Thursday, January 30, 2014

Please vote for us in the "Cutest Couple" contest. Please!!


Please go here to vote once a day until the contest ends.  I . . . I mean we . . . would love to win.  We think we are pretty darned cute . . . LOL  http://woobox.com/skmmtt/vote/for/1887046

Guess what we are doing?




PP: Adorable little aliens and spaceships


https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=601698719895694&set=a.367795876619314.82418.351833544882214&type=1&theater

I wis the colours in the photos turned out better . . . they are such a pretty green colour with their siny little bellies.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Organization Challenge #5 - Stickers & Rub-ons



Week 5

Stickers, diecuts, and rub-ons are some of the hardest things to organize because the different sizes and shapes pose many challenges.  Rub-ons present their own challenges because if they aren't stored properly, they stick to each other, damaging precious supplies.

SORT: time to be ruthless.  Consider if you are really going to use these items.  If you bought a whole sheet of die cut just to use one or two tags, why are you hanging on to the whole sheet? Those stickers you bought in 1999 were adorable then, but definitely not your style now, are they? So, sort into piles: TRASH, SELL, DONATE, TO KEEP

PURGE: Throw out the TRASH pile.  Bag up, and assign a price and your initials to the SELL pile and put them directly into the garage sale box.  Make immediate arrangements to rid yourself of the DONATE items.

ASSIGN: The KEEP items need to be divided into categories that make sense to you: by colour, by manufacturer, theme, size, type.

CONTAINERIZE: Here is an article about storing stickers, diecuts and rub-ons: http://www.cropperhopper.com/index.asp?PageAction=Custom&ID=5#flat

EQUALIZE: take a few minutes at the end of each scrap session, and whenever you return from a crop or a shopping trip to put your stickers, rub-ons and diecuts where they belong.


In my opinion this Recollections storage system is a total waste of money and even though I got it all at half-price I still feel I was ripped off.

Originally I purchased the top piece which they show as a stand alone piece and a couple of extra sets of clips.  The plan was to use it to display my paper piecings.  The stupid thing would not stand up straight no matter how carefully I tried to balance the weight in each section.  But I'd invested a lot of money already so when the base was on sale I purchased it.  The frame fits into the base, the base turns, and you would think I would be happy.  You can't put anything in the bins because of the length of the sticker sheets and the little drawers are cute but so tiny as to be useless.

Yes, this is a rant.

The Alamo - paper piecing

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=601170933281806&set=a.355087881223447.80066.351833544882214&type=1&theater

Sunday, January 26, 2014

December Afghan Block of the Month


This is the very lst block of the AFghan Block of the Month I have been doing at http://www.crochetmagazine.com/crochet_block.php?id=10

What will I do with myself now?  I know, a three block each month crochet along from Ravelry at http://www.ravelry.com/groups/2014-crochet-block-a-month-cal

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Knitting up a storm . . .

I guess I was just waiting for the really bad winter weather to hunker down and get some serious knitting done.  These 3 projects were all done in the first week of January.



The first two are mystery knit along dishcloths -- a partridge in a pear tree and a snowman.  Mystery kals are fun because you only receive 10-12 rows of instructions each day so you are usually at least half way done before you can even start to guess what you are creating.  You can see these patterns at http://monthlydishclothoverflow.blogspot.ca/.


And looky here, another oddball sampler afghan block.  I have to say this afghan has given me more challenges and more a-ha moments than anything else I have ever made.  I love them.  I can't wait to finish the last square and put them all together.  This one is called Woven Square because of the dense fabric the stitches create.  It used up a lot of yarn.  You can see the pattern  at http://www.knitting-and.com/knitting/patterns/afghans/wovensquare.htm

Friday, January 24, 2014

I don't want to talk about the weather CHALLENGE

Yes, it is freaking cold and windy and snowy and blowy . . .

. . . and I don't want to think about it or talk about it anymore.

So I am challenging everyone, friend and stranger alike, to share something with me today. Tell me something interesting that happened in your world today.

I had a really nice day at Ladies' Day Out today. Nice to see everyone. Accomplished nothing but won at cribbage and scrabble. My last car payment is February 15th. I have my favourite kind of foccacia for supper.

Okay so it isn't over the top exciting . . . but its all happy stuff.

Your turn . . . 

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Organization Challenge #4 - Tools and Adhesives

Week 4

The next task in the Get Organized Challenge is TOOLS and ADHESIVES!

