Thursday, October 31, 2019

October 2019 in Books

A lot of books to share this month, but three of these are kids books.  Still, some really good books this month and a good mix of genres.  Here's the rundown:

Small Fry - by Lisa Brennan-Jobs - autobiography - four stars - The story of Steve Jobs' first child, who he claimed was not his for the early years of her life.  This was pretty fascinating to me because she grew up so differently than I did.  Her mom was basically a hippie who raised her in an unconventional way, moving around a lot, until she grew a bit older and Jobs acknowledged her existence and began supporting them. It was definitely a tricky situation to grow up in.  I imagine it is always hard to balance life when your parents are not together, but when one is a brilliant, but volatile and often socially awkward billionaire and the other can barely make ends meet it becomes a study in contrasts.  Really interesting read.

The Vanderbeekers and the Hidden Garden (The Vanderbeekers #2) - by Karina Yan Glaser - juvenile fiction - four stars - This is the second book in the Vanderbeekers, the first of which I read last month.  I'm once again trying to keep up with Ellie which is a losing battle!  In this book, the Vanderbeekers are on a secret mission to restore a garden located by the neighborhood church.  This is a labor of love that they hope will bring healing to Mr. Jeet, their upstairs neighbor who has just suffered a stroke.  They are up against some land developers and a tight timeline.  It's another sweet and funny story, and a quick read.  

Where I End: A Story of Tragedy, Truth, and Rebellious Hope - Katherine Elizabeth Clark - memoir - five stars - I loved this book.  It met me right where I am, and was hugely encouraging and inspiring.  I'm not quite sure how to classify it as it is a memoir, but also an inspirational/encouraging book.  It is written for a Christian audience, but I think her story would resonate with so many who are going through a difficult time.  This has been a challenging year for me on a number of fronts, and when you're in it, you kind of just have to power through, especially when you have a husband and kids and five thousand activities.  This book helped me to think through some of those things I've been struggling with and pondering, but just haven't had a chance to (or wanted to dwell on).  Clark was the victim of a freak accident - while volunteering at her child's school, she broke her neck (and the fall of a small child) on the playground.  This left her a quadriplegic, although she does have some range of motion and ability.  She talks about her recovery, miraculous in many ways, both physically, mentally, and spiritually.  This is one that I loved so much, I have purchased several of so that I have one for myself, but also to give as gifts.  Highly recommended.

Indian Horse - Richard Wagamese - historical fiction - five stars - This book has been on my TBR list for a while, I think I actually found it doing a search for hockey books (our family as a whole might be totally hockey obsessed), and it sounded interesting.  I really wasn't sure what to expect, but wow.  What an amazing book.  The writer was one of Canada's most famous Native authors, and you can definitely see why.  This book is fascinating and heartbreaking.  It's about a young Ojibwa boy who is taken to be raised in a residential school run by the church.  The goal seemed to eradicate the native culture and provide basic skills so that the children could find work as laborers.  The stories of the children he encounters are heartbreaking, many die under suspicious circumstances, commit suicide, and molested.  He is able to survive and leave the school because of his hockey skills.  He goes to live with a family and play on a team in a native community.  As he grows he continues to struggle with racism, anger, and later substance abuse.  It's an amazing story that is so full of bad, but has good in it too.  What shocked me most about the story is that you would think this is something that happened in the 1800's, but it actually occurred in the 1960's.  Highly recommend, and I'm looking forward to reading more from this author.

Between Earth and Sky - by Amanda Skenandore - historical fiction - five stars - It's always a little weird how/when your library holds show up, so it was interesting that right on the heels of Indian Horse, this book came in for me.  In some ways it's very similar to Indian Horse, about children taken from their families (although this time the families agreed to send them) to be schooled during the year (they went home in the summers).  This takes place in the late 1800's in the US.  Years later, the daughter of the school headmaster (who went to school with the Indian children), reads that her best friend from school (who was also the best student and had gone on to study at Brown University), is on trial for murder.  She knows he could not have done this, and convinces her husband, who is a lawyer to defend him.  They journey back to the school, and to the reservation, and she has to deal with the past and the friendships she had then.  

