Thursday, May 27, 2010

New Crafting Goodies

So who was I kidding? Of course I couldn't resist all those wonderful new goodies waiting for me in that box. The temptation was too strong! So far my favorite has to be this 2-step bird stamp from We R Memory Keepers:

LOVE it! And how about that new embossing folder? Such a fabulously mod design. I can't wait to dig into the rest!

I was inspired by this week's CAS challenge over on Splitcoaststampers, which is a Summer Theme challenge. I think this is nice and summery, don't you?

As you can probably tell, I haven't been able to get my DSLR fixed. I'm trying to make do with my ancient point-and-shoot, but the picture quality is pretty shoddy (I bought it in 2003 AFTER it had been out a year or so, lol). Hopefully soon I'll have a chance to track down a camera repair shop!

Card Supplies:
Stamps: We R Memory Keepers "Vintage Blue - Robin," American Crafts "Large Sentiments;" Ink: SEI Charcoal, ColorBox "Robin's Egg;" Accessories: Cuttlebug / Quickutz Retro Squares embossing folder, raffia, foam dimensionals

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

"Thank You"

Today I've got card #3 to share with you (didn't I tell you I was on a roll with this new digikit?):

Again, I embossed the cardfront using an adaption of Nichole Heady's instructions (using 2 tan mats instead of 1 tan mat + cardstock shim). After that, I punched 3 squares and attached them to the cardfront as following: dark gray square - roller adhesive, flat to cardfront; yellow square - thin foam tape; light gray square - foam dimensionals (about twice as thick as the foam tape). Each square ends up a little higher off the card than the one to the left of it. To finish, I stamped my sentiment in the lower left corner. Another quick and easy card!

 Right now I'm supposed to be cleaning (we've got company coming over  this weekend), but wouldn't you know, my package of crafting goodies came early! So now I'm torn: do I put away the new supplies till Monday and go clean the kitchen, or just dive in (undoing all the craft-room tidying I just did in the process)? What's a girl to do?

Card Supplies:
Stamps: Hero Arts "All Occasion Messages;" Ink: My Mind's Eye "Natural" palette; Paper: Songbird Avenue "Metro" digikit; Accessories: square punch, Cuttlebug / Rectangle Nestabilities, foam tape, foam dimensionals

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

"Just for You"

Here's card #2 from my weekend crafting spree:

I modified a sketch from Card Creations "Quick & Easy" Volume 2 (p. 14). Pretty straightforward - punch 12 circles from patterned paper (more of that fab "Metro" digikit), attach to cardfront with foam dimensionals; stamp sentiment on cardstock, trim, and adhere to circles using very thin foam tape (for slight dimension). So easy to put together! 

Right now we're in the process of getting our visas renewed; luckily we have someone doing a good portion of the footwork for us, so we shouldn't have to trek all over the city multiple times like last year. Unfortunately, it means that for the next week or so we don't have any official papers to carry with us, and with so many visitors here for the World Expo they've been reminding everyone to carry passports/IDs at all times. At times they even do random checks on the street, in subway stations, etc. We've never been stopped, but I'll still feel a lot better once we have our papers back.

In other news, I'm waiting (not so) patiently for a package of crafting goodies from the States. I'll be getting a copy of Go-To Sketches; embossing folders; Labels 9 Nesties; stamps from SEI, American Crafts, Studio G, Basic Grey, and We R Memory Keepers; ink; a new edger punch... I'm going to be one happy crafter! Some of this stuff I ordered back in March, so it's been agonizing waiting for it to get here. My inlaws were sweet enough to put it all together in one package and send it, along with some of our mail (we use them as our permanent Stateside address). They put it in the mail last week, so we should be getting it in the next several days. I have to say, though, as much as I love getting packages in the mail, I really miss being able to shop at a real brick & mortar store. Think I could convince Michaels or Archivers to open up a store here in China?

