Tuesday, October 31, 2017

October 2017 in Books

Much Ado About Anne (The Mother-Daughter Book Club, #2) - Frederick, Heather Vogel - juvenile fiction - four stars - Ellie and I are continuing to read this series, in a somewhat haphazard way.  We went from book four to book two, so we know how some things turn out, but they are still great books.  In this one, the mothers invite the Chadwicks to join the book club, except that most of the girls don't get along with Becca.  They also need to save Half Moon Farm.  One of the nice things about these books is that they deal with a fair amount of girl drama in a good way, it's nice to be able to talk some of these things through with Ellie.

Christmas Bliss (Weezie and Bebe Mysteries, #4) - Andrews, Mary Kay - fiction - four stars - Last month I read a couple of the other books in this series.  In this book Weezie is getting ready to get married, and BeBe is about to have a baby, but finds out that her divorce from her previous marriage was never finalized because her ex never completed the paperwork, so now she has to track him down and make herself legal.  Always a fun and easy read.

Love and Other Consolation Prizes - Ford, Jamie - fiction - five stars - I've read his other books and really enjoyed them, so I was really excited to see this book show up at the library.  It's the story of Ernest Young a boy who his mother sells or pays to get to the U.S. from China (we never quite figure out which).  He ends up at an orphanage and is then auctioned off at the Seattle World's Fair where he is won by a woman who runs a brothel.  He becomes an employee, there, and the book tells what he made of his life, and of the friendship between him and two that he befriends there.  Such an amazing story of defying the odds and of love.

Love in a Time of Hate: The Story of Magda and Andre Trocme and the Village That Said No to the Nazis - Schott, Hanna - biography - five stars - This was my favorite book this month.  The amazing true story about a pastor and his wife who helped shelter countless Jews and help them to safety during WWII.  It's a slow build as the book examines the life of both individuals and how they grew up.  Their work during WWII is remarkable, but how they inspired an entire village to work with them makes it even more so.  A must read.

Rabbit: The Autobiography of Ms. Pat - Williams, Patricia - autobiography - five stars - In many ways this book reminded me of Hillbilly Elegy in that it's a look at a culture that is so foreign to me, and so hard to get out of.  Patricia grew up in Atlanta, by thirteen she was pregnant, by fifteen she had two kids, at sixteen she was selling drugs.  She because a pretty successful drug dealer, but ended up going to jail.  She eventually found her way out of that life, as in Hillbilly Elegy it was a series of minor miracles, people who believed in her and helped her, but so eye opening to read about how difficult it is, and to see what a cycle it is.

Filling Her Shoes: A Memoir of an Inherited Family - Fasbinder, Betsy Graziani - memoir - four stars - The story of a woman who marries a widower (his wife died from cancer), and how she gains a new family and son.  I saw this one at the library and it just sounded interesting.  All the intricacies of stepping into someone else's life, trying to preserve the memories of her new son's mother, in-laws that are not really your in-laws.  A really unique book, and worth the read.

The Invisible Life of Ivan Isaenko - Stambach, Scott - fiction - four stars - This one reminds me of The Secret Life of Hendrick Groen which I read last month.  That book detailed the life of a man struggling to find meaning/exist in a nursing home, while this book deals with a severely handicapped boy (supposedly born with major birth defects as a result of radiation poisoning from a nuclear incident in Russia.  He lives in a home for severely ill children, he has been there his whole life, and has grown resigned to the fact that he will be there forever watching others come and die around him.  Then Polina arrives, she opens his eyes to what actually living is and changes him forever. 

The Mother-Daughter Book Club (The Mother-Daughter Book Club, #1) - Frederick, Heather Vogel - juvenile fiction - four stars - Finally getting around to the first book in the series.  This book tells how the club was started as the girls are also just starting middle school and navigating the complexities of that.  Again, we have really been enjoying this series and Ellie has been reading Little Women along with the girls in the book.

