Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Hello WOYWW -ers

Another Wednesday, with Christmas just 3 more wake-ups away! I've put the finishing touches on the Tim tags/gifts for my 5 nieces and 1 nephew. Thought I would post them for you to see tonight. No, the kids aren't going to peek. Nor will their parents. After all, teenagers don't read blogs by their crafty auntie. 

Hop over to Julia's Stamping Ground and have a look-see at work desks around the world. There are some very talented and ultra wonderful people with really cool things going on. I highly recommend you turn on the Christmas music and grab a cup of cocoa to enjoy as you hop about the world.

First, a very merry Christmas to all. Second, a very happy New Year. May you have health, happiness and enough of what you need.

On with the show and a little bit of tell. Here you see one of the 12 tags of Christmas directed by none other than Tim Holtz. After adapting his tag (faith) I origami-ed some money (butterfly) and glued it on the back. Actually, I didn't glue the cash to the back of the tag, just the pipe cleaner body. 
 Next I used my new Stampotique stamps with Prismacolor pencils, and cut out the image. I distressed inked the edges and mounted it on distress inked and stamped card stock. I love, love, love the holiday background stamp (stampotique, too.) Isn't this dear the cutest thing!

 These are the finished gift packages. Card on top, tag and origami-ed money inside. And to think it took soooooo long to get to this point. For just 6 kids. Nothing for the adults and gasp! nothing, nothing, nothing yet for St. Donald. Yikes, I better do something quickly as we leave Thursday, yes, in just a few short hours, for Indianapolis, IN - Christmas at mom's - age 82 and going strong. I don't know what to get him - he gets what he wants or needs throughout the year and has all the electronics, gadgets, golfballs and golf clubs a man could want. To top it all off, he doesn't believe in gift lists. It couldn't be more maddening! sigh

Past years' gift for him haven't gone so well, at least 4 returned items; the idea of and A-Z Christmas fell flat. I bought him gifts that started with the letters a-z, for example, ABCE were children's Erasers in the shapes of A-B-C clever, right? Wrong. Evidently there were too many packages to open or something. I had fun putting it together, I guess that in itself is a kind of a gift.

As I write this I'm kinda feelin' like this guy...

but then I jest.  I choose to wait for more snow to fall and enjoy the Christmas tree and lights on the houses around town.  Remember....
Be sure to make something fun. ...and to all a good-night!  


Monday, December 20, 2010

Hey there, hi there, ho there!

I'll explain this photo at the end of today's post. But I just had to pique your curiosity. 
 The first of the holiday's guests have come and gone. St. Donald and I are dad and mom to 7 international exchange students. Because they are so far away we are lucky that the youngest of the crew, Ghufran age 20, lives in Toronto now. He is in his 3rd year at Ryerson University and is originally from Afghanistan. 
There is a long version and a longer version of his saga. In short, he came here when he was 16 for a year of high school and then returned to Afghanistan to his family and to start college. Unfortunately, he and his family received threats and G (Ghufran) wanted very much to return to the States to be safe. A resourceful young man and entrepreneur, G managed to get an invitation to be a counselor at an international youth conference that was held in Washington DC. He had done this once prior to leaving the states and found the experience wonderful and enriching, thus he wanted to do it again.
 We made arrangements for him to come "home" to Buffalo to spend a week with us in August before he planned to return to Afghanistan. Just before our visit was up, he skipped the Canadian border to seek political refugee status. Can you imagine any 17 year old that you know who might be willing to give up everything and start over in another culture and country?  So this is where he went to high school and has lived on his own for the last 4 years. For those doing the math, he'll be 21 in April. So that's the short version.  
 He came from Toronto to Ft. Erie, Ontatio, Canada by bus on Friday afternoon. The it is always better for either the St. Don or me to go pick him up and go through U.S. Customs with G than for him to go alone. It's always best to have a sponsor in his situation. 
 So at Customs we do the usual routine, pull up to the booth, turn off the car, hand over our documents and car keys and wait for 2 armed Homeland Security folks to come escort G into the building. A hour and a half and many questions and statements later, we are free to go and on our merry way to Christmas in Orchard Park. Yippee! I'm still in the short version.
  He spent 2 night here in his own bed: friends to see, lunches and dinners with former teachers, bowling, movies and laughter. G left today on the next leg of his journey - off to NYC and then San Diego, California for Christmas, then the reverse again on January 2nd back to Toronto. I promise this is the short form!
 Then straight away off he will go to Prague for a 10 day international youth conference. Remember I said he was an entrepreneur? He found scholarships, donations and matching funds to cover the $3,000 cost of the trip. This and manage a straight A average in his courses.
 Not only am I proud of his accomplishments, I am in awe of his ability to set and reach his goals. More proud momma details in another post.
 This in short is why I haven't done any crafting of late. Now to the explanation of the above photo. Tonight I did manage to do some origami folding of cash-ola, moolah, bucks, dollar bills as gifts for the nieces and nephew. a necktie, a heart and butterflies. I'll tape these to the back of the tags I made a couple weeks back and voilĂ , gifts will be finished. We don't go in for all the rushing, buying, wrapping and spending. There is already enough to do for the holiday food and guests.
 Tomorrow I'll explain my families silly and simple method of gift exchange...it's inexpensive and fun. Until then, make something fun, If you can't craft, then make a smile! 

