Tuesday, December 29, 2009


My youngest sister came to visit during the Christmas holidays and, like last year, we ended up at a cemetery. Or three. But this year it was less of a sight-seeing adventure and more of a recconnaissance mission to locate my grandparents' plot at Greenwood Cemetery. Found it:

Our next mission would be to find a restaurant without an hour long wait. One that served gumbo. Mandina's-X. Liuzza's-Check! We were squished between the bar, the video poker booth and some unfortunate family with a table by the door, while we waited almost 30 minutes to be seated. Why did everyone in the world want to eat out on this random Tuesday, I'll never know. Thankfully, a party of 9 were a no show and we happily took their place, with the addition of an extra chair. Frosty mug sodas. Fried green tomatoes appetizer. Cream of shrimp and artichoke soup. Boiled shrimp po-boy. Yum!

Next stop-Fulton St., downtown New Orleans, where it snows every hour on the hour. (If you squint and use your imagination, those tiny soap bubble clusters can look as much like snow as anything else in this semi-tropical locale.)

Walking Through a Winter Wonderland!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas Eve Rainbow

Towards the end of a dreary, rainy afternoon, this is what appeared, a beautiful double rainbow. It began over a neighbors house and ended over our garage. I wonder if we'll find a pot of gold inside!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Cookies

Today is baking day and cookies for Santa is #1 on the list! Hmmm...what should we make? Peanut butter blossoms, sand tarts, or sugar cookies? Oooo...I know what I want to bake! And I know exactly where to find my collected recipes thanks to a little project I fashioned from an old Maya Road tin. The tin, with its clear window in the top was the perfect size for holding recipe cards featuring our family’s favorite Christmas cookies. The cards inside the tin can be rotated so that the recipe currently in use is viewable through the tin’s window, keeping the card free from drops and splatters and other kitchen mishaps while we're baking. For added durability, the painted and papered tin is finished with a coating of clear varnish. Here are photos of my tin and the recipes stored inside.

The recipe cards have a home-spun look, each decorated with a different design pieced from a variety of coordinating patterned papers. Holiday wrapping paper designs provided inspiration for several of the embellishments.

YUM...I think we'll bake old fashioned sugar cookies today!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Mini ME Albums

I made a these little booklets a couple of years ago to give to my girls. It has pages to record their favorite things in life, people they admire, favorite songs, movies, TV shows, and places to shop, as well as dreams they have and places they'd like to visit. The pages are slipped into little name badge holders which act like tiny page protectors, then they are tied together with ribbons.

A fun little album!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

And yet more...


This Junk Drawer Advent Calendar caught my eye just as the 12 Days of Tim's tags were ending! Whatdayathink? Can I stop at one or two? A few? Here's my first:

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Candy Stash-->Candy House

It's almost that time again...time to raid the candy aisles for delicious little tidbits suitable for gingerbread house decor. M&Ms, SweetTarts, slivered almonds, miniature candy canes, gumdrops, chocolate chips and more are arranged in little plates on the table. Most years we use graham crackers for the house roof and walls, cemented together with canned frosting, but last year I cheated and bought an already baked ginergread house kit. Man was that easy! Whichever way we do it, it's always fun and one tradition that is sure to continue at this house.

Gift Tags

My friend Wendy made these tags a couple of years ago, and I have been planning to make some of my own. The corrugated cardboard base gives it such great texture! Then pair that with the pretty embellishments and a bit of sparkle and it couldn't be more special! Now to tear up some old priority boxes...

Friday, December 18, 2009

Rudolph the Red Reindeer

Once I inked the heat embossed reindeer, I wasn't quite sure if I liked the color. But he's growing on me. :)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Shiny and Bright

Oh my! I love this tag! Chipboard letters and shapes are covered with an artemboss metal sheet, embossed with a stylus, colored with alcohol ink, then distressed with steel wool and paint. The soft colors and blackened metal give it the look of a vintage mercury glass ornament.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

For Crying Out Loud!

Although Tim Holtz provided all the images for his tag on his blog, I substituted my own photograph for the focal photo. This picture of Laura on Santa's lap always cracks me up. I'm not sure who is most terrified, my 1 year old daughter or Santa Claus himself. Laura clutches her bottle and screams bloody murder, while Santa has that deer in the headlight look! LOL!

(Another substitution. In place of the filmstrip ribbon, I printed a filmstrip image onto a transparency.)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Playing With Plaids

Have you noticed? Plaid is everywhere! This traditional fall fashion trend is not just for lumberjacks. In fact, Day 3 of Tim Holtz' 12 Tags of Christmas features two tags, two plaids, created with alcohol ink! It is such a fun technique, that once you get started, you may not want to stop. I love the contrast of colors on this first tag. The black trees against the warm and colorful plaid is stunning.

The Santa tag with its green and red plaid background has a charm of its own.

