Thursday, January 31, 2008

whither alan puntigam?

a few weeks ago i saw a woman called shoba narayan on television* talking about her book, monsoon diary, which sounded so cool that i was moved to order a nice used copy from** it arrived, and it is a awesome book: part travelogue, part memoir, part cookbook. what more could you want??

but in fact i did get a bit more: i got myself a teeny tiny mystery, in the form of an interestingly obscure inscription:


i hope you have a very happy life!

alan puntigam"

at first i didn't find it too unusual, but the more i think about it, the odder it seems. i mean, "i hope you have a very happy LIFE"?? that sounds really permanent, doesn't it? he's not planning to see her ever again, now is he? ok, so maybe she's moving away... (to india?) ...or he is...but this book was published in 2003, well into the era in which one could be expected to keep in touch, if one wanted to, even internationally. then i thought maybe she was getting married. but it's not addressed to "amber and steve" or "amber and mary" or "the ambersons"; no, it's just to "amber", which is a little odd. a shower gift? but then we've got the matter of HIS name: not "alan" or "uncle alan" or "mr. puntigam"; but "alan puntigam" they know each other well enough to be at first names, but he's not sure she will recognize him without his last name, as well.

lovely husband jeff had a great idea: maybe it's an AUTOGRAPH! that explains the wording perfectly, doesn't it? leaving aside the fact that neither of us has ever heard of alan puntigam*** i think it's slightly odd that she would ask her favorite tv star/hiphop artiste/celebrity dentist to sign a *cookbook*. but could he be the editor, or photographer, or ghostwriter or...well, something to do with the production of the book? perusal of the covers, title page and acknowledgements offer no clue to this being the case.

of course, none of this is any of my business, nor does it particularly matter. i have been quite able to continue my normal life undeterred by the suspense of not knowing. being me...i can't help but wonder. so i'm asking:

what do YOU think the inscription means? what is the relationship between amber and alan? what were the circumstances of the book being given? and finally...if you had seen this on your own...would you be wondering or is that just me??! :)

*it may have been on gourmet's diary of a foodie, but i'm not sure

**i buy quite a few of my books from half, and sell a decent proportion of them on afterwards; i like the idea of sharing and re-using stuff in this way

***this happens quite often, actually. in fact, at any given time, 47% or more of the top forty music chart is completely obscure to us, and there are whole genres of tv star of which we have never even heard. i take this to mean we are now officially middle aged; in any case i have googled him with no results except to discover that "puntigam" is apparently quite a common surname in germany. who knew?

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

one of the meaner cards i've ever made...

...and it's a rebus!

nooooooooooo...not a moody scottish neo-noir detective drama
starring ken stott (or john hannah)!

it's a picture puzzle, like they used to have in WEEKLY READER*!

(patterned paper: scenic route, doodlebug; chipboard letters: basic grey & twinkletype (the twinkle type one is sparkly RED and not matches the red circle around the "spring" icon...but it scanned kinda weird b/c of bein' so glittery i guess) "no spring" icon made in broderbund printshop; other: zig writer, colorbox inks, chicken cut from a magazine, brown cardstock)

U + R + (no spring) + chicken

geddit???! :)


ok, so it *IS* a bit mean...but see i have this brother-in-law...and i love him...but he's one of the most relentless teasers i've ever met! oddly enough, he's not obnoxious; guys like that...usually obnoxious...but not our dear rich, he's actually very nice. luckily, he's also slightly older than me, so i can tease HIM about that. and i do. every year on his birthday!

last year i made this:

i saw the "make yer own highway signage" stickers at walmart last january and for some reason immediately fell in love with them. the girlfriend i was shopping with looked at me like i had suggested we put on metal hats and go dancin' in a thunderstorm, but by the time we got to the checkout counter i had the whole entire idea, *including* using a page from an old road atlas as background paper.

and it still makes me smile. so there!

*remember the little magazine we used to get in elementary school?! geez, i loved that thing! i wonder if it's still around? of course, TODAY'S second graders probably prefer to receive it as a text message on their i-phones! :)

Monday, January 28, 2008

operation 04: FREEZE THE DAY!

and now it's time for this week's PAPER ADVENTURE, hooray! our assignment was to freeze the day:

"Pick a day. It could be today, could be tomorrow, could be next week. Make a list of what you do on this day. RECORD it. So next year, next month or next decade, you will be able to look back and REMEMBER what a day was TODAY was like in your life."

ok, so i started my page by doing this in a normal way. i chose a random day and wrote down everything i did......and it was so dull i fell asleep typin'. don't get me wrong: I LOVE MY LIFE! but so far no hollywood studio has offered me a multi-million-dollar option for the rights to my average day, because "run lola run" it ain't. so i focused in on the idea of a list; and then i thought, well really, you just need the VERBSto get a sense of what's being done. et voila! much better...and much shorter...and of course THAT means:

lots more room for embellishments!

which to me is always a sign i'm on the right track! as soon as i started in this direction things fell right into place. i love it when that happens.

