Sunday, December 30, 2007

Changes to My Blog--Please take my poll

Hi folks. Are you all back to work now that Christmas is over, or are you taking extended vacation? My extended vacation is over. For personal reasons I have been off work for 18 months, and I'm excited to say I'm looking forward to returning to my old full-time position. With me returning to work, I need to look at how to better serve you, while being mindful of the long hours it takes to put into blogging.

There are many new ideas swirling around in my head. I'd like to push myself to the next level, but I need your help. How can you help, you ask. Well, on my side bar there are a few quick questions that I would like you to answer. My poll is set up so you can answer with the click of a button. No writing is necessary. Simple.

Please, if you are a subscriber, would you mind taking the time to click to be linked right onto my blog site, because my poll cannot be viewed through your subscription.

I wanted to offer up some blog candy for your participation, but I really want to listen to my viewers rather than having people filling in a poll just for the chance of winning blog candy.

How about this. If I have a good response, I will offer up some wonderful blog candy, valued at $20+, once the poll is closed in a week. Donnie has been watching me clean and reclean my studio for the past month. It's been torn apart and now I have unused rubber to share with you folks!

Happy New Year to you and your family. You have made it so enjoyable to blog. I treasure the friendships I have gained over the past few months, of blogging, and look forward to getting to know more of you.

Hugs,
Beth

More Links

Howdy folks. It looks like I've had a severe case of the surfing bug. There is so much talent out there and when I find it, I like to share with my friends, so here's a third installment:

Are you a bead lover like me? Look at what the Stamp Queen created with Christmas balls.

Have you heard about the new rage of altering a puzzle? Well A Mark in Time has the coolest one. Take a peak here.

Kathy Wasilewski of Art Pub Studios is a collaboration of 13 well-known artists who provide their art-tips, give-aways, and free images. Kathy's personal blog can be viewed here.

What girl doesn't love purses? Take a look at these by R2Art Studio.

Are you interested in signing up for a free newsletter that offers free tips & techniques plus quilting and mixed media trends? Then click here. This link takes you to the Cloth Paper Scissors site.

I have the sense that you enjoy these types of posts, and will try to do this once, or twice, a month. Let me know how you enjoy these sites, and if you would like to see more.

Enjoy.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Merry Christmas to Me

What a second posting from me in one day? What gives? I have some very exciting news to share with you (doesn't it seem like everyone is saying that these days?). Pat Huntoon has offered me a position to be on her design team with the Technique Junkie Newsletter. I will be photographing and writing tutorials, and making samples of cards, using the latest techniques. My cards and tutorials that I shoot specifically for the Newsletter, can only be viewed by you if you are a subscriber. How do you sign up, you ask. Simply visit Pat's blog for details. You still have time to sign up for her year-end special. Tell her Beth sent you.

What does this mean to you, my loyal viewer? Well, you aren't losing out at all. In fact, it will encourage me to look for bigger and better tutorials for you, and for Pat. As you know, I am a technique junkie, but now it's official--LOL.

justjohanna in June

Doesn't June remind you of spring? And who, who, do we see in June? Why, justjohanna birds and owls of course! Even the birdie house is from justjohanna. Do you think they are starting a nest in there yet?

Friday, December 28, 2007

Elegant Extract

This darling stamp, by Sandra Evertson, has been patiently waiting for me to use. With the holidays, it has been hard to find the time to sit down and create. Well, today I did just that. I spent the entire day working on my Scrapodex calendar for my office desk. For those of you who are in my area, you will be happy to know Lasting Impressions carries the Scrapodex. I'm addicted to working with these, and will be going back to buy another one to decorate for my studio desk. If you ask nicely, Cathy will even print you off a calendar for a minimal fee. The month of October is just a sneak peak into my yearly calendar. Stay tuned for more.

Elegant Extract was stamped onto watercolour paper with black Stazon, and watercoloured with Tombow markers. How did I achieve all that blended colour? By colouring with the markers and with a #0 brush (winsie teenie tiny brush) I blended the colours with water. Stay tuned for a tutorial on Tombow markers in January. Image was then cut out with an exacto knife and glued to chipboard. October was matted onto polished stone background that I made previously. When I am creating backgrounds, I like to make a lot of extras so that I have them on hand to readily use.

