Monday, October 31, 2016

October in Books

Another great month of reading.  There are a couple pretty dense non-fiction books on the list this month, one of which was really hard to get through.  Consequently there's a lot of juvenile fiction mixed in.  I needed something to break up the difficult reading.  Conveniently, I had a lot of assigned reading from Ellie this month, lots of Battle Books to finish, and actually she has several books on my list for next month as well.  I have to say I really don't mind though.  I really enjoy 1) knowing what she is reading and 2) discussing the books with her.  Such a fun stage to be in!

My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry - by Fredrik Backman - non-fiction - 4 stars - This book took a while to get into.  I'd say for the first quarter of it, I was kind of debating whether or not I should see it through.  It builds slowly, but in the end, I really did want to find out what happened next, learn the stories about all the people in this little girls' life.  I founds it kind of murky reading, I like a faster pace and it was often laborious for me to read which might have been why I had a hard time getting into it, but the story itself is compelling and I was glad I finished it.

I.Q. Book Two, The White House - by Roland Smith - juvenile fiction - 5 stars - Had to read more after the first one.  The benefit of these books is they are fast.  You can easily read through in a couple days and there are lots of great twists and turns.  Clearly, I 'm a fan as I managed to polish off several of these books this month.

The Batboy - by Mike Lupica - juvenile fiction - 4 stars - I am not a fan of baseball, but this was another of Ellie's 'Battle Books.'  The first several chapters were a slog for me simply because there was a lot of  baseball stuff in there and I don't care about baseball details/stats/etc.  But once we got beyond that to the actual story it was really good.  If you have a boy who likes baseball, this is a great one.

I, Q. Book Three, Kitty Hawk - by Roland Smith - juvenile fiction - 5 stars - Still a great series.  There were some things at the end that had me raising my eyebrows, but I'm willing to suspend my disbelief a bit for a good story.

The Sea of Trolls - by Nancy Farmer - juvenile fiction - 5 stars - Another of Ellie's Battle Books.  Such a good story!  It's a great blend of mythology and history, and history that I'm not all that familiar with (Anglo-Saxons and Norsemen/Vikings) so I learned some things too.  And I was excited to see that it's actually the first in a series of books.  Ellie and I have plans to read the rest soon!

The Pentagon's Brain - by Annie Jacobsen - non-fiction - 2 stars - Based on where I work I thought I should get around to reading this.  It was a huge disappointment.  It was just really boring, which is sad because the topic is pretty fascinating, but I think in an attempt to be very factual and definitive, it ended up being really dry.  I learned some things here and there, but it was just so hard to get through.  This one took me a while to read through, and I was often reading another book at the same time just to break it up.

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry - by Rachel Joyce - fiction - 5 stars - I really loved this one.  It's not a long read, it's about a man who receives a letter from an old friend who is dying and decides he needs to go see her, and that he's going to walk there, a very long walk.  Along the way he meets interesting people, but also works through his memories and deals with a lot of his baggage.  It's a great story about healing and hope.

Dead Wake - by Erik Larsen - non-fiction - 4 stars - A really good non-fiction read.  I've of course heard about the sinking of the Lusitania, but this provided a lot of background information that was fascinating.  Things like how small delays resulted in the perfect timing for the sinking.  They had to wait in NYC to take on passengers from another ship that had been commandeered by the British for war use, and if they hadn't done that, the timing would never have synched up with the submarine.  Also, how the British were actually intercepting and reading German transmissions, but weren't acting on all the intel because they didn't want to give away that they were intercepting transmissions.  There were also great stories about the people on the ship.  It was a little slow, but I found it extremely informative and interesting.

I, Q. Book Four, The Alamo - by Roland Smith - juvenile fiction - 5 stars - OK clearly, I like this series and I ordered up the next two books from the library immediately after finishing the last one.  I'm compelled to get to the end of the story!

I, Q. Book Five, The Windy City - by Roland Smith - juvenile fiction - 5 stars - And another.  I went to order the next one from the local library only to find out that somehow they did not own the next (and final) book.  So I submitted a request that they purchase it and they are going to.  Hooray!  My tax dollars at work!  I'll definitely be finishing this series up next month.

The Red Blazer Girls: The Ring of Rocamadour - by Michael D. Beil - juvenile fiction - 4 stars - Another of Ellie's Battle Books.  It was a really cute book and fun mystery to read.  Definitely a lower level than the I, Q books, but a good (turns out this is a) series for kids in the 4th-5th grade range.  I can definitely see Ellie borrowing more of these.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Craftsy Sale for Breast Cancer Foundation

Hey everyone!  I am just popping in here quickly today to let you know about a special sale that Craftsy is holding this weekend.  October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, and to wrap up the month, all Craftsy classes are on sale for $20 and under.

In addition to that, Craftsy is donating 5% of proceeds from all sales this weekend (through Monday the 31st) to the Breast Cancer Foundation.

If you been thinking about taking a specific course, or are just looking to learn something new, now's a great time to enroll!  My affiliate link is below if you're interested. 

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, October 27, 2016

I've Taken a Viking to You

I think this Avery Elle Viking mini set is so cute!

Andrew has a Scandinavian background, so Vikings are spoken of fondly in our home.

I wanted to keep the focus on the stamped image, so after coloring him with Copics, I created a frame/focal point with a heart die.  I thought the woodgrain paper went well with the masculine feel of the card, but was a little too stark, so I added a second, slightly off kilter, to soften it.

The background was also feeling a little too plain for me, so I added some dry embossing for texture.

The little hearts were a bit of an after thought.  The stamp set has hearts in it, but I had already die cut the hearts and was feeling lazy about stamping them, so I just doodled the hearts inside the die cut pieces to give them a bit more emphasis.

