Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas Goin' On ...

Okay, so here are a couple of the things I have been working on for Christmas. This first little project is something I am making for my bestest girlfriends ... I found these AWESOME lemonade pitchers at Tai Pan Trading Company for a really GREAT price (not gonna say what, though, as some of those same friends read my blog!)!! Anywho ... I am going to give them the pitchers with four of the little gift cards and some Country Time lemonade. I think they are stinkin' cute!!

Actually, I may get my daughter to make the rest of the cards for me. I am running OUT of TIME!!! I need at least ONE more day! (On top of the one I have!) YEEEE-IKES!!

Stamps: Tart & Tangy, Botanical Blooms
Paper: Old Olive, Pumpkin Pie, Summer Sun, Whisper White
Ink: Basic Black, Summer Sun, Pumpkin Pie, Always Artichoke, Old Olive
Accessories: 1 1/4" and 1 3/8" circle punches, black grosgrain ribbon, pop-up glue dots

And HERE is the Raggedy Ann Saga as it has unfolded over the past year. When my daughter was 5 years old, I made her a set of Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls. Being that she has not really into dolls at ALL (which is just plain ol' WEIRD since I have always been such a doll FANATIC!!), I wasn't quite sure how they would go over. Needless to say, she fell head-over-heels in love with them!!

Fast forward to last Christmas ... we were doggie-sitting my friend's very darling but VERY naughty Golden Retriever - Beau. I was busily working on projects in my craft room when my daughter came in with tears just rolling down her cheeks and a BIG pile of torn fabric, yarn and batting in her arms. Seems Beau had found a new chew toy in our little Raggedy Ann!! We were SOOO heartbroken!! In looking over the mess we saw that the arms, legs, apron and bloomers were still intact. The doll's body, head and dress were TOAST, though (this picture shows SOME of what was left of poor little Annie!). I told my daughter I could just remake the head, body and dress and we would be back in business! Then she said something that tore my heart out ... "But Mom ... I really want her face! When I was sad when I was little I used to cry into her face and then wipe my tears with her hands!" OH MY GOODNESS!!! I knew I HAD to try and save her face!!! Needless to say, the doll then sat in a grocery bag hanging from the doorknob inside my closet for nearly a year. I went searching through the closet to find the pattern and found not ONLY some extra fabric to make her dress, but ALSO the same muslin I used to sew her body! HOORAY!!

The hardest part was the face transplant. It took me two-and-a-half hours to carefully pick the yarn hair off her face so that I didn't damage it any more than it already was. I re-sewed the body and attached the face (I had to iron the bottom edge up and hand tack it to the new face). It kinda has a "Frankenstein Monster" feel to it, but I don't care. I am happy with how it turned out! I also was able to salvage the "I love you" embroidered heart, which I stuffed inside Annie's new body (I embroidered a new "I love you" on her tummy). In the original Raggedy Ann stories, Ann has to have her stuffing replaced and a candy heart that says "I love you" is placed inside her ... kinda like what we have going on here ...

Sooooo ..... here she is! I got finished putting new hair on her last night. I am really pleased with how she turned out. Now that my daughter is 15, I hope that she doesn't think that it is too sappy!!

Have a happy Christmas ADAM (the day BEFORE Christmas EVE!!)!! Thanks to my friend Melissa for telling me that her kids call today Christmas Adam ... I LOVE it!!!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Busy, Busy, Busy!

With only 4 days left 'til Christmas (YIKES!),Smiley from I am sure that I am like many of you ... rushing, rushing, rushing to try and get everything done!! (Not sure if it's gonna happen, but I AM making progress!!).