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

WOYWW - go see Julia and her friends

I forgot to send you over to see Julia Dunnit's Stamping Ground to join in the fun blog hop of WOYWW. Enjoy the ride!

Wake up - it's WOYWW & tags#6, 7, 10 & 12

Phew! I've been tagging like a madwoman to complete Tim's 12 tags of christmas and forgot to post what I've done. Has that ever happened to you? Yeah, I thought so. 

So I slept until noon today (fighting another 2 day migraine) and thought I'd better march on and get these goodies posted to share with you. This is the aftermath of the 12 tags of Christmas! Stuff everywhere on the desk and floor, too There is a little clear space on the craft mat for some new projects tomorrow.

 Here' my next love...some sweet holiday stamps from Stampotique. I've ignored them since they arrived, but now they will be the center of my universe. 
 I'm not very good at doing original things, but I'll consider using some of Tim's techniques as a jumping off point to make a little something extra. 

 Here are my tags #10 and #12. Improv and -ish were the name of the game since I didn't have the snowman die or the corners for the Joy card. I also failed to read and follow directions for the snowman, pretty typical of my impatience to finish something I think is cool. I continue to work on patience as a virtue!
Tags #6 and #7 turned out well. I love the texture fade technique, but that was the easiest part of the poinsettia tag. Pretty labor intensive. But I'd do it again in a heart beat. A little PS here, I've decided not to do #8 since I don't have any  of the materials. I'll try to do an -ish post after the holidays.

Since I was a couple days late and a dollar short I was completing 2 and a half tags per day to catch up. Oh yeah, I had that cold thingy that laid me low for several days.  St. Donald was doing sudoku and watching movies while I played tag. We're compatible like that - each has own interests and we don't mind being alone while being together. 

I shipped off a box of tags to the mother for her Advent card surprises and brought a couple more to Charlie in her new assisted living home. 

Yesterday was another lake effect blizzard here, but being the good Buffalonian that I am, I drove to Canada for the monthly appointment chez la coiffeuse. The hair is now ready for holidays in Indianapolis with the fam. Driving was somewhat dangerous, but then loyalty to one's hairdresser is more important, just drive slowly on the most traveled highways. The Queen Elizabeth Way was closed, so I took the scenic route, what I could see of it. lol  

That's about it for today, I do blather on, but at least it's in large print. rofl  Hope you've had time to make something fun. Warm hugs.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Tags for all! and money's nice, too

I've been wondering what to give my teenage nieces and nephew for Christmas that is NOT a plastic gift card. Been there, done that, sooo over it. This is today's Tim tag #9 and I think I've found the answer.  Here's what happened in the atelier today

 Yep, I made a bunch of 'em. Each of the darlin' teens (the kids) will get one of these babies and on the back I'll tape an origami folded moolah: cold, crispy cash to spend as they wish. I chose a different saying for each of them. Mom gets the "Jul" (pronounce yule) tag since she is of Swedish descent (minus $$). There's one for Charlie, and two for me. Naw, just kidding. One for another dear friend, Rachel. I give them to her as I make them, sort of like an irregular advent calendar gift!

I did change up some of Tim's directions because I was doing so many...8 in all with one in the trash. I had to have something of an assembly line going. To make it easier to color the tags I used Wild Honey reinker with the heirloom gold perfect pearls spray on the craft mat instead of tapping the distress ink pad (wild honey and brushed corduroy.) This way I could dip the tag, dry it and move on quickly to the next tag. I had a really good rhythm going, too. And that glue gun was such a handy fellow. He'd been sitting in the drawer for over mumble mumble mumble years without ever being touched!

I love the honey color, warm & sunny. The kids can have the tag out or hang it up all year instead of being limited to Christmas.