Gather together all of your tools and adhesives into the Big Box, and let's start S.P.A.C.E.ing them!

Sort: one by one, put each item into piles: FAVOURITES, TRASH, TO SELL, STORE, DONATE.  

Purge: For the SELL pile: bag up and assign a price and your initials to tools/adhesives that you don't love/use anymore and put them in your garage sale box.  Throw out the TRASH pile. Arrange pick-up or drop-off of the DONATE pile.

Assign: Store your most used items in a basket or box or other system ring on your desk, within easy reach.  Divide the STORE items into categories that make sense to you: cutting tools, pens, punches, templates, etc.

Containerize: This is the time to tidy up your tools.  Tools need regular maintenance to keep them efficiently working.  As you put your tools away in whatever container (drawers, shelves, boxes, baskets - always ensuring the container is clearly labeled) give them a little maintenance.

scissors - sharpen your scissors using a small scissor sharpener, or have them professionally done. Carefully clean the blades (I like alcohol swabs to remove sticky adhesive)

pens - test pens and throw out the ones that are dry or don't work well.

craft knives - change the blades

trimmers - clean the deck of your trimmers with a damp cloth, and a little cleanser if necessary. Replace dull blades, or cut through fine sandpaper or aluminum foil. 

work surface - clean ink, adhesive and paint from the matt.

punches - to prevent punches from sticking, punch through wax paper. Problem punches may need a little lubricating oil such as sewing machine oil, then punch through scrap paper several times to remove oily residue. Dull punches can be sharpened by punching through aluminum foil or fine grade sandpaper (both right side up and upside down) 

rubber stamps - stamps should be cleaned after each use, but if there is a buildup of ink on your stamps, you should clean them with an alcohol free baby wipe, or paper towels moistened with a mild cleanser (ammonia free/bleach free) Use a soft toothbrush to remove ink stuck in the crevices of a design. Store stamps flat, rubber side down.

EQUALIZE: Once you have a system in place for you tools, putting them back in the same place every time will become a reflex, and you will never have to hunt for you scissors again!  Take a couple of minutes at the end of each scrap session to put your tools away.

Here's an article that might get you thinking about how you'll organize your tools:
http://www.cropperhopper.com/index.asp?PageAction=Custom&ID=5#tools

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Stamping with Paint - Challenge #3

I really enjoyed the third challenge because I enjoy paint.  


Second challenge - inspiration

The second challenge for our online crop today was to get inspired by this link.  http://scrapbookingtechnique.blogspot.ca/2014/01/smore-techniques-please_17.html

I used the jute and brads and dry brushing with acrylic paints on a layout about my Nanna.



Bokeh filter for your camera . . . kind of cool

I followed this link http://www.creatingkeepsakes.com/articles/Photo_Tip_DIY_Bokeh_Filter?bc=c to make a bokeh filter for my camera.

I haven't totally got it figured out.  I think I need a different tape to cut out any light.  But its pretty good I think.  Here's some photos I took with my new filter.







New Washi Tape Ideas

Mom & I are cropping today and participating in an online crop I'm hosting at Crafting Made Simple.

The first challenge was to use washi tape in some new ways.


I used the washi tape to create stickers, cover chipboard letters and to create a journal box.



Mom used her newest roll of washi tape to create a title block which made her title pop up quite nicely.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Organization Challenge #3

My apologies for the delay in posting the third challenge. It has been a busy week. I'm not quite finished the second challenge yet.


Anyway, ready or not, here it is:



Can you believe it is the third week of January already??
So, your paper is beautifully organized, your scraps carefully stashed or purged, and your desk is gleaming! Doesn't it make you feel creative? Don't you want to get cropping? Well, you CAN'T scrapbook without PHOTOS!

Our third challenge is to organize our photos. Here are a few articles to get you thinking about how to organize those precious photos before we S.P.A.C.E. them:
http://www.scrapjazz.com/topics/Organization/Photographs/113.php (this is an excellent article)
http://www.scrapbooking101.net/articles/organizingyournewphotos.html
http://www.diynetwork.com/diy/sc_organization/article/0,2025,DIY_14229_2274790,00.html
(this one talks about some products currently available to safely store and organize photos)

SORT: Gather together all of your photos, and sort them into categories that make sense: TRASH (it's okay to throw out photos with bad colour, expression, composition. Why keep them? You're not going to scrapbook them) TO SCRAPBOOK (the shots you know you are going to use) TO STORE (photos that need to be kept, but aren't necessarily going to be going into your scrapbooks) TO GIVE AWAY (doubles that you want to send to friends and family)

PURGE: Throw out the TRASH pile. Put the TO GIVE AWAY photos in envelopes and mail them to friends/family, or put them in your car so you can drop them off the next time you visit. Do not leave them in your studio, or they will creep back into your organized space.

