mellificent: (Xmas - pink aluminum)
I'm not saying you're actually going to get 7 kinds of random here, but I'm pretty sure that the only way I'm going to get an entry out tonight is to loose the random.

Well, ok, let's start with some updates on things I've talked about previously: first of all, the Texans lost rather ignominiously on Monday Night Football. But hell, they had those injury problems that we had talked about, and it was New England in Foxboro in December and if you read between the lines when I was talking about it before, I wasn't really holding my breath for a victory there. But hey, we're still 11-2. Most teams would give their eyeteeth to be in the Texans' size 14 shoes. We'll see what happens with Indianapolis this weekend.

Also, regarding the cruise ships, this was big news in Galveston this past week: Disney has decided to leave earlier than anticipated. (It looks like the rest of that article is behind a pay wall now, darnit.) Anyway, they're still staying through 2013, they're just not going into 2014 as they had previously hinted they might. And apparently the other suitor for those berths was going to be Princess Cruises, but they have decided to go further inshore and go out of LaPorte. (It's always possible that that will not work out, anyway; LaPorte has had a couple of flings in the past at being a cruise ship departure city and it never seems to work out too well. We'll see.)

I stayed home from work today because I had a sore throat. (I say I stayed home; I didn't drive to Galveston, is what I mean, but I ended up doing several hours of work anyway.) What I really was leading to here, though, was that I have been sick for pretty much the last month now. I'm pretty sure I caught a cold on top of my normal fall allergies, and I was sick for the 10 days or so immediately before Thanksgiving, and since then I've had trouble shaking it. I've been through bags and bags of cough drops. I am getting better, but really slowly. And every few days I get these sore throats, which are usually bad in the morning but then go away again. It's very annoying. I'm pretty sure it's just allergies, but with the way it keeps dragging on, you gotta wonder. (But then what is it? Strep throat? I dunno. I suppose I might should go to the doctor and see what they say. But I hate to.)

I started sending out Christmas cards, finally - I had 5 people on the TUS list who were out of the country, so I did them first, and they're all mailed, and today I started working on the rest of the list. TUS people (until I run out, anyway) are getting some of my precious hoarded cards that I made myself. I've been footling around with more homemade cards this year but haven't gotten far. Anyway, I'm going to use up last year's stash first, some of which are very cute. (I also have Grinch cards and... something else that was on the morbid side... that I'm really tempted to give to my elderly neighbors just to wake them up a bit. But I probably won't.)
mellificent: (Happy NY - gif)
Gawd, look how organized I was with the holiday stuff in 2007 - the nutcrackers lined up on the china cabinet and all! I was very unusually organized that year, generally, which not coincidentally was the same year my mother died - we had moved right before that and we were dealing with the estate stuff, too, so I had had to be. I guess you have to know me to know how unusual that is.

But also it occurs to me - especially when it comes to decorating for the holidays - that I liked the layout of that apartment more than the one we have now - it had that large living/dining area that went all the way from the front to the back of the apartment, and the bedrooms on the side. It was generally a very roomy apartment, but I especially loved the living area. I think that helped me be a little more organized. (I read back through those 2007 entries, and up to the beginning of 2008, all the entries about Las Vegas. It's like a time machine.)

OK, now back to cards. (Cards were about the only thing I was semi-organized about this year.)

I went to a Stampin' Up class - well, actually I've been going to them off & on all year. (Sort of a disclaimer here: while their classes do use primarily their own products, the ones I go to don't push you to buy anything at all. I do think that their products are very, very good quality and I've ended up buying quite a lot of stuff from them lately, but I really love that they don't try to force them on you, and I'm not trying to sell you anything either! I'm just showing you what we've been doing.) The usual thing that we do in these classes is make maybe 4 or 5 different cards - for various occasions, depending on the season and such - and sometimes a novelty sort of item like a card holder or a candy holder or something like that, and the price of the class includes all the supplies to make all these items. What we did in December was make whole bag full of cards instead - it did cost a little more to make up for the extra supply cost, but it was still pretty reasonable. I think it was 5 each of 4 different cards that we made, or maybe it was 4 each of 5 - I guess when I look at the pictures again I'll figure out which one it was!


We had also made some Christmas/holiday cards the month before, and that was these two (and maybe one more that I didn't get a picture of):
 
and then this one:

Both of these used what SU calls "builder punches" - one punch that punches out several different related items. For the stocking it is the stocking body, plus the cuff, heel & toe pieces. And there's also a coordinating stamp set. (SU is very big on coordinating stamps and punches, as a matter of fact.) The other one is a pennant set - imagine several of the little triangular tree pieces turned upside down and strung on a cord, then it becomes one of those pennant garlands that have been so popular the last couple of years, right? Whoever designs all this stuff was very clever and anticipated this double use - you can tell because of (a) the tree design that's stamped on it, and (b) and maybe (c): the little brown pot the tree is sitting in, all of which was in the same stamp set, and I think that the star on top may have been, too. Anyway, I thought both of these were very cute.

