Thursday, July 11, 2019

CAS card set with Picket Fence Studios

Today I'm sharing a super simple card set created using the adorable Peach and Piper images from Picket Fence Studios and sentiments from my Typed Sentiments set for Neat & Tangled.

These images are just so sweet, they really don't need much.

I stamped each one with Gina K black amalgam ink, and did some very simple Copic coloring..really more like adding some accents with Copics (C0, C1, C3, and R000).

The images are great for encouragement cards, and I picked a few from the Typed Sentiments set that I thought worked particularly well with each one.

I think these images will get a lot of use!  

That's all for me today.  Hope your week is going well!

*Affiliate Links below to Ellen Hutson and in text to N&T

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Be You with Picket Fence Studios and Crafty Sale Update

Hi folks! 

Today I'm sharing a really simple card created using Picket Fence Studios Vortex of Fish stamp set.

I love this swirl of fish, it creates such a bold look.  For this card, I clear embossed the fishes on a watercolor paper panel.  I did mask one fish to create an empty spot in the swirl.  This was done by putting some washi tape over the fish I wanted to disappear.  I then inked the stamp with Versamark, and then removed the washi before stamping.

I blended Distress Oxides (Peacock Feathers, Salty Ocean, and Chipped Sapphire) onto the panel.  This was done in a few steps, stopping to add a bit of mist/water until I got the coverage and texture that I was looking for.

Once I was happy with the panel, I used Versafine to stamp a single fish in the area I had masked swimming in the opposite direction of the rest of the vortex.  This was then embossed using holographic embossing powder to give the fish a bit of sparkle and shine.

The sentiment was created using Thickers, and the entire panel was popped up over my card base with foam tape.

So fun, right?

I also have an update on my crafty clean out.  I still have some boxes available, and I also found a bunch more stuff which I've listed individually on IG under @mprantnercraftysale.  Lots of stuff there, and I'm really just trying to move things one to homes where people can use them, so there are things marked as low as $1. 

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Crafty Destash Boxes

Hi all! 

I hope that you're enjoying your fourth!  I've been crafting a little and also putting together some destash boxes.

These are packed. 

The small rate boxes have at least 12 items.  Many of these are older or use, but still in good condition, and all the boxes have something new, and include a mix of stamps, dies, and coordinating dies.  Lots of different brands including Neat & Tangled, Mama Elephant, Avery Elle, MFT, etc. etc.

The small flat rate boxes are $35 which includes shipping.

There are actually two of the larger medium rate boxes.  In addition to stamps and dies, there are at least 15 inkpads in those boxes as well as stamps that were are the larger size (6x8 or 6x6) that wouldn't fit in the smaller boxes.  These are seriously stuffed...I just kept throwing more and more in there.

The medium flat rate boxes are $90.

If you would like to purchase one, please email me at mprantner at gmail dot com.

Thanks any enjoy your holiday weekend!

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

June 2019 in Books

Popping in a little late to share my June reads.  There are a lot this month, but I was also on vacation the last week or so.  Some duds, but also some really good ones.  Here's the rundown:

The Winter Soldier - Daniel Mason - historical fiction - four stars - So I actually read this one in May, but forgot to put it on my list because sometimes (a lot of times) I forget to update Goodreads (which is how I track my reading).  Anyway, this one was interesting.  About a guy who is going to school to become a doctor when WWI breaks out and they are essentially 'deputizing' doctors early to send them to the front.  He goes and is confronted by the reality of the job and war.  He's guided through it by a nurse who helps him get his bearings and who he falls in love with.  Later they become separated and after the war he tries to find his way back to her.  It was OK.  I felt like it was a bit disjointed at the front and end of the story.  The middle part where they are working in the field hospital was the most interesting part.  Besides that it was a bit angsty.  Still, I feel like there is not a lot of great fiction or non-fiction about WWI, and this was a pretty good story.

The Department of Sensitive Crimes (Detective Varg #1) - Alexander McCall Smith - detective - five stars - I am a big fan of McCall Smith.  I've enjoyed both his fiction and detective books, so when I saw that he had a new series coming out, and that it was about a detective in Sweden (where we traveled last summer), I put it at the top of my list.  I wasn't disappointed.  Like the #1 Ladies' Detective Agency stories, this isn't a thriller that will have you on the end of your seat, but it is filled with extremely likable characters and some unique circumstances, and it makes for a very enjoyable read.  Detective Varg is kind and sweet, and you'll warm up to him right away.  I really enjoyed this one and will definitely read the rest of the books.