ASSIGN: Sort the final two groups of photos into a system that makes sense to you:
Chronologically
Holiday/Event/Vacation
Person

CONTAINERIZE: Now it's time to decide how you want to store your photos. Perhaps you want to put your TO STORE photos in acid free envelopes or albums. Perhaps you want to put your TO SCRAPBOOK photos into photo storage boxes, or accordion folders.

EQUALIZE: Next time you get new photos from the photo processor, spend a couple of minutes and put the photos where they belong: throw out the bad shots, give away the extras, put the keepers away in their album, and sort your photos for scrapbooking into their container.

Pasta Fagioli Soup

1 pound lean ground beef or ground turkey breast
1 large onion, chopped
1 large carrot, peeled, halved and sliced
2 large stalks celery with leaves, thinly sliced
2 cans (1 pound each) unsalted tomatoes, crushed
 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tap crushed fresh garlic
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
3 cups beef broth
1 can (1 pound) navy or garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
6 ounces elbow macaroni or ziti pasta

Place the ground meat in a 4-quart pot and brown over medium heat, stirring constantly to crumble, until the meat is no longer pink.  Drain off any excess fat.

Add the onion, carrot, celery, tomatoes, seasonings and beef broth to the pot and bring to a boil over high heat.  Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.

Add the beans and pasta to the pot, cover and simmer for 7 to 9 minutes or just until the pasta is al dente.  Be careful not to overcook as the pasta will continue to soften as long as it remains in the hot soup.

Makes 12 servings

from Secrets of Fat-Free Cooking by Sandra Woodruff

Its Never Too Late: Making I-cord . . .


I've been knitting for the better part of 50 years so you would think I would know everything there is to know about the subject.  Not so much!  Thank goodness it is never too late to learn.

For the past couple of years I have been working on an Oddball Sampler Afghan and I've lost track of how many new techniques and stitches I have learned with this project.  Some of the squares have been simple, some fun and a few have been down-right mean with lots of frogging involved.

I'm working on a square called I-cord Flower and I have never made i-cord before.  Thank goodness for a nice easy tutorial.  

So now I know all about i-cord and I continue to be amazed at how much I have yet to learn.  

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

100,000 th Hit!!


At some point while I was sleeping last night In My World . . .  received the 100,000th hit!!!

Thank you to everyone who has followed along with my ramblings.  I hope I have been able to make you smile once in a while.  If I have, then I am satisfied.


Monday, January 13, 2014

Dark Shadows (2012)


If you had asked me a few years back what I thought of Johnny Depp I would have probably said eh, he's okay I guess.  But for some reason I am becoming addicted to his movies.  It all started with Sweeney Todd.  I have developed a real enjoyment of his quirky characters .  I've used the word quirky for a movie twice in two days.  Do I sense a theme?

Anyway, the movie is silly and parts of it just don't make any sense.  And yet I really did like it a lot.  It is funny.

The story is about Barnabas Collins who spurns the affections of a witch.  Her revenge is to kill his fiance, turn him into a vampire and then bury him alive.  

A couple of centuries later Barnabas is inadvertently dug up by a construction crew and, after a quick snack, returns to his family estate to find it in ruins.  His family are totally dysfunctional and going broke.  Barnabas is determined to fix everything.

Only one problem, his ex-girlfriend is still around.

This is not a great movie.  But it is funny and I love when Alice Cooper performs.  Check it out some rainy day.

Movie Review: Moonrise Kingdom


We picked up some movies at the library on Saturday and had a lovely little moviefest in our jammies, with a bottle of wine and some munchies.

Moonrise Kingdom is . . . ummmmm . . . unusual.  I felt like Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Frances McDormand and Bill Murray felt they needed to get outside their comfort zones and do something VERY different.  The characters were silly and yet realistic in an odd sort of way.  Can you tell I'm having trouble figuring out how to tell you what I loved about this movie?

Quirky?  Yes.

Anyway it is the story of two tweens who meet, fall in love, write back and forth, and finally decide to run away together.  And believe it or not this movie won some awards and was nominated for an Oscar for best writing and original screenplay.

Original?  Oh, yes.