Yesterday was NUTSO!! Our family (immediate and extended) was heavily involved in doing music for not ONE but TWO different church meetings (both turned out great!). I made cookie dough for 60 dozen cookies; I packaged gifts for 24 girls and leaders that I teach and work with at church; had a meeting AFTER all the church meetings we went to; made dinner on the fly as we had company over (one of the girls I teach at church is doing a training program with Ballet West and lives alone - she is a senior in high school - we had her over for dinner and ended up using her as slave labor so we could BAKE the cookies I had made the dough for in the morning - don't worry, though, her family was due to come in from Texas late last night); as I mentioned, we BAKED 60 dozen cookies;Smiley from I made tags for said cookies using my Cricut (at least THAT turned out relatively easy!); I packaged up, be-ribboned and tagged 59 bags of cookies (the last dozen cookies were eaten by my family ... along with the "mutant" cookies that were broken). Smiley from Oh! And I forgot to mention that I finished making a dress for Raggedy Ann. That is a VERY crazy story ... I will tell you about it next time. I collapsed into bed around midnight, and here I am ... UP ... again ... getting ready to start another crazy day!! WHEW!!!

So ... that brings me to this card ... I used this as a sample for the Limited Supply Challenge I hostessed on SCS last Friday (LSC251). I called the challenge "Silver and Gold Decorations ..." Smiley from The idea was to create a card or some other sort of lovely project that featured some sort of decoration in - you got it - either silver or gold (or both!). I love making little 3" x 3" cards ... they are so cute!

So there ya have it! Guess I gotta get back to the grindstone! I will be VERY glad when Friday is here and I can finally get some sleep!!

Happy Holidays!!

Stamps: Delightful Decorations
Paper: Brushed Silver, Whisper White, Handsome Hunter
Ink: Silver Encore
Accessories: Ornament Punch, Movers & Shapers Ornament Die, Martha Stewart Branch Punch, Doodlebug Jewel Stickers, Cuttlebug Christmas Ornaments embossing folder, silver embossing powder, silver cord, pop-up glue dots, white organza ribbon

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Mom's Scrapbook

I have been trying for DAYS and DAYS to get this slideshow onto youtube ... well, the ONLY way I could get it to work was withOUT any music ... sigh ... sooooooo just hum a little song while you watch it. I think we are all going to be crying on Christmas day, in any event ...

AND, before I forget ... since the Freaks all seem to be a little more Freakishly busy than usual, we have decided to cancel our blog tour for this month and show you some AMAZINGLY COOL things for NEXT month!!!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Christmas Card 2009

Where HAVE I been??? Well .... after spending so many days in the hospital with Mom, then spending several additional days with her going to various doctors' appointments, hair appointments, and shopping, wrapping and running errands I am waaaaayyyy behind on getting Christmas stuff done!! Aaaack!!! Actually, though, I am just grateful to have her here and on the mend. It has kinda put everything in perspective for me, so I really am not too worried if I don't get everything done ...

Millan.netBUT ... my Christmas cards are on the home stretch (HUZZAH!!). I FINALLY got everyone together and able to hold still for about 4 minutes so we could snap this photo for the card. Whew!!

AND, I KNEW that I would be one of those who were CERTIFIABLE enough to put the ding-dang pop-up Christmas tree die in the middle of my card!! Yup!! The first time I saw it I thought, "You would have to be NUTSO to attempt to put that dude in ALL your Christmas cards!!" (I knew deep down that I was probably going to be one of those NUTSO people!!)

Anywho .... there ya have it!! AND I also finished my mom's digital scrapbook. I have been trying IN VAIN since FRIDAY to upload it to youtube so I could share it with you .... seems youtube does NOT want me to have music with it. Not quite sure what is going on there. I DID successfully upload it a couple of times with no music, but it is just NOT the same when there is nothing playing in the background!! Sheesh!! I just may have to upload it for ya "musicless!!" I am going to give it a couple more tries, though, so wish me luck!!!

AND don't forget that we are nearly to the 20th ... which can ONLY mean ONE thing, right??? The FREAKS are comin' to town!! Mark your calendar ('cause I know y'all have NOTHING else to do in the next week, right?!?) and come back late Saturday night to see what we have in store for ya!!

