Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Let it Snow

We had around 6 inches of snow on Monday. It has been so cold that it doesn't compact much.



There is a neat drift on our roof. We think the wind must have been blowing from the east to get the snow to form like this. (This is the northwest corner of the house.)



I waded out into the backyard yesterday and shook some snow off the Mugo Pines. Some branches were laying on the ground again. The shrubs are still tied up with ropes from last year, so hopefully we will have less snow damage this year. Time will tell.

Since I have been shoveling lots of snow lately, and I have to walk in it every day, I have been enjoying my new snow boots.

I love my Yaktrax! How did I ever live without them? I leave them on my boots most of the time, unless I am walking indoors at work or I am in a store. (Yaktrax are easy to remove, but they don't fall off my boots by themselves.) I know that other people wear Yaktrax on their boots too, since I see lots of the characteristic X's in the snow when I am out walking.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Our Christmas Tree

Our Christmas tree has been decorated.

This year, I ordered some new ornaments. I am not into Country Style decor, (my style is more along the line of eclectic clutter) but I am attracted to Barn Stars. When I saw Barn Star ornaments in a catalog, I decided to order them.

I kept things simple this year and only placed garland, the quilted heart garland (made by my sister), the new ornaments, the scroll-sawed ornaments, my special antique family ornaments, and a wire and bead star made by my my niece on the tree.


When I ordered the Barn Star ornaments, I stumbled upon some cat ornaments that I thought were whimsical and fun. There are 3 of them, and they are made of bells! This is one of them. The other two bell cats are gray and white.

More Ornaments

These are ornaments I scroll sawed. In a previous post, I showed the ornaments I made this year, plus the ones from 2001-2004. These are the ones I made in 2005, 2006, 2007, and I took another picture of this year's ornament.

2005 Canarywoood


2006 Padauk


2007 Maple


2008 Cherry


MiniKat asked if I had used zebrawood yet, and the answer is no, not yet. I need to find a source for more wood, since I have used all the different kinds I had purchased. Zebrawood may very well be one of the fun new woods I order. So far, my favorite of all the ornaments is the Padauk guitar. The wood is such a rich, lovely color, and it was a pleasure to cut.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Holiday lights

Two weekends ago, we put up some outdoor lights. Normally we don't put up lights, but this year I suggested it because I had an idea.

Last year, many of our shrubs were damaged by the heavy snowfall (60+ inches in January/February). The Arborvitae by our front door always gets hit hard in the wintertime because snow blows off the roof into the shrub, the branches flatten out and the shrub gets filled with snow. Last year, we tied up the shrub mid-season with what we had on hand... a garden hose. It wasn't pretty, but the hose did the trick, and the Arborvitae kept its shape.

We decided to tie up the shrub before the snow fell this year. To disguise the rope (not hose) that we used to tie up the shrub, we also wrapped the shrub in Christmas lights.



The lights are all red and clear, however there is a string of multicolored bulbs (5 colors) wrapped around the shrub too. It is plugged into the same circuit as the heat tape on the roof. After having a huge ice dam form on the roof last year, we decided we would try to prevent the problem this year. We installed the heat tape last summer. So, now instead of trying to guess if the heat tape is turned on, we know if it is or not by looking to see if the multicolored bulbs in the Arborvitae are turned on.

This is the view of the shrub from the porch.


Now for more nerdy stuff...
We can turn on the lights and the heat tape via remote control. We had to make sure we bought remote control units that used different radio channels. We had a remote control for our indoor Christmas tree, and it was labeled channel "C'" by the manufacturer. At the store, we bought "H" and "E" remote controls. Ed had it set up as "E" for eaves and "H" for...."hmmm". He swapped them so now "H" is "House" and "E" is Evergreen. "A" was also available at the store, but at the time we purchased it, we didn't think about the letter potentially being an initial for "Arborvitae". So, now the Arborvitae has been nicknamed, "The Evergreen".

