Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008 Book Review

Another year has come and gone...and this year I read a lot more than last year! My reading goal this past year, 2008, was to read 20 books off of my To Be Read Pile and to read a new author for each letter of the alphabet.

i didn't do so well...I missed two letters of the alphabet U and X and I only read 16 books off of my year, 2009, I am going to do a different reading challenge...

So, onto my review...

My Top 5 of 2008
The Host by Stephanie Meyer...what a fantastic mix of romance and sci-fi...I am totally in love with Ian!
Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi...totally amazing memoir that left me speachless...very well writen it did not drag or feel like a nonfiction type book
Atonement by Ian McEwan...this is a litterary book, not a fluffy beach read...and it is very good!
Blacklisted by Gena Showalter...real quick Younge adult book, number 4 in the series and I so want to read the others now.
The Masque of the Black Tulip by Lauren Willig...the second book in her series and it was, to me at least, better than the first, I already have number 3 on my TBR pile.

Worst of 2008
The Painted Veil I couldn't stand the characters...but I really enjoyed the DVD
The Golden Compass I was cnfussed the entire time...
The Color of Magic I just didn't get the humor...
Seventh Son not my type of Fantasy and a real intro book into a long series instead of a story of it's own leading into a series
Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict borring...

I've already forgetten all about them
Wild Horses it was a mystery and I vagely recall that it had to do with a race track accident...
In the Devil's Snare So many names and so much information that I purged it all...I know it was about the Salem Witch trials and that is all i remember
How to Marry a Marquis now that I have looked it up I remember a romance line
Lead me On I didn't like it so I purged everything about it
On the Prowl I read this for a story by Patricia Briggs, there were 4 short stories, I remember not liking any of the others and that is all I can remember

Everything Read in 2008
Moon Called
Wild Horses
The Funeral Planner
The Nanny Diaries
The Painted Veil
New Moon
The Golden Compass
Knight Errant
The Weight of Water
British Bad Boys
The Birth Order Connection
Must Love Dragons
Promise Not To Tell
The HostIn the Devil's Snare
Up Close and Dangerous
The Masque of the Black Tulip
The Hidden Diary of Marie Antoinette
How to Marry a Marquis
The Boy Next Door
Lead Me OnThe Color of Magic
The Shack
The Book Thief
Breaking Dawn
Blood Bound
The Illuminator
Beauty and the Spy
Caine's Reconing
Sam's Creed
Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict
The Queen's Fool
Seventh Son
Hello, Gorgeous!
On The Prowl
You Suck
Blue Bloods

Monday, December 29, 2008

The Road to a Friend's House is never long

Here is my latest work on the Circle of Friends Circle Journal. This particular one is our fearless leaders.

She selected for her theme..."A Circle of Friends Travel Guide" Because she can not visit all of us (we are very spread out across the US) she wanted us to take her to the area we live in. She let it be very flexible, it could be anything from our hometown to a favorite room, where we grew up and or a combination of these things.

The only real requirements that she gave us were that we had to include a photo of ourselves, our mailing address, e-mail and phone number (optional).

I am glad she mad it as flexible as she did since I will be moving this summer and I am all in a funk about it. I love where we live right now, good friends, nice house, great church and a wonderful place to bring DD up. But all good things do eventually come to an end and we have to move on.

Because of my funk...I did not concentrate on the town I live in, instead I decided to go with the things that make my home home to me.

The Right hand page of my two page spread is where I have included a photo of myself with my little family. Under the two smaller hearts are photo's of my dog and cat.

The left hand page has a few elements starting on the far left I have created a pocket and placed two matching tags inside. On one of the tags I have written all my contact information for where I currently live, the second tag is so Sandi can fill out contact information for my new home.

In the center I have placed a pear, indicating my, as well as my families love of food and hospitality. We love to have people over to sit around and eat good home cooked meals and chat.

And last but not least the far right I have created a miniature book, inside the opening I have had written "Sitting and getting lost in a good book with loved ones close by. Watching DD learn to read."

I love to read and DD has taken up grabbing her own books (her favorite is Curious George) to sit and read with mama...she says the vowels and points to the words mimicking reading out loud.

I did have a hard time with this journal but only because I have not quite come to terms with the upcoming move. However, it really made me take a look at what goes on in my house that makes it my home...I hope to one day be able to shower Sandi with some of my she can experience all the wonderful things I have expressed in her journal in real life.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Another Christmas Present

For Father's day I sent my father a set of handmade, died and stamped napkins and they were a hit! So much so that when it came time for my mother to pick out Christmas gifts for her sister and kids, she asked me to make them all napkins.

Because of the number of napkins I needed to make, 24 total, we decided to go with only one design. The center of the napkins are an ocher tone with two different shades of shimmy gold randomly streaked on. The trim is a rich jungle green with a green shimmer paint that had a lot of gold in it really matched the center perfectly. The image that I stamped is a sketch of a Lion by Leonardo Da Vinchi.

So, for all those months that I didn't post anything on my blog, now you know why LOL...24 napkins do take quite a long time to put together but I learned a lot and think I have most of the sewing kinks worked out.
I hope they all enjoy them!