Circus Mirandus - Beasley, Cassie - juvenile fiction - five stars - My sister-in-law got this one for Ellie.  This is a first time author, and it's the story about a boy named Micah whose grandfather (who he lives with) is dying.  His grandfather has always told him stories about the Circus Mirandus, and says that he is owed a miracle from them.  Micah is able to visit the circus and meet the inhabitants, along the way he makes a friend, learns about his family's history, and gets to be part of the miracle.  We both really enjoyed this one.

The Fourth Stall (The Fourth Stall, #1) - Rylander, Chris - juvenile fiction - five stars - This is one of Ellie's battle books.  As you can see it's the first in a series and it's so clever and fun.  Mac runs a business in his school helping people.  You want to get into an R-rather movie, McDonald's for lunch, answers to test questions, he's your man.  But his enterprise is in serious jeopardy, and he has mole in his organization.  A great read and perfect if you've got boys.

Today Will be Different - Maria Semple - fiction - four stars - I really enjoyed her book Where'd You Go Bernadette, so when I saw this at the library I snapped it up.  It's a day in the life of Eleanor Flood.  It starts out pretty well, but then her son fakes an illness and she needs to pick him up from school, and then she finds out that her husband told his office he would be out for a week yet he has been leaving as if going to the office each day.  These incidents create a domino effect that cause chaos on the outside as well as in the inside as she confronts some of her past demons.  It was a really enjoyable read with a character almost as neurotic as Bernadette.

Y is for Yesterday (Kinsey Millhone, #25) - Grafton, Sue - detective - four stars - I've read, or listened to, all of Grafton's alphabet series, so I'm pretty vested in the characters by this point.  This was a good one, although longer than some I feel.  It solves not only the mystery at hand - an extortion scheme involving a sex tape created 10 years prior by a group of boys, one who was just released from prison on turning 25, but also ties up some loose ends from prior books.  These are always engaging and I confess to staying up late to finish it.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

I'm sharing another Christmas card today, and a pretty simple one at that.  This one features WPlus9's Holiday Houses set.  I started by stamping and diecutting the houses and then coloring them with Copics.  

Then I stamped the trees directly onto my panel and colored them.  I could have stamped and die cut them as well, but I think this adds some depth to the card and also really makes the houses the focal point.

The sentiment is from an older, retired, My Favorite Things set.

I adhered my panel to a red card base and added a thin strip of silver glitter paper to the right side for some sparkle and extra interest.

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Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Using Up Leftovers

I created this card a couple of weeks ago using my favorite Ellen Hutson dies.  Because creating the card involved sending each of the two sun ray dies (from Ellen Hutson) through the big shot twice, times four colors, means I have a lot of extra pieces.

I figured I shouldn't let those pieces go to waste, and created two more cards.

For this first one I created a diamond shaped pattern and finished it with Neat & Tangled's Awesome word die which was cut three times and then adhered over top.

For the second card I went with an almost square shape.  The sentiment is from an older My Favorite Things set.

I actually still have a bunch of pieces left and could probably eke out another card.  There really are so many ways to reconfigure these pieces.  Here's a look at all three cards together.

That's all for me today!  Happy Wednesday!

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Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Celebrate with Altenew

Hi everyone!  I'm sharing a card featuring my newest Altenew purchase today.  I love the design of this bold medallion from them.  It's so bold, and large, that it really carries a card.

Today I used just a portion of it to anchor my card.  The image was colored with Copics.  I added a couple of enamel dots as part of the design, and a sentiment from the Label Love set which was popped up over the medallion.

I went with a black card base and trimmed a bit off the top of the stamped/colored panel so that you could see some of it at the bottom. 

I'm kind of in love with this image, and can't wait to use it again!

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Thursday, October 19, 2017

I Suppose I Should Start Making Christmas Cards

Although I am loving crafting for fall, I'm starting to get a bit nervous about Christmas as it is just over two months to Christmas and I have made about three Christmas cards this year.

