matching dragons just in case they are needed,
or draw them too.

Another favorite from last year's card is the Like Numbers hand--
this time printed correctly.

We've already had one mah jongg on a Pairs hand--third one down. Funny thing is I was working on one myself in the very same game and not far away from getting it. Not an easy feat when you can't use any jokers. Sometimes we go all year without seeing a win in this section. 
 Congratulations Pam!

The 2468 section seems to be more playable this year
 and we're all happy about that.

If you're looking for a mah jongg set, I turned two ladies on to Amazon.com.
They both ordered a set complete with pushers and reported they were very happy with their purchases.
Invest in the pushers--they're worth it!

Happy clicking!!

Monday, April 25, 2011

SSC Blog Hop

I started this blog back in January not knowing what the heck a blog hop was, and now I'm participating in my first one today. Here's the deal--you sign up, make a card according to the theme, and when the day comes, post it on your blog and then link backto the hosting site along with  all the other participants. The idea is that you will hop around and visit other blogs and leave comments about their cards. You also tell your followers about the link so that they can either enter a card or go look at more pretty cards.

By being a part of this, people will be visiting my blog who have never been here before, may like what they see and want to become a follower, plus-- I'm..having fun. And if you visit the hosting site, which you may not have never heard of otherwise, you might decide to join, because they do fun things all month long and have a lot of great material to share with all of us stampers.

So---Simply Scrapping Crafts Blog Hop theme is Seasons, whatever season you live in. Remember, participants are from all over the world! So don't be alarmed if you come upon an autumn scene. Here's my entry:


Springtime Wishes

I used Tonbow markers directly on the flower, gave it a huff, and stamped it onto the rectangle that I had already cut, having determined this was the size I needed for the card. I stamped it three times without re-inking to get the lighter images, and did that three times. Then I mounted it onto the scalloped piece.
I made the scalloped border and put that behind, placing it onto the card without attaching it so I would know where to stamp the sentiment. I used my Stamp-a-ma-jig so I would get it level. Finished touches were the rhinestones and fine glitter in the center of the flowers. You can't see it, put I also paper pierced the scallops on the rectangle. 


Supplies used:
Stamps:  Hero Arts (flower), Artful Illusions (sentiment)
Paper:  White, Old Olive (SU)
Ink:  Tombow markers, Memento black
Accessories:  Spellbinders classic rectangles, Michaels rhinestones, Rubber Cafe fine glitter and glue, Fiskars Combo Border Corner Lace and Lattice punch, Stamp-a-ma-jig 

So if you want to participate and link to your blog, or just look and the other cards, go to this link.
Just click on the name, and it will take you to the blog. Have fun and hop along!

I'd love for you to leave a comment here today. I'll be trying to visit as many blogs as I can myself today. 

Have a great Monday!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

SATurday Show And Tell

For those of you who haven't been here before on a Saturday, SAT is a special feature which highlights places of interest, crafts other people have made, or on the first Saturday of every month, a product that I love.

Today I want to show you a clever idea created by ladybug birthday girl's mom. Remember I said that she was very creative. We went to a Christmas brunch and were each given one of these wine glasses with our initials on it.


Karin made these vinyl letters with her Cricut machine.
They just cling to the outside of the glass.


This is how I am using them tomorrow to continue my Easter candy decorating theme..




In commemoration of Easter, there will not be a Spotlight Blog feature tomorrow.
Next Sunday's Spotlight is on a fantastic stamper you won't want to miss hearing about!

I will be back on Monday with a Springtime Wishes card to start the week off right.

Have a Blessed Easter with Family and Friends. 
    

Friday, April 22, 2011

Easter Candy and Flower Vases

Easter plans are shaping up nicely at my house--how about yours? I thought I'd show you how I combined candy and flowers for my easy decorating touches. I guess I was still thinking about the Bunny Brownies I made last week--and thought it would be fun to decorate with candy in clear glass. Now how to combine flowers into that mix?? Hmm.....