Daughter of Moloka'i (Moloka'i #1) - Alan Brennert - historical fiction - five stars - I read Moloka'i last year, the story of Rachel Kalama who was sent away at an early age to a leper colony to live at a very young age, last year and loved it.  This is a sequel of sorts.  It's the story of her daughter Ruth, who she had to give up right after birth and who was then adopted by a Japanese couple who later moved to the states.  They were there when WWII occurred and were interned.  It was a really wonderful story about how Ruth was welcomed into their family, raised as their own, of the immigrant experience in California, and of course internment and the aftermath.  I also loved how this book really delved into the reunion of Rachel and Ruth and their later years.  I loved this one just as much as the first book!

The Library of Lost and Found - Phaedra Patrick - fiction - four stars - This was a sweet book, a bit of a palatte cleanser.  Martha Storm works in a library, and one day receives a book that is dedicated to her, by her grandmother who died years ago.  As she unravels the story behind the book - filled with stories she wrote or that her grandmother told - she unravels family secrets as well.  This was a nice palette cleanser of a book and a quick read.

The Wooden King - Thomas McConnell - historical fiction - three stars - This was this month's dud of a book.  It sounded a lot more interesting than it really was.  It's about a Trn, a pacifist who lives in Czechoslovakia during WWII and how he copes with the changes and restrictions.  He's wholly devoted to his son, and somewhat estranged from his wife although they still live together.  He was mostly likable, but also kind of annoying, and in general this book seemed kind of pointless once I had finished it.  Moved very slowly, and just not that good.

Spy School British Invasion (Spy School #7) - Stuart Gibbs - juvenile fiction - four stars - So Ellie and I have been reading this series and I got on the waitlist as soon as we saw it was out.  Another good volume where Ben Ripley and friends head to the UK to work with MI6 to bring down the mysterious Mr. E., head of SPYDER.  Lots of different twists and turns, and just a fun all around read.  We thought this was the last one, but turns out we were wrong and now we're waiting for the next installment!

A Dog Called Jack - Ivy Pembroke - fiction - five stars - This might be my favorite book this month.  Just a sweet story in the same general genre as The Lido, A Man Called Ove, Arthur Truluv, etc.  It's about Sam and his son Teddy who move to London from America after the death of his wife. They move to a cute little street full of nice people who really don't interact.  Their arrival spurs the neighborhood to become neighborly spurred on by the neighborhood dog, Jack.  This was an unexpectedly delightful read.  I loved the characters and the dialogue had me giggling.  Highly recommend!

Mr. Lemoncello's All-Star Breakout Game (Mr. Lemoncello's Library #4) - Chris Grabenstein - juvenile fiction - five stars - Another series that Ellie and I have very much enjoyed.  In this one, Mr. Lemoncello has devised a new televised game (based on fiction) and Kyle Keeley and his friends are once again in the running to win.  I love that these books include the puzzles/clues that the contestants have to work such as rebuses, and that they introduce the readers to all kinds of other stories they might want to read.  From a parental standpoint, I also really like that Kyle is a good kid with a good heart who looks out for both his friends, but also those who aren't his friends.  Loved it just like the rest of the series.

Daisy Jones & The Six - Taylor Jenkins Reid - historical fiction - five stars - I was a little concerned that this one wouldn't live up to the hype, but it definitely did.  Loved this!  It was such a great way to tell the story too, through interviews.  I feel like if it it had been done any other way it would have been bogged down and not as real.  The story of a band, how they came together, how they created an iconic hit album, and how they fell apart.  I loved the different points of view as well as the surprise at the end.  A must read.

The Song of the Jade Lily: A Novel - Kirsty Manning - historical fiction - five stars - I knew that Shanghai was a target for those fleeing the Nazis during WWII, but this was a really fascinating look at the journey of Romy, a Viennese Jew.  Her father is well off and connected, so they do well when they arrive in Shanghai, but friends are not as lucky, you get a good look at the refugee camps that were set up in Shanghai.  The novel also covers the Japanese takeover and how that affected the locals, particularly a family that befriends Romy's.  The story jumps back and forth between present time as Romy's grand daughter Alexandra is looking into her past, and the historical story.  Some really interesting twists and turns in this one.  Highly recommended.