Card Supplies:
Stamps: Hero Arts "All Occasion Messages;" Ink: My Mind's Eye "Natural" palette; Paper: Songbird Avenue "Metro" digikit; Accessories: 3/4" circle punch, foam dimensionals, foam tape 

Monday, May 24, 2010


I've been playing around with the digi-kit I mentioned a few days ago; it really gave my mojo a jolt!  I made a little series of coordinating cards; here's the first one:

As you can see, I put my Nesties to good use on this card. I tweaked the instructions for the embossed cardfront from this post on Nichole Heady's blog. (Instead of one tan mat plus a cardstock shim, I just used two tan mats. Also, I've found it helps to use a couple of tiny pieces of tape to hold the die in place, otherwise you'll end up with a crooked imprint - trust me on this one!). The yellow layer was cut and embossed with a Nestie as well. For the label, I first stamped the label outline, followed by the sentiment, both with gray ink; then used a light yellow ink to fill in the label with flourishes. Last but not least, I added a tiny rhinestone to the flower inside the O. Each layer is attached using foam dimensionals for a little extra "pop." I made this card with a very special friend in mind - just a little something to brighten her day!

Card Supplies:
Stamps: Inkadinkado "Maison Frames" (label outline), American Crafts "Enjoy" (sentiment, flourish); Ink: My Mind's Eye "Natural" pigment palette, "Sundress" pigment palette; Paper: Songbird Avenue "Metro" digikit; Accessories: Cuttlebug / Rectangle Nestabilities, adhesive rhinestone, foam dimensionals

Friday, May 21, 2010

Digi-Scrapping for a Cause

I don't know about you, but I'm always intrigued by crafters who are able to use their creativity to make a difference in the world. Last night I was doing some blog-hopping, and I stumbled across a digi-scrapbooking site called Songbird Avenue. Each month they offer a limited-time $8 digikit, and the proceeds go to support different charities chosen by the designers. Just how much actually goes to the charities? $7.47 from each kit! That's pretty awesome, if you ask me. This month's kit caught my eye right away - chic grays and yellows with a nice graphic punch. Isn't it yummy?

What really cinched it (for me) is when I found out that this month's selected charity is based out of our (stateside) hometown (the founder is a close friend of dh's family). They provide seminars, retreats, resources, etc. for victims of abuse, as well as training for those who work with abuse victims - I can vouch that it's definitely a worthy cause. It's really a win-win situation: you get a great-looking digikit, and 93% of your money goes directly to charity! This kit will only be available till the end of the month, so head on over to and check it out!

(Now, I want to add that I am in no way affiliated with Songbird Avenue - I just think they've got an awesome platform going and thought I'd spread the word!)

Monday, May 17, 2010

Ta Ta

I left this little card for Seth when I went on my trip earlier this month. I hid it by his computer so that I could call him after I left and tell him where to look for it - and then promptly forgot all about it. So, he didn't actually get the card until the day after I got back from my trip. Hey, it's the thought that counts, right? 

Card Supplies:
Stamps: Studio Calico "Typeset," Hero Arts "All Occasion Messages;" Ink: My Mind's Eye pigment

Saturday, May 15, 2010

One Year... and Counting!

Yesterday marked one year that we've been back in China, one year that we've been in this apartment. What makes it especially momentous is that we've been in this apartment for one year and we have NO plans of moving - that's a first in our 13 years of marriage! Usually by now we'd already be unpacking boxes in our new place. I have to admit, it feels a little strange. It's going to take some getting used to, this new-found semblance of stability. We've both been feeling a little restless over the past several weeks, and at first we weren't sure why - until we realized that subconsciously our bodies have been gearing up for the change of scenery that would normally be coming.

So, to commemorate the day and to prove (to ourselves, mostly) that we have no plans of going anywhere anytime soon, we went out and bought a rice cooker. Nothing says stability like a bulky kitchen appliance, right?

Aren't those flowers gorgeous? Hubby got them for me the other night. They're so lush IRL - this picture just doesn't do them justice!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Happy Bellies

I've discovered a new obsession: Curry House Coco Ichibanya!

It's a restaurant specializing in Japanese curry - and can I just say YUM? Now, I had no idea there was such a thing as Japanese curry. But it turns out that it's one of the most popular dishes in Japan, originally introduced by the British navy, who mixed curry powder with their stews. It's sweeter than Indian curry, and rather like a thick gravy. At this particular restaurant, you choose your curry dish (I got the grilled beef), the amount of rice you want, and the spice level. Then there are all kinds of optional toppings, from extra meats to veggies, even cheese. Man, this stuff is good! Two bites and I was a convert. We ate till we were stuffed, and even jokingly considered going back for dinner that evening. Hmm, maybe lunch tomorrow...

