Monday, March 31, 2014


Judgement: The evaluation process to make a decision.

Should you buy or lease a new car? Evaluate, then decide. Should I buy more craft supplies? Probably not but I probably will. No one is hurt.

Judging others: Oh boy..... lots of hurt in that.

Recent stories in the news in my part of the world have me thinking about those who judge others, often with derision or outright condemnation.
  • Gwyneth Paltrow decided her life as a working mom is more difficult than a mom with an office job :   "It’s much harder for me," Paltrow said in an E! News interview. "I think it’s different when you have an office job, because it’s routine and you can do all the stuff in the morning and then you come home in the evening. When you’re shooting a movie, they’re like, ‘We need you to go to Wisconsin for two weeks,’ and then you work 14 hours a day and that part of it is very difficult." "I think to have a regular job and be a mom is not as, of course there are challenges, but it’s not like being on set."
  • Tory Johnson is a weekly contributing reporter on Good Morning America and author of The Shift, a book about her weight loss. Her weight loss decision, in her own words, "happened 18 months ago when a woman named Barbara Fedida told me my clothes didn’t do me justice and that she wanted to send me to a stylist."  "Barbara is the highest-ranking woman executive at ABC News and I am an on-air contributor for Good Morning AmericaShe never used the words “fat, diet or obesity” but her message was clear: I needed to lose weight. Let’s face it: on TV looks matter."
  •  Locally, a party store owner was killed by armed robbers. He was of Arabic dissent, the robbers were black. The comments made by some at online news sites is horrific. I feel outrage regarding this death, but it is the violence, not someone's ethnicity that is abhorrent. 
In the last example, I am guessing that many who spew hatred online behind anonymous names would not utter all of those feelings in general public, but obviously the judging and hatred is there. 

Why should a person's weight be a factor in any job if they can do their job? I watch Good Morning America often enough to know that Tory Johnson's work hasn't improved because she lost weight. I am not implying that she needed to improve in any manner. I am happy if she feels better about herself, but that isn't the point. You don't have to watch much TV to realize what is expected regarding physical appearances, especially for women. Living in the north as I do, I often roll my eyes when local female news anchors complain about the bitter cold weather while wearing sleeveless dresses. I guess showing off toned arms is more important than being comfortably warm. 

I've never been a fan of Gwyneth Paltrow so I will be careful what I say lest I sound judgmental myself. 
I have no idea what it is like to be an actor. Based on her bio, I don't think it is an unfair assumption to think she never had to struggle financially, worry about rent or how to stretch the grocery budget. Even without that assumption, she has never been a working mom in a 9-5 office job so she certainly should not be making comments on how someone else has it easier. 

When will people stop putting others down in an attempt to feel better about themselves? 

Monday, March 24, 2014

Thank you card, O'Keeffe inspired

A cold, gray wintry spring day here in Michigan was brightened by a surprise in the mail. A friend from sunny California sent me a book of Georgia O'Keeffe postcards.

I grabbed my Tombow markers, a few Prismacolor pencils, and a water brush (think of a fountain pen with a brush tip and water in the barrel) and created a poppy after looking at one of O'Keeffe's wonderful renditions.

Just before starting this card, something on Pinterest caught my eye, kirigami flowers as shown here on Curbly.  Here is the link to the free download. Scroll down for the free tulip pattern that I used on the card's interior.

I will add a sentiment along the lower edges of the white paper and get this in today's mail. 

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Sizzix Chair Die Birthday Cards

Good morning from Michigan where spring is trying to force winter into submission. Please cheer for her.

I bought a new Sizzix die last month, not realizing I needed the Horizontal A2 Card Die (# 657802) for this insert die to work. I have a Movers & Shakers Die that I thought would work. Wrong. My wallet's loss is Sizzix's gain as I really, really wanted to use my new purchase, Sizzix Pop 'n Cuts Magnetic Insert Die, # 658370 3-D Chair.

I've made two birthday cards so far with this die. I'm envisioning all sorts of embellishments that will make this chair perfect for various people in my life.

First, a card for a woman who is exactly 6 months younger than I am. We've declared ourselves twins. Wouldn't that have been a horrible delivery for one mother?
I kept the face of the card simple. On the inside, I used striped paper to make wallpaper. The framed photos on the wall are her dear grandson and the two of us at a birthday celebration years ago. Resizing and adding the frames were done with a free online graphics program, .
The book on the chair and the margarita were both printed from online images. I considered adding some depth (thickness) the book but was afraid the chair wouldn't fold properly as the card closed. The margarita is attached to a clear piece of plastic that folds down as the card closes. I added a handwritten sentiment after taking pictures of the card.