(unknown glossy silver cardstock & looseleaf notebook paper; heidi swapp ghost letters & arrow; prima flower (stamped with cherry pie leopard print); lil davis rub-ons; making memories & marah johnson brads; "old typewriter" font; plus: dymo labels, plaid acryllic paint, colorbox ink, staples, misc. paper ephemera)

(btw, the list actually IS readable under there, with a bit of effort and it says: "waking; grumbling, caffeinating, emailing, blogging, caardvarking, updating, uploading, reading, commenting, smiling, marveling, dressing, grooming, eating, driving, mailing, banking, arriving, cleaning, tidying, opening, trouble-shooting, trouble-finding, trouble-fixing, trouble-preventing, talking, listening, laughing, organizing, calling, answering, explaining, printing, alphabetizing, filing, labeling, invetorying, cataloging, shelving, renting, selling, counting, balancing, snacking, exercising, showering, washing, drying, sorting, folding, thinking, writing, sketching, journaling, watching, kissing, cuddling, snuggling, reading, drowsing, sleeping, dreaming" )

i cannot tell you how much fun i am having with this! i mean, i truly LOVE making cards, but being able to make something however you want, as weird as you want, that maybe only you will "get" or like or's heady stuff, i tell ya! i can't wait for week 5 now, i'm onna roll, baby!!! :)

PS: you can see the other 69 paper adventurers' take on this challenge...and the three previous the flickr group . these folks are making AMAZING stuff...if you've got a few minutes, it is definitely worth a look!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

"MY INNER MARTHA" challenge!

or perhaps i should say "HER inner martha" challenge. elizabeth wickland's, that is. i don't really have an inner martha...or if i do, she's more of a martha reeves, probably...

martha and the vandellas, circa 1965 (what is a "vandella" anyway? a female vandal?? an exceptionally devoted fan of della reese? anybody know?)

...which is handy for beltin' out the motown classics, and not so much for the cardmakin'...but i digress...last week elizabeth posted this challenge on her excellent blog: to make a card using acetate and hot pink.

how ME is that??! ;)

so of course i had to play! turns out, i didn't have a big enough "heavy duty" transparency in a color that would allow me to make my whole card from it, so i decided to go with smaller bits of acryllic, and a few layers.

formal portrait of the card, circa 2008

here is the card in a "resting" position: the bling "friends" and some layered primas with little flower eyelets are attached to a hambly transparency frame. a 6x6" square of thin chipboard is covered with basic grey patterned paper on the front, with the sentiment "are relatives you make for yourself" in laundromat 1967 font, and a paper company flocked pattern on the back.

third layer of the card, in the big honkin'shadow of the first two layers (b/c i stupidly tied the card together before photographing it. duh.)

a 6x7" piece of chipboard is covered by crafty secrets patterned paper and "thanks" in american crafts and 3bugs letter stickers, and a scrapbook wizard pink plaid print (and my handwritten note) on the back.

detail of the acryllic butterfly, for no particular reason except i like butterflies...and pinkness...and heidi swapp ghost shapes

a few heidi swapp acryllic shapes have been layered onto crafty secrets scraps, edged with a black sharpie and decorated with making memories rub-ons.)

sprawling, multilayered, acryllic-n-pink-based card--mission accomplished!

here's the card relaxing after its first successful photoshoot. in the sprawlier position, so you can see the layers a bit better. i tied it together with some scraps of pink and white ribbon, and then wrote my message on the back.

and might like to go and see elizabeth's awesome cards...and might like to make one of your own!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

more mailbox goodies!

wouldja LOOK
at what the lovely and amazin'
miss stephanie sent me??!

out of the blue

for no reason

just because
"i make her smile"

right backatcha, babe!
right backatcha!
(and THANK YOU!!!)

Thursday, January 24, 2008

absolutely shameless self-promotion

see this magazine?

I'M IN IT!!!

yepper, somerset studio's artful blogging, spring 2008 (on sale feb 1st) has a fantastic article about last september's bloglandia ball event, devised and hosted by elizabeth bunsen of, and one of the "ballgowns" included in the article is mine!

i got an email last fall, requesting my gown. they asked for a high resolution photograph, my blog's URL, and my thoughts about the ball. of course i was *thrilled* to send all of the above. they said if they used my artwork i would receive a copy of the magazine when it came out. i was very excited, but didn't put too much time into thinking about whether i would really wind up *in* the magazine. as far as i was concerned it was enough to be asked!

in the course of emailing the managing editor, staci dumoski, with my stuff, she also mentioned a feature they were planning about blog headers. did i have a high-res copy cf mine? would i send it to her? could they use it? yes, yes, and YES--no problem! of course, i assume that publications routinely ask for more samples than they need in order to have choices when it comes to putting their magazine together, and not everything requested gets published. i sent in my stuff, walked around with a big giant head for about a week...and made myself forget all about it.

