"I like living. I have sometimes been wildly, despairingly, acutely miserable, racked with sorrow, but through it all I still know quite certainly that just to be alive is a grand thing." ~ Dame Agatha Christie

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Sunday Snippet from the Sickbed

My plans for the past week or so were waylaid by the "crud"--no voice above a whisper, a throat that feels like it was scraped with sandpaper and then had acid poured down it, coughing until my chest hurts and I wet myself, fever that caused chills, stuffy ears that cause all noise to sound as if it is being heard through a muffler, no appetite (actually, that is a good thing if you are big like me LOL)--in other words, abject misery. 

The down side to all this?  No crafting because my brain did not want to function, therefore I missed several cardmaking challenges.  No energy to clean house, do laundry, grocery shop, or participate in any general living.  No research or writing on my WIP because my muse was as sick as my body.

The up side to this?  I could still work since I was not commuting and was also not exposing the whole office to whatever germs I have.  So, even though my customers heard a less than enthusiastic and softer than normal voice, they still got their accounts taken care of.  My company still had me available (even for overtime) since we were already short-staffed.  Because I could work, I saved my PTO for fun stuff (PTO=paid time off).  I even earned overtime pay ;-)

There was also one more up side--I read several wonderful books toward my reading challenges.  Reviews will be forthcoming on all of them, but I have at least added them to my 100+ Reading Challenge list (at the bottom of my blog).  (Reading is easy when you cannot sleep because you can't breathe or you keep coughing LOL).

I am really hoping to get a bit back into the groove of life this week...between starting to feel better and no (scheduled) overtime for the next couple of weeks, let's see if I can participate in a few challenges, read a few blogs, write a few lines, and take care of hearth and home.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Gingersnap Creations--Coffee & Cream

My cardmaking buddy Beverly of GottHeartArt turned me on to this great challenge blog and Yahoo group, Gingersnap Creations.  This is my first card for one of their color challenges--GC88, Coffee and Cream

All the products are Stampin' Up! 

The base is Crumb Cake and the panel is Naturals Ivory.  The ribbon is Chocolate Chip taffeta (retired) and the strip of ribbon was colored darker using the Chocolate Chip marker, while the bow is the regular ribbon.  Hemp twine strings the tags and the brads are retired from last year's Occasions Mini.

The two tags are from the "Puns from the Past" set and stamped in Early Espresso.  The "Take A Sip" wheel was inked in Chocolate Chip. 

I actually really liked the way this turned out (maybe because I love coffee so much LOL)  and I hope Gingersnap will like it too ;-)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Oops! Missed the Deadline (AKA Gotta Get More Organized)

Well, I misread the deadline for Jingle Belles this week and missed being able to enter the "No Red, She Said" challenge by a few hours :-(

I've tried to play there faithfully but just couldn't find my creative mojo this week where crafting is concerned (although I did outline a few chapters for my novel).  I need to work out a schedule of sorts I guess--a way to keep track of the posting days and the deadlines for the card challenges I enjoy.  So far, it's been hit or miss (mainly miss) and I want to get more organized. 

So, you card makers out there--how do you keep track?  On a calendar?  Make a daily/weekly chart?  What works for you?  All I know is what is not currently working for me...

Doily Card with No Red

This is a quick post under the wire for Bah! Humbug! and Jingle Belles...Bah! Humbug! wanted one or more doilies and Jingle Belles was "No Red, She Said" so once more I combined them and then I am hitting the hay for the night.  (OT again today LOL)  Maybe someday I will get more than one card done in a week?

Don't fault the picture please--the card is quite nice and dimensional in person (all products except the dollar store doilies are Stampin' Up!).  Baja Breeze background with snowflakes in Baja Breeze and Marina Mist; the brads are Tempting Turquoise and a single silver glitter brad on top of the tree.

The tree base is Soft Suede edged in Always Artichoke and is punched from the new Build A Cupcake punch.  The folded doilies were all crumpled and then inked (direct-to-paper)--the top one in Wild Wasabi, the middle in Garden Green, and the bottom in Always Artichoke.  They were then folded and inserted inside each other (just a tip--Sticky Strip is really needed to hold it all together without crushing the ruffly parts).

It's tactile but not girly; Christmasy but not red...hope you like it ;-)

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

William and Kate: A Royal Love Story

I freely admit it--I'm a royal watcher...I have followed the English monarchy to a greater or lesser degree ever since 6th grade when I found out that George Washington was a descendant of English kings.  The Windsors are people who are sometimes forced into boxes not of their own choosing and although they have riches and power, they are able to make the same human mistakes as the rest of us.

I watched the wedding of Prince Charles and Diana Spencer.  Prince Charles is an environmentalist after my own heart who has been forced to forge a distinct path for himself while awaiting a job he was born to but yet he would have to lose his mother in order to claim that job.  He married for dynastic reasons--she was not the love of his life, yet he did not choose the path his great-uncle David chose. 

Princes William and Harry are a new breed--they inherited "the Firm" through their father and their connection to the "common people" through their mother's brief example in their lives.  I follow their careers with interest--and yes, their love lives as well.

"William and Kate: A Royal Love Story" is but one of the books that has been published in the short time since the official engagement announcement, but it had already been in the works for quite some time.  It was a quick read--enjoyable and I'm sure as true as the recollections of the persons quoted (both named and anonymous).  I wish the two young people the best--living in a spotlight cannot be easy, but they seem to be forging a path for themselves as a couple who will do the best they can in their own way for their country...we can ask nothing more of any of us, right?