Sunday, May 9, 2010

It's Good to be Home

Whew. This was a busy week for me. I flew down to Shenzhen on Wednesday, had an appointment in Hong Kong on Thursday, then flew home to Shanghai on Friday. My 5 pm return flight didn't actually take off until 7:15; apparently thunderstorms elsewhere in the country were causing havoc with air travel. Flight after flight was delayed or canceled, they were starting to give out meal vouchers to certain flights, and they kept switching departure gates around on everyone (my flight went from gate 13 to 15 to 16). It was beginning to look like my flight might end up canceled as well (the counter was deserted, and at 6:30 the board still said our flight was "delayed until 5:30"), when all of a sudden a worker appeared and called out that we were boarding. By the time I made it to Shanghai, I was tired, hungry, and had a huge headache. Of course, even then I still had to take the subway and then a taxi before I was finally home.

So, yeah, that trip wore me out. Yesterday I just vegged on the couch in my pjs with some light reading. It felt so good just to be home, with the dog curled up by my side and Seth sitting nearby watching old episodes of Star Trek. No more travel plans for me in the near future; I'm staying put for a while!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Moxie Fab Tuesday Trigger

Squeezed in another card; this one is for the Moxie Fab Tuesday Trigger. Here's the inspiration photo:

And here's my card:

Sorry for the rather dim lighting - I'm trying to get this in before the Monday am deadline, and America's Monday morning is my Monday night. Crazy, huh? I incorporated several elements from the inspiration photo into my card: the blue pool water, the sisal rug, the leaves on the pillows, and the white of the furniture. I used Ashley Cannon Newell's ruffled ribbon tutorial for my ruffled raffia - really easy to do, but adds such fun visual interest! I stamped the leaves onto an embossed rectangle, then stamped a second image onto some scrap cardstock and cut out two of the leaves for layering. I needed a sentiment, but I didn't want to clutter things up too much - so I performed a little stamp surgery and snuck this tiny little sentiment into the corner. Ah, doesn't this remind you of a nice beach vacation?

Card Supplies:
Stamps: Martha Stewart Leaves, Hero Arts "All Occasions Messages;" Ink: My Mind's Eye Neutrals palette; Patterned Paper: K & Company "Urban Rhapsody;" Accessories: raffia, Cuttlebug / Rectangle Nestabilities, foam dimensionals

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Moxie Fab "Three Cheers for Chairs" Challenge

So here's the card I was trying so futilely to photograph yesterday. It's for the Moxie Fab "Three Cheers for Chairs" Challenge (found here). I'm getting ready to spend a few days at a friend's house, so I wanted to make her a little thank-you card:

And the inside:

Isn't that chair just the perfect image for a hospitality card? I also used my new Hero Arts Houndstooth background stamp. Love that stamp! The bookprint layer is a photocopied page from a vintage cookbook. If you look closely at the bottom right corner, you'll see a reference to "home-making" - I thought it fit nicely with the overall theme of the card. I printed the inside sentiment with my computer (I discovered that the "Arabic Typesetting" font is almost a perfect match to the Hero Arts sentiment stamp I used on the front of the card). I finished it all off with some scallop trim and bright cheery buttons. I hope my friend likes it!

Card Supplies:
Stamps: Chronicle Books "Eames Stamp Set," Hero Arts "Houndstooth Background," Hero Arts "Just Wanted Sparkle Clear;" Ink: Brilliance Graphite Black, Stampendous Black pigment, My Mind's Eye "Natural" pigment palette, Ranger "Antique Linen" distress ink; Paper: kraft, watercolor paper, photocopied bookprint; Accessories: small corner rounder punch, scallop scissors, buttons, embroidery floss, foam dimensionals, printer (for inside sentiment), "Arabic Typesetting" font

Not a Good Day for Cameras

Today I pulled out my trusty Rebel Xti and it would not auto-focus. Just made this sad little clicking sound like it was trying but just couldn't muster up the strength. At the time I was trying to take a picture of a card I had just made; needing to take advantage of the quickly fading daylight, I reached instead for my ancient point-and-shoot, and wouldn't you know it, the batteries were dead. Spent 15 minutes looking for the backup batteries, to no avail. Sigh.

Looks like we'll have to find a camera repair shop to see if my Rebel's lens can be resurrected. I am not a happy camper.