Loved Beyond Measure

I rummaged through my scrapbook and paper stashes, and the computer, to make this 5×7 card for my husband’s birthday. He is a tool guy and probably has around 10 tape measures. The tapes must only be one brand and only one width – Stanley 3/4 inch. Length doesn’t matter as long as it’s at least 12 feet. 🙂 He always says, “You can never have too many measuring tapes.” But he also says this about flashlights and scissors… and socket wrenches, screwdrivers, and any other kind of tool.

LovedBeyondMeasure

When he’s not stuck behind a desk, he loves getting his hands dirty. His idea of a relaxing weekend is working on a tractor or refurbishing scrap to make something useful. He’s unique and I love him.

So this card is in honor of him and what he loves most – tools. One of his favorite sayings is “Measure twice, cut once”. I think he heard Norm Abram say this on the New Yankee Workshop (which also happens to be the title of Norm’s book), though I also think his dad instilled this important truth in him at an early age.

I found the card sentiment from an unlikely source. I recently bought a small storage box from Dollar General. It was only a dollar, plus I just liked how the box looked. It’s decorated with a ruler, button, and butterflies. It states on the front “Loved Beyond Measure” and that’s where this card idea came from. So there I was trying to find a measuring tape design in my patterned paper stash. I couldn’t find anything resembling a tape measure but I did find a sheet of various colored rulers in an “All Seasons” pad by Recollections. It’s intended for a “back to school” theme but I cut out the yellow ruler to mimic a Stanley tape measure. And because my husband loves woodworking, I used a tan sheet of wood grain paper from Crate Paper’s On Trend line. The actual tape measure clip art is from my computer. I printed it twice onto grey cardstock to dull the colors a bit and hand trimmed each piece. One piece is glued directly to the card and the other is raised up with dimensionals. I typed the sentiment in Word using Bernard MT Condensed 20 pt. font. I trimmed the phrase down with a paper trimmer and then hand cut the banner ends. I’ve noticed a new trend in cardmaking to offset points of interest so I let the banner go beyond the card’s edge. I like the way it looks. It can be tricky for an envelope but I will just cut one a bit larger in Design Studio.

The 12×12 tan woodgrain paper used to make the card face has a blue scalloped edge where the company name is listed. I cut a section of this trim to add some more color to the bottom of the card. The darker woodgrain strip, also from On Trend, was added last to build up the bottom design. I think it adds a nice break from the lighter background. I used these same papers for the inside of the card and printed a message with my computer.

InsideMsgMeasure

The cute toolbelt is a Jolee’s scrapbook embellishment I’ve had since around 2007. I bought this toolbelt thinking I would make a scrapbook page dedicated to some of my husband’s woodworking projects. Since that has not happened yet, I used it for his birthday card. It fit the theme and why not? 🙂 Better to use it now than it sit in the box for another 6 years! Do you see the tiny nail adhered directly to the card?

The red baker’s twine is from Martha Stewart. I added three tiny brads to the left corner with a 1/16th hole punch. And the last touch was using a corner rounder on the right edges of the card.

So that’s my dedication to my tool-loving, woodworking, and mechanically inclined husband. 🙂 He better like it after the scavenger hunt mayhem I commenced in my craft room. This truly was a labor of love.

Mother’s Day Goodness

I hope everyone had a lovely Mother’s Day! My husband and I spent the day with my Mom and Dad. After Mom opened her gifts and her card, we had a lovely time sitting outside enjoying the gorgeous weather, looking at birds, and reminiscing.

I wanted to share some lovely creations my sister, Paula, made for our Mom and Mother-in-law. Paula has been creative since childhood. I didn’t enter the world of creating until much later in life – at least when it comes to arts and crafts. I wrote songs on my keyboard starting in 5th grade and I still enjoy creating songs, but I didn’t start working with paper until 2010. That’s when I received a Cricut Expression from my husband for my birthday. My sister can draw, paint, crochet, knit, make flower arrangements, design, sketch, cross-stitch, sew (clothes, curtains, pillows, etc.), and you get the point! 😉 She’s very talented in all mediums and I like to think my cardmaking came from her inspiring work throughout our life together!