This is definitely a fun movie for a quiet evening.  Do not expect any CGI or graphic anything.  Expect a good story told well.


Sunday, January 12, 2014

MOOCs are cool



I started joining MOOCs last year and I have become addicted to them.

What's a MOOC?  A MOOC is a Massive Open Online Course.  It is an online course that is usually free to take and open to anyone with an internet connection.  How much you participate is up to you.  They usually include video lectures, forums for discussions, assignments and quizzes.  Some offer certificates of completion if you do all the required coursework.  Here is a little more information http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Massive_open_online_course

Why do I love them so much?  I can learn about any subject in the world that interests me from experts in that particular field.  Classes are hosted from universities all over the world with professors from every background imaginable.  You don't need a degree or diploma to take part.  You can just watch the lecture videos that interest you or watch them all.  You can do the projects and quizzes if you want or do none at all.  How involved you become in a class is totally up to you.  

My favourite site is https://www.coursera.org/.  I am currently enrolled in Conditional Struggles in the Muslim World taught by Professor Ebrahim Afsah from the University of Copenhagen.  I'm not going to finish the entire course because it was run over Christmas and I just didn't have the time but I've learned a lot and my eyes have been opened to new opinions and ideas.  The course is open a couple more weeks so I'm hoping to get a few more lessons and videos tucked into my brain.

I sign up for anything that interests me knowing full well that if it turns out not to be interesting, I can just un-enroll.

I have a few courses starting soon that are interesting for me:

Think Again:  How to Reason and Argue from Duke University and taught by Professors Walter Sinnott-Armstrong and Ram Neta

Child Nutrition and Cooking from Stanford University and taught by Professor Maya Adam

Modern European Mysticism and Psychological Thought from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem by Professor Jonathan Garb

The History of Rock, Part One from University of Rochester and taught by Professor John Covach

Reason and Persuasion:  Thinking Through Three Dialogues by Plato from National University of Singapore by Professor John Holbo

As you can see, the subjects are very diverse and exciting.  

So instead of turning on one more "reality" television program, why not watch some real reality through an exciting lecture video in whatever MOOC you decide to try out.


Friday, January 10, 2014

A Corpse in Shining Armour by Caro Peacock


I sped right through A Corpse in Shining Armour.  It was a very light, fun book to read.  Set in Victorian England, Liberty Lane is a bright young lady who earns her keep by solving mysteries for the likes of Benjamin Disraeli, who refers to her as a "private intelligencer".

The plot is full of twists and turns and gives a glimpse of Victorian life, which may or may not be accurate, but sure seems real.

When Lord Brinkburn is near death, his wife suddenly announces that the oldest son, Stephen, cannot inherit because he is illegitimate.  Liberty is hired to find out if it is true and if not, why Lady Brinkburn says he is.  Things get very confusing when the corpse of Lord Brinkburn's right hand man is found stuffed in a set of armour.

This is a bright, tricky read and I think I shall be reading more tales of Liberty Lane very soon.

Photographing Your Layouts

I was thrilled to find this blog post because I hate photographing my layouts.  They never come out quite straight and when I scan and stitch layouts with my computer a slice of the top or bottom disappears.  If you notice future layout photos here look straighter, this is probably why.  Can't wait to try it.  

http://www.lisarukinswift.com/2013/12/project-set-up-and-photo-taking-process.html


Thursday, January 9, 2014

A new crafter in the house . . .

Dear hubby is finally learning why my crafts are so important to me. A while back he picked up a flashlight holder kit at Michaels and really enjoyed making it. So I ordered a leather working starter kit from Tandy Leather because it was on sale at a ridiculous price. He was thrilled to get it and has become addicted to stamping leather already. 


My brother had a big kit and some tools buried in his basement and he gifted them to hubby. Of course, we had to take it to the next level and set him up a workspace featuring a table we picked up at Bibles for Missions. He can't wait to get home from work to play in his space. The best part is he can work on his leather and watch TV at the same time . . . and the tapping of the hammer is muffled because he is as far as possible from my studio . . . LOL.

Hubby made quite a few gifts for Christmas including key fobs and a money clip.  He received the belt blank he had been wanting from the kids for Christmas. He plans on practicing a little more before attempting the belt.







One day he is hoping to be confident enough to finish a belt started by his father who passed away when hubby was just a teenager.


Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Get Organized Challenge Week #2

How did you make out with last week's challenge? Did you find your work table?
Remember these challenges are set up for scrapbooking but I think they are useful for any craft. Are you a knitter? Instead of sorting paper, you will be sorting your yarn perhaps. You can do it!!
Here's this week's challenge:
Week 2
Your challenge this week is to S.P.A.C.E. your paper - - and I mean ALL of your paper: cardstock, patterned paper, specialty papers, and all those SCRAPS!

SORT: Bring all of your paper to one area. Sort it all into piles: KEEP, SELL, DONATE, TRASH
PURGE: bag up, and assign a price and your initials to papers that you want to SELL at a garage sale, and put the bags in the garage sale box. Throw out the TRASH pile. Bag up the DONATE pile and immediately make arrangements for drop-off/pick-up.
ASSIGN: separate your paper into categories that make sense to you. For example, you may want to divide it simply into cardstock and patterned paper. If you have a huge stash of paper, you may want to divide it by colour, theme, or manufacturer.
**Another way to sort your paper is in page kits. Package matching patterned papers in a zip lock or similar bag, add matching cardstocks and embellishments.
CONTAINERIZE: store you paper in a way that makes sense to you:

- vertical paper holders
- hanging vertical file folders
- wire cubes
- paper trays
- paper organizers
- bookcases with adjustable shelves

**I store my page kits in bankers boxes and my scraps in hanging file folders all on a bookcase with adjustable shelves.**

EQUALIZE: each time you finish a scrap session, return from a crop, or bring home new papers, spend a few minutes putting your paper away where it belongs.

Annual Organization Challenge Week #1

Every year I host an organization challenge beginning on January 1st.  I just realized I should post it here for those of you not in the Crafting Made Simple group.  Although the challenge says scrapbooking I believe many of the challenges will work for just about any craft.  So are you ready?  Here is the week #1 challenge:

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!

I know everyone is anxious to get their scrapzones in order, and as a result get more accomplished and get more enjoyment out of their scrapbooking goodies. If you aren 't a scrapper but enjoy other crafts, many of the suggestions in this challenge will be helpful to you as well.

So - what I want you to do, right NOW is take a photo of your scrap zone - no, leave the dirty coffee cup where it is....yes, I know you let your cat sleep on your keyboard.....do not touch ANYTHING - go take a photo, and share it with us by posting a link to it.

No shame here - just hope. If I can get MY MESS fixed, ANYONE can follow the ten challenges to organization.

The first challenge of the GET ORGANIZED CHALLENGE is to clear off your scrapping workspace. Before you get started, take a "before" photo, and post it to the group, we wanna see just how bad it is

Maybe you have a desk committed as your scrapping space, or maybe you have taken over the dining room table. Wherever you scrap, completely clear off the entire surface, dumping everything into a big box. Give your surface a good scrub and polish, removing every spec of paint, adhesive, and uh.... is that chocolate????

Okay, now let's get to work on that big box of stuff. Now is the time to learn that you need S.P.A.C.E. to scrapbook:

* Sort * Purge * Assign * Containerize * Equalize *

We're going to use this very same method for each and every challenge of the Organization Challenge. So, let's go over this method:

SORT:
Going object by object, divide everything in the big box into categories that make sense to you. You may want to have some baskets laid out and labelled: SELL, DONATE, TRASH, STORAGE (for stuff you want to keep, but doesn't belong on or in your desk/word surface) NOT IN HERE (for items that sneak their way into your scrap studio, but belong elsewhere in the house) and ACTION (for items that you want to keep in or on your desk)

PURGE:
This is a no-brainer.
1) Throw out everything in the TRASH pile - all the ripped, broken, dried up, crumpled STUFF.
2) Bag up and assign a price and your initials to everything in the SELL pile, and put in your sale box.
3) Call the person who could use the DONATE pile, and immediately set up a time to drop off, bag it up, and hang on the door knob so it doesn't sneak back into your studio area.
4) Put the NOT IN HERE stuff where it belongs (I'd make the kids do it, it's probably their junk anyway)

ASSIGN:
You have a couple of options here for your STORAGE pile: put the stuff aside to be organized when we work on other areas, or (and I strongly suggest this alternative) put the items away where they belong using your current organization system.

CONTAINERIZE:
Sort all of your ACTION items into the appropriate drawer, container, boxes. Containerizing gives you a chance to make everything pretty and inspirational to you. You may need to make a shopping trip to make new purchases of containers that you love, love to look at, and are sturdy enough to withstand repeated openings and closings, and are the right size. Make a list and take measurements. Label everything.

Layouts completed in December 2013