28 May 2015

Congratulations To You

Congratulations To You

Ok, so I haven't blogged in eons. Really, I haven't crafted in eons either. I've had some medical issues, and thought it was a good time to take a break. But I'm slowly getting back to it!

Crafter's Companion just released a new range of dies called Edge'ables (available in the US and UK) and I adore them - how fun is this image panel, trimmed with a sentiment? The edges and bottom don't cut, so you can use this kind of die any way you want, anywhere on the card. I like options!

I watercolored the fabulous image (Kimono range, again available in the US or UK) with my Spectrum Aqua markers (US or UK) on watercolor cardstock (US or UK). I used: Kingfisher, Evergreen, Blossom, Rose Pink, Moss, Desert, Topaz, Charcoal, and Black.

To create the background, I used a couple of the Textures stamps (US or UK), colored them with my Aquas, breathed on them, stamped them once on extra paper, breathed on them again, THEN stamped them onto the watercolor paper. Then I added a smidge of water and smoothed it out with a dry brush. Sounds way more complicated than it was, really - I promise!

My yummy mint cardstock base is from Simon Says Stamp. I super love it!

30 April 2015

I Love the Smell of Boxwoods


I love new books from authors that have made me smile in the past. When I got the announcement about the newest book for the virtual book club From Left to Write I was ecstatic! Of course I was dying to read Frances Mayes' newest book, Under Magnolia. Her books about living in Tuscany were enchanting, and I love a good memoir about growing up in the South.

If you've read these book club posts of mine before, you know these aren't about reviewing the book (which I love, so don't worry a review is coming soon on Goodreads) but more about discussions sparked by things in the book. This book was full of so many similarities and brought back so many memories for me.

Late last spring we moved - new town in the mountains, closer to where I grew up. Our "new" house was built in 1938, and it's white brick. Just like the one my great-grandmother lived in when I was a child. And also like hers, it has some seriously mature English boxwoods on the grounds. Greenery doesn't always have a distinctive scent, but these boxwoods do. And no matter where I am, I can smell them and I'm instantly back to my childhood. They smell like home to me: afternoons eating homemade pink angel food cake, the swinging door that divided the kitchen and dining room (another thing our house has in common with my great-grandmother's!), wandering around outside on warm, sunny days and smelling that scent all around. My daughter's room is surrounded by boxwoods - whenever I walk in her room I always have to pause and just drink it in. And I wander our yard at every opportunity, just to be near them. It might seem odd, but I didn't realize how much I missed the smell until they were back in my life!

We've also got a magnolia tree (granted, ours is small, under five years old, and hers was older than old), which I fondly remember inhaling at every opportunity. Those blooms are like nothing else, and the leaves make such beautiful wreaths.

Since we've lived here I've been stopped in my tracks so many times, expecting to hear a familiar voice any moment, or see a face I haven't seen in over 25 years. Smell is a powerful thing..... where does it take you?

This post was inspired by Under Magnolia by Frances Mayes, a memoir of her return to her roots in the South. Join From Left to Write on April 30th as we discuss Under Magnolia As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes. but all opinions are my own. Any links to the book within this article are affiliate links. 

26 March 2015

Another Brick in the Wall

Another Brick in the Wall

I adore the name of this gorgeous die... how clever is it? And yes, I hear the song in my head every time I look at the die!

For this fun card, I paired the 'Another Brick in the Wall' die with another recently released dies form Crafter's Companion US (they're all available in the UK, too) Mediterranean Window. I die cut the farame from Black Pearl shimmering cardstock, and did the flower box three times in Sky Blue, Green Envy, and Yellow Pearl. 

To create the background behind the brick wall die, I placed the metal die on a piece of kraft cardstock and sponged Memento Rhubarb Stalk ink on - this left more blank space between the color and the die, which was what I wanted. You can get a whole different effect if you use an extra pice already die cut! To add color to the die cut wall itself, I sponged on Memento Desert Sand, Rich Cocoa, and Bamboo Leaves.

Be sure you stop by to check out all six new Create a Card dies released today! 

25 March 2015

Starshine

Starshine

New dies are coming to Crafter's Companion US tomorrow, and I absolutely love them! These Create a Card dies make quick and detailed card fronts in no time - this whole card took about ten minutes to put together, and that's only because I lost one of the stars on my messy craft desk!

I added a piece of Snowfall acetate behind the card front (it's not available anymore, but the new heat resistant acetate is pretty awesome!). My sentiment is from the versatile 'Phrases' stamp set and is stamped in Memento Tuxedo Black ink. It's die cut from the Die'sire Essentials Ovals and Scalloped Ovals. Oh, and that black matting? It's the super lush Black Pearl Shimmering cardstock. The yummy yellow is from Simon Says Stamp.

Make sure you check in on the Crafter's Companion US Facebook page formore sneak peeks, and the fabulous launch offer tomorrow!

24 March 2015

The Importance of Written Records


I'm back with another post for the virtual book club I'm part of, From Left to Write. I was so, so, so excited to get an Advance Reader's Copy of Dead Wake, by Erik Larson. His books are so fantastic, and this one is about a subject I'm fascinated by - disasters at sea. You can read my review of the book here (I posted it on my blog after I devoured the book in two sittings!)

As I mentioned the other day when our book club discussed Thrive, by Arianna Huffington, when we do book club discussion posts, it's not a review. Instead we discuss things the book makes us think about, based on themes, characters, and content.

I recently read a really interesting article on Slate, discussing the looming loss of so many important written records of historic decisions. It was a really thought-provoking article.... what are we doing to preserve our written history? How are we ensuring the longevity of our electronic communication, our decisions, our notes? The article (which is well worth reading) points out:
The State Department is doing nothing to retain public records. Neither, others tell me, are the other federal bureaucracies. As a result, our history is vanishing into the ether. Major decisions—cataclysmic events—are happening all around us, but their causes may never be known.
When the Lusitania went down, letters and journals survived. Paper dried out. Of course, so many priceless things were lost (oooooh, the art!!!), but what if that had happened today? Electronic devices would have all been destroyed. Yes, of course emails and live tweets of the ship's sinking would be there, but how would a historian access them one hundred years from now, if there was no clear preservation method?

Another thing that needs to be considered is how quickly technology changes. Your iPhone 4 doesn't work any more (although, my stepmom is clinging to hers!), so how can we be sure emails kept on servers now will be accesible in the future? I can still read the loving, heartfelt letters my grandfather wrote my grandmother who he was fighting in World War II. But will my children be able to read the emails I have been sending them all these years? Will their children? How will they access them?

The whole thing has given me pause. I think I'll start copying the emails and random notes i send my kids into journals, to pass on to them. Then at least I know I tried!

This post was inspired by Dead Wake by Erik Larson, a thrilling account of Lusitania’s last voyage across the Atlantic Ocean and the U-boat that attacked it. Join From Left to Write on March 26th as we discuss Dead Wake. As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes. but all opinions are my own. Any links to the book within this article are affiliate links.