The Girl Who Smiled Beads: A Story of War and What Comes After - Clemantine Wamariya - memoir - four stars - Clemantine was six when the Rwandan genocide occurred.  She and her sister had been sent to what was considered a safer place - her grandmother's closer to the border of Rwanda.  It did not end up being safe and they had to flee.  She spends the next seven years as a refugee moving from place to place, camp to camp until she and her sister are granted asylum in the U.S.  The book spends very little time on the genocide itself, but focuses more on their journey as refugees, and then how she adjusted to the U.S. Their family did survive the genocide, and they reconnected later on, but there are no details as to what happened/how they survived.  For me, that was a glaring hole in the story, but a really interesting look at surviving and acclimating to a whole new culture.

The Incendiaries - R.O. Kwon - fiction - two stars - Don't read this.  I kind of hated it.  It's super short, so I don't feel like I wasted that much time with it, but it was just kind of a hot mess.  I kept thinking the switch would flip and it would surprise me, but it never did.  It's about a guy who falls for a girl in college who gets caught up in a cult that ends up carrying out some bombings.  He is looking back over their relationship trying to figure out what happened.  Totally unlikable/unsympathetic characters.  Don't read it.

Lost Roses (Lilac Girls #2) - Martha Hall Kelly - historical fiction - fives stars - I loved Lilac Girls, so I was really excited to read this one.  It's tangentially related to Lilac girls - telling the story of Caroline Ferriday's mother Eliza and her best friend Sophya who is Russian nobility - related to the Tsar.  The story takes place in the period surrounding WWI and during the Russian revolution.  It's compelling, and so sad, but with much hope also.  I have often thought that while there are so many wonderful books about WWII, there is a huge lack of WWI writing.  I really loved this one and I'm very excited to hear that Kelly is working on another prequel of sorts....tracing the Ferriday women's legacy back even further.   

Digging to America - Anne Tyler - fiction - three stars - This one fell a bit flat for me.  It's the story of two very different families, one very American and one Iranian American, who adopt children from Korea at the same time.  They form a bond through this and become very close family friends.  It's a bit meandering.  I think the point is to show how immigrants function differently than Americans through how they raise children who are essentially immigrants themselves, but i's very meandering. There is a weird romance that forms between grandparents, I don't know.  It was a bit of a mess and never really hung together well for me. 

My Mother's Kitchen: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, and the Meaning of Life - Peter Gethers - memoir - four stars - I really love 'foodie' books, and this was a really good one.  It's half autobiography/memoirs, half tribute to the author's mother.  His mother, Judy Gethers, was a force in the culinary world, friends with many notable chefs, particularly Wolfgang Puck.  She published numerous cookbooks, and taught.  Their stories are told through a series of recipes the author is putting together so that he can cook for his mom a dream meal.  I really loved the mix of tribute/memoir, and the humor of tackling difficult recipes.  I think it could use a bit of editing.  There were things that were repeated from the intro at the end, but overall a really interesting book.

They Poured Fire on Us from the Sky: The True Story of Three Lost Boys from Sudan - Benson Deng - memoir - five stars - This is the amazing story of two brothers and their cousins who are some of the lost boys of Sudan.  I had heard of the term lost boys before, but didn't have a good understanding of the situation.  Deng and his family belonged to the Dinka tribe living in Sudan, they were displaced during the second Sudanese Civil War and lived a nomadic life roaming from place o place, country to country.  They would find some sort of stability, but then political forces would cause them to flee again.  Over the course of the journey (told from their different viewpoints/experiences), they find and lose each other numerous times.  They were lucky enough to be able to come to the US, but some of their cousins remain trapped in Africa, unable to emigrate before quotas/priorities changed.  

I'm currently reading Light Over London, and Americanah and When All is Said are on tap after that.  Please share what you've been reading - I get a lot of good suggestions from you guys!

Remove from my books

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Bokeh Happy Birthday

I'm continuing to delve into my very large pile of unused products and today I inked up the Text & Texture Bokeh stamp set from Papertrey Ink.  