Paula and her husband visited us for her birthday recently and we spent a wonderful day at Michael’s picking out items for Mother’s Day. My mother had mentioned that she wanted to get an orchid for the formal living room. I mentioned this to Paula at the Michael’s store and we found life-like orchids in a gorgeous purple hue and a fitting ceramic pot. I was leaning on my sister to make this a beautiful arrangement and she succeeded! She even removed the taped up leaves to separate them for a more realistic look. I can’t believe it’s artificial and Mom can display this for many years to come!

Purple Orchids Arrangement - artificial

Close Up - Orchids

Paula also made a silk hydrangea wreath as a gift from her to Mom. Our Mom loves hydrangeas and has a blue hydrangea bush in her yard and so did our Grandmother (my Mom’s mother) who has since passed away. Paula found some beautiful hydrangeas in soft blue and cream and added smaller cream and light blue flowers for interest. She found a nice wreath base, some lovely textured ribbon for the bow, and added three butterflies for the finishing touch. This is my favorite wreath Paula has made – it symbolizes the lovely women in our family and continues the tradition of our shared love for hydrangeas.

Hydrangea Wreath

Close Up

Close Up View

And last but not least, here is a bird cage flower arrangement Paula made for her mother-in-law. I love the various shades of pink! Isn’t the bird cage a nice find at Michael’s? It’s so pretty and the butterflies are the perfect complement! I’m amazed that Paula was able to complete all three gifts in one evening. She made it look so effortless!

Bird Cage Flower Arrangement

Bird Cage Arrangement

Close Up

Thank you Paula for making Mother’s Day so special for our family!

Love you sis!

Vanessa

My First Spiral Rose and Miniature Envelope – Thank You Card

So here I was on Memorial Weekend playing around in my craft room and getting stuck on how to embellish a card from Cricut’s “Just Because Cards”. The card design I chose to work with features a ladybug and a phrase called Cute As a Bug (key 25), but I wasn’t happy with the choice of papers I used for the card base so it took me in a completely different direction. Since I had chosen to use Colorbok’s Rosewood patterned paper, I just couldn’t envision a cutesy phrase and ladybug being incorporated. The paper has a vintage feel so I wanted to play up on the femininity of the paper. Side note – I got the Rosewood paper pad from Wal-mart for only $5.00.

My Leap Into Spiral Roses

I’ve noticed on Pinterest that spiral roses are becoming quite popular on cards, so of course I had to try my hand at it to see if I could even do it. I thought the general concept of cutting a spiral out of paper would be easy but I found myself looking for tutorials after I messed up a couple of sheets of paper! Thankfully, I found this lovely blog called Kay’s Kreative Korner that kept me from pulling my hair out. Thank you Kay for the lovely tutorial. I found your instructions to be more helpful than some other sites I visited. I used a pencil to get me started in rolling the pink spiral and then finished rolling it by hand. I followed Kay’s tip on inking the edges so I used brown ink and a sponge dauber. I think it helps add some shadows, allowing for the spiral layers to be more noticeable. I then adhered the finished flower together using Zip 2 Way Glue.

So now I had my finished spiral rose and I decided to add a large pearl in the center to help hide my flower’s lacking center! Then I realized that my card needed something else so I cut some leaves using my Mother’s Day Bouquet cartridge in various sizes (1 inch, 1 & 1/4 inches, and 1 & 1/2 inches). This helped embellish the rose but I had a lot of white space on the front of the card and I knew I needed a sentiment and something else that would go with the vintage feel.

“Miniature” Inspiration

Inspired by thoughts of Scarlett at Blue Purple and Scarlett, I made a tiny envelope to slip a literal Thank You note inside! Scarlett’s blog features adorable miniature stationery sets complete with a miniature folder to hold the tiny envelopes and note paper! She created several designs and each has a unique feel to it based on the style. If you check out her site, you will be inspired!