Stamps: Medallion, Serene Snowflakes, Sincere Salutations
Paper: Kraft, Very Vanilla, Ruby Red, Chocolate Chip, Bordering Blue
Ink: Chocolate Chip, Ruby Red
Accessories: Holly Ribbons embossing folder, Marvy Jumbo Snowflake punch, keytag punch, Bigz XL Christmas Tree die, Petals a Plenty impressions folder, 5/8" chocolate chip gingham ribbon

Ho-ho-ho!!! Smiley from

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

More of the Same Colors!...

I liked the colors I used on my last post so well that I decided to make ANOTHER Christmas card with them (and, as I mentioned before, they WERE for a color challenge - CC248). There are also some layout similarities, but I also am loving the new SU scallop trim corner punch and couldn't resist using IT again, either!! Smiley from

I just got these Quickutz embossing folders a couple of days ago, so I was really excited to put them to use. And, once again, I used the pinecone from Autumn Days with the Martha Stewart branch punch ... just LOVE how they look together!!

Today I decided that it would be a good idea for me to make a list of all the things I would LIKE to get done before Christmas (maybe that way I can actually REMEMBER what they all are, instead of letting them swim around inside of my brain where they seem to be colliding with one another all the time!)!!

Hope you have a great day and get LOTS of things accomplished on your own "to-do" lists!!

Stamps: Autumn Days, Small Script
Paper: Whisper White, Always Artichoke, Rich Razzleberry, Barely Banana
Ink: Chocolate Chip, Rich Razzleberry
Accessories: Scallop Trim Corner Punch, Martha Stewart Branch Punch, Large and Small Oval Punches, Quickutz Retro Diamonds and Christmas Embossing Folders, Doodlebug Sticker Jewels (Cotton Candy), Pop-Up Glue Dots

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Piney Greetings

Smiley from millan.netWell, I finally feel like I'm starting to get a bit of a grip on the Christmas season! The tree, lights and decorations are FINALLY up (the boxes were all over the place as I had started to put it up the day after Thanksgiving - which was the day Mom went into the hospital)!

A little update ... Mom came home last Wednesday, but she is gonna be wiped out for about a month (hopefully it won't be longer than that). I also ended up in the ER with my brother last Tuesday night (he had blood pressure through the roof!)!! Also, my husband had a small car accident on Thursday night and had some sinus surgery on Friday!!! I think I have had more than my share of hospitals and doctors this year!! I am SURE next year will be better!! (At least I plan on willing it to be that way!) Thanks so much for all the lovely comments, e-mails and well wishes! I really appreciate you!!

Sooooo, this is the first card I have been able to do "just for fun" in AGES!! I needed to do something to unwind and get myself in a Christmas-y mood! I also have about a bazillion Christmas cards to make (I am part-way done working on them, but I don't expect to be done 'til at least next weekend ... or later ... I really am not stressing about it this year!).

I got inspired to do this card from my good friend, Kathy Ostvig. You can see her beautiful works of art here. It also just, oddly enough, happens to fit in with this week's color challenge over on SCS (CC248). I hadn't even SEEN it ... in fact I added this comment the day AFTER I originally posted this card here ... WEIRD!!

I am TOTALLY LOVING the new Scallop Trim Corner punch from Stampin' Up (this is a bit of a sneaky peek ... these will be available in the Occasions Mini on January 5th!!). It also incorporates the Scallop Trim Border punch, which will be available for FREE if ya earn it during Sale-a-Bration!! I got my new stuff last Friday, but haven't had much time to play with anything ... yet!! I'm hoping to change that this week!!

Stamps: Autumn Days, Sincere Salutations, Yuletide Christmas
Paper: Always Artichoke, Rich Razzleberry, Barely Banana, Whisper White
Ink: Always Artichoke, Rich Razzleberry, Chocolate Chip
Accessories: Scallop Trim Corner Punch, Scallop Trim Border Punch, Petals a Plenty impressions folder, Whisper White satin/organza ribbon, Martha Stewart branch punch, pop-up glue dots

Ta-ta for now!!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Reflections ...