Monday, February 7, 2011

Buttons, Bows and Scarves

Once more, a serendipitous situation for this harried crafter--my two favorite Christmas Card Challenges, Bah! Humbug! and Jingle Belles unknowingly coordinated their challenge so I could use one card for both ;-)

I had been putting this card together already for Bah! Humbug! who had asked for Buttons and Bows when I found out that Jingle Belles was asking for scarves, mittens, hats or earmuffs, and guess what my snowman buttons are wearing?  Voila--hats and scarves LOL!

No clue where the snowman and snowflake buttons originated--they are from my quilting days when I collected funky buttons, as are the tiny navy buttons.

The top fold card is Stampin' Up! Naturals Ivory, with a Whisper White Top Note die cut that was then run through the Perfect Polka Dots embossing folder.  Not Quite Navy Ink was used direct-to-paper on the die cut and sponged around the edges of the card.  I'm not usually fond of using wide ribbon on cards, but the Not Quite Navy striped ribbon loosely knotted here so resembles a scarf that I feel it is the perfect finish to the card.  I didn't use a sentiment because if I send it to OWH or From Our Hearts, it could be used for a winter anniversary or birthday or "thinking of you" type card...hope you enjoy it!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Alan Bradley--the Flavia de Luce Series

Mystery Fanfare's current contest is to win a copy of Alan Bradley's third Flavia book, "A Red Herring Without Mustard".  Flavia de Luce is an eleven year old girl in 1950 London, and Mr. Bradley won the Macavity Award for the best first novel at the 2010 Boucheron with "Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie."

I'm a big fan of Mr. Bradley as he was 70 when "Sweetness" was published which makes me hopeful for publication, since I'm only 55 LOL!  One of my best friends read "Sweetness" last year and has passed it to me saying that it is a "must-read", so I'm moving it up the TBR mountain (she also claims it is a quick read--we'll see...my reading time is so limited with this snow.  You would think snow would mean snuggling in front of a roaring fire with a good book, right?  Not if you work from home---grrrr--but I digress LOL)

Now, I need you to vote--do books set in 1950 count as historicals?  After all, that was over fifty years ago...heck it was even before I was born ;-) 

What do you think?  Historical or not?  Whichever you believe, pop over to Mystery Fanfare and enter the contest...

The Scarlet Pimpernel

Thanks to the Lauren Willig "Pink Carnation" series, I have gone back and rectified a serious error in my recommended reading list for high school and college.  Believe it or not, I never read many of the classics (tested out of several years of English and therefore missed many Literature classes).  This series, by Baroness Emmuska Orczy, was included in the "skipped" list until now.  I had seen the Leslie Howard movie version of course, as well as a TV adaptation once upon a time, but I'm happy to say, I've finally read the novel itself on Kindle (like many classics, it is free for various e-readers and probably as a PDF if you go looking; undoubtedly it would also be available on Paperback Swap).  This is being counted toward both my 100+ Book Reading Challenge and my Historical Fiction Challenge.

Wow.  Once you get past the period writing style (and the small errors in transcription), the story really moves quickly.  The plot line is short, sweet and to the point, and contains several false leads--I can see why the character became so well-loved and why so many adaptations have occurred.  I'll read the rest of the Baroness' novels to see what happened to the rest of the League of the Scarlet Pimpernel simply because they are fun reading, but I honestly like the Willig League of the Pink Carnation better ;-)

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Altered Notebook (since Anything Goes) for Paper Players

Paper Players' Challenge this week is Anything Goes, so I chose not to make a card.  I am a notebook junkie, but I hate using plain, boring composition notebooks, especially when working on my novel.  I've wanted to use this Stampin' Up! Newsprint DSP for quite a while, and I needed a new notebook specifically for trivia about New Orleans...this paper just seems to put me into a New Orleans circa 1862 frame of mind LOL. 

The lace is the Raven Lace (recently retired from the Holiday Mini) and after cutting the Top Note die and using the outside to frame part of the paper, I took the actual die cut shape, turned it 90 degrees, and die cut it again to make the wonderful square medallion on the bottom (it also gave me a set of parentheses/brackets that will show up soon on a card...)  And once more, my apologies for the photo; the book looks much better in person.  The Take Note oval stamp is from the Notably Ornate stamp set.

The Paper Players Blog Hop is also still active, so go check it out and then play with us, since "Anything Goes"...they are a fun group of ladies!

Here's the video that inspired the new way of cutting my Top Note:

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Not MIA yet...But Close (AKA Why I May NOT be Posting Much This Week)

We have snow and ice--it's 19 degrees right now, with a wind chill factor making it 9 degrees.  I've teased with a few folks this week that we are doing this on purpose here in North Texas so the Packers fans and Steelers fans will feel more at home next weekend for the big game; after all, it was sunny and 76 degrees here Sunday LOL.

As usual, weather like this keeps people from coming to work.  That's probably a good thing in some cases, since many folks here don't really understand the concept of "drive slowly and carefully in ice" and many more don't believe in "do NOT tailgate the driver in front of you". 

So, our already shorthanded office is limping along without our two closers until the weather clears.  When I finish this post, I will be going back to work (i.e., walking into the back room and logging back in) and will work by myself the last few hours we are open.  No craft projects made today and no reading done towards my challenges and no research done for my novel.  Oh, well.  Things could be much worse--I have said this before, LOL--I have a job I enjoy and the world's shortest commute (approximately 20 steps, depending on whether I'm leaving my kitchen, my living room, or my bedroom).

But, if I don't post for a day or two, I've not fallen off the face of the earth--I'm just doin' the day job that pays for the fun stuff LOL.  I'll be back as soon as I can--and until then, y'all stay warm, dry, and safe, won't you?