And here are the December ones (there are 5 here, apparently, so we must have made 4 each of 5!): 





Let's see, I guess we'll number them from 1-5 and I'll comment:
1) is probably the simplest: vellum run though an embosser with a snowflake pattern, and glued down - which is the tricky part, with vellum, because if you use the wrong kind of adhesive, it shows through. I think we put glue dots under the spots where the rhinestones were, and we hid some more under the ribbon. We used different colors of cardstock - I got home with red and green - and they all looked beautiful, although I think the red ones are my favorite.
2) was a technique that the demonstrator Sue had seen somewhere I think - you use baby wipes to make a sort of ad hoc stamp pad. SU sells little reinker bottles for all their stamp colors, so she dripped ink in stripes onto the stack of wipes, and made it large enough to cover this medallion stamp, which is a large one, I would say it's 5 or 6" in diameter, at a guess**. And then the black sentiment is embossed to make it stand out. I really like this technique a lot. I'm trying to persuade myself that I don't need to have this stamp to go with it!
3) was the most complicated, with an embossed background, candy canes die-cut out of two different kind of paper, and some lacy trim to boot. They naturally also took the longest to make. (Even though we had all the pieces for the candy canes, figuring out how to put them back together was not as easy as you'd think!)
4) was probably my very favorite. It was supposed to have green ribbon on it like the vellum ones have, and I kept forgetting the ribbon, and then I decided it didn't need the ribbon at all. The glitter is something called (I think) Diamond Dust, and it was really really pretty and it also got all over everything. And I mean everything.
5) had mica flakes substituting for snow, which was weird but it came out pretty cute. These were also pretty fussy to make.

It's also possible that some of you will see some of these in person next year, because I didn't use them all up! (Once I make these fancy ones, I tend to hoard them, as I have said before.)

(and I'm getting very sleepy now so I'm stopping now.)



** It occurred to me later that this couldn't possibly be correct, because the card is only something like 5-1/2" wide. (Because they're normally made out of half of an 8-1/2x11" sheet.) So that stamp must be more like 4 or 4-1/2" - still big, but not THAT big.

Cards

Dec. 30th, 2011 06:46 pm
mellificent: (Happy NY - sparkly)
This might end up being a two-parter, because apparently I took a lot of pictures of cards.

I've been meaning all along to post this after all the cards (or rather, all the cards I'm going to get around to sending this year, which is not quite the same thing) went out - I did a little bit of experimenting around with making cards on my own this year, which I haven't done too much of up to now. My first few tries were not terribly successful, but I think I'm improving. I did a few things in the style I've learned in cardmaking class, and a few things my own way. So here's the photographic evidence. (If I get around to doing part 2, it will be the cards that we did in cardmaking class, because they're really cute.)

This is what I mean by "the style I've learned in cardmaking class" - lots of layers. It does come out very well. These are stamps from a big set of clear stamps I had, and the printed paper is just some out of a package that I bought at the craft store, I think. The trick here (learned after a couple of failed experments) is that the cardstock you make the base card out of has to be thick enough to bear the weight of the layers. The ones on these cards are in fact not very heavy, but some I've done are.

(The mustard-colored cardstock doesn't look very good in the picture, but I thought it was fine in person. I don't know if I was mistaken or if it just photographed badly!)

I used the same set of stamps to do these. I'm pretty sure the scalloped cards were out of the dollar bin, but I thought they came out pretty good, considering. (I could have tried to ornament these some more, somehow, but I decided that was likely to come out badly, and left well-enough alone. I liked the relative simplicity of them.)

I was experimenting with inks, too - the lighter green is Stampin' Up dye ink (in Wild Wasabi, if you want to know) and the darker one is a pigment ink that I already had (color was something like Evergreen). I like both of them but they do give you very different effects.

What are these big manila tags supposed to be used for? Bookmarks? Tags for very large gifts? Some commerical purpose that never even occurred to me? I don't really know, but I like this one. I have a fondness for snowflakes, so I've picked up several snowflake-themed stamps over the years, and I pulled out every shade of blue ink I could find, and stamped away. (I later did several cards along these lines, also.)