I have spent the past few days in the ICU with my mom. Although she is making slow progress, we are confident that she will be out of the hospital in the next few days. I have been able to have my laptop with me, which has truly been a blessing, as I have slowed down enough to start work on a scrapbook using My Digital Studio that I hope to be able to give my mom for Christmas. I scanned a LOT of photos of Mom and Dad when I put together a slideshow for Dad's viewing last June. This has given me the perfect excuse to actually get this project completed ...

By the way, the little girl with the dolly in the picture is ME!

I have thought so much lately about all of the sacrifices my parents had to make in order to provide our family with a wonderful life. They have always been so supportive in everything we have done. I am, once again, counting my blessings and feeling so much gratitude to have belonged to such a great set of parents!!

This is a photograph of my dad when he was a baby. What a beautiful boy!! My grandmother was DESPERATE for a girl ... he was boy #4 ... she even had some little "dresses" she put him in that she bought while she was pregnant (all wishful thinking). I think they were nightshirts, pretty much. How could she NOT love this face, though??

I won't have a lot of time to make cards this week, as my time will be spent being a support to Mom as she has always been to me. I will be back periodically, though ...

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Count Your Blessings ...

... name them one by one ... these are the words to one of my favorite hymns from church. I love it because it reminds me to be grateful for all of the things I DO have ... a wonderful family; good friends; a lovely home; warm clothes; an abundance of food; an education; freedom of choice; electricity; RUBBER STAMPS! I truly am blessed. I am grateful to all of you and for the encouragement you give me in regard to my creative efforts. I am also grateful for the TREMENDOUS outpouring of love and support I received when I lost my Dad last May. You all bless the lives of so many you DO know, and even the lives of some you DON'T (at least not in person, anyway). Today I am grateful for you as well ...

I made this card for the funky sketch challenge that was posted on SCS this week (SC256). I hope this turkey makes you smile as much as he does me! (And HE is smiling, too, 'cause he didn't end up as part of today's feast!!)

Smiley from millan.netHappy Thanksgiving to all of my American friends ... and Happy Thursday to the rest of you!! Hope your day is filled with YOUR blessings and that you remember to count them ... one by one!!

Stamps: Gobble, Gobble, Autumn Days, Holiday Best
Paper: Pumpkin Pie, Close to Cocoa, Chocolate Chip, Very Vanilla
Ink: Chocolate Chip, Really Rust, Close to Cocoa, Pumpkin Pie, More Mustard
Accessories: 1 3/4" circle punch, heart punch, wide oval punch, keytag punch, chocolate chip felt ribbon, pop-up glue dots, Cuttlebug D'Vine Swirls embossing folder

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Big Ol' Merry Snowflake

I did this card for CC246 on SCS this morning ... and BOY-OH-BOY did I struggle with this color combo!!! I reaalllllyyyy wanted to make a wintry/snowy card and this combo was certainly a challenge!!

Stamps: Baroque Motifs, Short and Sweet
Paper: Bermuda Bay, Pretty in Pink, Old Olive, Basic Black, Shimmery White
Ink: Bermuda Bay, Old Olive
Accessories: Bigz Snowflake #2 die, large and small oval punches, Martha Stewart snowflake punch, clear ice rhinestone brad, silver cord, Cuttlebug Swiss Dots and D'Vine Swirl embossing folders

I have busily working on wedding announcements for one of the girl's in my neighborhood (425 of 'em!), my Christmas cards and the various projects I did for the Control Freaks Blog Tour. I am making a LOT of messes, but having a bunch of fun!! Can't WAIT to have everything done, though!!

Hugs and have a great day!!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Tour de Freaks - Christmas Style!

Here we are again on yet ANOTHER amazing FREAKY Blog Tour. Thanks for joining us! This month we are focusing on things that you can give to your friends and neighbors ... you KNOW the ones I mean ... the ones who would never even THINK about throwing out or parting with a SINGLE thing that was handmade just for them!! Soooooo....without further adieu, here is what I have come up with ...

First off, I decided to FINALLY make this "Believe" framed art gift. I swear, I have been thinking about doing this FOREVER (like, maybe SIX years!). This month's Blog Tour finally pushed me over the edge (and I'm glad, 'cause I am giving this baby as a gift to ME!! Is that bad???). It really was not all that difficult to make, and it was pretty darn fun t'boot!!