and then yesterday a copy of artful blogging arrived in my mailbox:

they used my ballgown!
they used a quote!
they used my header!!!


aside from the thrill of being IN it...maybe the best part is:

this is a REALLY cool magazine!

it seems like there is something magnificently beautiful and completely original on every single page! photos, illustrations, paintings, collages, scrapbook pages, quilts, jewelry...not to mention the writing! i want to read the whole thing...and then find every blog mentioned!
so i think i will sign off now and do just that!
ciao from the world's newest and most excited

artful blogger!!!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

vicky victorian

one of the many things i *LOVE* about cardmaking is the opportunity to try out lots and lots of different styles and themes. for example, i have an aunt who loves all things victorian, so every now and then i have a go at something a bit elegant, a bit flowery, a bit traditional. here is my latest shot:

(patterned paper: k&co, making memories, (roses=unknown); cardstock: bazzill; Victorian lady cut from an old book; butterfly & flower stickers: k&co; other: really, really strong foam tape; colorbox inks) (ps: the gold textured frame DOES go all the way around, it just scanned a bit funny on the left hand side and looks a bit ivory. but it's gold. honest!)

i am almost entirely pleased with this. ideally, i‘d‘ve liked the butterflies to be a bit more centralized, but unfortunately i stuck the bottom-most one on first…thinking i could move him up if need be (he's only on foam tape, which is usually quite forgiving until you REALLY press it down). however, it turns out, that this particular piece of foam tape is of a diehard, “hell no, we won’t go,” over-achievement-y stock, b/c immediately upon being set down he was ON THERE. permanently, and for all time. mountains may crumble, continents may shift, giant boulders may be inexorably ground down by the sea, but that butterfly is going to be attached to that piece of patterned paper, in that exact spot, for all eternity! (can I get an amen??!) i decided the butterflies could stand to be a bit more loosey-goosey, afterall! :)

Monday, January 21, 2008

"bluuuuue MOOOOOOOOOOOON..."

"…you saw me standin’ alonnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnne!”

sorry. i fear that’s another one of those songs that just gets permanently affixed in the cranium. (it’s been that kind of week) …BUT…at least this time i have a good excuse: “blue moon” is the name of the new caardvarks challenge which started today! this one is slightly different, in that you have a choice of interpretations: your card can feature shades of blue OR have a celestial theme, it‘s up to you! as i’m sure you'll realize, this allows for many, MANY ways to go, and the DT have explored *lots* of ‘em!!! (the gallery, to which your card will be added should you choose to accept this particular mission, is here.)

we’re sponsored this time by heart in hand scraps, who offer online classes for a variety of papercrafting projects, as well as forums, galleries and inspiration dedicated to those. they 'll be providing a dvd of one of their most popular classes and supplies to complete the project--quite a lovely prize for the winner of the challenge. (read more about it here!)

i made two cards this time...and yet i cannot say i am entirely thrilled with either one. there’s nothing really *wrong* with them, as such; it's just one of those times when the picture in my head and the completed item just could not be made to overlap. which is ok. to use a baseball analogy*, "you can’t hit the ball out of the park, every time!"

but anyway, here they are:

(patterned paper & cardstock: frances meyer, dcwv, design originals, provo craft; font: susie’s hand; brads: making memories; gems: jewelcraft; other: inkjet transparency, foam tape, colorbox inks; all my memories bird and heidi swapp hearts & stars used as templates)

(ranger glossy black cardstock; “earth from the moon” photo & gnomes illustration from vintage books; wooden cupcake:unknown; rub-on lettters: autumn leaves & rusty pickle)

*i’m not entirely sure why i would use a baseball analogy, actually, since: a) i’m the least sporty person whose ever been born; and b) it’s the middle of winter; and c) we're talking about greeting cards!’s a bit of a puzzle… :)

Saturday, January 19, 2008

my paper world, sketch #2

and it's a good one!

uh-huh. told ya!

and's the card i made:

(scraps of patterned paper: dcwv, basic grey; chipboard brackets: basic grey; leftover cardstock & cardstock sticker: bazzill; rub-on letters: making memories; ink: colorbox; other: marvy circle punches, foam tape)

my circle isn't in the middle of the card because i wanted the cupcake accent to be inside the card, but visible through a punched hole... (i'm not sure that's totally apparent in the scan, so you'll just have to trust me; it IS inside the card!) ...however, it turned out the circle punch didn't reach very far from the edge. but i kind of like the off-centery-ness, so i played very slightly with the rest of the proportions to make it work.

btw, here is a little tip for you with regard to jumbo punches: if you are punching half circles using the two-man-punch method (whereby one of you holds the paper in position, whilst the lovely husbandy one operates the punch) the one of you holding the paper should be sure that your pinkie fingers (and all other small body parts) are not...i repeat, a position to be pinched by the handle. because if they are in a position to be pinched by the handle, it will hurt.