The music staves here are all the same rolling stamp from Stampin' Up - I bought a couple of them. (The other one is trees.) And I didn't know what the felt snowflakes might possibly be good for when I bought them, but they turned out to be very useful! I think I used the same "Happy holidays" stamp on the inside of this card that was on the tag above, to carry through with the snowflake theme.
mellificent: (Xmas - purple star)
Hey, cool, look, glitchmas trees!
Glitchmas trees

Hmm, I hope that's not a ridiculously huge screenshot. But anyway, I thought it was fun. (Didn't make it, just stumbled across it.)

In other Glitch news, I am up to 8 of 11 of my pieces of DNA. (See yesterday if you want to know what the heck I'm talking about.) So yay me! (For what it's worth, I found three in Tamila and I'm not quite done yet. For me, anyway, Tamila was a hotbed of DNA.)

I haven't talked about the holidays much yet. We don't have a tree up - we don't really have a good place to put it at the moment - or much else in the way of decorations inside, but we have lights on the balcony and wreaths and such, and I have been sending out cards. Rather a lot of cards, as a matter of fact, and I'm not done yet. I may post pictures of some of them later, but I have been making cards as well as sending out some bought ones. I might yet make some more - I have new stamps (the rubbery kind, that is, not the ones that you buy from the Postal Service) and I kind of got on a roll with them again last night. I have been collecting bits and pieces of stamping stuff for a while now but I really just this year have really started doing much with them. I called myself a craft hoarder a while back, but I really do think that's for a reason: you kind of hit a critical mass of stuff where you have enough to assemble things. At least, that's how I work. It was true of quilting and I'm finding that it applies here too. I had snowflake stamps that I bought in previous years and I had some snowflake felt things that I bought on clearance last year, and I had blue cardstock that I acquired at some point and various colors (and brands) of blue ink... You pull all this stuff out and contemplate it and voila! Festive snowflake-themed cards start practically making themselves! My cardmaking skillz are not all I would like them to be yet, but that's something that takes practice, and hey, I'm practicing. (And I may still be sending cards out into the new year at this rate, but oh well.)
mellificent: (fall leaves orange)
I was going to clean house today, but my back is really stiff and sore so that is probably not going to happen, much. I am going to do some continuing education stuff later (because even though I don't have a job doing coding, I feel like I shouldn't waste all that training entirely!) and I might work some in my crafting area - which in other people's houses would be the dining nook, but here it doesn't get used for that much. My crafting area is a disaster, so working there might be a good start on the cleaning and is probably less strenuous because it's less actual cleaning and more just organizing. (And of course there will be games mixed in there somewhere. More on that later.)

It appears that my problem there is that I hoard craft supplies, and I keep changing crafts, so I have tons of supplies for several different ones, and only a small apartment to put it all in. When we first moved back into an apartment with two bedrooms a few years ago, I thought that that would fix the issue - the 2nd bedroom would be the craft (and storage) room! but it didn't work there and it's not working here either. In both apartments the dining area got annexed very quickly. The quilting stuff has stayed in the bedroom because I'm not actively working on that, but the jewelry and then the papercrafting stuff ran all over. I guess I'm doing good to keep it mostly to those two areas, and consider that I'm doing well not to let it take over the whole house!

Part of the reason the papercrafting supplies are running wild is because I bought a Stampin' Up demonstrator kit. It really is a good deal. (I got the deal that had a free Big Shot with it - which is a die-cutting and embossing machine - and that deal is over, but I think I saw that they were having another special on them - $125. The normal price is $175. So if anybody else wants to join in this craziness let me know! It's supposed to be over $300 worth of stuff, and you can substitute items, which I did like crazy.) So I have - let's see - four or five new stamp sets, as well as one single stamp and one rolling stamp - which I haven't actually figured out how to make work yet - and four new colors of ink pads, and a big pad of designer paper, which the SU devotees refer to as "DSP", constantly confusing everybody else. Aaand, um, a bunch more odds and ends that I can't remember now. Card stock and various adhesives and envelopes and a couple of different kinds of stamp-cleaners, although I have always cleaned my stamps with baby-wipes and it seems to work just fine.

And I've made a few Christmas cards already, and I am going to a class week after next where we're going to make more, but since I signed up for yet another card exchange (Weetabix's) I guess I should try to make even more. I'm still not promising that everybody who gets a card from me is getting a handmade one, by any means. I bought a bunch of funny cards on sale after Christmas last year so it probably will either be one or the other. Part of the problem with making the handmade cards is that you tend to want to hoard them too, after you are done. It's hard to send them away! I usually can bring myself to send away the plainer ones, but the really fancy ones, that are a lot of work? Mostly all of those are still right here. (Some of them can be seen in this Flickr set. But not all. I really need to take pictures of more of them, since I'm so fond of them!)

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