Monday, September 29, 2008

I Carry Your Heart--part of Handmade Christmas

I'll be posting the next few steps of the "I Carry Your Heart" class later this week as part of my Handmade Christmas series. Thanks to all who have been patiently waiting. Isn't it funny how life sneaks up on you and demands your attention?

See you soon!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Clear Stamp Storage

Storage for clear stamps can be a tricky issue. I used to have mine in binders--until I outgrew that system. I still liked the ease of sliding them in and out of page protectors, so I tried something else. I have mine on a free-standing paper towel holder. I put binder rings around the page protectors and then filled them up with clear stamps. For the smaller sets, I used the half-sized page protectors. I punched holes in my CTMH sets and put them on the binder rings also. So far, it's working out beautifully. I have all of my "cling" type stamps (some of mine are rubber as well) in one place. Which was my biggest goal. I hated rummaging through three different kinds of storage for a stamps that essentially functioned the same way.

I found a simple free-standing paper towel holder--just the long middle bar, no others--at Goodwill (it's this ethos paper towel holder --but mine is white). I put three binder rings around the holder and put page protectors onthe's similar to the idea of the 7 gypsies holder but I think mine is easier,because it can be adapted to all sizes of stamps and because I can use regular page protectors instead of specialty ones. In those page protectors, I put my clear stamps. The larger Technique Tuesday stamps go in the full size protectors--as does my Inque Boutique cd case stamps. The smaller stamps are in half-size page protectors. I put sheets of cardstock in the page protector if it was a little floppy. When I need to use a particular set, I just slide it out of the protector (once your rings are full, it can be beastly to open and close them--much easier to just slide out what you want). If I am traveling to a class with my stamps, I just put them in another page protector or a plastic bag to protect them. I've had my stamps organized this way since May, and as I've said before, it is working out beautifully!

I hope that helps some of you!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Are you ready for another Blog class?

I have one up my sleeve....

Remember the Art book I wrote about in this post? That's what we'll be doing!

Gather up 8 coasters (or chipboard cut into 4x4 squares) 8 pieces of patterned paper (just a bit smaller than your coasters) some Distress Inks, some Paint, a black journaling pen (preferably an 08 nib size) glitter, Diamond Glaze, a craft mat, a rubber brayer, and some adhesive. And some letter stamps with black ink.

More details (and a pdf) coming soon!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

File under "S" for Stupid

Or, how NOT to blend homemade tomato soup that's been simmering/boiling for awhile. Or that you should really use the lid that came with your blender rather than just covering the top of it with a cream cheese container lid. Or that you shouldn't blend boiling hot soups on high. Thank goodness for first aid training! This would have been worse if I hadn't had any. Thank goodness I only hurt myself, thank goodness my oldest daughter was home to help me and to clean up the mess. Thank goodness it was only a 1st degree burn (well, maybe 1 and a half degrees, if there is such thing).
I'm going to buy an Immersion blender. I don't want to risk doing this again.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

As Promised: Fall in Oregon

Fall in Oregon is a beautiful thing.

The sun is shining and the sky is a bright blue. The air is cold and crisp. It doesn’t look cold, but you can feel the shift in temperature as soon as you step outside. You can smell the difference; you can smell the edge of the chill.
You can feel it all the way to your toes when you inhale deeply.

It’s a delicious shiver.

Fall is a respite from the rains of spring which sometimes linger into summer. It’s a chance to see the sky before the rains of winter.

We are lucky to see evidence of earth and growing and harvest all around us. The richness is a part of the earthy smell in the air—the good kind of earthy. The kind that makes you wish you had planted a garden this year after all, so you can taste the corn, tomatoes, cucumbers, pumpkins, and other squashes.

I love the colors of fall.

I love the changing of the leaves—the bright pinks of the sugar maples, the salmons and scarlets of the Japanese maples, the brown of the oaks and the gold of the ginkgos. I love the crunch of the leaves. I relish the orange of the trees against the blue of the sky. The colors sing to me.
I love the catalogs with the new colorways announcing the shift from the bright and shiny to the deeper colors and textures of the shorter and colder days.

I love the names of the colors: pumpkin, loden, terracotta, aubergine, plum, cranberry, and moss; love the deep richness of the colors themselves.
We (my children and I) plan costumes and Halloween. We plan that the children will need to layer under their costumes to keep warm. We plan for wet, we plan for mud, and we plan for umbrellas and raincoats. I buy the candy we like to eat because the past five years have taught us that few trick-or-treaters will brave the dark of our street to get the treats at the end. We carve our own pumpkins and put them out as sentinels to light the way.

I don’t mind the mucky visits to the pumpkin patches with the school field trips. I know now to bring my own plastic bag to sit on so the wet haystack doesn’t seep through my coat and pants. I know to wear boots and bring an extra pair of shoes for my child. I bring another plastic bag for the mud-covered boots. There’s no way we are getting out of that pumpkin patch with just a pumpkin or two. The muck is coming with us.

At least there will be apple cider at the end. It has its own glories.

Fall makes me want to light candles, to wrap up in sweaters, to read books warm and cozy in my home. I switch from the lighter fragrances of summer to the deeper scents of fall. I trade my pink grapefruit and lemon verbena for cinnamon cranberry and orange evergreen.

It’s time to bake pies and bread, to fill the house with the smells of yeast and apple and comfort.

It’s time to hunker down and nest, snug for the season.

It’s fall in Oregon.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Projects for Stampin'Cat: Celebrating Fall

I'm calling this class "Celebrating Fall." I wrote an original essay about Fall in Oregon (which I will post here in it's entirety), scavenged my photo files for pictures that would fit, and used some vintage clip art from Dover Publications (did you know they give you free clip art each week when you sign up for the newsletter--it's come in handy! Just follow the "Free Samples" link at the bottom of the page). It was nice to use up some old Basic Grey letter stickers on this project--I bought a bunch on clearance and then realized I don't really use letter stickers all that much. Time to share the wealth in my classes!

Speaking of classes--I'm thinking of having another blog class--would you like that? Leave a comment and let me know.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

The Wedding was a Wonderful Thing!

I felt honored to be a part of it. More Later!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Bike Update

After the bike disappeared, I made sure to tell my neighbors--I mean, we are all a little lax about what we leave out because of our relative isolation. One neighbor (who has a son J's age) offered her the bike his ex-wife left behind. It's nicer than the one that was stolen, and he didn't need it at all. It worked out for the best. It's now kept inside the garage!

I'm shooting my first wedding today, so send me all your good vibes!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Headines Don't Sell Papes--Newsies Sell Papes!

Nelsons in Gray hats. H. is wearing one of the Newsie bags I made
J. was moving...
"We need an earthquake..."
"...or a war" (lamenting the bad headline of the day, and wanting something that would help them sell more "papes")
I forgot which scene this was, but I liked the action. Nelson kids towards the left

getting ready to go on strike and fight back for the Newsies rights
"And the world will know..." (my two kids are in the front in the matching gray hats)

It's a fine life! Carrying the Banner! Yay! We beat 'em!

All in all, it was a terrific way to end the summer. My kids had a lot of fun, learned some, and made some friendships. I hope we are invited back to particpate next year. If not, we'll have to invite ourselves!