I set a bud vase down iinside the larger vase and anchored it
with a few glass rocks to keep it from moving around.
 There was just enough room between the
two cylinders to carefully slip M&M's down between the sides,
filling to the top of the bud vase. Then I took a funnel and put water
 in the bud vase and arranged the flowers in it.  Easy peasy!
The key is that the two vases must be the same shape.

Here is one made with jelly beans:




I searched through my cabinets this morning and came up with
another piece or two and put this together:



So that's my dabbling in flower arranging for this year--
now back to the kitchen for me!
But thanks to my husband, the grocery shopping is done
 and the house is just about clean.
He's in charge of the grilling, the guests are all bringing a dish or two,
and I'm in good shape!
Hope you are as well.


ADORABLE FRIDAY FREEBIES:





"Who seeks a faultless friend
remains friendless."
--Turkish proverb

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Going Glitzy

I've been noticing a lot of cards around blogland with the layered effect using border punches and I've been wanting to give it a try. The most difficult part is deciding on the paper and punches. Going with what I had on hand, I decided on three colors and knew one had to be dark, one light, and the third complimenting both. The patterns had to vary--not all stripes or all flowers. The red could have had pin dots, but do they make cream pin dots? All the ones I've seen are white and I don't think I would have liked that.  



Pretty glitzy for me, but it sure was fun!

WISHING YOU HAPPINESS
                                                always! 



Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Easter is in Five Days!

Are you ready for Easter? It seemed as if I had plenty of time to plan and prepare...until now! I still have to finalize my menu, make a shopping list, grocery shop, clean the house, get out all the dishes, and whatever else I've forgotten. I'm expecting 12 adults and two little ones for dinner. I better put it into high gear.

I had hoped Martha was going to show up to add some new creative touches but it looks like she is not going to make it again this year. So I'm looking for quick and easy, but cute.. I found this idea for carrot cutlery and knew I could handle it on my own.

Now I would have liked to have found patterned napkins for at least
one of the colors,
 but of course, I could only find solid. 

Changes I made to the directions:
  • I did not have to tape the green fold closed.
  • When folding the orange napkin, I angled it so it was narrower at the bottom.
  • I wrapped the raffia around twice.

If Martha was here however, she may have done this:


If you are so inclined, you can find her directions here. 

Oh well......I still like my carrots.


Michael did come by and brought some new eggs for the egg tree--




Other carrot cuties I found--







or for a healthier version




Easter Preschool Snack



Don't stress out over entertaining...
Have fun!!

and

Remember the Real Meaning of Easter.
                                                       

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Using Embossing Folders

I am still recovering from the work week-end in NM but I do have two cards for you today!

Using Cuttlebug Embossing Folders with Minimal Stamping
Do you have embossing folders that you hardly use--that you might have purchased for a spedific project and now they are collecting dust? I know that I do. In fact, I have a few that are still in the package. They really can be used to make lovely cards in a short amount of time. Another advantage is that with a few other embellishments, you don't have to do much stamping. Or perhaps you don't have to do any at all.


This is the Hello Friend Sizzix Set paired with Martha Stewart flowers which came on a card back when Walmart had more crafts. I miss those days. The sentiment is by Stampin Up. 


This is the pink on pink effect with the Birds and Swirls folder. 
The leaves are created with a very versatile Martha Stewart punch.
I've even seen wreaths  made with it.
I love this birthday sentiment by Endless Creations (E43) because
 it is made at an angle so you don't have to be so careful in your placement! 

  • Both of these embossing folders are background folders but here I have used them as part of the main focus of the cards.
  • I scored a horizontal line at the top of the folder where I ended it a little more than half way up from the bottom of the card. 
  • Since the center of the daisy is raised, it is going to create some bumps in the envelope. To compensate for this, I will either cut a piece of bubble wrap 4-1/4 x 5-1/2  or a piece of cardstock that I ran through my crimper. By laying it on top of the front, it will create just enough cushioning.

I will have to increase my size of the envelope, but it will still be a standard size.  