Next was the same basic card, this time for my sewing buddy.
I didn't have photos to frame for the interior so I added the Happy Birthday (a Martha Stewart punch) to the inside of the card. The bow on the front was made from Sizzix die # 658541 with a piece of actual ribbon for the knot.
My sewing buddy is also a reader, so she got a book too. A Viking sewing machine may have been more appropriate for her, but a sewing basket looked cuter sitting on the floor. She got a cup of tea on the arm of her chair.
This view is a little more of an overhead shot. The basket and teacup are in place with small piece of folded card stock holding them upright but easy to fold down as the card folds to fit within an envelope.

Both cards made it through the mail without extra postage. For a card that I hand deliver I will probably add more items that personalize the interior for the recipient.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Three days of birthday celebrations

Three days of birthday celebrations can age a person!  The Prince of Sweetness (more commonly known as my grandson) turned 4 last Thursday. Daddy's birthday was the following day (he is almost my age now!) and Saturday was the Super Hero party that Mommy and Daddy hosted for the Prince's relatives and friends.

On his actual birthday, Papa and Gigi tagged along as his parents took him to Chuck E. Cheese's for lunch. Going there mid-day on a school day was wonderful. I think there were only three other families there. The Prince had fun and we left with our hearing intact.

The simple joys of being four...getting prize tickets is as much fun as playing the game!

Daddy's birthday was much more subdued, partly because Mommy and Daddy were so busy prepping for the party. Daddy did get a handmade card with his gift from us that day. I was itching to use my newest Sizzix die which is officially called Picture Wheel, but known by many as the View Master die.
I used an image found online of a View Master sleeve, added a birthday greeting, printed it and glued it to sleeve (jacket? pocket?) that I made. The picture wheel held 12 photos. I chose photos from my son's early years, with his buddies, his wedding and with his son. In case anyone is interested, I sized the photos and printed them from a Word document. Some printing quality is lost, but I don't expect this to be used as a printed photo would. After cropping photos to get faces as focal points, I sized the photos to be .6 inches wide.

Saturday was the party, a huge success due to my son and daughter-in-law's planning and hosting abilities.
I love the cardboard cupcake tower. Perfect backdrop for Super Heroes, especially Batman (on the cake) but I think this would look good at Halloween too, maybe with some spidery webbing going on.
Captain America with his mask on top of his head. 
I don't care what your hair stylist says, you simply cannot get this color out of a bottle. Meet my daughter-in-law, Wonder Woman. 

I don't have photos of Papa and Gigi in our Super attire yet, much to Papa's relief. I made these as over-sized bibs that button behind the neck. The felt is heavy weight craft felt, leftover from the play house project. We have two couches in our house, the one in the living room being "Papa's couch" according to our grandson. Same thing with the remote out there. If he comes over and I'm on that couch, he asks me why I am sitting on Papa's couch. That is how I determined the logo(s) for Super Papa. Super Gigi got a ball of yarn and some bling, because one can never have too much sparkle. 

Super Gigi Pucker Pickle Puss with a $1 tiara from a craft store and eyeglass adornment made from sparkly craft paper, held on with thin ribbon and a bit of two-way tape.
No offense HRH Queen Elizabeth, but I really rule!

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Monday, March 3, 2014

A baby sweater and another pop up box card

Knitting baby or toddler items is such fun. They are cute and quick to complete. A friend is expecting her first granddaughter soon. I sent her daughter (already a mommy to two adorable boys) this sweater in a color that is similar to the deep pink they chose to use with white in the baby's room. I am sorry that the only photo I have is the one they took when they first opened it in their car on the way home from the post office. I know I took photos before I sent the sweater, but I can't locate them this morning.

Here are photos from the pattern magazine, the Spring 2014 issue of Creative Knitting:

I used Sirdar Baby Bamboo, a yarn that is 80% bamboo, 20% wool. The only thing I did differently was using a single button at the neck. The button I used had a daisy like flower in nearly the exact shade as the yarn. 

I'm still having fun making gift box cards. This is the card that accompanied the sweater.

A few of the stickers, such as the stork, were a bit heavy for a thin strip of cardstock to support them and have them stand up straight. I sandwiched an unused twist tie between two strips of paper and that worked beautifully! This is a fun way to use up odd stickers and embellishments.

The first card that I made in this fashion is here. The instructions and cutting dimensions from Split Coast Stampers are here. There are other variations online with slightly different dimensions. Search for Pop Up Card Boxes or similar phrases.

I may be late to the party among those who enjoy Sizzix brand Susan's Garden floral dies, but I think I'm going to be hooked. I bought one die set recently, unaware that a specific tool kit is a good idea for shaping the petals after they've been cut. Undaunted, I cut out petals from yellow card stock, used a stylus-like tool with a blunt end and a chop stick to shape them and this was my first attempt at a rose:

More petals could have/should have been used, but perhaps this is the last rose of March! With all the snow, ice and bitter temps (a wind chill of -22 degrees  this morning!)  any rose is a pleasure to see.

Stay warm. Stay happy. Keep crafting!