***a lot***

(if you live in central new jersey and heard a loud "YEEEEEEEEEOUCH" around 8pm, i apologize, that was me. yes i *do* know quite a colorful array of curse words. sorry about that.)

to see cards by our sketch-maker nicola (in which nobody's pinkie fingers were injured) and find links to even more lovely versions, visit my paper world, post-haste*!

*she's not going anywhere, but they ARE really nice so surely you'd like to see them as soon as possible?! yeah, i thought so! :)

Friday, January 18, 2008

operation 03: WHAT'S NEXT?

hooray! it's week three of paper adventure, and not only am i officially caught up...i'm even getting my page in MORE than 24 hours before the deadline. go, me! :)

this week's prompt was, "WHAT'S NEXT?" i went at this one slightly tangentially. (quel surprise!) when i was thinking about the topic, i realized that i occasionally get so focused on what needs to be done that i'm missing out on what's actually happening "in the moment" so to speak! so i think that's something i'll be working on in future.

in the meantime, here is my page. i was actualy looking for something else when i found this little pic of xena, warrior princess in my magazine pictures file, but as soon as i saw it i knew it was exactly right for this!

text reads: "like many working women,
xena often felt she was fighting the clock!"

text reads: "i always know 'what's next' thanks to the 9,000,000 lists i have going at all times: lists of chores to be done, birthdays to be remembered, groceries to be bought, phone calls to be returned, deadlines to be met, emails to be answered, books to be sometimes seems never-ending! it's good to be organized and accomplish as much as i can...BUT...i have to remind myself
not to miss WHAT'S *NOW*!!!"

Thursday, January 17, 2008

randomness, thy name is lauren

there are still 36 hours left in the CAARDVARKS CardMap challenge. the deadline is midnight tomorrow (1-18-08). even if you're not making a card, the gallery... (all three photobucket pages of it!) well worth a look!

i neglected to mention that the new SCRAPDRAGONS challenge started on the 15th and runs through january 30th. it's called fashion faux pas?! and to enter you need to make a layout which interpreting the phrase in any way you'd like to: maybe a photo of yourself with dodgy 80's hair...or your kids wearing one of their early and less successful, "i dressed myself...can you tell??!" combinations...or HEY! where'd that one-legged parrot in the pink sweater get to??! :) i used my "certain souvenir" layout again...well, i don't make that many non-cards...and hey, it's me in fairy wings!

nicola has posted a second (& equally fabulous) sketch challenge at my paper world. you can see some of her lovely cards and find links to more by surfin' on over. btw, if you're a cardmaker and you don't read MPW you are *totally* missing out on some absolutely beautiful work...AND...she posts a new card EVERY SINGLE DAY! (how does she do that??!) i have thought up my i just have to sit down and MAKE it!

something else i have *thought up*...but not yet my page for paper adventure operation 03: what's next? i think it's a pretty good idea...but i won't know for sure until i do the work!

and finally, for the readers of the vicious chicken who've been suffering during the last few days from nellie-itis*, THE GOOD NEWS: i have found the cure! THE BAD NEWS: it's the theme from postman pat !!! :) (ps: VC, lovely husband jeff would like a word with you...**)

*a severe condition caused by having the unshakeable theme song from the 1980's british children's cartoon program "nellie the elephant" irremovably stuck in one's head. (i've put the link in, but truly, you should only click it if you actively *WANT* the unshakeable theme song from the 1980's british children's cartoon program "nellie the elephant" irremovably stuck in your head. seriously. the same goes for the "postman pat" song, actually. consider yourself warned.)

**make that unshakeable and highly contagious!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

best ever "waste" of paper?

(fonts pictured, from top: wizardry, fishbowl, la hotel viver, the quiet scream, pass the chex, quick-o-meter, chic decay, tattoo ink, samarkan, sidewalk)

ok, this sounds NUTS (even by my standards!) but last year i printed out all of my fonts and put the pages into a notebook.

see? i did say, as you'll recall, "this sounds nuts"! (and you thought i was kidding?!) it's so nuts, in fact, that even *I* could see it, and resisted doing it for six months after i thought of the idea, on the grounds that it would be a gi-nor-mous waste of paper and take forever to do. as it happens i was correct on both counts: it took most of a weekend (every time i was near my computer i sat down and formatted a couple of fonts using a simple template) and used up almost a whole package of (the cheaper, thinner) printer paper.


every single time i sit down to design labels, announcements, or ANYTHING text-based it not only makes it actually saves me a ton of time and test printings and adjusting and fiddling and...well, let's just say that within a week of doing this i was convinced that it was not only NOT NUTS, in fact, for *me* this was an unbelievably helpful idea!

i divided my notebook into sections that reflect my most common font-uses: plain paragraph fonts, funkier paragraph fonts, bolder fonts for headlines, script and italics, all caps, display fonts (really fancy ones that are more of a design element than text; and generally harder to read) and dingbats.

