Wednesday, June 23, 2010


While browsing the internet the other day, I stumbled across MaeMae Paperie's lovely blog. Featuring modern, custom stationery and invitations, the blog is chock-full of gorgeous eye candy. I couldn't help but be inspired by this set in particular (more pics here):

Isn't it fabulous? I kid you not, I gasped when I saw it. Now, I'm not normally much of a purple girl, but this combo of purple and orange looked so fresh, I immediately pulled out some stamps and got to work. Here's my version:

I used my new SEI stamps again - the 2-step flowers were a perfect fit. I didn't have any jewels the right color, so I used two different sharpies to color clear rhinestones. I went with a "congratulations" sentiment in keeping with the wedding theme, but this could really be used for any number of happy occasions. I'm surprised just how much I'm loving these colors together, and I'm sure I'll be using this combo again soon!

Card Supplies:
Stamps: SEI "Mimosa," Anna Griffin "Darcey" (sentiment); Ink: Ink It Up lavender, orange, SEI charcoal; Paper: watercolor paper, American Crafts cs; Accessories: corner rounder punch, foam dimensionals, rhinestones, sharpies

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

I Hate Shopping...

Grocery shopping, that is! It can be such an ordeal here. Luckily, we live within walking distance of a really good grocery store, so at least we don't have to stand in line waiting for a cab afterwards with all of our bags (like we did at our old apartment). On the flip side, that means we have to carry all of our stuff home. When you only do your shopping once every couple of weeks, those bags get heavy! I know I should try to adapt to the Asian way of grocery shopping, buying only what we need for a day or two. But the store is always so crowded, with people jostling, blocking aisles with their carts, pushing to get their vegetables weighed, not to mention the sloooow checkout lines - I just can't bring myself to make that a daily event. The one saving grace of the whole thing is stopping by Curry House Coco for some fab Japanese curry. That stuff is good enough to (almost) make me overlook the rest. I swear, I think I could eat there every day! 

Here's something else that makes me happy, something I whipped up super-quick (but totally makes me smile). Seth thinks it's funny when I chuckle at my own cards. 

Now, I'm sure someone may be wondering about the lack of punctuation (the editor in me had a hard time leaving it like this), but would you believe none of the disks for my lablemaker have punctuation? I don't have any of those cute little letter stickers everyone is using, so I just went with what I had (or didn't have, in this case). I think it works. Besides, who can resist a combo of colored woodgrain, a funky birdhouse, and labeltape? 

Card Supplies:
Stamps: Hero Arts "Designer Woodgrain," Basic Grey "Aviary;" Ink: SEI "Cumquats," Brillance "Graphite Black;" Accessories: Dymo labelmaker, black labeltape 

Friday, June 18, 2010


I've had this pear cut out for months; I had a design for it in mind, but for some reason every time I went to use it I ended up making something else entirely. Today I was having some mojo trouble, so I got out my box of "pieces" and decided it was time to finally use the pear. In just a few minutes, I whipped up this card by adding a circle nestie, an embossing folder, some yummy woodgrain label tape, and a corner rounder punch. The hardest part was gluing down those little seeds!

Can I just say how much I love this pear? Of course, it makes me want to cut out all the other fab designs on that cartridge (there's a cute apple that would make another great card), but alas, my Cricut Create is deader than a doornail. I think I used it a total of ten times (maybe) before it just quit working. I've e-mailed them, done the reset thing  - no go. I'm afraid the international shipping costs to send it in for repair would be outrageous; I'm considering just getting a Silhouette SD instead. I actually like their images better, and from what I've seen the cuts are cleaner, too. Plus, no more messing with cartridges - just buy the images you like. My birthday is coming up in a few months (hint, hint - just in case you happen to read this, honey!)

Card Supplies:
Cricut, Home Accents cartridge, Cuttlebug, Circle Nestabilities, Quickutz Polka Dots (large) embossing folder, corner rounder punch, Dymo labelmaker, woodgrain label tape, foam dimensionals

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

CAS71 - Beecause

The SEI love continues with my latest card, created for this week's Splitcoaststampers CAS (Clean And Simple) Challenge: Things That Fly. I combined images from two different SEI sets for this one: the bee from Juliette, and the bracket frame and dots from Bridgeport. (Don't those dots remind you of honeycomb?) To create the layered label, I stamped the frame onto the backside of the yellow patterned paper and trimmed, leaving just the center, then stamped the frame again onto cream cardstock, this time trimming around the whole frame. The rest of the card came together with some simple stamping, foam dimensionals, and a small corner rounder punch. I've been using that punch a lot lately! I like how it gives a more subtle look than my regular corner rounder punch.

Well, I'm off to enjoy some English tv - we broke down yesterday and finally paid to have the satellite turned on. The dish came with the apartment, so we figured we may as well use it. And it's cheaper than the cable package offered through our apartment complex. I've got my Discovery and National Geographic channels, the mister has his news and sports - yep, life is good!