My Sister's Christmas Present

Today is the 1st of December and I have just finished my little sister's Christmas present. I have had the materials for this project since May, they were originally going to be her birthday present but time got away from me. Since they are her Christmas present I am scheduling this post Way in please keep in mind that my spacing may be all messed up b/c I am preoccupied with opening my own gifts...I'll fix it if I need to later. Okay so for the first of three pillows. I used an image from Alpha Stamps Brother Grim Collage Images, The Ball #1. It is a fabric image that has been heat set and will not fade. I sewed it on using as decorative a stitch that I know how to do. the mice in the corners are also from an Alpha Stamps collage sheet. The Windows are hand stamped, the stamp is by Stampington and Co. I broke two needles putting the trim on...I had to go out and buy a sturdier needle but I got it on. I thought this one was going to be my favorite, the colors are right up my alley but when everything was all said and done, this one took a back seat. Funny how that goes.

My second pillow is the one with the most complicated sewing on it. I had no idea what I was doing but I figured it couldn't be that hard.

I wanted the 3 different fabrics to look like the stairs in the Alpha Stamps image, this one is from Midnight #1.

In the upper left hand corner I placed a triangle of the dark, what I dubbed, bushes, fabric.

I stamped the pocket watch on and added the hands to look like it is just before wasn't until afterwards that I realized I should have set them a little after midnight...Cinderella is already in her rags again...oh well...

The silver ribbon is sewed down and I think I did a pretty good job with the bow...bows are my arch enemy.

I learned a lot about sewing with this pillow...

And last but not least, my favorite! Although when I started the project I thought this one was going to be the one that did not come together. I had all these extra things I was going to do to make it look "better" and I ended up not doing a single one of them.

The image is from the Alpha Stamps Collage Sheet Midnight #1. The stamp is a fun swirl that is by Autumn leaves. I stamped it repeatedly in brown ink that has been heat set and will not wash away.

Before the stamping the green color I selected was far from my favorite...but the brown toned it down wonderfully and it is a perfect match to the image. I could not bring myself to buy anything purple...I loath that color. That didn't leave me much to work with.

After learning how to attack the trim on Pillow number 1 this trim took no time at all.

I hope she likes them...b/c if she doesn't I am going up to her place and bringing them back. I am having a very hard time wrapping them up.

Thanks for looking...hope you are having a wonderful holiday!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Inside the Box With the Big Red Bow...

This week over at One Powerful Hour a very dear art friend of mine has set a wonderful "out of the box" theme...

Elisabeth of Sassy Stampin' Momma has challenged us to...

Inside The Box with the Big Red Bow.....
This is a time of year where everything is wrapped up and makes it even more exciting by trying to guess what's inside that box with the big red bow! It could be a small box or a huge box. Whatever it may be, it's a great surprise! But what if you knew what was going to be in that box? If you could choose, what would that be? The possibilities are endless!

I immediately thought...2 tickets to paradise...I don't know if the song was playing at the time or if the bad weather just has me yearning for a more pleasurable atmosphere...but as you can see, that is not what I ended up making. I got everything out and stood there for scratching my head, just not feeling the project. So I walked away for a few hours.

When DH got home he asked me if I had seen my Christmas present under the tree...I had of course and then it it me. DH is especially proud of the gift he is giving me this year...he keeps telling me how much i am going to love it and asks me all the time if I would like to open it early.

So, I decided instead of forcing something into my box, that I would make the box with the big red bow since it's contents to me are a total mystery at this point.

The top is where the majority of my time was spent. I stamped a key background onto green paper and covered it with gold pearl ex. On top of that I placed the eye image and gold embossed all around in various areas and also sprinkled some glitter. The pointsettia is painted with Twinkeling H2O's, the key is a charm I received from blog candy and the words are covered with diamond glaze.

The front of the box is what i am most pleased with. I cut out the key hole and covered it with clear embossing powder, added some pearl ex and re embossed. When it was still warm I wrapped it around a pen to give it a curl.

Around the outside of the box the phrase is "Christmas, is not a date, it is a state of mind." Which I am finding very true this year.

Hope everyone is having a fabulous weekend before the big holiday. Thanks for looking.

Friday, December 12, 2008

By The Sea

I signed up for an upcoming Altered Tin swap. Actually, I didn't make the deadline I was hemming and hawing about it for so long. But they let me join in anyway and boy and I glad they did.

This is my first ever Altered Tin so I wanted to get a head start on it in case it did not turn out. Well, it did, actually I would say it is pretty darn close to exactly what I envisioned.

I decided to go with a Treasure Chest type theme. I have always loved the beach, it is fun and romantic and carefree and dangerous all at the same time. Plus many of my favorite childhood memories are from times my family spent on the beach. So here is my own personal beach to carry around with me...although I am giving it away...because I live no where near the beach.

Before starting I sanded the tin and coated it with PVA and then a layer of Gesso. When all that prep was done I affixed the female image and painted around her with a crackle paint that I later aged a little with some brown ink. I sealed that and added various rocks and real sea shells!