(the basic page template, which features: uppercase, lowercase, numerals, punctuation & symbols, and a short formatted paragraph)

now i'm not saying EVERYONE should do this, but if you happen to be one of those "visual" people (the ones who, if you can't SEE what you have, you might as well not have it...!) this might just help! then there's the fact that free fonts (which constitute probably 99% of my collection) are of varying quality; some having numerals, symbols and punctuation...and some not. if you want to make address labels, the coolest font in the world is utterly useless if it doesn't have numerals, or if they were an after-thought and don't coordinate well with the text! or let's say you're making something fancy for someone called "riley" matter how much you love a particular font, if the "R" isn't nice...well, it's not really going to work out, is it??

one thing i definitely WOULD recommend to all font-fanciers is to print out all of your dingbats. place the uppercase and lowercase symbols in the same postion each time, and then stick your printouts in a folder. store them with your stamps or your rub-ons, or anywhere convenient, and i guarantee you will start to use them A LOT more often!

but if i see you at staples, buying a binder and an oversized pack of printer paper...don't worry...i won't tell anyone what you're up to! :)

Monday, January 14, 2008

operation 02: a certain souvenir

this week's paper adventure prompt is inspired by vincent van gogh's thoughts on art. he wanted to 'leave a certain souvenir to humankind in the form of paintings or drawings not made to comply with this or that school but to express genuine human feeling.' this inspired paper adventure's lovely hostess elise blaha to think about her own "souvenir", and this week, we're meant to (and i quote):

"ask yourself, 'What sort of souvenir am I leaving?'
Your souvenir may not come through any sort of creative work.
It may come from conversations that you have with strangers or your best friends.
Or from how you raise your children.
Or how you interact in the place you work.
Life is art.
How you act contributes to your self portrait."

wow. ok, it's time for a confession on my part: when i read that, my heart sank. see... (this is embarrassing) ...i am just not this deep. nor am i particularly introspective. and i'm *definitely* not a "share-my-innermost-feelings-in-public" kind of gal. so to sum up: when it comes to art journaling...i want to do the ART PART...i'm not so into the journaling.


one of the reasons i decided to embark upon the paper adventure project was to make an effort to put a little more of myself "out there". if, at the end of the year, i still don't enjoy the process i will give myself lifelong permission to never do it again. but in the meantime, i am committed to the idea. however, for this assignment, my thought process was a bit like this, "my souvenir??! yikes! that sounds a lot like my "legacy". i don't think i have a legacy! now what do i do??! it's not like i can run next door and borrow a cup of legacy! i'm going to fail paper adventure and it's only week two!!!"

then i started thinking about a funeral we went to last year, for a friend of jeff's parents. this man was in his mid seventies, but he had never, ever, lost a friend! and they ALL turned up to see him off. his “gang” from grade school were there with their wives. there were people he knew from college and from the navy; coworkers from various jobs; neighbors from everywhere his family had ever lived. people literally lined up to tell funny stories of places they had gone together, and things he had said or done which had become legendary in his family. this man was not rich or famous. he didn’t leave behind a fortune, or a body of literature or artwork, or a list impressive high-profile achievements. by the standards of the world he was an "ordinary guy”. and yet, i could not…and cannot…imagine a better legacy than the one he left.

thinking about all this, eventually i realized that, in fact, i HAD considered what i'd like my "souvenir" to be...i just needed to write it down! so i did. and the result is something of which i am as proud as anything i have ever made. and to think...i almost chickened out! (note to self: spend less time panicking and more time *just doing it!* sheesh!!!) :)

(seriously photoshopped 5 x 7 picture of me wearing niece riley's fairy wings, taken by my sister-in-law; "ghostwriter" and "facelift" fonts; printed on glossy kodak ultima paper)

text reads: she refused to worry what people would think... she made time for what was important... she really listened... she kept her promises... she wasn't afraid to admit when she didn't know something... she wasn't too proud to apologize when she was wrong... she kept learning her entire life... she was a good friend... she had a long & happy marriage... she was always willing to share (except maybe when it came to ice cream!) ...she lived the golden rule unilaterally...she was grateful & appreciative for all the good things in her life... she did not wait for happiness to arrive, she went out and met it halfway... but most of all... she was just plain FUN!

ps: it's only week two...there is still time to catch could do paper adventure, too!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

eat, drink, and be mary!

remember this face, folks...she's comin' to a multiplex near's just a matter of time!

here is a cute story my mom told me at christmas. i solemnly swear and aver that it is 100% true.