Card Supplies:
Stamps: SEI Bridgeport, Juliette; Hero Arts All Occasion Messages (sentiment); Ink: SEI Charcoal, My Mind's Eye Sundress palette, Brilliance Graphite Black; Patterned Paper: Pink Paislee Queen Bee; Accessories: small corner rounder punch, foam dimensionals

Monday, June 14, 2010

Mimosa Flowers

You know, SEI stamps are really growing on me. I like how interactive the elements in each set are - you can get a lot of different looks with just a few stamps. And what can I say, I'm a sucker for a good deal - their sets are all under $10! This particular set has an assortment of flowers, two sizes of polka dots, and a couple of sentiments. Here  I used the largest flower in the set (stamped a total of four times, cut to different sizes for layering) and the small polka dots. I love those polka dots! So easy to line up. See that little Labels 9 Nestie I snuck in there? This one was the perfect size for a little PTI sentiment. I can tell these dies are going to get a lot of use!

On a totally unrelated topic, did you know you can "bake" potatoes in the crockpot? It's so easy! Just pierce your potatoes with a fork, put in the crockpot (I stand them on end like a miniature Stonehenge), and cook on high for 3-4 hours (low 6-8). They come out perfectly "baked," and you don't have to heat up your whole kitchen by using the oven. Perfect for summer!

Card Supplies:
Stamps: SEI Mimosa, PTI Mixed Messages; Ink: SEI Bordeaux, Charcoal; My Mind's Eye "Sundress;" Accessories: Cuttlebug, Labels 9 Nestabilities, small corner rounder punch, foam dimensionals, rhinestones 

Thursday, June 10, 2010

On Life and Chinese Sandwiches

This is a Chinese sandwich. I bought it from the convenience store by our house. I'm not sure what possessed me to try such a thing, but I was feeling adventurous that day. It's comprised of bread, cheese, more bread, a breaded pork(?) patty, still more bread, mashed potatoes with carrots, and yet another slice of bread. (Carb overload, anyone?) It actually doesn't taste that bad, once you wrap your head around the fact that yes, those are mashed potatoes with carrots on a sandwich. But it doesn't necessarily fit the bill if you're craving a nice shaved turkey deli sandwich with tomatoes and mayo on whole wheat bread, kwim?

In some ways, this sandwich is a good reference for how I've been feeling lately. We live in an amazing city, one of the largest in the world. The culture is intriguing, the language is fascinating, and each time you walk out your door you never know exactly what might happen. Sometimes I compare life here to that old computer game, Myst, where you were plunked down in an unknown world and your mission was to wander around interacting with the environment, pulling levers and deciphering symbols, attempting to put the pieces together and figure out just how that new world "worked." I loved that game. But the nice thing about that game was that you could hit "save," turn off your computer, and return immediately to the safe, predictable world that you were accustomed to. No more struggling to figure out what words were being said, no wondering what behavior was expected or discouraged in a given situation, no guessing whether or not a sandwich with breaded pork and mashed potatoes with carrots would be a pleasant surprise or an epic fail. Some days I wish I could just put the China game on pause for a day or two - take a drive through our hometown in my Suzuki SUV; go shopping at Target or Michaels or even just a plain old Walmart. Listen to American music on the radio, or watch some English television that isn't in dvd format. Have a sandwich and a freshly baked cookie at Panera. But only for a day or two, because I know all too well that I would soon miss our China adventures. And tomorrow, if you dared me to buy the mystery meat and egg salad sandwich sitting on the shelf next to the takeaway sushi, I just might do it.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Rainy Polka-Dot Day

Grr - this one just did not want to be photographed! IRL, the flower is a deeper, more reddish pink that matches the polka dot paper, and the green is a little less in-your-face. Just trust me when I say this card is much cuter in person. : ) To make the ruffled "ribbon," I crumpled up a strip of lightweight paper until it was soft and pliable, put a piece of double-sided tape across the embossed cardstock, and attached the crumpled paper strip, wrapping the paper around the handle of my paper piercing tool to form the three loops on the left. By the way, see those embossed polka dots? That's the new Cuttlebug folder that just came out. I think it's going to be a new favorite!

I was thinking about going to Ikea today, but it's raining, which means "nearly impossible to find a cab" weather, so I think I'll wait. I hope I don't have to put it off too long - their yummy dark chocolate and almond cake is calling my name!

Card Supplies:
Stamps: Basic Grey "Beta" stamp; Ink: SEI "Bordeaux," ColorBox "Citrine;" Accessories: Cuttlebug, Seeing Spots embossing folder, rectangle Nestabilities, rhinestone, foam dimensionals

Friday, June 4, 2010

Trying New Things

A few weeks ago we celebrated our one-year anniversary in this apartment, which is a big deal because for the first time in the history of our marriage we've hit the one-year mark without any plans to move elsewhere. From the get-go, we've always felt the urge for new scenery, new surroundings, every time that one-year lease came up. Sometimes it was a little move down the block, or to the next state, or halfway around the world... We certainly haven't been too keen on being tied down! But now that we're in a more permanent state of mind, it's had me thinking a lot about what "home" really means. And I really want to document my feelings somehow. So I've finally decided to take the plunge and try out my first scrapjournal. I'm easing into it with this downloadable kit from House of 3 - I just love the images! They just happen to be offering 40% off all their downloadables this weekend, so I figured I may as well give it a shot. Wish me luck! 