Early Christmas gift for Da Boyz

While shopping at the mall last weekend, we stopped by the local animal shelter's booth. We usually make some sort of donation, after all this shelter is where Tigger and Pooh found us!

We bought tickets for a drawing, and we also purchased a bowl of cat grass. I made Ed pay more for the grass than the price they were asking.


When we brought it home I set it on the floor. Tigger rubbed his face in it, and purred. We picked leaves off it to feed to him at first, but both cats are figuring out how to bite leaves by themselves. They are indoor cats, so they don't have all that much experience with lawns.

Maybe Pooh will leave the spider plant alone, now that he has grass to eat. This plant had long leaves before Thanksgiving. Pooh must have been bored while we were gone, and no one was home to get after him for jumping on the counter, so he pruned the spider plant. I assume it was Pooh. It could have been Tigger too, but I can't blame Tigger for everything that happens in the house.

Shirts

Mom asked me if she sent me some plaid fabric, if I would turn it into a shirt for Dad. And maybe make two shirts, since there were 6 yards. I said, "Sure!"

I sewed these shirts. One for Mom and one for Dad. I am not afraid of plaids, and I find it a fun challenge to match them, especially when the plaids are directional, as this one is.



Find the pocket. :-)

Friday, December 19, 2008

Wrapping gifts

On Monday, I wrapped all the gifts we had to ship.

Tigger had to help. I didn't grab my camera in time, due to a bad case of the giggles, but Tigger had stuck his head in a gift bag which was full of foam peanuts. When he backed out of the bag, a handle on the bag hooked around his neck. When he sat up, he was wearing the bag and the foam peanuts cascaded around him. Ed had to help him get out of his predicament.

video


These are most of the gifts I wrapped. I stamped and colored all the little gift tags this year.

For my parents:


For my sister and her family:

TCPTUES38

Fa la la!

I should be decking our halls with boughs of holly, or at least hauling the Tree out of the basement, but I decided that making a card today would be a great excuse to put off decorating for a little while longer.

This card is for the The Cat's Pajama's 38th Tuesday challenge. This week it is hosted by Karrie, and the challenge is to make a card with any TCP Christmas tree. TCP makes many stamps that are Christmas trees, and I used one last week. Instead of using the same stamp two weeks in a row, I used the one other TCP stamp that I have that has a Christmas tree.



I kept the layout of this card fairly simple. During this time of year, my brain gets cluttered, so I need to work on projects that don't feel cluttered too. I stamped the car stamp 4 times. It was selectively inked and stamped once to make the car red, then selectively inked and positioned in the same place to make the tree and trailing lights green. Next I stamped the tree two more times so that I could cut them out and use them as embellishments. The cut-out trees are stuck to the card with bits of adhesive foam so that they have some dimension. I colored the wheels of Mr. Car black with a marker, and I colored all the lights red.

I am proud of myself for using Stampin' Up's God-awful Green, er I mean, Glorious Green on this card, instead of taking out the Glorious Green paper and putting it right back in the drawer. I think that the only time this green looks good is when it is paired with red for Christmas. I didn't use Stampin' Up's ink, since it doesn't work all that well with TCP stamps, so the stamps were inked up Palette ink. The greens don't quite match, but it is close enough. Funny that I like the Viridian Green by Palette, but I don't like the Glorious Green by Stampin' Up.

Supplies used:

Stamps: The Cat's Pajamas "Driving Mr. Car" and "Fa La La", both available in the "Kitty Christmas" set
Paper: Neenah Classic Crest Solar White, Stampin' Up Real Red and Glorious Green
Ink: Palette L'Amour Red and Viridian Leaf, Stampin Up Real Red marker, black marker
Other: foam dots

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Ornaments

These are this year's scroll sawed ornaments. Since 2001, I have made one for my parents, for my sister, and one for me. I stack all three pieces of wood and cut them at once.

This year's set is made of cherry. They measure about 2.75 inches tall and 1 7/8 inches wide.