If you need some inspiration for using your Cuttlebug embossing folders, Sue Nelson is the Queen!
Go to her website Heart Prints and click on her Cuttlebug gallery and also her Cuttlebug tutorial gallery right below it.  So much to see!


"Friendship is the golden thread
that ties the heart of all the world."
--John Evelyn



 

Monday, April 18, 2011

Chit-Chat

I'm back from  visiting my daughter and SIL this week-end. They are building a home in Gila Hot Springs, NM and we went over for a work week-end.  We did everything from pouring concrete to applying microscopic nemotodes on the garden. It is a wonderful little community where friends and neighbors come together to help each other, sort of like barn-raising. It was hard work but fantastic.

Welcome new subscribers and followers. I'm excited to see you! Please feel free to leave a link to your blog anytime you want. That is what this is all about--networking, sharing information, and having fun doing it

Book Update
We reviewed The Amazing Journey of American Women from 1960 to the Present last Wednesday at book club. Gail Collins takes you through a comprehensive account of the last five decades of women's history focusing mainly on the 60's and the baby boomer generation. Of course you hear about the impact of  famous people like Betty Frieden and Gloria Steinem, but more interesting are the vignettes telling of the struggles of ordinary women. 
We all agreed it was an important read as it shows you just how far women have come, and still need to go.
It is definitely material for a women's studies course. 

This is by no means iintented to be a review of the book. It is just a brief overview to give you some idea what is between the covers.

The first question the discussion leader asked was "How many loved it and how many found it a chore to get through?" The majority loved all 409 pages. I, however, am a slow reader who needs to learn where and when to skim, so I found the author wordy. I thought she could have moved along each subject a little faster, but that is just me! If you were born after 1980, you have no idea what it took to accomplish many of the freedoms you take for granted. 
If you like to hunker down with good material, this is a great read.   

Since I've been traveling, I thought I'd add these: 
Travel tips:
1. If you're going on a road trip and bringing your pillow, put a colored pillowcase on it. You'll be less likely to leave it behind wherever you spend the night.
2. Even if you don't plan to take your cell phone for whatever reason, it is nice to have it to check the time if you don't wear a watch.
3. As soon as you get home, make a list of the things which would have been helpful to have. Put it somewhere you will remember for your next trip. Mine is a few velcro rollers since my curling iron broke in India.
4. After emptying your suitcase, air it out outside in case there are any tiny critters in there. Pillow too!  


I was going to talk about mah jongg, but this post is long enough and late, so I'll do that later in the week.
Back to cardmaking too! 

Hope your day is going great. 


"My friends are my estate."
--Emily Dickinson

     

Friday, April 15, 2011

Semi-Homemade is Good

Now I know I wasn't speaking very kindly the other day about some of the greeting cards that we get in the mail as a thank you for a donation. It is a very nice gesture but quite honestly I would rather have them allocate that money to the charity. There must be some expense in printing those cards and mailing them.

Anyway, I do look at pre-made note cards very differently. Some of them are very beautiful, and did I mention CHEAP! With a little imagination you can turn them into semi-homemade cards! Move over Sandra Lee!

Michael's $1 bins are a great place to start your hunt. Be selective--don't just buy anything. There will be new ones before you know it--when a design speaks to you and you think it has possibilities, then buy it. The DCWV boxes of 50 assorted cards is another place to look and they are often on sale.

I found this package of note cards at Big Lots back in the fall--12 for a $1 with lined envelopes.The lined envelopes sold me.. They were 4-1/4 x 5-1/2. I just used the front, cutting it down to just outside the cranberry border. Then I ran it through the embossing folder (European) and mounted it on white cardstock. The packaging had a piece of cranberry cardboard at the back, so I used that to punch the oval with the SU large oval punch. The sentiment is stamped in cranberry and then punched with the SU small oval punch.


As you can see, the two papers did not match but I was ok with that.

What do you think?
Cream cardstock?
Cranberry?

I made two gift  card sets out of it.
Now that's what I call economical.




Another idea--if you are making 3 x 3 gift card enclosures like I did here, you need envelopes, right? Michael's often has these 3 x 3s  in the $1 bins too. Throw the cards away or find another use for them and now you have envies for your cards! 