Oh, and since we're on the topic of home, I found this pic of our very first apartment in China, back in 2004.

That was us on the bottom right. It was small, and had some not-so-lovely odors from the bathroom pipes, and a teeny tiny rat problem. The problem, not the rats. The rats were huge. Well, actually the problem wasn't all that teeny either. But we were just so happy to finally be in China, that it really didn't matter. Except for that rat problem. That was bad. They ate my birthday cake. And one ran around my living room while I chased it with a broom. Those sheets of sticky glue paper that they sell to catch rats? They work great - except that then you're left with a giant live rat stuck to a piece of paper that you have to now somehow pick up and take outside. Did you know that rats can hiss like a cat? Ask me how I know this. Wait, where was I? Oh, yeah, this was our first China apartment, and we loved it. But we loved the next (rat-free) one even more!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

A Lovely Day

I am having so much fun with my new craft supplies! I really miss being able to shop at brick and mortar craft stores, but I have to admit, it's a lot of fun to get a package of goodies in the mail. Kind of like a mini Christmas. Today I used another of my new stamp sets, Dear Lizzy "Whistle." I LOVE the flower in this set - it just begs to be layered with dimensionals!

I stamped the flower twice on pink cardstock, adding a houndstooth pattern stamp to one flower, then stamped the flower again on green cardstock. Next, I cut out the flowers: green flower - entire flower; pink houndstooth flower - without leaves; plain pink flower - center only. I distressed the edges of the layers with scissors, swiped the edges of the pink layers with cream ink, and added some detailing to the flower center with a white gel pen. Then I adhered the layers together with foam dimensionals. The scalloped square is cut from felt using my Cuttlebug and Nesties (I layered a piece of cereal box beneath the felt to help the die cut all the way through). The rest is pretty self-explanatory! I chose not to add a sentiment, as I felt this particular card could be used for multiple occasions. I just love how cheery it is!

Well, getting ready to go grab a coffee with my hubby. The perfect ending to a lovely day!

Card Supplies:
 Stamps: American Crafts Dear Lizzy "Whistle," Hero Arts "Houndstooth Background;" Ink: ColorBox "Rose Coral" chalk, SEI "Ivy," PTI "Vintage Cream;" Patterned Paper: DCWV; Accessories: Cuttlebug, Scallop Square Nestabilities, felt, Signo white gel pen, rhinestones, foam dimensionals

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The Evolution of a Card

Over the weekend, I was able to browse through Paper Crafts "Go To Sketches," which got the old creative juices flowing. I decided I wanted to try the sketch on page 24 - it seemed pretty straightforward, and I thought my new Dear Lizzy stamps would be a great fit. Well let me tell you, this one gave me fits! First, I thought I'd do a mix of stamping directly on the cardfront with one or two circle-punched images adhered with dimensionals. Then, I tried all circle-punched images, some popped up, others adhered flat to the cardfront. When that still didn't look right, I decided to emboss the cardfront, then add the punched circles. I fiddled and fiddled with this thing, and this is what I ended up with:

(The more I look at it, the more "hot mess" comes to mind, lol!) I really wasn't happy with it, but it was late and my bed was calling. Unfortunately, it didn't look any better in the light of day, so I decided to just start over from scratch:

Ah, that looks much better! So much easier on the eyes: cleaner, crisper, but still visually interesting. I used my circle Nestabilities with my Cuttlebug to cut circles in a piece of 3 5/8 x 5" cardstock, following the sketch for placement. To stamp my images, I used temporary adhesive to attach the circle panel directly to the cardfront, masking off the edges of the two partial circles with post-its. After everything was stamped, I removed the circle panel and re-attached it using foam dimensionals. For the scalloped sentiment strip, I punched both sides of a  1 1/8 x 3 5/8" strip with an edger punch, then stamped the sentiment - easy peasy! Popped the sentiment strip up on foam dimensionals, added rhinestones to the stamped images, and voila!

Now, my first instinct was to just act like the first card never existed, and only show pics of the second card. But then I figured, hey, why not show how I got from one to the other? So, in the interest of full disclosure, there you have it - the good, the bad, and the not-quite ugly. Hopefully someone will get a kick out of it!

Card Supplies:

1) Stamps: American Crafts Dear Lizzy "Warble," Hero Arts "All Occasion Messages;" Ink: SEI Bordeaux, Cumquats, Ivy; Brilliance Graphite Black; Accessories: circle punches, EK Success Open Scallop edger punch, Cuttlebug, Quickutz Polka Dots (Large) embossing folder, corner rounder punch, rhinestones, foam dimensionals (varying widths)

2) Stamps: American Crafts Dear Lizzy "Warble," Hero Arts "All Occasion Messages;" Ink: SEI Bordeaux, Cumquats; ColorBox Chestnut; Accessories: Cuttlebug, Circle Nestabilities, EK Success Open Scallop edger punch, foam dimensionals, rhinestones