Thursday, July 31, 2008

Color Box

Growing up I thought that the beginning of the year should be September and the end of the year should be August. I sort of stayed in that pattern until the past few years. Just as for most of us, for the better part of my life the years revolved around the school schedule. September marked the beginning of the year, first when I was in school, then when my son was in school.

Later, I became used to life revolving around the calendar year thanks to corporate reports and new vacation day buckets. The beginning of the school year now comes to my attention when Target and Wal-Mart convert the seasonal lawn and garden section to school supplies. I'm not in school and I don't have children in school, but it is still one of my favorite sections: new designs for notebooks, backpacks sporting the latest action/music heroes/heroines, packages of paper, pens and pencils.

Then there are the boxes of crayons! We made magical pictures with crayons and gave them to parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and anyone who would take them. Now there are so many colors in the boxes that some have had to be retired to make room for the new colors. My first box of crayons was the box of 8 that were as thick as broomsticks .... or so it seemed. As the years went by the lists of required supplies showed crayons in larger color varieties ... and thinner. We knew we had really made it when Mom was able to get us the box of 24 colors --- or more!

With a studio full of paper, inks, stamps, punches.... you name it, there isn't a box of crayons to be found. But I still love the smell of a fresh box --- I think that is the prevailing odor in the school supply section. Maybe I should have a box around for those times I need a creative whiff.

This card reminds me of the colors in that very first box of crayons: bright primary and secondary colors. Maybe I should rub in some crayon scent.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Just "Hello"

Sometimes a friend just needs a cheerful "Hello" to make their day brighter.

Sometimes card makers just need to make a cheerful "Hello" card to brighten their own day.

This card started as one layout, but took a turn along the way. There was something about the orange ribbon that just called to me... unusual because I don't normally like orange. But this is OK!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Celebrate ... Anything!

Who doesn't love to celebrate! Why should we need a special occasion to celebrate? Why not just make a really striking card, put the word "celebrate" on it and send it to someone ... just to celebrate him/her?

I like this card for the color combination. Actually, when I picked the red and white checked paper, I was looking for a sheet of red and white checks with ants on it. It would have made a fun picnic invitation. But, I must have used that paper already. In any case, whether it is a celebration or a picnic, it's time to have some fun!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Happy Birthday Everybody!

Our family is in the middle of a birthday frenzy! Starting on May 1 there is Alan, then Josh, Mom, Scott, Patty, Terry, Rick, Dave, Jerry, Jarrod, and Kelsie (today)! Tomorrow a new little boy will be born (name a secret till then), and coming up we have Austin, Chris, Alexis, and Leland. That takes us through August. I hope I didn't miss anyone!

For all the birthdays out there, have a very happy one, and many more!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Soft Music and Sweet Memories

The inspiration for this card came from The Eagles, oddly enough. Actually there is a song titled "I Love to Watch a Woman Dance" on their Long Road Out of Eden CD. It reminded me that I had this stamp that I had not yet played with. This is the type of dress I loved to wear dancing (when I was much younger and skinnier); it swished and swoshed, especially in the spins. Well, like I said, that was a long time ago. Interesting that The Eagles would have such a beautifully visual song on the same CD as the song "Long Road Out of Eden". Well, that's why I love 'em!

I hope the card brings you soft music and sweet memories.

Monday, July 21, 2008

I'm A Pear?

This was a fun little quiz Allison at Stampin' When I Can shared. Hmmm ...... Try it for yourself!

You Are a Pear

You are independent, intelligent, and a free thinker.

You can accomplish great things, especially when you do them on your own.

You are direct, honest, and sometimes even a bit brutal.

There's not much that gets in the way of you and your ambition.

While you are hard nosed, you do have a much sweeter side to you.

It takes times for you to soften toward someone, but once you do, you'll be their friend for life.

Cheery Cherries

When I saw this cheerful paper I knew just how I wanted to use it! The pattern reminded me of pretty cafe curtains found in our grandmothers' kitchens; add a little lace and a window sill for a sunny day memory. The only thing missing is the cherry pie cooling on the window ledge. Mmmmm! Yum!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Patriotic Card

This card is one that I made to celebrate the 4th of July, Memorial Day, and just about any event we want to celebrate our country. When my son moved to the Washington D.C. area a few years ago it gave us the opportunity to make several visits. Prior to that I had not been to the east coast except for a couple of business trips to New York.

I regret that I didn't see this beautiful area earlier in my life. The monuments are bigger than I expected and the stone they are made of whiter. The Viet Nam Memorial is so quiet, even though busy streets are nearby. The World War II Memorial is magnificent and the Smithsonian Museums create a city all their own.

But what was the most awesome wasn't what I saw, but what I felt. Stand on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and feel the passion of all who have spoken to the crowds lining the reflecting pool; look at the steps of the Capitol Building and feel the spirits of the hundreds of Representatives who have climbed those steps, not to mention the Presidents who have taken the oaths of office there; and walking around the corner at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave to see the White House, wondering if the President is just inside or imagining the prior Presidents and their families strolling in the rose gardens.