To make my miniature envelope, I used my Wild Card cartridge and used the Scallop envelope (key 1) cut at 1 & 1/2 inches. I also cut the corresponding envelope liner at 1 & 1/2 inches. When the envelope is closed it measures 1 & 1/2 by 2 & 1/8 inches and when open it’s 2 & 3/4 by 2 & 1/8 inches. It’s so tiny and cute! I used a small piece of cream cardstock for the little note and used a “Thank You” rub-on for the sentiment. I then trimmed the note to fit the width of the envelope (just so it can be tucked all the way inside if desired). The note isn’t adhered, allowing for more fun at moving it around 🙂 ). I inked the edges with brown ink to age it a bit and stuck it into the envelope at an angle so the sentiment can be read. The envelope is raised up with foam dimensionals.

For the inside of the card, I adhered another mat layer of Colorbok’s Rosewood paper and trimmed some roses out of the remaining 12×12 sheet. I inked the edges of the rose image to add some dimension against the mat. I tied a pink bow around the middle of the card to complete it. I like the journal feel of the inside of the card. There’s plenty of room for someone to write a handwritten message, adding to the vintage design as well. Before computers and store-bought cards (I’m thinking Victorian and earlier eras), people corresponded with handwritten letters and would bundle them together with twine or ribbon for safe keeping. And instead of blogging, they wrote their thoughts into well-worn journals. I miss that tactile notion of putting pen to paper and this card makes me smile thinking about those romantic, older times.

Thanks for looking!

Vanessa

Not quite ambidextrous but…

So I’ve had a revelation about myself.  Recently, I noticed myself cutting vegetables with a butcher knife and it was my right hand wielding the blade. Please don’t ask why it took so long to realize this after the many years I’ve been cooking! For most people, using a knife with a right hand is not strange at all since a lot of people are right-handed. Well, I’m left-handed. It’s true that I’ve known for a long time that I use scissors with my right hand; but, I never put much thought into what other things I did with my right versus my left until the “butcher knife awareness event”. So I started thinking back on all the activities I’ve ever done and have concluded that I do more everyday things with my right hand than my left, but yet I’m considered left-handed because of two primary activities: eating and writing.

I feel a chart is needed to explain my unusual quirkiness concerning my choice of hands so please refer to the one below. When I looked this list over, I first thought that all things done with precision are done with my left hand, but what makes this statement untrue is the fact that I only use scissors with my right hand. I can’t cut paper at all with my left. And in sports, precision is just as important and I use my right hand for all things sports-related. It looks like precision-related items fill both columns.

According to Merriam-Webster’s definition of ambidextrous (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ambidextrous), you have to be able to use both hands with equal ease. Well, that’s a little ambiguous to me. Does this mean I have to be able to cut with scissors using both hands at the same level of skill? Or does it mean using hands interchangeably but for different tasks? So if I’m not ambidextrous, then what am I? For now, clueless and curious…

If by some chance, I ever broke my left hand, I at least can write with my right hand in a passable manner. I used to practice when I was younger because of my earlier obsession with this hand issue. It’s not an obsession anymore, but rather a quirkiness that makes me “me” and that’s alright.

An Answered Prayer

It’s been a month since my last post but yet it seems like yesterday we heard the news that my father needed open heart surgery. He had a heart catheterization done in mid-January and by early February he was scheduled for surgery to replace his aortic heart valve. After consulting with his surgeon, Dad also learned he needed to have a by-pass done to improve blood flow to his heart. Knowing the seriousness of this type of surgery, Dad chose to have it completed at Tampa General. We stayed with my sister and brother-in-law and were able to commute to the hospital each day while Dad recovered. The surgery was successful and with relief and gratitude I can report that he is recovering and doing very well.

It’s times like these that show the power of family and the love and support they have for each other. Prayers were answered and blessings were bestowed. I spent a lot of time thinking of family memories and praying that we would be able to have more. It really puts living each day to the fullest in the forefront of one’s mind. I thank God for answering my prayer for Dad’s successful recovery and allowing us more time to spend with him and Mom. I also thank our supportive extended families and my sister’s husband and my husband for their loving support during this difficult time. It’s getting better and Dad’s improving each day. His doctor said that before the surgery he was on the edge of a cliff and it was a matter of time before he went over. And now, with the replacement valve and by-pass, he has gained another 25 years! With heartfelt appreciation I thank Dr. Sheffield, the gifted cardiac surgeon, and the wonderful staff at Tampa General who treated my father with caring hands.