Monday, December 14, 2009

A Bigger, Better Tag

After a friend of mine sent me a dozen and some-odd of the #8 manila shipping tags (the size preferred by Tim Holtz for his tag project), I decided to try working with these larger tags. Oh yeah. More room to play is always a good thing. Here are three more tags:

Saturday, December 12, 2009

The Rains Came

It had been raining off and on for days, so the ground was thoroughly saturated when the rains came on Saturday afternoon and the water had no where to go. I always wanted lakefront property! :)

We parked the cars wherever we could. Laura's was backed up onto the lawn. Unfortunately, she didn't get it up in time. The carpets were a little damp already.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

12 Tags of Christmas

There's Christmas music on the radio, some of the neighbors have already put up their lights, and the shopping mall parking lots are full to bursting. And yet one more sign that Christmas is on its way...the start of Tim Holtz's 12 Tags of Christmas. Beginning on December 1, the guru of grunge and artsy stamping presents us with 12 days of tags, each with full tutorial. I've ooohed and aaahed over his tags for two years, but this is the first year I am determined to actually DO them, albeit in my own way. Lacking many of the stamp sets and other supplies, I will have to make do with what I have in my stash and experiment with alternate methods to achieve the "look". Here's my take on Tim Holtz's first tag of the series.

Not having any real snowflake stamps, I inked chipboard snowflakes and stamped with them instead. My frosty fellow was cut from a piece of rogue chipboard and base coated with white paint. Stickles glitter glue gives everything, background and snowman, the shimmery appearance of snow!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Give Yourself Wings

When Debbie V. first posted her canvas art class, "Give Yourself Wings", at Lifetime Moments, I was intrigued. She claimed that anyone could create these beautiful works for themselves, and that it required no artistic talent or special training, nothing but a willingness to play with paint, paper, brushes, corrugated cardboard, and bubble wrap. Yes, bubble wrap!

Yet, I was so skeptical about my ability, that I created my first piece NOT on an artist's canvas board, but on the back of a priority shipping box! LOL!

My next painting was my own interpretation of Debbie's class sample, with a quartet of whimsical trees. The most amazing part of the painting is the background. I just love the mix of colors, their translucency, and how they show just a hint of the patterned papers beneath the paint. So cool. Can you see the bubble wrap in the trees? :)

Now, I was on a roll and had it in my mind to attempt a portrait, a la Kelly Rae Roberts' style. But once I had that beautiful background, I was really intimidated and thought I was sure to ruin it once I tried to paint a face! Sketching the face out on paper, I found it wasn't that hard. Now...to just transfer it to paint! To make things easier, I cut out the oval face and traced it onto the painted canvas. Filling it in with flesh-colored paint was a bit tedious as the lighter colors take sometimes 3-4 coats to cover well. But once it was done, it was easy to add eyes, lips, a simple nose, eyebrows, and hair. And to my surprise, she actually looked pretty! One of the best tips I took away from Debbie's class was to use charcoal pencil to shade. Here I used it on the face and neck of my portrait. Oh my...that was so easy! And the way the charcoal settled in the ridges of the paint gave such a neat effect!

A cityscape was next.

And I can't wait to do another one. (I think I need an intervention.)

Monday, November 23, 2009

Rustic Fall Centerpiece

The Cub Scouts, working on their Citizenship activity requirements, created these adorable stick vases for the residents of Sunrise Assisted Living facility, and arranged them on their dining room tables before the evening meal.

It's one of those projects that requires lots of preparation. Gathering the hundreds and hundreds of sticks and twigs and cutting them down to appropriate sizes took hours! But the end result was worth the effort.

Basic Instructions:
*Collect sticks and twigs, cut to various sizes appropriate for the jar selected.
*Clean empty jar, removing any labels. (Plastic peanut butter jars are perfect.)
*Wrap jar with a rubber band, twice if needed for snugness.
*Insert sticks under the rubber band, until the jar is completely covered.
*Secure sticks with hot glue, slightly above the rubber band.
*When the glue is cooled, scoot the rubber band up and over the band of glue.
*Hide glue and rubber band with ribbon tied around the stick vase.
*Finish with real or silk flowers.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Day We Met

My sorority was having a 50's dance the next weekend and I had choices to make: Ask the boy who liked me. (My mother said that I didn't like him because he was so nice! LOL!) Go with Patty's friend's friend. (I was tempted for his long hair.) Or go with Kathy's boyfriend's friend. (Sight unseen. Uh-oh.) So on Thanksgiving Day, after the turkey had been devoured, Greg and Kathy introduced me to one of Greg's best friends, and the rest is history. That was 36 years ago.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Christmas Planner/Journal

(LM Archives)

30 Days of Gifts 2007 - DAY 9:

Christmas Planner & Journal

by Madeline Fox, LM Design Team

The turkey is but a carcass. Black Friday shoppers have gone and conquered. As December bore down on November, it became clear that I needed a plan. Better yet, I needed a planner! This was my favorite holiday season and stress was not going to get the better hand!