Here is a close up of a few of the letters. I wanted you to be able to see the BEAUTIMOUS Bridesmaid DSP up close and personal.

Stamps: Lovely Letters, Baroque Motifs
Ink: Gold Encore, Old Olive, Real Red
Paper: Bridesmaid DSP, Very Vanilla, Brushed Gold, Old Olive, Real Red
Accessories: Movers & Shapers Holiday Windows Bigz Die, 1 3/8" and 1 1/4" circle punches, 5/8" Old Olive grosgrain ribbon, 5/8" Real Red grosgrain ribbon, gold cord, gold brads, gold embossing powder, pop-up glue dots, frame

For my next project, I make this SPARKALICIOUS snowflake earrings utilizing some shrink plastic, our FABOO Snowflake #2 die, AND some Versamark and Iridescent Ice embossing powder.

And I ALSO enlisted the help of my darling daughter, Vanna (also known in the real world as Amelia - thanks, cutie!) to help me in showing off how fun and fancy these earrings can be. What girl doesn't love a little BLING in her life, especially at this time of year?? Smiley from

Ink: Versamark
Accessories: Snowflake #2 Bigz Die, Iridescent Ice embossing powder, clear ice rhinestone brads, shrink plastic, earring findings, glue dots

At last, but certainly not LEAST, I quickly threw together this little gift bag that would be the PERFECT gift for your neighbors. Not that the bag is all that spectacular, mind you, but what I am about to reveal IS super fantastically SPECTACULAR. I have become somewhat of a legend in my neighborhood for the cookies that I give out to my friends every year ... they are called Lucky Pennies and they are absolutely DELISH!! I have been threatened many-a-year by my girlfriends that if I DON'T bring some of these cookies by they will be EXTREMELY put out. Many of them have actually admitted to HOARDING them all to themselves and NOT sharing them with ANYONE! My dad actually told me last year that they were his MOST favorite Christmas goodie (and coming from him, that was high praise, considering he LOVED goodies ... which is very bittersweet for me this year, as we lost Dad on May 30. These cookies will FOREVER put a smile on my face because of this sweet memory).

Stamps: Sweet Season
Ink: Chocolate Chip
Paper: Chocolate Chip, Real Red, Very Vanilla
Accessories: Top Note Bigz Die, Petals a Plenty embossing folder, scallop border die, slot punch, 1/4" Very Vanilla grosgrain ribbon, cello bag

Smiley from millan.netSooo....if I share this recipe with you, you have to SWEAR not to tell ANYONE I gave away my mostest secret recipe, OK?? AND you have to promise to make at least ONE batch of them this year (I should mention here that the cookies in the picture are NOT my famous Lucky Pennies, but a poor grocery-store substitute). Ran out of time to make the REAL McCoy, but if you wanna see the real deal, check out this blog post I did about them LAST December. We make over 1,000 of these cookies every year for neighbor gifts. I have lived in this neighborhood for nearly 25 years, so my list is kinda BIG!! Here is the recipe (which, I have to admit, I shared LAST year!). ENJOY!!

Lucky Pennies

2 1/4 C. all-purpose flour
2 t. baking soda
1 t. ground cinnamon
1 t. ground ginger
1/4 t. ground nutmeg
1/4 t. ground cloves
1/4 t. salt
3/4 C. (1½ sticks unsalted butter, softened)
1 C. firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 C. molasses
1 large egg
granulated sugar (for coating cookies)

In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves and salt. In a separate large bowl, use a wooden spoon to cream the butter and brown sugar until smooth. Stir in the molasses and egg and mix until well blended. Gradually stir in the flour mixture until combined. Cover the dough and refrigerate it for at least 1 to 2 hours or until firm enough to roll into balls.

Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Use a teaspoon to scoop the dough out of the bowl, then roll it with your fingertips into balls that are about one-inch in diameter. Roll the balls in a shallow bowl of granulated sugar. Place the balls on an ungreased baking sheet, leaving 2 inches between the cookies. Bake for 6 to 9 minutes or until the cookies are crinkled and set.

Cool the cookies on the baking sheets for about 5 minutes. Using a metal spatula, transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat until all the dough is used. The cookies can be stored in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 1 month and at room temperature for up to 1 week.

Special note: This is a recipe that does NOT double/triple very well. If you want to make LOTS of them, you should make a separate batch of dough each time.

NOW, head on over to the super INCREDIBLE Cindy Majors' blog to see what she has cooked up for the ones you love for Christmas!!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

It's a Comin' . . .

Okay, not only is Christmas right around the corner (AAAACCCKKK!!! How did THAT happen!), but the Control Freaks Blog Tour is on its way again. We have a TON of cool stuff in store for you to get those Christmas Creative Juices a-flowin'! Great gift ideas for friends and neighbors is our focus this time around so be SURE and come back on this Friday (the 20th) to take a peek!

This is a card I put together for SC255 over on SCS this morning. I love the look of monochromatic cards, don't you? There is something about the elegance of staying simple that has always appealed to me ...

Stamps: Gifts of Christmas
Paper: Very Vanilla, Chocolate Chip
Ink: Gold Encore
Accessories: Gold embossing powder, Cuttlebug D'Vine Swirl embossing folder, chocolate chip satin ribbon, gold cord, pop-up glue dots

Between working on 425 wedding announcements for a friend, making 65 Christmas cards and tapping my brain for the Freak Blog Tour, I have been a little on the too-too busy side ('tis the season, right?0!! That is why I haven't been around much this week, so there ya have it. Stay tuned, as I will be sharing ALL of this stuff in the coming week or so ...

Hugs to all!!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Flights of Gratitude

Well, it was my turn to be the Limited Supplies Challenge hostess again over on SCS (I LOVE when it is my turn!!). I have been waxing all sentimental and grateful lately, seeing as it IS the season, right??? Sooooo, my challenge was to make a thank you/gratitude card with a bird image on it. What??? A BIRD??? What exactly is up with THAT??? I'm not quite sure what motivated me to do birds (maybe Thanksgiving turkeys??), but there ya have it ... Smiley from

I had a TON of fun coming up with the background panels using the "flourish-y" image from "Friends 24-7". Just got that set in the mail yesterday ... LOVE it!! Can't believe it took me so long to get it!

Happy Friday and have a fab-oo weekend!! Hugs to all!!

Stamps: Friends 24-7, Holiday Best
Paper: Chocolate Chip, Ruby Red, Certainly Celery, Very Vanilla, Naturals Ivory
Ink: Chocolate Chip
Accessories: Wide oval punch, antique brass brads, 5/8" Chocolate Chip satin ribbon, Finial Press embossing folder

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Another Peek at New Things from ISC

Here are a couple additional cards I made with my new stamps that were just released last Monday by ISC. The members of the design team were "challenged" to use this wonderful boat image side by side with itself to create a panorama ... pretty darn cool, eh? By itself or doubled up this is a really terrific image, don'tcha think???

Stamps: On the Shore by ISC
Ink: Not Quite Navy
Paper: Kraft, Bella Blue, Karen Foster, Not Quite Navy, Very Vanilla
Accessories: Twill tape, jute, paper piercing tool/matt, brad by Karen Foster, 1" scalloped square punch

And this is what I call a "quick-n-easy" card. I LOVE shaped cards. I used my Labels One Nestabilities dies to create this one. Then I just added a little texture, and image and a sentiment and VOILA!!! Easy-peasy!

Stamps: Rocks On the Shore, Mini Book Series Photo Negative (for sentiment), both by ISC
Ink: Always Artichoke
Paper: Always Artichoke, River Rock, Very Vanilla
Accessories: Small oval punch, word window punch, vanilla satin ribbon, Spellbinders Labels One Nestabilities (S4-161), Cuttlebug Mesh Texture embossing folder

Short and sweet and to the point today ... how's that???