This is such a cool two step background and the results speak for themselves.  I am in love with the panel that this stamp set creates.  It's so easy to line up, and would be perfect for mass production.

I used Limestone and Silver Stone ink from Altenew to create the background.

The sentiment, from Mama Elephant (Make a Wish stamp set), was stamped with Versafine and then embossed using Ranger Antiquities Frosted Crystal embossing powder.  I really like this powder because it gives you a matte finish that is slightly textured, if you want to kind of seal your Versafine but don't want a shiny finish.

That's all for me today.  Hope your week is going well!

*Affiliate Links below to Ellen Hutson and in text to Altenew

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Pinkfresh Studio Gatsby Die

Hi all!  Today I'm sharing a card featuring this very cool Gatsby die set from Pinkfresh Studios.

I cut the base die piece twice from white cardstock and the detailed die twice from a bright yellow and then an orangey yellow cardstock.

I adhered the yellow detailed die cuts onto the white base pieces and then inlaid selected pieces from the orangey yellow die cut.  

The completed die cuts were then adhered to a piece of patterned paper from the Let Your Heart Decide collection.

I finished the card off with an embossed sentiment from Altenew's Moroccan Mosaic stamp set.

This is a really versatile die and there are so many different looks you can achieve with it by changing up the colors, the inlay, etc.  Looking forward to creating some more with it!  

*Affiliate Links below to Ellen Hutson and in text to Altenew

Saturday, June 22, 2019

WOW! Embossing Powder & Technique Tuesday Blog Hop and Giveaway

Hi friends!  I'm excited to be participating in a hop with Technique Tuesday and WOW! Embossing Powder.  It's a two day hop and today is Day 1.  The folks at WOW and Technique Tuesday sent me some great goodies to play with, perfect for the upcoming July 4th holiday, but first, some housekeeping...

PRIZES - No Blog hop is complete without a prize!

WOW! Embossing Powders has 6 powders of your choosing along with a WOW carry case to store your powders safely in.

Technique Tuesday is giving away 2 x $20 gift certificate to their store

The Winners will be chosen at random from the comments left on ALL THE POSTS on both days. We encourage you to leave comments on both days the more comments you leave the more chances you have to win these fabulous prizes.

To join this GIVEAWAY you must leave a comment on each blog post to have a chance at getting your hands on the prize. This hop is open internationally.

Here's the full list of participants today:
Technique Tuesday
Angelica Conrad
Verity Biddlecombe
Zsoka Marko
Jo Herbert
Ana Anderson
Raluca Vezeteu
Danielle Lounds
Jenny Colacicco
Elise Constable
Bev Grey
Karen Rwategui
Norine Borys
Miriam Prantner <--YOU ARE HERE
WOW! Embossing Powder <--YOUR NEXT STOP IS HERE

For this first card, I used the Stars on the Border craft die to cut two fancy borders for my white panel.  I stamped and embossed the sentiment from the Spectacular Memories set using Red Glitz powder.  

Then I die cut the border two more times from pieces of cardstock that I had embossed using Red Glitz and Pacific Wave embossing powders.

I cut a panel of dark blue cardstock, and after adding a bit of tone on tone stamping at the top and bottom borders using Versamark and the star border from the Spectacular Memories stamp set, popped my white die cut panel up using foam tape.  

I then randomly added my die cut embossed stars using foam tape.  I also added a few stars onto the white panel itself as well as on the dark blue background.  

For a bit of extra interest and texture, I stamped the card base with some of the fireworks images using Versamark before I adhered the blue panel.  Aren't those sparkly stars gorgeous?!

For my next card, I started by stamping and embossing the sentiment with Metallic Gold Rich embossing powder.  Then I used the different fireworks images around the sentiment, embossing them with Red Glitz, Pacific Wave, and Gold Metallic Sparkle.  These embossing powders have so much brightness and sparkle to them!

Then I used Chipped Sapphire Distress Ink to ink the background of my panel, lighter towards the center and darker around the edges.  It really makes those embossing powders pop don't you think?

You can get another glimpse of the sparkle and shine in this close up.

OK, you're almost done, your next stop is the last one:  WOW! Embossing Powder

AND, I have a special giveaway.  If you'd like to win the Technique Tuesday products I used on my cards (the Spectacular Memories stamp set and Stars on the Border craft die), head over to my instagram (@mprantner) and follow the directions there.  Good luck and happy hopping!