I began with a 7-gypsies Composition Book Naked Journal and patterned papers from Basic Grey’s Figgy Pudding, Dasher, and Blitzen collections. After adhering papers to the chipboard cover, I used book tape to reinforce the corners and spine. My book would become a combination Christmas planner/holiday journal and pages were designed to hold an assortment of journaling boxes, pockets, tags and booklets. The double-sided papers from the Figgy Pudding line were perfect for making library pockets. One design shows on the outside of the pocket with a complimentary design peeking from inside! With so many additions, my planner/journal became quite plump. An elastic cord closes it neatly.

Planner Pages:

* Do You Hear What I Hear? (pocket pages hold CDs of favorite Christmas music)
* Books (pocket page holds booklet listing favorite Christmas books, checklist of those we own)
* Movies (pocket page holds booklet of favorite Christmas movies, checklist of those we own)
* Traditions (library pocket to hold tag(s) for listing and/or journaling about favorite seasonal activities)
* Christmas Card Checklist
* Party List (menus, who’s bringing what)
* Gift Lists (pocket page)
* Receipts (pocket page)
* Holiday Decorating
* Favorite Ornaments
* Favorite Foods (journal box, library pocket)
* Christmas Eve (tag to journal what we did, who visited/where we went, favorite memory, funniest thing that happened)
* Christmas Day (tag to journal what we did, who visited/where we went, favorite memory, funniest thing that happened)

Page embellishments include Basic Grey rub-ons, stickles glitter glue, Queen and company felt fusion, alphabet stickers, ribbon and fiber.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Favorites Book

(LM Archives)

30 Days of Gifts 2007 - DAY 21:

Scrapbook Favorites Book

by Madeline Fox, LM Design Team

Since beginning to scrapbook several years ago, I’ve accumulated quite a few albums filled with bulky layouts. It’s unfortunate, but I don’t get to share these pages with my parents or extended family as often as I’d like. The weighty books are not easy to carry around, so they sit, gathering dust on a bookshelf. I thought it would be nice to share prints of my favorite pages in a more compact and easily portable manner by using a Maya Road 4" x 8" Chipboard Binder Album.

The landscape orientation allows me to display either two layouts side by side or a two page spread on each page. The chipboard pages are thick, and the sturdy binder just begs to be decorated. I chose fun, colorful papers from KI Memories Pop Culture for the cover and embellished it with ribbon, a Magistical Memories Chipboard nested star shape, Fancy Pants Fashion Sense heart pins, and American Crafts Thickers chipboard letters. A little sparkle was added to the title with Stickles glitter glue.


1. Paint edges of chipboard binder with paint to match or coordinate with the patterned papers for the front and back covers. Let dry.
2. Cut patterned paper for front and back covers, 4 ½ inches x 8 ½ inches, and adhere.
3. Cut 1 inch x 4 ½ inch strip from coordinating patterned paper and adhere near spine.
4. Cut patterned paper for title, 2 inches x 6 inches. Mat on contrasting colored paper and trim.
5. Cut a 3 x 7 symmetrical rectangle from lace cardstock. Adhere title block to this rectangle and attach to front of album. Stick heart pins under title block.
6. Tie ribbon around front cover.
7. Paint chipboard star and attach with beadchain to the ribbon.
8. Cut various patterned papers, 4 inch x 8 inch, and adhere to chipboard pages.
9. Mat prints of favorite scrapbook layouts and add to album pages.
10. Apply stickles glitter glue to title chipboard letters on cover and set aside to dry.

Holiday Memory Book

(LM Archives)

30 Days of Gifts 2008 - DAY 8:

Holiday Memory Book

by Madeline Fox, LM Design Team

Easily put together by you and your child, this Merry and Bright Christmas memory album is made from one collection pack of My Mind's Eye "Be Merry" patterned papers with plenty left over for cards, layouts, or other projects. Plain or lined papers provide copious amounts of journaling space (or a place to add photos). Page embellishments are either die cuts from the pack or images cut from the papers, with ribbons, and a couple of chipboard embellishments thrown in. The 3 ring "quarter pint" chipboard album by Basic Grey measures 6 inches by 6 inches. It includes front and back covers and 6 interior pages. I was having so much fun that I cut and added four more! Older children can create this project completely on their own, but younger ones don't need to be excluded. They can paint the chipboard edges of the album, tear papers, glue elements, and provide their adorable handwriting for the page titles.

This book could easily be adapted to using many of the cute holiday paper collections in the store. Visit our Christmas Themed section for ideas!

Basic instructions:

1. Paint white border around all chipboard pages, and around grommets in front and back cover.

2. For interior pages, cut background papers 5 1/2 x 5 1/2 (or piece patterns to make a 5 3/4 x 5 3/4 sheet.

3. For exterior pages (front and back covers and their insides), cut background papers 4 3/4 x 5 3/4.

4. Adhere papers to chipboard pages of album.

NOTE: When adhering papers to pages, adhere only one page at a time so as not to cover up the prepunched holes in the chipboard. Adhere paper to front of page, punch holes, adhere paper to reverse and punch holes again.

5. Add die cuts and other embellishments from your stash (chipboard, ribbons, glitter, etc.) Additional images can be cut from the patterned papers (Christmas trees, snowmen, and squares for presents).

6. Label pages and fill with memories!