Blessings to you and your families.

~Vanessa

Liebster Blog Award

Now that I have gotten my Christmas shopping and card making completed, I can finally acknowledge with heartfelt appreciation the Liebster Award granted to me by one of my most favorite bloggers and followers, The Island Traveler at “This Man’s Journey”. Thank you so much Island Traveler for bestowing this honor.

Liebster is German for beloved or dearest. The Liebster Award is granted to a blogger who has less than 200 followers but the awarded blog stands out to the grantor as being valued and appreciated. To fully acknowledge the award, the recipient then passes it on to five of their favorite inspirational bloggers who deserve recognition. This is a wonderful way to spread the love and share in this gift of appreciation, especially at Christmas!

Liebster Award Rules:

  • Thank the blogger who awarded you and link back to their blog.
  • Post the award on your blog.
  • List 5 other bloggers you want to recognize.
  • Inform your top 5 by leaving a comment on their blog.

The Liebster Award goes to…

Sophia at “Just 4 Crafters” ~ Sophia is my favorite blog follower and fellow crafter. She has beautiful crafts and cards on her site and has a caring heart. She offers techniques and detailed instructions so that anyone at any skill level can complete a beautiful craft with ease. I find much inspiration from her blog and her website. She is also a wonderful blog friend and I am happy to have met her in the blogosphere.

Helen at “Helen’s Journal” ~ Helen is a photographer and shares her extraordinary photos on her blog. She provides inspirational quotes for her photographs that serve as unique captions. The combined presentation helps the reader see the point of view from the photographer. She has a wonderful “eye” for images and scenery and has taught me that “less” means so much “more”.

Scarlett at “Blue, Purple, & Scarlett” ~ When I think of Scarlett, I think “Talented Artist”. I found her blog by visiting Sophia’s site. Scarlett shares crafts, drawings, paintings, Christmas crafts such as hot air balloon ornaments and jarred winter scenes with powdered sugar, and so much more. If you want to be inspired, you should check out her blog. I am always in awe when I see her handmade cards using her own drawings.

Lindsey at “La Georgia Paperie” ~ Lindsey’s blog is one of the first crafting blogs I followed when I first started my blog in February of this year. This is also when I delved into my love of cardmaking. Lindsey’s blog was so helpful to me because I learned of cardmaking tools that have proven to be invaluable for this hobby. I also gained inspiration from seeing her lovely creations. Lindsey has had a new arrival, the birth of her first child – a beautiful baby boy, and readers can follow along at her other blog “The Accidental Wallflower“.

Lindsay at “Craftymonster81” ~ Lindsay makes beautiful, detailed cards using PanPastels (painting with pure artist pigments). All of her designs are intricate and you can see the amount of time each labor of love involves. Truly inspirational creations. I also enjoy seeing her card designs such as easel and pop out cards. Lindsay provides step by step tutorials to her readers so that they too can try these unique cards.

One Last Thank You

I must share my heartfelt appreciation for the Island Traveler at “This Man’s Journey“. If I could award the Liebster Blog Award back to him, I most definitely would. To find a kindred soul in the world today that shares your values and your hopes for a better world is a true blessing. The Island Traveler is a kind and genuine family man. You can hear the love he has for his family in his words and you can feel his kindness to others by his support of fellow bloggers. I have been blessed to be able to follow his personal story and to share in the wonderful photos of his family’s adventures. He has a truly inspirational blog and is most definitely worth a visit!

Happy Thanksgiving!

As this day of reflecting on our blessings comes to a close, I would like to express my gratitude for my family. My husband and I had Thanksgiving with just the two of us this year due to a work conflict, but we were able to visit my family in Florida last week for my sister and brother-in-law’s 16th wedding anniversary. We had a wonderful time going out to dinner on their anniversary and my lovely mother-in-law also attended. We were taken to a spectacular restaurant called Bern’s in Tampa, Florida. It was a delightful culinary experience and is the essence of fine dining.  We had a wonderful time eating Filet Mignon and indulging in their infamous béarnaise sauce. The entire presentation was magnificent and made for a truly memorable wedding anniversary for my sister and her husband.  After we dined, we enjoyed a delightful trip upstairs to Bern’s famous Harry Waugh Dessert Room. The room is filled with private booths made from old wine casks.  It lent to a cozy, quieter ambiance which was highlighted with decadent desserts.  It really topped off the evening as we laughed, talked, and reminisced.