Hope your week is going well!  One more day til the weekend!

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Tim Holtz Christmas Cards

I'm sharing a couple more Christmas cards I worked on during my crafty get together a few weeks ago.  These were created with Tim Holtz's Cling Rubber Doodle Greetings stamp sets.

I love it when the sentiment is big enough and special enough that it does the work for you.  

For this first card I added some simple inking to the panel, stamped the the sentiment, and then added a bit of Copic coloring to the image.  So easy and quick!

I had thought that this second card would be just as simple.  Here I stamped/embossed the sentiment in gold and then inked on top, but the embossing didn't stand out as well as I thought it would, and the words were getting lost.

So, I ended up going in with a journaling pen and adding a shadow to the letters so they could be read more easily.  That definitely took more time than I intended, but live and learn.  If I were to do this again and wanted to make them in quantity, I'd just stamp in black and clear emboss over it for some shine.

Hope this gives you some ideas as you start working on your Christmas cards.  

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

You are Loved - for Where Creativity Meets C9

I've got one more card for this month's Where Creativity Meets C9 challenge.

This one is pretty straightforward.  I stamped the outline image with Versafine.  For the color on the flower, I inked the stamps with Distress Ink, misted it with water and stamped.  I didn't get as watery a look the first time, so I ended up doing this twice.  Confession - I also went in with a water brush and deepened up some areas because apparently I'm a control freak.

Then I added a gray wash around the flower and some black splatter, and finally finished up with the sentiment.

I really love how bold and striking this flower is.  It's great to find those images that really command attention and don't need much else, makes for easy cards with big impact!

Thanks for coming by!  Hope your week is going well!

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Thursday, October 20, 2016

From Our Family to Yours

I'm on a Christmas card roll (hopefully, because my grand plans to make some each month was a colossal failure).

I love this new City Sidewalks set from Mama Elephant.

At first it looked like a lot of stuff to color, but watercoloring makes everything easier!  And here I didn't even color everything, just the buildings themselves.

This was such an easy card to create, it's nice and flat for mailing, and with a MISTI, perfect for mass producing.  In fact, I actually stamped several panels, so I'll have a few extras of these when it comes time to mail out the Christmas cards.

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Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Joy to the World Snowglobe

This snowglobe die was one of the items I specifically asked my friend Cheiron to bring to our crafty get together.

I can't tell you how much I love this die set, even though it requires cutting a gazillion tiny little items, I love it.

The good thing about the die cutting a gazillion tiny little items part is that this card was basically made with scraps.  I'll also mention that this required no independent thinking.  I just copied the design that was on the packaging.

The sentiment is from Mama Elephant.

Short and sweet today!  Thanks for stopping by!

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Tuesday, October 18, 2016

You've Got This

Over Columbus Day weekend some of my favorite crafty people and I got together for what had become an annual gathering.

It's a BLAST, and I get to use lots of stuff I don't own.

I had really been wanting to try out this die from Concord and 9th, and I'm totally sold.  It's really all you need for a card - it can carry the whole thing.

I added a simple wash to a panel of watercolor cardstock, and then die cut the sentiment after it was dry.

Then I just popped it up over my card base.

You could churn out a whole card set in no time flat.

I'm linking this up over at the Where Creativity Meets C9 challenge, the theme is watercolor.

Hope you are all having a great week!

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Ruby's Bridal Blog Hop

Hey everyone!  Today I'm taking part in a celebratory blog hop for Rubeena Ianigro (Ruby Naz).  One of the great things about this community is all the people and friendships you make, and how we celebrate achievements as well as life events together.

Ruby got married a few weeks ago, and we're keeping the celebration rolling.

Our theme/inspiration for the hop is Ruby's inspiration photo for her wedding cake:

Here's my take on it:

I loved the idea of the layers, so I created a panel of cream cardstock and gold mirror board and then used my Hooray die from Neat & Tangled to cut it.  The negative cuts were inlaid into a pink cardstock die cut.

I wanted the hooray to stand out a bit more, so I ended up cutting the whole thing once more from dark gray cardstock, snipping the hooray out and then adhering it on top of the pink.

That whole piece was then popped up over some patterned paper that I added a bit of dark gray and gold splatter to.  A couple additional pattered paper mats added some extra texture and interest.

It's hard to see the full impact of the card because that gold mirrorboard can be a bear to photograph, but this close up gives you a better idea:

 I'm keeping it short and sweet because this is a fairly lengthy hop and there is so much good stuff to see.  I'm actually the last stop on the hop.  Here's the full hop list if you're just getting started:

Now no decent hop is complete without a few prizes, right?  And there are some generous sponsors who have stepped up to help us with our celebration:

Mama Elephant $25 Gift Card
Winnie & Walter $30 Gift Card
Kennedy Grace Creations $20 Gift Card

Winners will be selected from the comments across all of the blogs in the hop!  Commenting will close on Saturday, October 22 at 11:59 pm pacific.  Winners will be posted on Amy's blog on Sunday, October 23rd.

Happy Hopping and huge Congrats to Ruby!!!

Friday, October 14, 2016

Neat & Tangled October Release Recap & Winners

It's release day!  All of the new products are now available in the Neat & Tangled store.

Here's a recap of my cards this week.  This was really such a fun release to work with!




And I have three lucky winners to announce too!

Denise Bryant wins the Maple Thanks stamp set,

BunnyD wins the Cowbell stamp set,

and TK wins the Scoops and Polka stencils!

Congratulations ladies!  Please shoot me an email with your mailing address and we'll get these right out to you.

Thanks so much to everyone for your comments this week, they are so appreciated!!!