Ecstasy - by Mary Sharratt - historical fiction - three stars - A couple months ago I read The Flight Portfolio which introduced me to Alma Schindler.  She was married at the time to Franz Werfel and they had to flee Austria by foot over the Pyrenees.  What really struck me about her was that she had previously been married to Gustav Mahler the composer and Walter Gropius the architect.  I thought it was interesting that someone was so connected to different artists of varying genres, so I wanted to find out more about her.  This book was not quite what I was hoping for.  It focuses mostly on her relationship and marriage to Mahler, although Gropius figures into it towards the end, and I found that It didn't make me care about her that much.  There was a lot of inner conflict and she seemed very beholden to Mahler.  She wasn't the strong character that I read about in The Flight Portfolio.  I'd like to read an actual biography about her to get a better sense of her, I wasn't crazy about her as a person after this book.

Room - by Emma Donoghue - fiction - five stars - This was a recommendation from my friend Chrissy, and it was a really good, if somewhat disturbing, read.  I didn't realize until I borrowed it that it had been made into a movie a while back because I apparently live under a rock.  Anyway, it's the story of a woman who has been abducted and held in a garden shed for seven years.  During this time, she gives birth to Jack, who is now five.  The story is told from his perspective, of 'room' which is his whole world.  He describes in detail all the different parts of room, their routines and activities.  I found myself being so impressed by his mother who was able to make the monotony of living in one room fun for Jack, and for teaching him so much in that room.  His mother knows that they can't stay there forever, so she enlists Jack's help in escaping, and then they need to adjust to the world.  For Jack who has lived in such a small, confined space for so long it is overwhelming.  His perspective of what the world is like, all the new things, his fears, were fascinating.  A really good book, and highly recommended.

Zorgamazoo - Robert Paul Weston - juvenile fiction - fives tars - Carina and I read this together, and we LOVED it!  I'm always looking for non-graphic novels to read with Carina, and this one was so good.  Often when we read together she's willing to listen to a chapter and then she's on to do other things, but this book she wanted to keep reading...'just one more chapter!'  It's like a big kids version of Dr. Seuss and it's written in rhyme, and there are fantastical creatures with silly names, but it's a great story.  About a girl named Katrina Katrell and Morty the Zorgle who team up for a grand adventure.  Weston has written a number of other books too, so I am thinking we're going to have to get those out from the library also!

Next Year in Havana - by Chanel Cleeton - historical fiction - three stars - So this was a disappointment for me.  I actually wanted to read When We Left Cuba by the same author, but found out that it was a prequel to this book and figured I should read this one first.  I still want to read it, but I'm less excited about it.  I actually liked the plot of the story a lot, but the writing was not my favorite.  It was a little too romancey for me, and also there was so much inner monologue from the main character I often had to do a double take to see if she was actually saying something or thinking it.  I really liked learning more about Cuban history, and the biases that those who left and those who stayed have.  I just wish I liked the writing more.

The Yellow Envelope: One Gift, Three Rules, and a Life-Changing Journey Around the World - by Kim Dinan - memoir - three stars - Kim and her husband sell their homes, and quit their jobs to travel the world.  Before they go, friends gift them $1000 to share/spread/distribute while on their travels.  This book chronicles their journey as well as who they share the funds with.  The premise was really good, but I was highly annoyed for most of this book.  Dinan basically badgers her husband into this huge life change, and then can't decide for the majority of the trip if she actually wants to be married to him.  For a long stretch they actually separate so she can try and think things through.  It turns out OK, she decides she wants to be married, they stay together, have a child, etc.  But I was so non-plussed by her, that I didn't enjoy the book as much as I could have.

The Vanderbeekers to the Rescue (The Vanderbeekers #3) - by Karina Yan Glaser - juvenile fiction - four stars - This third book in the Vanderbeekers series was just released and I surprised Ellie with it as she's enjoyed the series so much.  In this book, the kids are out to save their mother's baking business after a disastrous visit from the inspector.  It's another really cute story with all sorts of pitfalls and pratfalls.  

My favorites this month were This is Where I End, and Indian Horse.  Right now I'm finishing up The Russian Five.  On tap I have several kids books (including a new book in the Mysterious Benedict Society Series!) and The Lager Queen of Minnesota.  Would love to hear what you've been reading!

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Simple One Layer Christmas Cards

Hi all!  I'm sharing a few simple Christmas cards today created using images from the Stamp Market's So Mini Hellos set.  For each of these cards, I watercolored the images with Kuretake Gansai watercolors.