Whether we are in Washington, D.C., San Diego, Sioux City, or Branson, we celebrate freedom everyday!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Expect Miracles

This is another card that I did for the sketch challenge for Take Ten magazine. As it turned out, I didn't send this one to the magazine. I sent it to my Aunt Lorraine instead. Some of you who have been following my other blog Picture This, At Last might remember a post called Prayers Cause Miracles, a testimony to faith and the power of prayer. Aunt Lorraine has been battling many health problems, but when her kidneys began showing signs of failure, we were all very afraid. She took a miraculous turn for the good a few months ago and, though there are occasional bad days, she is a constant source of inspiration for the doctors, her family and her friends.

Tomorrow, Lorraine and my Uncle Earl will be celebrating their 67th Wedding Anniversary. That is not a typo --- 67 years! They still continue to expect miracles, because they know what causes them!

May you all experience many miracles in your lives.!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Crazy About Calico

The calico print used for these cards reminded me a lot of house dresses my grandmother used to wear. (Remember when dressing down for them was a cotton, knife-pleated skirt, shirt-waist dress? Oh, and always stockings, but sometimes rolled down to the ankle.) These prints are timeless and when I want something simple that feels good I turn to these, especially for heritage cards or layouts.

The cardstock is double-sided so the pretty peach was a natural choice for the ribbon and embellishments. The little butterfly on the second card was punched with what I call the "half image punch" so I could fold it open and reveal the butterfly in full calico dress.

I am happy to say that these cards were attractive to at least a couple of visitors to the Branson Craft Mall, because they have both been sold. Woo hoo!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Lots and Lots of Dots

I like to sketch a layout then put together several cards using different color schemes. This is another such series. It should look something like the July 8th post because it's the same layout. So many of the cards I have made border on the complicated, so I'm in a period of simplicity.
Polka dots can be so much fun, but oddly enough, I don't use them very often. Cindy over at This Is My Story uses dots in subtle backgrounds all the way to bold designs. She is an inspiration!
Thanks for stopping by and be sure to check out the links to see some very talented artists.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Have A Cup of Tea On Me

While shopping in the eclectic General Store at the Amana Colonies in Iowa I found a selection of very colorful teabags. Immediately attracted to anything with bright, cheerful colors I couldn't help but add one --- or 2, maybe 3 --- of each color to my shopping basket. Of course the colors were different for each flavor: yellow for lemon, blue for afternoon tea, orange for ginger peach, green for green tea. I had recently purchased a charming Dreamweaver brass stencil and a layout using the tea bags and the stencil on a new card immediately came to mind.

I made several cards with different prints to match the tea bags. It was also my first attempt with Dreamweaver embossing paste and, with practice, it will be a beautiful medium for added texture. This is one of my favorite designs and is appropriate for birthdays, friendship, and just about any thinking-of-you occasion. These cards are also available in my little shop at the Branson Craft Mall.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Grandma's House

One of the family's favorite keepsakes is the beautiful Victorian-style house that my mother grew up in. Actually, the family no longer owns the house, so you could say the memories and photos are the true keepsakes. The house is still standing and still has the beautiful woodwork, stained glass windows, and hearth as when Mom and Dad were married there in 1950. I had the opportunity to go into the house a few years ago. I had not been in it since I was very, very young, but the walls seemed to gently wrap around me as though Grandma and Grandpa were still in it.

Well, I could go on and on about the house, but I chose instead to celebrate it in a series of family heritage cards. This one shows the exterior of the house, probably the most common view of it. Other views actually make it look like a totally different building, that's how interesting the design is. Other cards in the series feature vintage photos of my grandmother and actually miniatures of her handwritten cook book recipes. I'll show those in future posts, so ya'll come back!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Tulips and Dragonflies

In answer to a layout challenge in the Take Ten magazine I chose to combine stamping with my other passion: photography. I'm not one to use much yellow, though I do love the bright, pure yellow such as this tulip. The photo of the tulip was actually taken in one of the many gardens at Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson. Tulips were his favorite flowers and the gardens still contain many different varieties.

Dragonflies are attractive to me because of their wispy wings that are prisms for colors. It doesn't hurt that they are considered good luck. I hope that is the case since I submitted 7 cards of the same layout for publication. I'll show more in future posts. I won't know for awhile yet if I will see my first published card (or cards), but I hope so!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Coming Soon! Original Cards and Paper Crafts

Made For Keeps Originals not only showcases one of my other artistic passions, but is also the name of my new business. I am following my dream to pursue the paper crafts as a vocation, especially greeting cards.

Currently my cards are available at The Branson Craft Mall in Branson, Missouri. I plan to expand to the internet as well as more retail outlets.

I invite you to return often to see new creations and share your comments. Your feedback and experience is important to the creative process.