Freebie Friday--Free downloadable links every Friday

Cards, bunny ears, bunny garland, basket tags and labels, paper chains
and so much more!
While you're there, check out the other Easter categories such as:
decorating, table crafts and favors







  

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Peeps in a Jar AKA Bunny Brownies


When I saw this little gift on No Fuss Fabulous I thought it was so unique I had to make one to show you. I used to can tons of green beans, pickled beets, and tomatoes back in Illinois, but those days are long gone. Although I don't miss all that work, I really miss those fresh veggies. I have given all my canning jars to my daughter. In fact, I just recently found a dusty box in the attic and gave it to her on her last viist. Urg, do you ever do that? Save something forever, then finally get rid of it, only to have a use for it come up soon after?? But who ever thought I would be making Bunny Brownies?

I thought I was being so clever and tried using a spaghetti sauce jar as it really is just a canning jar with a narrow mouth. Everything was going great until it came time to put in the bag of crushed graham crackers. It doesn't fit, so don't try it!  Hello new canning jars--I'm sure I'll find a use for you now that I'm crafting again.

Actually, this would be a great gift for any holiday that has decorative marshmallows. I saw Christmas trees in the grocery store the other day--10 bags for $1, but resisted the deal. I thought they would be hard as rocks by next December.

What a cute teacher's gift this would be. Bet they don't get too many Peeps in a Jar.

Here's how I put mine together. I made a few changes:
  1. Put 1-1/4 cup Easter M&Ms in the bottom of a quart-size wide mouth canning jar.
  2. Take 8 Peeps Marshmallows and line them up around the jar. I kept two together and did that on all four sides.
  3. Measure 1/3 cup light brown sugar (packed) into a small plastic bag and put that down in the middle on top of the M&Ms. I used a small Wilton treat bag but a baggie would probably work too. It fit nicely. 
  4. Crush one sleeve of graham crackers in the blender and put it in a baggie. Lay it on top of the Peeps.
  5. Make a fabric skirt for the cover. I used a 6 " circle (Cool Whip lid) so you could still see the graham crackers at the top of the jar. Trace the circle on the back of the fabric and cut out. Using pinking shears is optional.
  6. Cut a circle out of acetate or transparency paper the size of the flat lid.
  7. Download and print the label  HERE.  Cut out.
  8. Position the skirt over the flat lid, then the label, and finally the clear circle. Screw the ring on tightly.
  9. Copy the recipe and attach it to the jar with twine or ribbon.
                                         Bunny Brownies
  • Empty the jar contents into a bowl.
  • Snip the bunnies into bits with kitchen shears or cut up with a knife.
  • Return the bunny bits to the mixture.
  • Mux well.
  • Melt 1/2 cup butter; add 1 tsp. vanilla.
  • Pour over the dry ingredients, mixing well.
  • Put into a 9" greased square pan.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes
  • Cool and cut into 9-12 bars. 




Now are any of you wondering what these taste like?
I was, so I whipped up a batch. They were a breeze to put together
and came out of the pan easily.



And I will say that they were very tasty.
I wouldn't change a thing!

I read on someone's blog that you could leave the peeps whole
and lay them on top of the mixture instead of cutting them into bits.

But somehow the idea of charred bunnies just did not appeal to me.


For more Easter Cookies and Treats, head on over to Mom's Crazy Cooking and see all the delectable entries from kitchens all over America. 



Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Surprise!!

Good Morning!

I did not think I would have time to get off a post today since this is the one Wednesday out of the month that is crazy for me. I am due at book club in an hour and a half and then I go straight to teaching mah jongg this afternoon.

But...of course I always have time to check my emails and I found a surprise waitng for me there today that I just had to share with you!

My ruffled ribbon tutorial is being featured today on Craft Gossip which is a fantastic website! It is filled with awesome craft ideas of all types. and giveaways too. I am so honored that Heather Holbrook found my tutorial worthy of using. She gets thousands of ideas sent to her! I did it on a whim. Please check out this website. You'll be glad I let you in on it and might even want to become a subscriber.