If you have a tutorial that you would like me to prepare for you, please let me know. Have a wonderful day. Thank you for stopping by.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Eye Candy

Good afternoon. I'm about to go out for my regular Thursday beer & wing night with a group of friends, but before I go I thought I'd share some sites that I came across today. Did you know that Flickr is full of inspiration? I didn't until today when I went looking for vintage photos for collage. Wowzers, you have to see these sites:

Holiday Jenny's Flickr photos (pretty in pink)

Fleamarket Studio has lots of inspiration. Click here to see the handmade house.

Holly Doodle Designs has lots of vintage items. Click here to see some houses (can you tell I love houses of any kind?)

Saray-Viola has a love for altered ATC's.

I'm a member of Trish Bee's Yahoo Next Generation Stampers group, and she generously placed her recent vintage photos on Flickr for everyone to use, whether they are in the group or not. Trish, you rock!

I hope I was able to inspire you to create.

Hugs,
Beth

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Time To Call The Elves In For Help

Time is getting short so I'm calling in favours, our Christmas meal will be something to savor. There are cards to be made for family and friends, drinks to prepare with our favourite blends. So if you find a spare elf that is free, can you tell him to come here and help me?

As I look outside and hope for new fallen snow, I realize there are unfinished things I have to let go. Darling hubby's card needs to be started. With attention to detail, I have to be quick--as it is almost Christmas and time for St. Nick.

Children are special and full of delight. Their love for Christmas are shining so bright. To have them for Christmas will be such a pleasure, even if severe weather. Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Good afternoon everyone. I'm wondering how many of you are still out there reading blogs when there is probably so much left to do to get ready before Christmas day. Today I used my birthday present from DD and loved it, especially at such a busy time of year. Want to know what it is? A pedicure to a local spa. It was very relaxing.

My Christmas baking is all done, and today I am giving you a peak into my kitchen. Decorating sugar cookies is one of my favourite things to do over the holidays. The recipe that I used is new to me this year, and was found on the All Recipe site. I'm all set up over there and have my own recipe box for future reference. This cookie and icing recipe is very easy and I had lots of success with them. Just in case your baking isn't done yet, and you are looking for something to bake, I have included my recipes to help you out. Enjoy!

Sugar Cookies


INGREDIENTS
1 cup margarine
1 1/2 cups white sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

DIRECTIONS
Cream the margarine and add the sugar gradually. Beat until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at time, mixing well after each addition.

Stir in the vanilla. Add the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt gradually to the creamed mixture, stirring in by hand. Cover and chill dough overnight.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

Roll dough out on a floured surface to 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick and cut into your favorite shapes. Place cookies onto the prepared baking sheets.
Bake at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for 6 to 8 minutes or until cookie has a golden appearance.

ICING

INGREDIENTS
1 cup confectioners' sugar
2 teaspoons milk
2 teaspoons light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
assorted food coloring

DIRECTIONS
In a small bowl, stir together confectioners' sugar and milk until smooth. Beat in corn syrup and almond extract until icing is smooth and glossy. If icing is too thick, add more corn syrup.

Divide into separate bowls, and add food colorings to each to desired intensity. Dip cookies, or paint them with a brush.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

I'm Dreaming of a Pink Christmas

Good morning everyone. How is your day going? Are those presents all wrapped? To help you get creative in your wrapping, today I am displaying what I created for my daughter. Won't she be tickled pink to see this under the Christmas tree? This cute box came packaged with a Rolodex calendar. I kept the box, knowing I wanted to transform it into a gift box. Somehow I think the sentiment is perfect for this gift box. It reads, "...brown paper packages tied up with strings, these are a few of my favourite things." It comes from my daughter's favourite movie--The Sound of Music. If you look closely you will see the verse, and the tag are embellished with micro beads along the edges.

Pink designer paper by Flair. Blue designer paper by Heidi Grace Designs. Large chipboard snowflake by Hero Arts. Sentiment from Stamper's Anonymous. Flourish stamp, by Inkadinkado, embossed with white embossing powder. Embellishments: buttons, punched flowers held by brads, punched pink and white snowflakes, micro beads, vintage image from a Yahoo group I belong to, and ribbon.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Tutorial Tuesday Resumes In The New Year


Good morning folks! Christmas has us all busy, and since we are in a time crunch, I thought I would hold off posting new tutorials until the new year. For your reading pleasure I thought I would share inspirational posts for you.