Not having any pretty buttons kinda had me bummed, but got me to wondering what to use instead. D'ya know those old coins you've been saving as souvenirs? Well, I found a use for them. They are very cool and vintage to boot. Old French francs (well, duh yeah, I was a French teacher), Swedish and Norwegian kroner, British pence (one of the nieces was born in Basingstoke), Spanish pesetas, and a Russian ruble that came from out of nowhere! With a coin on the front then a couple of bucks taped on the back folded like butterflies or somethin' easy but eye-popping, that ought to keep the theme going.

I used grungeboard letters 'cuz I don't have the papercore or Tim's alphabet die. Painted 'em black, didn't sand them, just gave 'em a dollop of glossy accents to shine them up. Perfection was NOT in today's crafting vocabulary. It was not a labor intensive tag, which is why I enjoyed it so much. Another zen experience in the studio. ooooohmmmmm

Drop me a comment and let me know how you change some of the steps to simplify your art. You know me, I love to learn and share shortcuts to art! Hope you made something fun today.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

WOYWW and Day 7 Tim tag

I must admit to having spent the entire day on the couch with aches, chills and laryngitis. Hence, no tag today. Don't even have energy to deck the tree. No matter, I still managed to find some bins of decorations. So, here are the pics. Top bin is pretend xmas gift boxes for under the tree! lol  Some boxes are so pretty that I can't bear to toss them. When they're under the tree it looks like there are lots of goodies! The middle bin is pine boughs for the banister and in the bottom one are the large ornaments I put in antique wash bowls on the hearth. I'll bring them all up from the basement storage room when I have a burst of energy.

On to WOYWW.  Hop over to Julia's here to see what's on work desks around the world. I've met some of the nicest, most wonderfully talented people from WOYWW! Thank you Julia, for letting us pop by for peeks and making new friends everywhere.

This is my attempt to get some words together for tomorrow when I tackle Tim's tag Day 7. Having time to think about alternative supplies is a good thing. Rummaging about in forgotten corners is fun and does not require great thought, just simple appreciation for what one does have.   
So dear friends, enjoy your trip about the countryside as you visit Julia's faithful followers! Hope you had a chance to make something fun!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Taggin as fast as I can...puff..puff..

Well folks, just when ya think you've caught up, Tim throws you a big curve ball that knocks you right off your chair in the atelier (studio, in french).  Since I did so well yesterday and this morning on Days 4 and 5 plus my banner, I'm calling off work on Day 6 for tonight. I'll just catch you up on my copy-cat tags.

why, you ask, does she make 2 or 3 or even 4 tags per day? Is it so she  a) can pick the best one for herself; b) throw away the worst one; c) practice techniques; or d) have extras to give away. your guess is as good as mine..... naw, it's e) all of the above.  I mentioned a while back that St. Donald and I try to go daily to visit a 90 year old friend in the nursing home. Everyday is not always easy, as some of you may know all too well. But when I can't go, I make an extra tag for Charlie and she adores them! Even posts them on her bulletin board. She is full of life experience that she shares freely. Tomorrow she'll get the blue day 4 Santa.

On to the banner hanging from the mantle. The size and scale work well and it doesn't look all gawdy like a 1960's aluminum xmas tree (I know, I know, they now cost and arm and a leg.)  I'll let you peek for yourself, welcome to the living room. I did finish the holiday banner. Not bad - 13 letters 'Happy Holidays' and it's not too long.
Let me try a different shot. Here's a close up of one panel. Three triangles per panel, one rosette with small circle on one side and large oval on the other, and the glitter paper letter on top! Thanks to Mona (paper queen at BSS) who did all the class prep work: cutting, embossing, punching (this I like to do!), more and more cutting. All I did was glue, tape, glitter me little heart out, wrestle with mini eyelets, tape some more, push ribbons through impossibly small eyelets and tie knots. I'm pretty good at this last one - it was such a relief to get to this point in the project. You're probably tired of my list by now. lol
Okay, it's off to bed for moi. Sleepy time, but no bed bugs for me!  I hope you had time to glue or cut or staple something creatively fun today!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Sniff, sniff...No tags today

I spent yesterday at my lss, Buffal Stamps and Stuff, making a "happy holidays" banner. Whew, who knew there were so many steps to it. I'm such a neophyte that I didn't even think about the complexity in advance, just thought of how wonderful the final result would be!

The wonderful Mona did all the cutout and organization prep work in advance - an enormous undertaking for which we were all most grateful. Paper selection (Bo Bunny, I think), die cuts, ribbons, stickles, glue, glitter (and LOTS of it), and more supplies than I can remember as my head is still spinning from the fun we had. 