Sorry, I have to run. Have a great day.

 

  "Friendships begin because,
even without words,
we understand how someone feels."
--Joan Walsh Anglund

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Gift Card Holders and a Tutorial

Last November when I was in a craft boutique the lady across from me was selling beautiful Premier Jewelry. She asked me to make her two styles of gift card holders--my choice of styles and colors.

I made three prototypes and these were the two styles that she chose.  


I used Charlene Driggs tutorial for the tri-fold style which can be found HERE.

Here's what it looks like inside as I forgot to take a picture of mine.
It was a very easy tutorial to follow.




For the purse style,
  1. Start with a piece 6" x 9". Score at 4-1/2".
  2. Now you need a circle for the cover'flap. I used the StampinUp Scalloped Circle Die Cut by Sixxix. You could trace a circle from a round bowl, use,the top note die, or even use a rectangular shape. 
  3. I folded the cirlce in half, placed it at the top of the paper, and that determined how much to cut in from each side so that the purse is narrower at the top. 

You can see how I did that in this next picture. 



4. Now I am ready to attach the cover to the purse but first I must make the strap. 
Using your Crop-o-dile or hole punch, punch a small hole about 1/2" in from each side of the flap.
Use a thin ribbon, about 10" long, and tie a knot at each end so it won't go through the hole. Attach the cover to the back of the purse with glue or double-sided tape. I prefer the latter. 
5. Use a magnetic snap or flat velco as a fastener.
6. Attach a 1-1/2' strip right along the fold on the inside for the insert of the gift card. (See first picture)

ONLY ADHERE AT THE BOTTOM AND THE SIDES SO THERE IS ROOM TO SLIP THE GIFT CARD DOWN INTO IT.  ADJUST WIDE OF THIS STRIP DEPENDING ON THE SIZE OF THE GIFT CARD. 

Add sentiment or To/From if desired. 



If you are interested in Premier Jewelry, you cannot order it online. Kathy Hanchette
is a very enthusiastic representative and will be glad to assist you with your needs.


"Friends are the best accessories."





Monday, April 11, 2011

Leaping Into Action with a Thank You

So when Don appeared at the doorway of my stamp room last night I wondered what was up. He said that he wanted to send a thank you card to a friend who had taken him to play golf for his birthday on Thursday. He had some freebie cards that he could use that had been sent to him--probably because he had given to some charity--unless I had one of my handmade cards that he could have. I asked to see the freebies so he brought them to me. Well--they were totally unacceptable--pucky flowers and butterlies! There was no way they were going out of the house! I said, "Don, these are way too feminine. You can't send these flowers and butterflies!." And he said, "What's wrong with flowers and butterflies? I like them.."  He just doesn't get it. (He likes to garden too.)

So I sprung into action and came up with this card.


Patrick and Carole have a summer home in the pines so I thought the theme was appropriate.
I think bows are ok for a man, don't you?

I hope you can see the Cuttlebug embossing folder I used on the kraft paper. It looks like tree bark.
The punch is by Martha Stewart.


Disclosure:  If anyone recognizes that I CASed their card, please forgive me. I had to come up with something quick, or those flowers and butterflies were going to be in the mailbox before I knew it! 


"A good friend--
like a tube of toothpaste--
comes through in a tight squeeze."
--Anonymous

Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Spotlight's On.....