Creative Chaos is a site I stumbled upon this morning. It is filled with pretty paper crafting projects.

Artsy-Crafty Babe has a cute button wreath.

There is a lot of eye candy over at LilyBean's Paperie. You might recognize LilyBean from Two Peas in a Bucket.

My friend Kim shared Tejae's Art blog with me. Love polymar clay? Then you'll love this site!

I'm a huge fan of Mika Arts. Laurie Mika creates beautiful art with polymar clay.

If you love houses like I do, then Friends in Art is the site for you.

Free vintage photos from Vintage Stamper.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Snowman Santa

This cute snowman thinks he can pull off playing Santa this year, but I don't think it will be a wise idea because it gets awful warm in Australia at this time of year. The reindeer have a hard time handling the heat, and are working hard at convincing the snowman to stay where it is cold--Sarnia, Ontario. Did you see Detroit got a lot of snow over the weekend? My house is only one hour away, and we got a ton of snow too. I know so many of you got a lot of snow along with me. Keep warm.

Stamp is by Willowgrove. Designer paper is Basic Grey, and design for this card is from the Technique Junkie Newsletter.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Charlie Brown's Christmas & Rudolph

Christmas isn't complete with a dose of Charlie Brown, so I thought I'd share some Charlie Brown with you. I watch the movie at least three times, and listen to the CD continuously. What makes your Christmas complete?



I'm also a huge fan of Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer and watch it at least twice during the holidays. I even have the soundtrack. My porcelain collection of characters are one of my favourites and are set up in a special spot of their own, and on my Christmas tree. Here's a quick tune for you. Enjoy.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Treat Boxes

Good morning. Do you have a busy weekend scheduled? Not only am I busy, I am looking forward to the new reveal for the Splitcoast Fan Club . I know I have said it before, but I love peaking into the extra gallery created by the best-of-the-best card artists. These artists are known as the Dirty Dozen, and on the 15th of each month, a new gallery is open to Fan Club members, where inspirational cards and paper art are displayed.
Open to the public is a wonderful list of tutorials, which is where I found directions to make these cute gift boxes. If you would like to make one of your own, click here. To view the gallery of other boxes, click here. As you can see, the choice of papers really give the box a look of their own. I'm partial to the pink one, myself, which will be filled with goodies for my son's girlfriend. The black one is for my daughter-in-law, whose favourite colour is black. These boxes will be wrapped in pretty cellophane and tied with a big ribbon.


Black and gold paper is from Brenda Walton's scrap pad to go by K&Company. Pink Paisley Sugar Plum is from Collage Press.


I hope you have a great weekend. Thank you for stopping by.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Horsing Around


Watercolour pencil crayons were used. Paper: Gretel. Stamps: Willowgrove.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Altered Notebook

This is a notebook I made for my son's girlfriend. I'm having a lot of fun making her a lot of altered items for Christmas.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Tutorial Tuesday - Rubber Stamped Christmas Cookies

Good Morning. Well, rubber stamped Christmas cookies was the winner in last week's vote of what you would like to see. It was a small number who voted, but nonetheless, Christmas cookies is what you wanted to see. Listed below is a recipe for sugar cookies, and a link to a fondant recipe. Fondant came be purchased ready-made as well.

Roll out a small piece of fondant. Keep fondant wrapped in a ziploc bag at all times, and take out just enough fondant to do two cookies at a time.
Find suitable glassware the size of your cookie, and rotate onto fondant until the pieces are separated.

Your canvas is now ready to be turned into art.

Wash stamp with soap and water and dry completely. Push stamp into fondant until a deep impression is left.



Seen here are two ways to decorate the stamped fondant. 1) Add sprinkles around the stamped image, and 2) Paint indentations with liquid food colouring and decorate with candies.



The use of stamps in our daily lives seems endless. I hope this tutorial was helpful in making your decorated cookies special this year.

Sugar Cookies:
1 1/4 cup white sugar
1 cup butter
3 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cream of tarter

Mix sugar, butter, egg yolks and vanilla. Sift together flour, baking soda and cream of tarter. Add dry ingredients into wet ingredients and mix well. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes.

