Sunday, August 31, 2014

Edgar Allan Poe Kit ~ and a Swap Announcement

It's that time again...another Halloween season starting at Alpha Stamps and boy do they know how to celebrate there!  To start off Leslie has a killer Edgar Allan Poe Kit for sale.

Here is some inspiring art by some of the design team members...more to come.

But the real fun is the swap I am hosting through Alpha Stamps Yahoo Group
It's a 3 for 3 Raven cut out swap.  
Come and join us!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

French Bird Cotton Pouch

 Before I took my summer break I had discovered a template to make this cute little pouch.  I made a few for a swap that I was in that were much simpler than this one. So I wanted to give it a try with a more creative design.  This is what I came up with.
 For this one I hand dyed and stamped the cotton.and hand sewed the silk ribbon roses.  Aren't the little birds egg centers just too much fun!
 I stamped and colored the little nest before attaching it.  
 And inside I lined the pouch with French blue lace. 
 Again I hand stamped and colored the Fluer de lis.
On the back you can really see the detail of the stamping.
All the stamps I used on this are available from Alpha Stamps.    
I have this one for sale in my shop.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Impossible by Nancy Werlin

Well summer has come to an end, marked by my oldest heading off to school, still have my youngest for a month.  It has been a great summer filled with lots of traveling and family.  I'm sorry it has to end but excited to get back to my routine and my blog.  I hope you all had a wonderful summer and I'm so glad you stopped by today.
Lucy is seventeen when she discovers that she is the latest recipient of a generations-old family curse that requires her to complete three seemingly impossible tasks or risk falling into madness and passing the curse on to the next generation. Unlike her ancestors, though, Lucy has family, friends, and other modern resources to help her out. But will it be enough to conquer this age-old evil? 

A beautifully wrought modern fairy tale from master storyteller and award-winning author Nancy Werlin. Inspired by the classic folk ballad "Scarborough Fair," this is a wonderfully riveting and haunting novel of suspense, romance, and fantasy.

I had no idea what to expect when I picked up this book, nor could I remember what drew me to it in the first place.  Going in without any expectations probably saved me from absolutely hating this book.  In the end I decided to give Impossible 2 out of 5 stars.

My initial issue with this book is that it took it a long time to get off the ground.  Instead of getting right to the problem and the three tasks that Lucy would have to face Nancy takes over 100 pages to get to the incident that sets off everything.  Yes I agree that some character development needs to be made but I as a reader prefer to see my characters in action rather than in a slow drudge through everyday life.

Once the horrible incident that set everything off took place all the characters, and I mean all of them, seemed to just accept it and move on.  I'm sorry but there is an element of fantasy (folklore) here that any normal person would not just accept once told.  I liked the fact that the people in Lucy's life supported her and believed in her but everything was just too easy and convenient.

Now I want to take a second to go back to the whole action thing, or lack there of.  So Impossible has this wonderful set up, horrible incident, 3 tasks to perform.  One would think the majority of the book would be on performing the three critical tasks.  Well, it's not.  In fact one task is completed in a couple of paragraphs.  No great dramatic lead up, no thwart, no action during, it just happens and then we move on. I do have to say that the last task does have a lot more drama and intrigue to it but at this point in time I was just reading because I had read over half the book.

Final thoughts.  Well, I didn't like the book but I am not relegating it to the worst books I've ever read.  I probably won't pick up anything else by this author.
The Friday 56Book BeginningsLiterary Friday

Book Beginnings
There will be no awakening.

The Friday 56
The camp lay twenty miles east of where we lived, hacked out of the woods during the 3rd wave to build a field hospital after the ones in town had reached full capacity.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

French Envelope Tag Book

 It's another piece inspired by Alpha Stamps monthly kit.  
This month the theme is Springtime in Paris.
 The piece uses a standard sized envelope as its base.  I flipped the closure flap backwards, creating a pocket for the tag you see below.  

 When you flip the flap open this is what you see.  I attached a small portion of a tag to the underside of the flap.
 When you flip that tag out of the way a pocket holding a tag is revealed.  
 So, so far that is three tags, two removable and one attached.  But I'm not done!
 On the reverse side of the envelope (what would typically be the back) I adhered a jumbo tag folded so it could be closed with a ribbon.
When you open the final tag, a fun little scene with mother and daughter in Paris is reveled.
This piece is available in my Etsy store.

I am hosting a Red, White and Blue Ginormous Tag Swap over at Alpha Stamps Yahoo Group.  Please come join us! Feel free to e-mail me with any questions.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Botanical Bird Secret Box with Video Tutorial

 I've made another Secret Box Book.  These are so much fun to make and fill.  This time I used the Botanical Tea Paper available at Alpha Stamps almost exclusively.
 Because my book needed a sheet of paper larger than 12x12 to cover it.  I used two sheets and put the seem down the spine which I then covered with a coordinating paper from the collection.  The nests are an old stamp from Alpha Stamps that I enhanced with glitter.  
 To hold my book closed I used seam binding (available in my shop or at Alpha Stamps) and tied it in a bow.
 Inside I added an image available in the Botanical Tea Collection.
I have a tutorial on how I created the box on my you tube channel.  Altered Book Box, Secret Box Tutorial. Many of you asked if I would put together a tutorial from the start of the project.  So I have created one to show you how I prepared the book for the box. 
If you watch this video followed by my Altered Book Box, Secret Box Tutorial you will have everything you need to create your own.
I hope you like what I have created.
It is available in my Etsy Store.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Heavenly Floral Soothing Bath Teas

 Recently I discovered Your Paper Pantry it is a ning group.  I wasn't sure if it was for me but then this swap came up, Primitive Pleasures, soothing to the soul.  
 I've always loved the look of primitive crafts and I am a sucker for anything heavenly smelling.  So I was in!  Not quite sure I hit the nail with my primitive packaging but I tried and those of you that follow me know this is way out of my comfort zone.  
I ended up making Bath Teas and packaging them inside a handmade pouch.  The Teas are a mix of herbs, botanicals, salts, oatmeal and essential oils.  They smell heavenly, lavender, sage, rosemary and rose!