my mother's church has a rather clever way of staging a nativity play for their pre-school aged children: they choose in advance (& coordinate with the parents of) a couple of the more outgoing kids for the crucial parts (mary, joseph, the wise men) and sketch out a general plan for a few basic actions (mary places the baby jesus in the manger; the wise men bestow their gifts, etc). additionally, a vast quantity of angel and shepherd costumes are made available so that however many or few children arrive on the night everyone who wants to take part may do so. an adult reads the relevant passages from the book of luke, so there are no lines for the kids to remember (or not!), just a few christmas hymns (such as silent night) to be sung by the little cuties at the prompting of the grown-up in charge.

as the holiday drew near my mother mentioned this event to my niece madeline, and asked if maddie would like to come to nana's church and take part. "yes!" said that young lady at once, with great enthusiasm. "i will be mary," she continued, "and matthew can be the baby jesus!"

please note that the three-&-a-half-year-old madeline...without help or prompting from anyone...had immediately sussed out two vital and precocious points:

a) the female lead in the nativity play is clearly MARY


b) any actress who can provide the production with an infant brother for the pivotal role of the baby jesus ought to have a leg-up on the casting process!

nana explained that there was already a little girl who 'd be playing the part of mary. madeline expressed the hope that there would be two mary costumes, so that she could wear the other one. after some discussion, the relative merits of shepherds and angels were considered as more viable back-up plans.

the big night arrived. madeline assayed the role of angel with the verve and enthusiasm she brings to everything she undertakes. all instructions given by grown-ups were followed scrupulously. carols were sung. photos were taken. a good time was had by all.

on the way home nana praised madeline's performance and asked if she had enjoyed the play. maddie assured her grandmother that it had indeed been a fun and interesting evening, but had just one suggestion:

"next time, nana, let's go to church i can be mary!"

Friday, January 11, 2008

time for another *ING* list i think

...just a little survery of some stuff i've been enjoying lately...

life on mars
the second--and final--series is wrapping up on bbc america. i am glad they have refused to unnaturally prolong the "limbo" situation (if you're watching you know what i mean, if you aren't yet i don't want to spoil it) but i 'll miss this clever and amusing police drama. luckily the new series' of doctor who and torchwood start soon!
...was recently aired on either ifc or logo, though we have it on dvd. i was not entirely convinced that paul abbott could keep shocking/amazing/making me spit out coffee throughout an entire a second series, but i was so, SO wrong. i am as hooked as ever and cannot imagine what will befall the hapless gallagher clan next. (note: if this material was featured in a film it'd be R-rated for language, sexuality, adult themes, and...well...everything! if you are easily offended, skip this for sure!)
women's murder club
ok, it's not the DEEPEST program ever, but if you like an involving mystery show with a bit o' snappy dialogue and some strong roles for women, you could do worse than abc's new-this-season show. plus, it's on at 9pm on friday nights, which NOTHING EVER IS!

detective inspector huss by helene tursten
being a police procedural with a 40ish female protagonist, this is billed as "sweden's prime suspect" even though it is has little in common with that worthy title either thematically or stylistically. nonetheless it's a solid and involving mystery novel.

re-reading: the dares book...a few times, actually...i am kind of fascinated by this book. it's not really my style. i cannot really foresee directly borrowing or using many of the techniques or ideas used in this book. and yet, i have read every page of it at least three times. so far.

listening to: labyrinth by kate mosse; read by donada peters
i have come to the conclusion that it is safer to choose audiobooks by READER...since a great performance can elevate a commonplace selection as quickly as a monotonous or annoying voice can torpedo a wonderful novel. fortunately, in this case, the material and the narrator are equally terrific and i am trying to make this baby last!

cool grungy/distressed typefaces from and
at the former you can even search by style...which is handy if you're looking for something in particular. some current faves: sidewalk, samarkan, and tattoo ink.

planning: a vacation to lake lure, north carolina with jeff's family in april. so far i've bought two guidebooks: insiders' north carolina's mountains and the ultimate guide to asheville & western nc by lee pantas; and i am very very excited about finally seeing the biltmore estate. if you have info or suggestions for things to do/see/eat in the area i'd be thrilled to hear them!

cards for the february's month-long series of XOXO challenges at caardvarks, sponsored by queen kat designs

no reservations, series one
lovely husband jeff LOVES anthony bourdain's manic and exotic part-food-show, part-documantary series. since we don't get the travel channel (on which it airs) i was excited to see it offered on dvd.

the short films, long trailers, newsreels, vintage documentaries, and actor profiles that air on turner classic movies. don't get me wrong, i love the FEATURES, too; but sometimes there is absolute *gold* between the films!

foreign newspapers and travel books...especially those which use different alphabets, like bengali, hebrew, russian and arabic. i love the way they give a collage or card a little hit of immediate "exoticness" as well as providing the structure of text without the distraction of words i can read.