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Right at Home Holidays are on the Way

I have had this adorable Holidays are on the Way die set from Right at Home for over a year.  I kept pulling it out to use and getting side tracked, but this week I finally got around to making a card!

I kept things pretty simple using a blue snow patterned paper for the backgound and free hand cutting a snowy drift for the foreground.  

Then I added the car.  I actually die cut the car twice.  For the base layer, I filled in the little accents between the doors and added the door handle.  Then I cut a couple pieces of vellum which were adhered over the windows.  The second car die cut was then adhered over top of the original die cut and the vellum.

Once that was in place, I added the wheels and tree as well as a few white gel pen accents.

The sentiment is from a retired Ellen Hutson set, but I thought it was the perfect font to go with the car.  

This really is such a cute little die set!  Thanks for visiting!

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Altenew Fine Bouquet Die

Hi everyone!  Popping in to share a card using this gorgeous Altenew Fine Bouquet die.  This is such a pretty die. 

I didn't have any particular plan when I started.  I just wanted to try the die out, so I was kind of winging it.

I started by cutting the die from PTI Weathervane cardstock.  Originally I was going to inlay some patterned paper, but I wasn't crazy about how that looked, so instead I chose a patterned paper (from Pinkfresh Indigo Hills 2) to use for the background.  Then I cut the die from white and inlaid those pieces for the flower itself, leaving gray in the leaves/berries.

The die actually only has foliage on two sides of the flower, but I wanted a bit more in the corner of this card for balance, so I die cut the piece one more time, and used a couple of the sprigs in the corner.

I finished the panel off with an old sentiment from Papertrey Ink.  The entire panel was then popped up over my gray card base.

Thanks so much for visiting and hope your day is going well!

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Coloring Stencils Two Ways with SSS Rest and Refresh Release

Hi everyone!  Have you seen the new Rest & Refresh release from Simon Says Stamp?  It was just released today, and if you love nautical, this is the release for you.  The folks at Simon sent me the new Buoys stencil to play with.  Today I'm going to show you two ways to color with stencils.

For this first look, I cut a panel of watercolor cardstock and then used regular embossing paste over the stencil.  Once the paste was dry, I carefully painted the paste with watercolors.  The nice thing about watercoloring embossing paste is that it behaves a lot like watercolor paper, so if you use a color you don't like, or make something too dark, you can easily dab paint away/remove paint.

I finished the panel off with a punny sentiment created using Neat & Tangled's Journaling Alpha Dies and a sentiment from the N&T's Celebrate stamp set.  The Alpha dies were cut twice and adhered together so that they had a little bit more substance to them, and then I cut the tiniest slivers of foam tape so they could be popped up over the card.

For this next card, I colored the stencil using a no-line coloring technique.  I've colored with stencils before where I traced the stencil spaces like in this card (and before you go over to that post, let me just say that sometimes I cringe at my old photos because they are so dark).  But for this card, I figured out a much easier way to trace the stencil, and that is to ink it with a very very light color.  I took a quick snapshot with my phone so you can see what this looked like (forgive the very dim photo).

I used a ton of Copics on this card, but basically I had several different color trios that I then used randomly to color the different buoys.  This took A LOT of time to color, but I think that the results are definitely worth it.

For the sentiment, I again used the Journaling Alpha dies and then a sentiment from N&T's Typed Sentiments set on one of the Skinny Strips dies.

So there you have two very different ways to color with stencils.  I hope you'll give these techniques a try!  

And be sure to stop by Simon Says Stamp to check out the new release!

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Spellbinders Artomology Collection from Jane Davenport

Hi all!  I'm sharing a couple cards today using the new Artomology Collection by Jane Davenport for Spellbinders. 

This first card features the fantastic Tousled die.  I really love the lines of her hair don't you?  I kept this card very clean and simple.  The face was die cut from black.  I added just a bit of color to her eyes, cheeks, and lips using the Chilled Palatte Pastel set.  Nothing fancy here, I just used my finger to smudge a bit of color in those areas.

The face was then die cut again using a terracotta cardstock, and I selectively inlaid some of those pieces.  A simple sentiment from Concord and 9th finished the panel off.  She is so striking isn't she?