Susan Raihala

I first became acquainted with Susan on Splitcoast Stampers quite some time ago. Her screen name is LateBlossom and she has a wonderful gallery of cards. I was immediately drawn to her blog, Simplicity and have been an avid follower ever since. Every morning I can count on an email notifying me of a new post, and if I read no other blog, I always see what Susan has to offer for the day. Here are 5 reasons why I like (love) Susan's blog:
  1. Her style of cardmaking is clean and simple. She often makes one-layer cards using white cardstock. Although they are never fussy, they are extremely interesting and creative. Often times, stickles or rhinestones are her only embellishments  She can create without having to own all the latest stamps, die cuts, punches, ribbon, and fancy embellishments. That's good, because I don't need any more temptations! In fact, Susan, doesn't even own a Cuttlebug and rounds her corners (perfectly) with scalloped scissors. Think of all the money she saves not having to buy embossing folders or Spellbinders! What self-control! 
  2. She uses her cards to illustrate great techniques and tutorials, and the explanations are very clear and concise with detailed photo instructions. Her blog is filled with an enormous amount of excellent content that all stampers can learn from, no matter what level of experience they have. By looking at the right sidebar you can see that she has a wealth of valuable information to share. And she never seems to run out of ideas. 
  3. I love the appearance of her blog. It also is clean and simple and was a major factor in contributing to my decision to start blogging this year. I saw so many blogs with bells and whistles, ads and cutesy things, and I just didn't want to go there. The more I saw of Susan's blog, I was convinced that I could stay true to myself and just write about what I loved to do-- in the only style I knew. I would continue to add interesting and relevant content and hopefully someday my blog would measure up too and people would find it. I saw that simple was good and other people loved it just as I did. 
  4. Susan is sensitive to her readers' requests for particular areas of help and interest. Recently I did not understand something she had done on one of her cards and asked a question about it. Before long I received an email from her referring me back to one of her previous tutorials which cleared up my question. Not everyone takes the time to do that, believe me!
  5. Susan has a witty sense of humor! She was blessed with a creative style of writing (probably being an English major has something to do with it) and she makes every entry iinteresting to read. Some are down-right hilarious! One that comes to mind that I must direct you to is her commentary on pears that you can find HERE. I commented that I would never look at a pear in the same way again!  And if you know me, you know that I did love pears! But the one that is my all-time favorite is her memory of childbirth and the epidural man which you must read HERE. By the way, these gems are accompanied by lovely cards also! So if for no other reason, you should become a follower because Susan will bring a smile to your face. One of her followers referred to her as the Erma Bombeck of the Stamping World! We needed one! 
Susan has a huge following and no less than 20-30 comments are left each day. They are fun to read if you have the time, and it is clear to see that everyone greatly admires this lady. I bet she is a fun friend too!

My thought is that at the end of the day, a lot of us are just looking for a friendly place where we can come for a fresh and fun idea. We don't want to wade through a bunch of music, tutorials we have to buy the supplies for, challenges we can only enter if we use certain stamps, flashing blinkies, or COMPLICATED cards with big bows that do not go through the mail. We all have busy lives and are lucky if we get any time for cardmaking at all. So, in my eyes, Susan, you are what it is all about! Thanks for the inspiration!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

SATurday Show And Tell--GOD BLESS AMERICA!

I thought that it was an appropriate day to show you something expressing the heartland of America in view of the struggles going on in our government this week.

Standing 25- foot tall, this statue by J. Seward Johnson depicts the couple in the Grant Wood's painting
 "American Gothic." 
This is a farmer and his spinster daughter with a valise at their feet with stickers from all  across America.
It is not husband and wife, or brother and sister, as many people think.

It was on display in downtown Mesa, AZ last year for 4-1/2 months, on loan from The Sculpture Foundation in California.
It weighed 8,000 lbs. and was made in three pieces. It took almost a week to assemble.
You can watch the YouTube Video of it going up HERE
(if it's at the end, press replay)


A few pieces of trivia you may find interesting about the famous painting--
The woman in the picture is the artist's sister and the man is the artist's dentist.
They never posed in front of the house but each sat separately for the artist.


The artist found this house in Eldon, Iowa and thought it would make an interesting backdrop for his painting.
It is still standing.

Although the "American Gothic" was first regarded as a "comic valentine," it won the artist $300 and a bronze medal in an art competition  because a museum patron took a liking to it. She convinced the Chicago Institute of Art to purchase it where it still resides to this day. It is one of the great cultural icons along with the Mona Lisa, even though it caused backlash at times over the years.
It has been widely reproduced and "reinterpreted."









An embroidery



"No road is long
with good company."
--Turkish proverb
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