So, I took the opportunity during my crafty get together a couple weekends ago to start knocking out some Christmas cards.

This one features a Hero Arts background that I LOVE.  It was stamped with a medium shade of gray and then colored with Prismacolor pencils.

The sentiment is from an older My Favorite Things set and was embossed in gold on the round panel which was popped up over the background.

That's all for me today.  How are you guys doing on your Christmas cards?

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Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Fractal Leaves

I was still in the fall mood the other day, so I pulled out my Maple Thanks and Oak Leaf stamp sets.

I started by adding a wash to a watercolor panel.  Then the leaves were stamped and embossed with copper embossing powder.

I colored the leaves using Derwent Inktense pencils and then went in with a wet brush to soften and blend the colors in each section.

To add a little more shine, I also painted a little bit of Heidi Swapp Gold Lame Color Shine in the upper left and bottom right corners.

The sentiment is from the Maple Thanks set and was embossed on some dark brown cardstock and popped up.

*Affiliate links in text to Neat & Tangled store, below to Ellen Hutson

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Thankful Leaves

I'm in full on fall mode right now.  It's my favorite season, and the leaves here aren't quite there yet, so I'm living vicariously through my craft stash.

I recently picked up this Mix and Mat die from Papertrey.

I love the delicate leaves and the fact that you get a peek at the panel behind.  For this card I kept things very simple.  The mat was die cut from my focal panel and then I used Copics to color the leaves, just two colors for each leaf since they are pretty small.

The sentiment is from my Oak Leaf set, and then the entire panel was popped up over the card base.

Really quick and easy and a big impact.

Hope you like it! 

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Hello You with Calathea, Inspired by Sveta

I'm sharing this card over on the Neat & Tangled blog today featuring my Calathea set.

It's actually my take on this card that my teammate Sveta.  Sveta used the Calathea set to create a light, bright, tropical look, but I'm in the mood for fall, so I went with fall colors and used more of the fuller leaves.

I used Altenew inks and a mix of first generation, second generation, and rock and roll stamping.  To add a little more drama/focus on the center I also did some light inking on the edges of my panel with Antique Linen Distress Ink.

The sentiment is from the Hello You mini and was stamped with the help of my MISTI.  I didn't use the MISTI for the leaves because for this look some irregularity is not a big deal, plus it's faster.

That's all for me today.  Thanks for stopping by!

*Embedded affiliate links to Neat & Tangled store and below to Ellen Hutson

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

So Very Thankful

If you follow me on Instagram you saw this card over the weekend.

It features the floral spray from Concord and 9th's Hello Lovely set which was stamped on Vintage Cream cardstock.

The image was colored first with one layer of Copics, by that I mean, no shading, just one shade for each of the flowers and the leaves.

The shading was then added with colored pencils.  This is a great way to add shading when you have limited Copics.  Colored pencils are a lot less expensive than Copics and can fill in while you build your collection.  It's faster and easier too.  ;)

The sentiment is from Concord and 9th's Lace Leaf set.

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Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Fun with Dies

Hey everyone!  Did you have a great World Card Making Day?

Mine was too much fun, mostly because it coincided with an annual get together with some of my favorite crafty people.  It was a card making candy haze!

This is actually the last card I created, but one of my favorites.

It features the Silver Linings dies from Ellen Hutson.  I love geometric dies because they afford so many possibilities.

For this card, I cut each of the sunburst dies (there are two that are mirror images) twice from five colors of cardstock.  I didn't use the entire die cut (these dies don't fully cut, but create a webbed piece that you can use as a whole or snip apart), I first cut down the dark red pieces to the shape circled here.

Then I snipped off portions from the other colors and pieced them over top.  Then the four quadrants were placed together to create the finished medallion.

The sentiment die is from Papertrey Ink and is three layers thick.

I just love how many different patterns and shapes and combinations you can create with these dies!

That's all for me today!  Thanks for stopping by!

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