Cool completely

Fondant - click here for recipe.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Christmas Wreath


Good morning. Are you having a nice weekend? This wreath was very fun to make, and it is quite easy. Not wanting to loose precious Christmas preparation time in the van, I pinned the wreath together while we drove to the Detroit airport to pick up a friend. If you look closely you will see sheer ribbon wrapped around the wreath.
Directions:
Supplies - foam wreath, long pins, paper cutter, six double sided sheets of cardstock, ribbon
1. Cut 5" strips at various widths.
2. Pin strips of paper to wreath.
3. Wrap ribbon around wreath.
4. Enjoy.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Fabulous

Wow, is it really Friday? I can't believe how quickly Christmas is coming upon us. Today's cards are what I like to use as a gift card holder. The flower is on a flap that opens, and then the card opens again in behind the top flap. It's really quite neat. How did I obtain this pattern? Through the Technique Junkies newsletter. I have been a subscriber for a year, and recently signed up for two more years.

Here's a peak at the inside of the card.

This Fabulous Flower stamp is so versatile. I love how it looks so Christmasy.

This afternoon I'm meeting up with another fabulous friend of mine--Christine (aka IrishChristine) whom I met over at the Stamp Shack. We like to get together to scrapbook and make cards. Today she is taking me to Archiver's (in Michigan), where we are making a cute Christmas gift card holder, and to a few other scrapbook stores. Christine is such a wonderful friend, and I can't wait to see her. We have lots of catching up to do. I'll post some pics for you tomorrow.


Thursday, December 6, 2007

Sisterhood of the Travelling Altered Books

My life is blessed with wonderful family, and friends. I hang out with the neatest group of women, here in Sarnia. There is so much talent amongst us. We all have different personalities, yet we are the best of friends. It is our love for the art world that has brought us together. We originally got together once a month, for two years, to do a night project, or watch video tutorials, and at the end of the night we would exchange our altered books. Creations were prepared by a new person each month, and then the following month we would have show and tell where lots of "ooohhs" and "aaahhhs" could be heard as each book was displayed. Hence, the name "The Sisterhood of the Travelling Altered Books", so named by Kim. Today, we get together as often as possible. Sometimes it is over dinner or drinks, a house party, or shopping. There is no end to the projects we come up with. This past summer Carol & Sharon made the cutest planters with chicken wire and the oldest chairs they could find.

Life has been hard for me over the past couple of years, and my girlfriends have been there to support me. They don't judge me for cancelling out at the last minute, or if I don't show up. They don't judge me when I'm down, or when I talk way too much. I love my girlfriends, and treasure them dearly.

This week we got together for a Christmas party. We missed one member, Kim, who was busy studying for exams. Our Christmas present to each other was a booklet of tags, held together with a ring and decorative ribbon. Each lady made a tag with a personal picture and advice to their younger self. The idea for hosting this swap came about by way of the the Stamp Shack, where I was in a swap like this, hosted by Ethel. It was so much fun, I decided to host this swap so I could have more tags.

Here I am at two years old, while I lived in Germany, where my father was stationed with the 1 RCR (Royal Canadian Regiment). My advice is to be who you are! Find an incredible group of ladies to share your hobbies with, and treasure that friendship. Don't think that moving from house to house, or province to province will solve your problems. Face them. Dance like no one is watching. Lighten up a little. (Deep, eh?)

Carol's unique style of tag offers up the statement, "it's not about the amount of challenges in Your life--it's about how YOU handle them--one day at a time.

Cathy, who is a self-taught Photoshop pro, depicts her older self in a tent talking to her young self. Cathy reports her life as "It's a Wonderful Life" then adds, "I wouldn't change one moment, good or bad, because it brought me to be the person I am today and I really like who I am. Our one dream did come true, only in miniature. Oh, and by the way, Prince Charming came on a motorcycle, not a horse."

Kathy's pretty-in-pink advice is: be joyful always, pray continually, and give thanks in all circumstances.