dreading:the icy-cold, wet-n-disgusting, surely blizzard-based comeuppance with which we will pay for this unseasonably warm and gorgeous week of 6o-degree temperatures and semi-sunny skies here in central new jersey. still, it's kind of worth it, though.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

i've been dissed by a cookie!

last night we had takeout chinese (hooray!) and since it was from the healthy chinese place, it was low fat and loaded with vitamin-rich veggies as well as being tasty and delicious! (woohoo!) and of course the best part of chinese food is the fortune cookies, right?

uh-uh. not this time. my cookie said...and i quote:

"today your mouth might be moving but no one is listening"

whyyyyyyyyyy i oughhhttttaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!

i must say i was surprised and disappointed to receive this sort of disrespectful back-chat from my dessert. afterall, i've never been sassed by a muffin! and cakes, generally, are quite well-behaved. but apparently fortune cookies feel that the rules of polite dinner table conversation don't apply to them!

all this ignores my usual complaint with today's low standard of fortune cookie technology: generally, one cracks their tasty shell to find, at best an aphorism, or more likely, a cliche. what i want to know is: why do they no longer contain fortunes??!!! i want a cookie that predicts adventure, promises mystery, or warns of imminent danger. "you will be swept away by a tall dark stranger," is an excellent example; "beware the one-legged parrot in the pink sweater," is pretty good, as well. "don't eat flounder on saturday" is more prosaic, but at least contains a valuable warning!

lovely husband jeff fared slightly better, but not much. his said:

"there are no stupid questions, just stupid answers"

thank you very much, that's extemely helpful. it's still not *a proper fortune*, though!

well, as it happens, the initial prediction did actually prove to be correct, because shortly after reading my fortune my mouth WAS in fact moving, and as it happened, no one WAS listening, and that was because...

...i was eating the cookie!!! :)

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

operation 01: BALANCE

so last night i made my first page for my PAPER ADVENTURE book, and by popular demand (ok 3 very friendly & encouraging fellow paper adventurers who left comments!) i've decided to post these as i go along. this is actually from last tuesday's assignment (i didn't find out about the project until the end of last week, so i am still catching up!) the prompt was to make a page about BALANCE and what it means to me. well, that's easy: i am probably the least balanced person ever... (lol!) that's what i wrote about.

(alphas: all my memories, 3 bugs, making memories, scrapbook wizard, wild asparagus; stickers: ki, daisy d's, cloud 9 design; rubs: hambly, making memories

i intended to have the "artsy part" and the "wordsy part" be next to each other, but when i finished my little word sculpture i realized that it sort of illustrated the point better to have it only take up half the page and be a bit crookedy. (gotta love a great visual metaphor when it smacks you in the face, right?!) so i cut out around it (in retrospect i wish i had TORN around it; ah well...) and journaled on the back.

text reads: HA! not a concept with which i am overly familiar! physically, i am klutzy & uncoordinated; mentally, i am either obsessed or uninterested; emotionally, i have more swings than a playground! luckily i have another 40 years or so to get the hang of it!

the second assignment was posted this morning and can be read about here.

Monday, January 7, 2008

enjoy paper '08

have you seen this? it's elise blaha's new website: paper adventure '08, a year-long journaling project. she's posting a new prompt each tuesday and anyone who wants to can play along. oh yeah and did i mention it's totally free?!

seeing as how i have done so well with my little "three beautiful things" project... (which is coming up on six months; volume two will be full at the end of this month!) ...i thought i was ready to take on a slightly more ambitious commitment. and since i have been lurking on elise's cool blog for a while and loving the things she makes, this seemed like a really good fit.

this weekend i made a minibook to hold the pages i'll make throughout the year. there's a great tutorial on the website if you need one, or you could use a pre-made book, or even just your pages in a little box or fancy envelope or a file folder...or...well, anything you like. having made these a time or two, i just kind of winged it. i took an 8.5" x 11" sheet of really thick chipboard that came in some sort of paper packaging, sliced it in half, painted and sealed the edges and then went wild with paper and embellishments. because hey--it's not a paper's a paper adventure!!!

(patterned paper: stemma, mambi, doodlebug, vintage ledger paper & more of the infamous bengali newspaper (lol!); clipart: anahata katkin; flowers: petaloo; brads: marah johnson, making memories, doodlebug, sei; chipboard: basic grey; transparencies: my mind's eye, heidi swapp; ribbon: heidi swapp, sei, michaels & misc. scraps; other: colorbox inks, heidi swapp jewels, epoxy sticker from michael's dollar spot, sakura glitter glaze pen, american crafts glitter marker, acryllic paint, papier glass finish; bookrings from staples)

(detail of cover in which you can see one of my favorite bits: the wings of the butterfly transparency are bent up & only the center is attached to the layer beneath so he looks like he is just perching there. cool, no?!) :)

now i just need to make my first page! this week's topic was "balance" ...something i have never been particularly great i guess i will be able to think of plenty to say, huh?! :) tomorrow another topic will be posted and i'll make page two. i haven't decided if i will post the pages as i make them or not. i guess i'll have to see how they turn out!