This next card features the Floating Feathers stamp set. 

I wanted to play a bit more with the Chilled pastels, so I added a 'wash' to my panel, again just using my finger and variety of the blue colors.

Then I stamped the images on that background with Versamark.  The pastels 'stick' to the Versamark, so I smudged some blues, greens, and purples over the stamped images and you get this really lovely multi-colored stamping look. 

I added a bit of dark gray splatter and a simple sentiment from Neat & Tangled. 

There are some really great pieces in this new collection from Spellbinders.  To see it all, click here.  If you're interested in the pastel set as well as the rest of Jane's new mixed media coloring items, you can see them all here.

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, June 1, 2019

May 2019 in Books

Hey all!  Popping in to share my May reads.  There were a few duds in the batch, but also some REALLY good ones.  Here's the recap:

A Mango-Shaped Space - Wendy Mass - juvenile fiction - three stars - This was one Ellie had me read, and I wasn't a huge fan.  It's about a girl named Mia who has a form of synesthia.  In her case when she sees/hears words, sounds, and numbers they have colors associated with them.  It's about how she is diagnosed and comes to terms with this gift.  It was an interesting concept for a kids book, but I just didn't like the girl.  She was pretty self-focused, which resulted in her not being a great friend and often getting into trouble with her parents and teachers.  Just meh, I wouldn't recommend it.

The Song of Achilles - Madeline Miller - fiction - four stars - I loved Miller's book Circe (which I read last month) so much that I ran out and borrowed this one.  This one was not as compelling for me.  Part of that was because I thought the book would be about Achilles, but it was really more about his companion Patroclus.  It deals with Patroclus' upbringing and how that leads him to be exiled in the court of Achilles' father.  Achilles and Patroclus grow up together and eventually become romantically involved.  Overall I connected more with the story of Circe.  Whereas Circe was the story of strong woman finding herself, Achilles/Patroclus just seemed less likable and more flawed.

Song of a Captive Bird - Jasmin Darznik - historical fiction - five stars - I really loved this one.  I actually didn't realize until I got to the end that it is a fictionalized account of a real person, Forugh Farrokhzad.  Forugh was a female Iranian poet from the 1950s/60s.  She broke all the rules in that very traditional society, writing about (and having) affairs and, living unconventionally.  She was at one point committed by her family, and at another point jailed.  A fascinating character who died very young (at only 32).  I highly recommend this one.

Save Me the Plums: My Gourmet Memoir - Ruth Reichl - memoir - five stars - I am a huge fan of Reichl's books ever since I read Garlic and Sapphires which is a must read if you love books and food.  Garlic and Sapphires was about her time as the food editor for the New York Times.  Since then she's published several additional memoirs dealing with different parts of her life as well as a book of fiction - all worth reading.  When I saw that she had a new book out, I was thrilled.  This one deals with her time as editor of Gourmet magazine.  It's a fascinating look at the behind the scenes of the magazine while it was in it's heyday, as well as it's eventual demise and the overall collapse of much of the print industry.  What I love about Reichl is how effortlessly the stories flow together from anecdotes about specific individuals, to descriptions of specific meals and dishes, to how her personal life ties into the events.  I'm often frustrated by memoirs that seem disjointed, which jump around too much and seem to lack focus.  Reichl's books never have that problem.  A must read.

The Colors of All the Cattle (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency #19) - Alexander McCall Smith - Detective - four stars - I was browsing the new book shelves at the library and was happy to see that there was a new No. 1 Ladies' Detective agency book out.  I really enjoyed this one.  There are two main threads, one in which Mwa Ramotswe, rather unwillingly, is running for a seat on the Gaborone City Council, and the second a case the agency takes on involving a hit and run.  There have been a couple of these books where I thought there were too many threads going on, but this was not one of them.  I really liked the pacing and how the story carried through, and I really liked that we got to see more of/got to know Charlie.  He's growing up!  If you are fan of these stories, you'll definitely like this one.

The Lost Girls of Paris - Pan Jenoff - historical fiction - five stars - I really enjoyed this one.  It begins with a young war widow finding a suitcase in NYC's Grand Central Station which contains photographs of a dozen women.  She then begins to unravel the story/mystery behind them.  The book bounces between her search and events in the past that explain who those women were - members of the women's branch of Britain's Special Operations Executive who worked behind enemy lines during WWII - and what happened to them.  The women were very effective and in many ways less conspicuous than male agents as most men should have been off fighting.  If you love WWII historical fiction, this is a good one.