Also during the visit, we had a barbecue and my other brother-in-law and sister-in-law came over with their two children. It was wonderful seeing them again and to see how much my nephew and niece have grown! Since Florida has milder temperatures (not too hot, not too cold this time of year), it was a perfect setting for visiting and having a meal together outside. This entire visit serves as a nice Thanksgiving memory since we were not able to be together on this holiday as a family.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving filled with love and companionship with their family and friends.  Even though this one day is set aside for giving thanks, may we remember to always show gratitude for the blessings we have in our lives.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Vanessa

What I’m Thankful For…

Thanksgiving is fast approaching.  I can remember with fondness the old movie reels my school would play for the students that taught us the history of the first feast between the Pilgrims and Native Americans.  I know there has been controversy of how that first meal really happened or why, but I would like to think that it was a joyous and peaceful time of sharing in a meal of thanks giving. Other school films featured scenes of nature and turkeys in the wild and the footage looked like it was taken in the 1970s.  I miss those films because it was representative of a more innocent time for a young girl such as I that looked at everything with rose-colored glasses.  I wish there were more films made for Thanksgiving.  It seems that songs and films are lacking in this area.  Other than cartoons such as “Charlie Brown” and “Pocahontas”, only two movies stick out in my mind that center around this holiday: “Home for the Holidays” featuring Holly Hunter and “Planes, Trains, & Automobiles” featuring John Candy and Steve Martin.  I am sure there are others, but overall there just doesn’t seem to be a lot of well-known movies focusing on this season of gratitude.

So when I think of happy memories of Thanksgiving I think of those old reel-to-reel movies and the feeling of excitement as the movie projector clicked away with the lights turned off in the classroom. Such a simple memory… I also have fond memories of gathering together with family that we hadn’t seen in a year. We would come home for the holidays, whether it was for Thanksgiving or Christmas.  All of my grandparents are now gone from this world but I still think of them and the wonderful times we had gathering at their homes for the holidays.  I miss my grandmothers’ home-made turkey dressing and their sweet potato casseroles.  I miss the enjoyment they had from having their children and grandchildren gather together for a time of celebration.  But I am thankful for the memories.

I am also thankful for my dear husband, my family and friends, my three adorable cats who are like my children, and I am grateful to God for his mercy and love.  I would like to extend my appreciation to others who live their lives in a gracious and kind manner.  I would also like to share my gratitude to my readers and hope you and your family have a wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving. I pray for peace, love, and understanding for the whole world.

Psalm 100

Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands.

Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing.

Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.

For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.

I’m Thankful For…

TAG, YOU’RE IT!  I’m thankful for… Helen at Helen’s Journal!  Helen has the most beautiful photos and cards on her blog.  Helen became one of my earliest blog followers and has offered supportive comments which I truly appreciate from a fellow crafter.  It gives me the encouragement to keep doing what I love – making cards and sharing them with others.  Thank you Helen for your inspiring photos and for sharing your handmade creations with the world.  If you haven’t seen her site, you should check it out because you will be inspired.

***

I would also like to thank Sophia at just4crafters.  Sophia first tagged me with this wonderful honor.  She is a very supportive blog follower and has become a wonderful friend.  Sophia has beautiful projects on her site including home decor, seasonal artwork, and handmade cards.  She is very knowledgeable about various craft items and I have learned a lot from her wonderful blog, as well as her website: just4crafters.com.  Thank you Sophia for choosing me as a “Tag, You’re It” recipient!

This idea originated from Christine at DIY and FYI. In this season of giving thanks, this is a wonderful way for bloggers to share with others for whom they are thankful. “Please pass it on and spread the gratitude!”