In any case I took some photos of her work so that I would be able to remember the final steps to finish mine We worked for at least 4 hours and I'll need maybe a few more to complete it. Hence, no Tim tags yesterday or today. 

But, you will see some of Mona's detailed and beautiful work. It are the piccies with her permission, but I don't feel comfortable sharing her directions without her okey dokey.  Sorry about the quality of the photos, but you'll get the idea if you make the pics larger.  Here is Mona's finished banner. I think you'll get some of the details if you click on the photo.The glitter on the rosettes behind each letter has a spectacular effect....you'll see.
Here is a close up of the beginning of the saying - Happy Holidays. Notice the eyelets and the effect of the red distressing ink and the red and gold bling on the letters and rosettes? Designing this was a labor of love that Mona enjoyed. Did I already sing her praises on her creativity and organization? Well, if I did, it still isn't enough to express the gratitude that all six of us in the class felt.

For each panel there are seven layers, but here you only see six. See how she used Tim Holtz's tiny attacher to connect the panels. I will need to lay out the panels so they have a slight curve to them before stapling and after that tie the ribbons to hide the staples.
I think it is ingenious and has such a impact. Can't wait to hang it on my beautiful 1889 mantle. The mantle was salvaged from a mansion in NYC that was being demolished, can you imagine! When my banner is done I'll post a photo for you.

In the meantime, I thought I'd share another peek at a corner of my house.  This is in the Yellow Guest Room - a collection of hat boxes and suitcases. Second from the bottom was my dad's briefcase that he carried for over 40 years as a professors at Butler University in Indianapolis. The green suitcase is one I picked up at an Amish barn sale in Shipshewana Indiana. It is a child's case that would accommodate toys and Amish dolls. Fifty cents, eat your hearts out bargain shoppers. rofl
Okay, enough blathering for now, I'm off to make sparkly goodness and then move on to Tim's tags. Hope you have a sunny day and that you make something fun! Hugs from beautiful snowy Buffalo, NY.

PS  Niagara Falls didn't get ANY snow during our storm this week. Such is the fickleness of the winds off Lake Erie! 

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Dec 4 - Tim tags Days 1 - 2 - 3

Have I ever been busy making tags! Just a quickie post tonight as I have 2 classes in the a.m. at my local stamp store. Each day I've been following along and making Tim Holtz's 12 Tags of Christmas. If you check here you'll see what Tim's look like and get the details on how to make your own.  Mine are somewhat different in that I don't have all the same supplies as Mr. Tim, but that's part of the beauty of doing this...creating something with what you already have in your own stash. 

Since a promised a quick note tonight here we go.  Tag #1 (I photographed this on an heirloom tablecloth)

Tag #2 (grandma's blue earring on the left)

 Tag # 3

 One more pic. Our Buffalo weather has been in the national news the past couple of days. Well, we knew the storm was coming, stocked up on food and t.p., and staying off the roads. Here's my favorite tree with snow on it. It's a Harry Lauder's walking stick. Very cool, n'est-ce pas? (you love when I toss in a little français!)
 So long for now. Be back with tag #4  Hope you made something fun today.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Dec. 1 Already! WOYWW

Yippee, it's beginning to look a lot like, yep, winter! Today we have snow just as the weatherman predicted, even though he's not always this accurate. Thought you'd like to see what the yard looks like before we get to the WOYWW part. I really like snow, slush, the whole shebang. I wonder how beautiful Niagara Falls looks today? Probably pretty spectacular.
If the snow hasn't scared you off, take a hop over to Julia's Stamping Ground to see what's on other work desks around the world. That's what I love about woyww, you can stay warm at home with a cup of tea (I understand that Europe is having a terrible cold spell) and visit friends everywhere!

Here's what I have done the past few days - don't hate me now - my (store bought) holiday cards are finished and in the mail. Even the ones to Canada, Switzerland, Brazil, Germany and Sweden! The office desk is a wreck. It's where I have the computer, phone and tv. I was up early (9 am is early for me) and anxious to open Sir Tim Holtz's website to see what  tag #1 looked like. So very cool, you have to see it and get the 50 step directions here! 

I've been to the post office and mailed the xmas cards and now have gathered the necessary stash to commence making tag #1. Here's what my craft desk in the basement looks like (no tv, no computer, no phone, just uninterrupted space! Well, it really is quite messy and full of stash, but whatever, it works for me and I'm sure it works at your place, too.
 Well, dear folks, off you go on your hop to other WOYWW spots. Enjoy and make something fun. Holiday hugs.