Like Water on Stone - Dana Walrath - young adult - five stars - I've read a few books on this topic - the Armenian genocide of 1914, but this was unique.  It's classified as young adult.  I was hoping to have Ellie read it first, but decided to hold off on that because it does get a bit gruesome and deals with rape.  It's also unique because it's written in verse.  The poems don't follow the same format, they vary, and they are told in multiple voices from the different characters in the book.  It is a fast,  but moving read and the poetry really lends itself to the movement and action in the book. These events continue to be heartbreaking, but there is hope, and in a few years I will definitely be sharing this one with Ellie.

The Long-Lost Home (The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place, #6) - Maryrose Wood - juvenile fiction - two stars - So this was a series I started long ago. The first couple books were OK, but after a while it was kind of boring and predictable. Still, I kind of wanted to see what happened, so I kept reading them. This was the last book in the series, just meh. I thought they way they ended things was pretty lame. It's not a series I would recommend, but they are quick reads and I just wanted to get the full story.

The Girl from Human Street: Ghosts of Memory in a Jewish Family - Roger Cohen - history - two stars - I was not quite sure how to classify this book, so I just went with history. It's the story of the author's family which he traces back to pre-WWI, and follows through to present day. Based on the description, I thought this was more of a Jewish diaspora story tracing the movement of his family from Russian/Slavic countries, to Britain, Israel, the US, etc. It was just a big disappointment. It's all over the place, so it's really hard to follow a common thread, and is also very focused on the history of mental illness in his family. I was frustrated by how schizophrenic it was, there were definitely some interesting bits, but these tended to be about people only tangentially related to his family, so again, the thread of the story kept getting tangled up. If I had it to do over, I would skip this one.

The Flying Circus - Susan Crandall - historical fiction - five stars - I really enjoyed Crandall's book Whistling Past the Graveyard, so thought I would give her another try. This is the story of Henry, an orphan who is running from a crime he didn't commit. He meets Cora Rose who is running from an arranged engagement and they take up with Gil a barnstormer with a past he is running from also. Together they form an act and travel across the country.  I really enjoyed the characters and how their backstories unravelled and how they became a family.  Definitely planning to read some more from Crandall.

Sold on a Monday - Kristina McMorris - historical fiction - five stars - The story of an aspiring photographer/reporter from the 1930's whose chance encounter/photo of a couple of boys leads to his big break. But, his newfound position comes at a cost.  As he tries to undo the damage that his story has brought, he also rebuilds his relationship with his father.  I found the story compelling and there was definitely some mystery and action/suspense. McMorris took the idea from a photo she saw from the time period as she wondered about the background and the story behind the photo.  I really love that that is what generated the story, and it is a good one.  Definitely recommend.

How about you guys?  Would love to hear what you loved and what I should stay away from.  next up for me, the first in a new series from Alexander McCall Smith - The Department of Sensitive Crimes, and then the new Spy School book (which I let Ellie read first), and Daughter of Moloka'i which is the sequel to a book I read last year....I have four holds at the library that I need to go pick up too....

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Altenew Dainty Bouquet Set

Hey all!  Hope you had a nice weekend.  I was able to get some time in the craft room and inked up one of my newest Altenew acquisitions, the Dainty Bouquet set.

This is one of those sets I would have avoided like the plague before I had a MISTI, but a stamp positioner makes all the difference here.

From a color standpoint I was actually inspired by the stamping guide that comes with the set.  They show the solid images in gray with a line that shows you were to line up the stamp.  I like the contrast of that gray with the color, and thought I would see how it looks in real life.

I used Altenew inks for the stamping.  The gray was Evening Gray, and then I used Crimson and Velvet for the flowers and Volcano Lake and Emerald for the leaves.

Once the stamping was done, I trimmed the panel down and used Altenew's Thinking of You die for the sentiment.  It was die cut three times from a dark gray cardstock and adhered together to add some dimension.

This is such a pretty floral set.  I'm looking forward to experimenting with some more color combinations!

*Affiliate Links below to Ellen Hutson and in text to Altenew