These are 4 from previous years. I will photograph the others after I put up our Christmas tree.

2001 Walnut


2002 Bubinga



2003 Yellowheart



2004 Purpleheart

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Merfamily

This card is for my niece. For Christmas, she requested a subscription to an art magazine. I ordered the subscription for her, and since a "Gift Subscription" was not an available option, the only thing I have to prove that she is getting the gift is a copy of the invoice. I will 'wrap' the copy of the invoice in this card, so that she will have something fun to open on Christmas morning. "Art" from Aunt Alice. I don't make 'scenery' cards very often. I should, because they are fun to do!

The characters in the scene represent my family. Mer-Ed, Mer-Alice, Mer-Tigger and Mer-Pooh. (Tigger is in back. He is bigger than Pooh.) I used a reversing stamp to reverse one "Cat Fish" stamp. This card required a lot of masking.



Supplies used:

Stamps: Merman, mermaid, Cat Fish, and shoreline by Rubber Stamp Avenue; grass and ground stamps from Stampin' Up's long-retired Scenery Set
Paper: Classic Crest Solar White, SU Chocolate Chip, SU Handsome Hunter
Ink: Palette Noir, Prismacolor pencils, black marker to fill in missing bits
Technique: Masking, doodling, coloring with pencils

TCPTUES37


This week's The Cat's Pajamas Tuesday challenge is a color challenge, hosted by Jen. It is similar to an earlier TCP color challenge, TCPTUES13, which used Dark Red, Green, and Sky Blue. I remember this, because I don't really care for red or for sky blue! This is why these challenges are called challenges. :-)

Here is my card. I decided to KISS*, and made it a one layer card. Some images stand well on their own, and get lost if they are surrounded by lots of layers, colors, and embellishments. This "Trimming the Tree" image is one of those stamps.



I used shimmery paper. Can you see it shine?

Supplies used:

Stamps: The Cat's Pajamas "Deck the Hall"
Paper: Curious Metallics "Ice Gold" (which is whiter than the popular "Cryogen White")
Ink: Jet Black Stazon, Palette L'Amour Red, Stampin' Up Soft Sky, Stampin' Up Real Red and Yoyo Yellow markers, Prismacolor pencils
Techniques: Coloring with pencils, sponging and masking (sky blue), dry embossing (scored lines to give a wee bit of texture to the card)

*KISS = Keep It Simple, Stupid

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

TCPTUES36

Ready, Set, Snow!

I am ready for snow, since our travelling is done for the year. We went over many rivers and through many woods to spend Thanksgiving with Ed's mom and the rest of his family. I was Internet-less for a week! What I missed most about having no 'Net was not being able to do the TCP challenge last week.

This week's TCP challenge is hosted by Jen. She challenged us to draw inspiration from this picture of cookies. Yum!

Here is my card:



The layout was based on this week's sketch challenge at Splitcoaststampers.

The cookies looked embossed to me. So, I embossed my background with the Snowflakes Cuttlebug folder, then inked up a brayer with White pigment ink and ran it over the raised design. I next heat-embossed the images with white embossing powder. I sponged around the snowflakes with caramel ink, and sponged around the edges to give them that "lightly brown around the edges" look that homemade cookies have. The Penguin panel is popped up on foam dots. To mirror the 'sets of 3' pattern (three words, three pengins, three panels), to add a bit more blue to the card, and to add some balance, I added 3 brads. The brads are faux.

Stamps: The Cat's Pajamas: Candyland Christmas
Paper: Stampin' Up: Creamy Caramel, Close to Cocoa, Not Quite Navy; Neenah Classic Crest Solar White
Ink: Colorbox Frost White, Palette Noir, Creamy Caramel, Prismacolor Pencils, Cold Stone Prismacolor marker
Other stuff: Snowflakes Cuttlebug embossing folder,White Embossing Powder, 3/16" punch, Crystal Effects, dimensionals