Sharon's angelic tag has wonderful, and whimsical, advice: When I grow up I'll eat snow and make snow angels. Jump in puddles and make mudpies. Go to the creek by myself. Catch tadpoles. Keep them till they're frogs. Walk barefoot on the grass and beach, wade in the water, get covered in sand. Have tea with my friends, and dinner too, and talk all night if we want. Collect moss and bark and stones and shells, and rusty metal things. I'll feed the birds and give them string. I'll lay on the grass on summer nights and watch for bats and learn the names of ALL the stars. I'll have every colour crayon. I'll draw on walls. An pink popsicles will always be in my fridge.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Tutorial Tuesday - Jacob's Ladder Christmas Card & Gift Card Holder

Good morning. Today's tutorial came about by my need to make Christmas presents for my four nephews. This two panel Jacob's ladder will amaze the recipient when they open it up. When it is opened like a book, the gift card is on one side, and when it is opened from the back cover, the gift card magically appears on the opposite side. I'm a grown up and I still get tickled when I play around with it, so I can imagine how young children will feel. And the best part? It's hand made with TLC.

Supplies:

2 - Mat board cut into 4" x 4"
2 - Paper of choice cut into 4" x 4"
3 - 8" lengths of double sided ribbon
pencil
eraser
double sided tape
glue stick


Mat board 1F - pattern side up
Decorative paper 2 F - wrong side up
Mat board 1 B - wrong side up
Decorative paper 2 B - wrong side up

Draw lines on the wrong side of the paper 3/4" in from the top and bottom, and at the 2" mid way point.

Using 1 B, lay wrong side up and lay ribbons as shown. Glue with glue stick.

Take 1 F (cover) and glue the wrong side to wrong side. Set one is now complete.

Flip book over so the single piece of ribbon is situated to the left.

Place 2F wrong side up, to the right of finished set.

Glue ribbon to 2F. Trim ribbon.

Slip the remaining ribbons up through the slit in between the two sets as seen in this photo.

Fold the two ribbons over to the left.


Using double sided sticky tape, fold the ribbon from the left up over onto 2B, pulling taut. Next (not photographed), take double sided sticky tape and place it around the circumference of 2 B and sandwich the two wrong sides together.




Once you have sandwiched your ends together, this is what your Jacob's ladder will look like.



You are now ready to decorate the outer edges as desired. Because these are for Christmas, I turned them into Christmas cards. Do you recognize Crab & Co decorated up as Sandy Claws?

This cute snowman, by Hero Arts, is paired up with die cuts from my Cricut (And I said I'd never use the machine. Good thing Donnie doesn't listen to me).

This tutorial was a challenge to put together. How can we make up for this? Please leave a comment with a link to your card, or e-mail a copy. I really would like to see at least one person try this out. Please? Call it an early Christmas present.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Pink Pink Pink

We all know how pink is this year's in colour. There are so many wonderful pink cards out there. Recently, Splitcoaststampers had a challenge that encorporates pink cards. To see these outstanding cards, click here. Enjoy.

Sneak Peak

Here's a sneak peak into tomorrow's tutorial.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Elegant Holiday Wishes

Good morning. Did everyone get hit with the large system of snow that was scheduled to affect so many of us? We got a light sprinkling, here in Sarnia, and today it is supposed to rain.

This morning's cards were inspired by the beautiful Star Bright and Angels Sing papers, by Flair Designs. As soon as I saw this paper, I knew it would coordinate well with Fabulous Flowers.
Card size is 5 1/2 inches x 5 1/2 inches. Star Bright paper was cut to 5 inches x 5 inches, and adhered to the card front. Angels Sing paper was cut so that the words would appear on the card, was mated onto gold cardstock. Ribbon was tied around the top layer of the card front. Fabulous Flowers were stamped three times on coordinating cardstock, and heat embossed with coordinating embossing powder. Layers were adhered with glue dots.


I hope you have a wonderful weekend. Thank you for stopping by!

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Merry & Bright

Well, it's December 1st. It certainly came quickly, don't you think? I would imagine you are busy with Christmas preparations, and Christmas parties this weekend. I usually wait until December 1st to start making Christmas presents. Why? No idea. Maybe I like the added stress. Maybe I work better under pressure. Every year I say, "I'm starting earlier next year" but never do. Are you the same way? I'd love to hear about your holiday season, and when you start making your cards, and making those gifts.

This tag and box set is for my teenage niece. Patterned paper is Colorbok. The stamps (one of my favourite sets) is from Cornish Heritage Farms. Marieke is the designer and if you skip over to her blog you will find the stamps sets listed on the right bar, where she links you directly to her stamps.

If you haven't voted for the December 11th tutorial, go cast your vote in the post below.

Have a nice weekend.