I made 1 extra and it is available in my store.  If you don't like the pouch I ended up mixing a bunch of extra tea soak so that too is available in my store.  

I really hope the gal's at Paper Pantry like my creations.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Journal Entries and Sad News

 Hey Gang, the Circle of Friends has finished up another journal round.  These are two of my entries into separate journals.
 Andrea's Journal was entitled "Queen" and I took a rather broad interpretation of it making up my own story of the Princess Frog.
 Sandi's journal was postcard size entries with the theme "Live, Love, Laugh" and required the use of acrylic paint.  I really love the way this one turned out.  Not my usual style but so fun and happy.
Now onto the not so happy news.

You will be seeing less of me from now on.  I have terrible vision that has up until now been corrected with glasses.  But now it has gotten worse and crafting, reading, and being on the computer all strain my eyes.  I of course am still creating but at a much slower pace.  I plan on blogging everything but it is my lowest priority and of course I am still doing tutorials.  

So long story short, there will not be as many blog posts from me but I am still blogging and love all of you that have supported me over the years.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Travel Album

 This month Alpha Stamps theme is Vintage Voyage!
 Who doesn't love vintage things and going on trips?  So you can imagine how much fun I had with this one.
I decided to do a Summer Vacation Memory Book for three friends Betty Lou, Susan and Mom.
They of course had to have tickets.
And what better way to keep them than in this cute little ATC sized envelope.   
 Their journey starts out on a yacht.
 Which takes them to a beach.
 A fun little envelope holds a tag with information about their sea voyage.
 They spend a few days flirting in Sea Bright N.J.

 Then it's off to Paris.
 A fun little envelope holds postcards that they sent to friends and family.

The entire book is 7 pages long front and back and is ATC sized.  

This piece is available in my shop  Mini Travel Guide 

Friday, March 21, 2014

Hues of Oz with a giveaway

Click on the image to visit the hop.
Oma Linda over at Olde Baggs n' Stuft Shirts is hosting another fabulous Wizard of Oz blog hop.  
This year her theme is "Hues of Oz."

When I got to thinking about this one my mind kept returning to the amazing moment when the movie goes from black and white to vibrant color.  Then it occurred to me, would that moment have been as impressive if there wasn't an absence of color?  

So, I have selected black and white as my hues.  Because without them, colors just wouldn't be what they are.
 I've recently learned a new technique for blending colors and I did that for the background.  Whites, greys and even a little black make up the background for this William Walace Denslow illustration reproduction.
The book, The Wizard of Oz, would not have been the same without his illustrations.  I find it interesting that the colors used in the book are few and far between, only a handful of the illustrations are in full color.  
Toto, Dorothy and her house are drawn using micro fiber pens.
This piece is available in my Etsy shop.
 But what would a blog hop be without a giveaway?
 So to go along with my Black and White theme I will be giving away, to one lucky winner, a set of Oz Inspired Seam Binding.
You will receive Black, White and Silver (for the big Silver screen).
Simply leave your name and a way for me to contact you to enter and I will select a winner March 28th.

Thank you for stopping by
I hope you enjoyed your visit.  

One Night In Winter by Simon Sebag Montefiore

If your children were forced to testify against you, what terrible secrets would they reveal?

Moscow 1945. As Stalin and his courtiers celebrate victory over Hitler, shots ring out. On a nearby bridge, a teenage boy and girl lie dead.

But this is no ordinary tragedy and these are no ordinary teenagers, but the children of Russia's most important leaders who attend the most exclusive school in Moscow.

Is it murder? A suicide pact? Or a conspiracy against the state?

Directed by Stalin himself, an investigation begins as children are arrested and forced to testify against their friends - and their parents. This terrifying witch-hunt soon unveils illicit love affairs and family secrets in a hidden world where the smallest mistakes will be punished with death.
I was looking forward to reading One Night in Winter.  It has great reviews on Goodreads and has all the elements that I love in a historical fiction. However I just couldn't get into this book at all. Maybe it was because I don't know much about Russian history and Stalin.  

But I think more than anything it was the abundance of characters that seemed poorly developed.   And when I say abundance of characters I mean a total of 57!  The author even puts a list at the start of the book so you can keep them all straight.  But who wants to continually flip to the front of the book to keep everything straight? On top of that they all seem to have nicknames.  It was just exhausting.  

It is writen in 3rd person multiple points of view.  The issue is the voices weren't balanced.  I would get really interested in one story and then the author would switch and not come back to the previous character for pages and pages.  Other characters he just had a paragraph or two.  It left me feeling like the story wasn't well rounded.

I am the minority when it comes to not liking this book.  So if historical fiction is your thing be sure to check out the other reviews.  It might be just the book for you.

I'm linking up, come join us!
The Friday 56, Book Beginnings, Literary Friday
 Book Beginnings
The leather-bound volume was nothing remarkable.  To an ordinary historian, it would have looked no different from hundreds of other manuscripts in Oxford's Bodleian Library.

Friday 56
The daemon's eyes were focused on a spot in the middle of the room. "Of course, you're a witch,too. Perhaps it's wrong to talk to you.  I would have thought you of all witches would be able to figure out how they did it thought..."