This first card uses the front facing car.  The top was masked, and the gift was stamped on top of the car.  I added one of the bows from the set.  It looked a little lonely at the top of the gift, so I drew in a couple lines on the gift to extend the ribbon down around the gift.

The sentiment is from Concord and 9th's O Christmas Tree set.

For this next card, I first stamped the sentiment, from Simon Says Stamp's Holiday Greetings Mix 1 set.  Then I random stamped the different trees from the So Mini Hellos set across the panel and watercolored them.

To finish things off, I splattered some Hero Arts Gold Glimmer Metallic Ink over the entire panel.

For this last card, I stamped a cluster of trees, and watercolored them, also adding a soft blue wash around the cluster.

The sentiments, also from the Holiday Greeting Mix set were then stamped on the panel.

Finally, I added a bit of splatter, this time using Hero Arts White Gimmer Metallic Ink.

Three quick and easy cards done and added to my Christmas card pile!

*Affiliate Links Below

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Merry Christmas

I've got another mix and match Christmas card to share today.

I love this Leaves Cover Plate from The Stamp Market.  I can't wait to use it as a subtle white on white background, but for today, I thought I would use it for a Christmas card.  The leaves are so versatile, and I'm using them for some festive foliage.

I've paired it with the Oversized Merry die from Waffle Flower Crafts.  This was cut three times and adhered together.  Then I inked the die cut piece with Versamark and clear embossed.  This was repeated to get an extra glossy/puffy look.

The finished piece was adhered over the leaf die cut.  The secondary sentiment was stamped and gold embossed on a strip of white cardstock and popped up on the card, and some gold sequins were added for some sparkle.  

Almost time for the weekend!

*Affiliate Links Below

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Mixing and Matching with The Stamp Market Snowflake Die

I recently picked up this Snowflake Die from The Stamp Market.  I really love the size of it.  It's perfect for a focal point, but also as a backdrop to a focal point, which is how I'm using it on today's cards.

I'm using products from a number of companies for these cards.  Although my projects are often for a particular company, and therefore focused on that company's products, when I'm crafting for myself, I really like being able to mix it up.

I started by die cutting the snowflake from a panel of white cardstock.  This was placed over a subtle gray patterned paper.  

For my focal point, I used one of the penguins from the Sweet Holiday Penguins set by Stacey Yakula for MFT.  He was colored with Copics and then I faux die cut/fussy cut him and popped him up over the snowflake.

The sentiment is from that same stamp set.

I decided I couldn't let that negative panel go to waste, so I backed it with some blue and white patterned paper, adhering the entire piece to my red card base.

For the focal point, I colored and die cut that cute car which comes from an older Ellen Hutson stamp set.  The sentiment is from that set also and was embossed on one of the dies from the Skinny Strips set.

I'm curious, do you like mixing products from different companies, or do you tend to stick to the same company for any particular project?

That's two more Christmas cards for my stash!  Thanks for visiting!

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Technique Tuesday Season of Thanks Sale

Hi all!  I'm sharing a couple cards today created with the Rhododendron Flower stamp set from Technique Tuesday.  This is one of a number of stamps and dies included in the Season of Thanks sale going on now through Thursday October 24th.  All thankful, grateful, and Thanksgiving themed stamps and dies are 20% off using code Thanks19, which means you can pick this set up for $7.99!

I really love the detailed stippling in the image, so wanted to keep things very simple.  For this first card, I stamped the image on a piece of white cardstock using GinaK Black Amalgam ink, and added some very light coloring with Copics.  The sentiment was also stamped with black Amalgam ink.

To finish things off, I just added a bit of white twine, and popped the panel up over a kraft card base.

For this second card, I just wanted to show how lovely this image is all on it's own.

The image was stamped in the corners of a subtle yellow patterned paper panel, and then one of the sentiments from the set was stamped in the center of the panel.

This was literally a five minute card!  You could definitely mass produce this one too, mixing my the colors of the patterned paper or sentiments to create a card set.

Be sure to stop by Technique Tuesday to check out the sale!

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Spellbinders Past Club Kits Sale

There's currently a big sale going on at Spellbinders.  Select past Club Kits are 40% off.  Today I'm sharing a couple of cards using the Bonjour Large Die of the Month kit.  

The focal part of the kit is of course these gorgeous butterflies.  There are four layers to the butterfly, and I love how by changing up the layers you can get very different looks.  For these cards I used the exact same colors of cardstock, but changed the order. 