(back of said book in which you can better see the lovely stemma spot-laminated paper (the black flowers are shiny and have a raised lacquered finish on them--yuuuuuuum!) and the little "enjoy paper 08" charm i made with a heidi swapp ghost letter, plus a chipboard heart & some rub-on letters)

Sunday, January 6, 2008


...i went on a little road trip which combined two of my favorite things!

ok, unfortunately not those two favorite things!

no, this time i refer to two of my *other* favorite things, namely art supplies and rummage sales. yes, indeedy, it was the day of my no-longer-as-local-as-previously scrapbook store's "yard sale" in which a bunch of customers show up with their unwanted supplies and bunch of other customers (like me) show up with their unwanted money, and everyone goes home happy. this case...ME!

i got chipboard and stamps and chipboard and rub-ons and chipboard and sequins and chipboard and stickers and chipboard and alphabets. oh yeah and i got some chipboard! ;)

yes, it was a good, goooooood day!

ps to andrea whom i re-met at the sale: welcome! it was nice to see you again!

Friday, January 4, 2008

speakin' of sketch challenges...

just before christmas, the lovely nicola at my paper world posted her very first card sketch! lots of clever people made cards right then...but some of us were either too lame to be able to do an extra challenge just then...or maybe we were just kind enough to wait in order to prolong the fun?? either way, we have mended our ways and made a card, HOORAY!

here's the sketch:

and here's my card (ta-daaaa!):

(patterned paper: basic grey + page of bengali text from an indian newspaper; glossy cardstock; ranger; flowers: prima; brad: making memories; plus: jewelcraft gems, gold pen, crystal glitter, pearls)

technically speaking, my card does not have a sentiment. even non-technically speaking, it still doesn't have a sentiment. it started out having a sentiment...but ended up just having one slightly larger flower and a few gold swirly things to take up the same space. honor of the sketch artist...who is rather famous for making the most gorgeous and amazing cards out of freebies and scraps and leftovers (how does she DO THAT??!) i used the leftover cardstock from the "martians" card, some scraps of patterned paper, a prima flower i had embellished for another card & then not used, pearls i got out for a different project and a page from a bengali newspaper. so there! i have really gotten into the spirit of this, and as a result my work table now has only *3* layers of stuff on it! WOOHOO! :)

next time...i'll work on the sentiment! :)

Thursday, January 3, 2008

take me to your...*BAKER*! :)

is it just me or are "guy cards" harder to make than "girl cards"??! naaaaaaaah, i think they really ARE more difficult, especially if you are an embellishment junkie like me: afterall, there are seemingly infinite ways to smother a "girl card" with flowers and rhinestones (to which i say "HOORAY!") but for guys you need an actual idea... (lol!) ...and since i don't "do" mushy, for me that generally means a joke of some kind. anyway, i am fairly proud of this one since it came together quite quickly AND looked very much like the picture in my head.
(i just *love* when that happens!)

(patterned paper: bam pop, scrapbook wizard; glossy cardstock: ranger; alphas: autumn leaves (rubs); basic grey (stickers); other: sakura glimmer pen, zig writer, colorbox inks, foam tape)

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

new year, new cards!

ok, technically speaking, i made these cards at the tail end of the old year...but they are making their official debut as the first cards in the first CAARDVARKS challenge of 2008...and what a challenge it is! yes, indeedy, we have a brand new, exclusive, made-just-for-us CardMap by becky fleck!!! (can i get a "woohoooooo!"?) it's a goodie, too--just look!

i bet you are already thinking of ways you could make that baby work, aren't you?? uh huh, thought so. yep, it's pretty flexible, as you will see when you check out all the SMOKIN' HOT design team cards in the gallery!!! but first, allow me to present a couple of versions i made:

patterned paper: sei, creative inaginations, making memories, bazzill; ribbon: making memories, sei, michaels + misc scraps; flowers: heidi swapp, junkitz; stickers: ki memories; brads: making memories, autumn leaves, oriental trading co; sequins: queen&co, doodlebug
rub-on letters: making memories; other: zig writer, jewelcraft gems)

(patterned paper: basic grey, hambly, my mind's eye, frances meyer, vintage ledger paper; alphas: heidi swapp, making memories; brad: making memories; other: sharpie, zig & AC markers, colorbox inks, staples)

speaking of newness, this is also the first challenge with our brand new *amazing* DT members: sj dowsett, jolene johnston, lisa kavanaugh, and stef severin. you can read a bit about them on the announcement post...or why not click on their names and check out some of the cooler blogs around?!