Inside I coated it entirely with sand, yes, real sand. The inside top has one of my favorite sayings by William Blake stamped on a handmade paper that to me kinda resembled a rocky beach. The inside bottom (deep section) is what I am most proud of. I cut out various sea shells from an old post card and coated them with clear embossing powder and then elevated them to various heights inside the tin on small wooden dowels. Down in the bottom of the tin I added some rocks and sea shells.

All around the outside of the tin I attached various beads and other ephemeral that reminded me of the beach/ocean/sea. I did this by first punching holes in the tin with an awl and then looping fishing wire through them. This step was actually done before I did any work on the inside of the tin.

To finish it all off I attached a mermaid charm that I aged with some rust colored Alcohol ink and a sand colored thread (the only thing I don't like). They guard the treasure inside.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Holiday Arch

I've been following the Tim Holtz 12 day's of Christmas Tags and I wanted to try some of his techniques.

I also love Gothic Arches but I have not been able to take part in the last few weeks because of other holiday projects.

So I decided to combine a couple of challenges and some techniques and came up with this Holiday arch.

I used the Tim Holtz background technique from day 2's tag. But I used greens and golds for the background.

The last two Gothic Arch themes were Snow and Tree's. Well, I don't have an entire tree but I do have some tree branches and snow, well, mine is gold...yep, wouldn't gold snow be cool!

So anyway, I hope you enjoy my arch. I have put it in the Circle of Friends December Lottery, I hope whoever wins it loves it as much as I do.

Thanks for looking.

12 Day's of Diva-ness Days 3 and 4

And the fabulous gifts just keep coming!

Yesterday was Day 3 of the 12 Day's of Diva-ness and my fabulous Diva sent me a Yankee Candle Holiday Sampler, the scents are Mistletoe, Cinnamon and Sugar and Red Apple Wreath. I lit the Red Apple Wreath yesterday and it smells scrumptious!

On the Fourth Day of Diva-ness my Diva gave to me....a set of Alcohol inks and some clear embossing powder.

The set of Alcohol inks are the Miner's Lantern collection and the colors are Rust, Stonewashed and Pitch Black. I can't wait to try them out...I am growing my collection slowly and using them up faster LOL...and I am always in need of clear embossing powder!

Thank you most fabulous Diva! I love all my to try a different Day 3 candle.
I will leave you once again with a few of the fabulous Diva Guidlines
21. Being a Diva begins on the inside. Once you've convinced yourself, the rest of the world will follow.

23. Divas don't do fanny packs.

26. Divas know how to shop, so forget the budget and go for broke!

28. Divas don't beg. They ask, demand, pout, holler and cry and if none of that works they act like they didn't really want it in the first place but they NEVER beg.

29. Thou shalt keep thy profile updated, with lots of info that divas can use for shopping spree purposes.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

12 Day's of Diva-ness Day 1 and 2

Today the PBS Diva's started our Second Annual 12 Days of Christmas Swap. This is a gift swap with one other Diva where for the next 12 days we will open one gift per day!

I have had the gifts from my diva sitting next to my computer now for about a week and it has been killing me not to open them...

But the wait was worth it...

On the First Day of Diva-ness by Diva gave to me
one Tree Wire Form to hang fabulous art swaps from.

And today we actually got to open two gifts, we had to wait for the silly mail system to deliver one last box...


On the Second Day of Diva-ness my Diva gave to me Two (and yes, I did get two of them) black frames to put my favorite pictures in.

Thank you most fabulous Diva partner of mine...I already have both of the wonderful items in use as you can see...

I can hardly wait till tomorrow!

Now I am off to report my fabulous items to the other Diva's and to send a thank you to my wonderful Diva...

I will leave you with a few of the Diva Guidlines:

1. Motto: Put on your big girl panties and deal with it!

10. Feather boas are an essential wardrobe component.

14. Screen protectors on your monitors are a MUST! You'll understand this rule all in good time.

17. Divas talk with their hands. Flutter to the left then flutter to the right. Just be very careful not to smack the person next to you.

19. Divas should never try to light a disposable lighter immediately after having applied lotion to said diva's hands.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

My first Altered Domino

This week the challenge over at One Powerful Hour is to alter a Domino...

Set by Louise from Zuzu's Petals' n Stuff

I have never altered a domino before in my for my very first ever attempt I decided to go simple...and I am not happy with next time I will challenge myself a bit more. To me this one looks like all the all the others..and on top of that it came out Purple...I hate purple, it was suppose to be a deep eggplant...

So I alcohol inked the domino, then I stamped the image. I attached a small bit of German scrap that was pink but I colored it silver with a Krylon ink pen. The word I cut out of a book and attached it with a mixture of glossy modge podge and a pearl ex powder. I outlined the edges of the domino with my Krylon Ink pen.

The wings are black embossed on some of my Twinkling H2O paper and then I cut them out (obviously) and attached them to the back. I also added a layer of the Twinkling H2O paper to the back to cover up where I attached the wings and the dots on the playing side of the Domino.

I ran out of time but I want to add a metal halo over her head. I think I will have to drill a very small hole in the top of the domino and insert the metal and fill the hole with glue...we will see if I ever actually get around to doing that since I am not a fan of my domino...

thanks for looking