For my butterflies, I adhered each layer together.  You could also adhere just the center portions to get a wonderful dimensional look.

Once I adhered all the layers, I die cut the base layer into a panel of white cardstock.  This was then adhered to the card base and the assembled butterfly was inlaid into it.  I had also previously added a strip of black and white striped paper to the card base.

The sentiments on both the cards are from my Typed Sentiments set for Neat & Tangled.

Aren't these butterflies just beautiful?

Be sure to check out the sale at Spellbinders.  Here are a couple of cards I've shared before using kits that are on sale:

Thanks so much for visiting!

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Thanks Mate!

I've had the Avery Elle Together We Flourish collaboration set from Ellen Hutson for a while now, and finally got around to using one of the sweet images.

There are several different animals images, and this one and the Koala are my favorites, but I just love the little roo peeking out of his Mama's pouch and thought they should get inked up first.

Really simple card. Stamped with Gina K Black Amalgam ink and colored with Copics (E21, E23, E25, E27).

I created a bit of ground with some speckling and then stamped one of the sentiments from the set.

Sometimes it's just fun to just color a super cute image!

Also, in case you haven't heard, there's a big sale happening over at Ellen Hutson, over eight pages worth.  30% off everything in this section, no code needed, and the sale runs through tomorrow the 17th.  This set is no longer available, but there are several United We Flourish sets you can still pick up as well as a lot of other Essentials By Ellen products and many items from other companies too

Hope you're having a g'day too!

Thursday, October 10, 2019

SSS Cheer & Joy Collection

Have you guys seen the Cheer & Joy release from Simon Says Stamp?  You can guess from the title of the collection that it's all about the holidays.  Today I'm featuring three cards using one of the sentiments from the Holiday Greetings Mix 1 set. 

I really love the sentiments in this set and had a hard time choosing which one to use first, but I love the delicate foliage around the merry sentiment, so I decided this was the one.

I decided to show off three different looks for this set, coloring it three ways.  For the first card, just some basic Copic coloring.

The colors used were YG05, G14, G17, R35, and R37.

Next up, colored pencils on kraft.

I started by stamping the sentiment/image with a very light ink, and then colored with my Prismacolor pencils.

Once I was done, I stamped again (I had left the stamp in place on my MISTI) with Versamark and embossed in gold.

Finally, watercoloring. 

This time the image was stamped with Versafine on some watercolor paper.  

Then I added loose watercoloring to the images as well as a very loose wash around the entire sentiment.

Once the panel was dry, it was popped up over my kraft card base.

Thanks so much for visiting, you definitely want to head over to SSS to check out the rest of the release!

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Waffle Flower Crafts Arrowhead Set

Hi all!  Did you get to do some creating for World Cardmaking Day?  I actually got to participate this year (often times there's too much running around/chauffeuring for me to do to actually craft on WCMD)!

I have had this Arrowhead set for months now, and decided it was going to get the nod on Saturday.  This set is so me, and I really loved playing with it.

For my first time out with the set, I wanted to keep things easy, so I went with families of Altenew inks:  Sea Shore (which incidentally is my very favorite of all the Altenew ink families), Deep Blue Seas, and Enchanted Garden.

This first set of cards were created using two of the stamps, one of the 'ends' and then the middle piece,  Rather than aligning them so they pointed in the same direction, I stamped them in opposite directions.  Turning the middle piece and stamping it in the opposite direction again created almost a ribbon effect. 

I used my MISTI to stamp all of these cards.  For this first set, I alternated the inks between each layer of the pattern, so stamped all of the first shades, then second shades, etc. 

The sentiments are from my So Many Sentiments set for Neat & Tangled, and I played around a bit with the finish of the cards too.  Using mats for some, so I could have a white card base and a dark card base for the purple version.

For the second set of cards, I used just the middle section of the pattern, repeating it over and over to get an ombre effect.  I again used the MISTI, setting the stamp up in the middle of the device, and this time moved the paper up 1/4" to 1/2" each time I stamped.  This is such a quick and easy way to create a really dynamic pattern.

I used the same ink color families, and sentiments from the So Many Sentiments set again as well as the Simply Hello die from Altenew.

I really could have stamped this pattern all day!  This is such a unique stamp set and I haven't even begun to explore the possibilities!

*Affiliate links in text to Altenew and Neat & Tangled