Monday, March 30, 2009

Mega Domestic Diva Day

Today was a mega domestic diva day for me. Instead of going hiking (I woke up at 3:00 a.m. and couldn't go back to sleep) I decided to spend the day cleaning the house. I starting with the kitchen (that took 5 hours) which is the biggest area in my house. After nine hours of cleaning, all I have left is my junk room, which will take weeks to sort out. :)
I didn't even look at my studio, which needs a little TLC too.
I will be on the trails again tomorrow trying out my new trekking poles. If I have enough energy after that, I will tackle the backyard and get our vegetable garden going.
This evening I helped my hubby add a wild swarm to one of his hives. They were not happy little girls but hopefully will like their new home up in the hills.

Halibut - K & Company

I know I have enough scrapbooking paper to have my own little store (and I am working on reducing my stash) but when I saw this paper, I just had to have it! My hubby loves to dive (spear fish) for California halibut, which are almost as big as the Alaska halibut in the photo. I wasn't able to get a good shot of the detail work I did with the Stardust pen by Sakura but it really makes the page pop. The paper ("Ocean Voyage" by K & Co.) is like a piece of art work and you could just hang it on the wall as is. I worked on keeping the layout "manly" so kept the bling to a minimum. The photo is set in a thin shadow box (folded the paper over an open I cut out of chip board) and the letters are from various fonts on my Cricut. Amazing what you can do when your wake up at 3:00 am and can't go back to sleep. :)

Friday, March 27, 2009


This is the first full week of my new fitness program now that I have to lose another 20 pounds. The first 20 wasn't so bad but I know this next round is going to take a lot more sweat. This morning I did a four hour hike up at Rancho San Antonio Park. I was able to do the PG&E trail, which has some very intense hills a little faster than I thought, so next time I have to take the longer trails back down. If you haven't hiked before, going down hill is harder on your body than going up. I have some bloody toes to prove it. I'm looking into buying some trekking poles after a nice chat with another hiker I met when I got to the summit. My upper body isn't getting as much of a work on these hikes and she said the poles would help.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Penny Black - "Jonquil"

I used the "direct to rubber" technique on the Penny Black "Jonquil" floral stamp. To add more dimension to the flowers I "pounced" some orange over the yellow. Gives it a very nice two tone look.
I edged the image with a gold Krylon pen before mounting it to black card stock. I wanted to keep it simple so I didn't add any other embellishments. I used Stampin' Up markers Always Artichoke, Pumpkin Pie and Summer Sun


Nothing like flowers to inspire the creative process. I just finished making cards for several swaps and now working on another set using the the Penny Black floral stamps. During this time of year my front yard is now blooming with irises and tulips but I still like to have flowers in the house. Once they are done blooming, I plant them in my garden and hope to see them again next year.
On my hikes, the trails are filled with the daintiest purple and yellow flowers in a backdrop of dark green ferns. I don't pack my heavy camera to take pictures but it has inspired me to make more floral cards in a clean and simple style.

Fantasy Chocolate Cheesecake

So many people have asked me if I ate my chocolate cheesecake reward (for losing 20 pounds) I made a special trip to Wholefoods today to pick in up. This was one of my favorite dessert before I started my diet. "J.M Rosens Fantasy Cheesecake". It's very good and I have no idea how many calories are in one slice! I guess if you have to ask you shouldn't be eating it. Now that I have to lose another 20 pounds, my goal is to go to Hawaii for a month. The next 20 is going to be harder since I have to add more cardio to my daily life so the reward should be bigger. Another reason to have the cake today is that tomorrow, I will go on a 5 hour hike. I've been doing one and two hour hikes all week getting ready for this long trek up the mountain. After going so long without eating any sweets, I've really lost the taste for them. I would much rather have my bowl of nuts (which are high in fat so I have to limit my intake) than cake or cookies.
Another plus is that I'm now 4 sizes smaller in my pants. Being Japanese and having no butt helps but it still was very surprising when I went to try on clothes today. So back to my strict diet and planning my trip to Hawaii in six months.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Red Card Swap

This is the card I'm doing for my SCS (Split Coast Stampers) red card swap. It's a simple and quick card but I think it's fun. You really can't see the red glitter pen (by Sakura) on the small package but it does look really cool. The small package is an A Muse stamp, but you can easily draw it by hand. The HB is by Endless creations. I pop dotted up the small red circle that I punched with some shining red card stock - sorry don't remember the name of the paper.

It's chocolate cheesecake time!

If you have been following my blog, you know that I was told to lose 20 pounds by my doctors 9 weeks ago. Well today I've finally have lost the first 20! When I went back in for my follow up appointment and blood work, the doctor said everything looked great but now I have 6 months to lose 20 more pounds. "The Screamer" is how I looked when the she told me I had another 20 to go.
One of the goals when I lost 20 pounds was to have one piece of my favorite chocolate cheesecake. I don't think I can eat one whole piece at one sitting now. That much fat and sugar hasn't crossed my lips in months. :) Then it's back to no carbs or processed foods and doing 5 -10 mile hikes in the hills.
I've had to add some type of cardio to my diet and hiking hills is the only way to get my heart rate up. I don't like going to the gym (dirty, smelly and nothing to look at) so I'm taking advantage of the beautiful trails in my area.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Bee Keeping History In The Making

An Organic Garden and honey bees move to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

From the perspective of probably every beekeeper in the U.S., the first day of spring, 2009, should be one of the most memorable in decades. It was on that day that Michelle Obama announced that not only would there be a garden on the White House lawn, the first since FDR’s Victory Garden, but there would be, yes, BEE HIVES!

The chefs at the white house are looking forward to cooking with locally grown fresh vegetables (and sharing what they can’t use with a soup kitchen near the White House), and being able to use honey in some of their recipes. Honey produced right outside their kitchen door.

Mrs. Obama readied the garden plot on the first day of spring with the help of a couple dozen local fifth graders. They worked to remove the sod and loosen the soil in preparation of planting of the spring crops. The L-shaped plot will contain year-round vegetables once completely established, with vegetables, berries and other tasty edibles. All will be raised organically.

To complete the garden, two bee hives will be moved in early this week. They will be managed by a White House employee who is a beekeeper and lives nearby. The hives belong to the beekeeper.

We found out that the beekeeper was a subscriber to our magazine, so we had a contact and were fortunate to have a phone conversation late last week. But, of course, there has to be some preparation for all this, so everything we discussed had to remain off the record. He is, however, a three year veteran beekeeper and had a strong desire to keep bees and beekeeping in front of the folks who live where he works, and to keep reminding them of the importance of the pollination efforts their bees will be performing.

As far as we can tell, there’s never been a bee hive at the White House, so this first-ever apiary event is something that beekeepers everywhere are excited about. The calls and contacts received in our office once this broke exceeded any event in the 23 years I’ve been here.

At the ground breaking on Friday the kids, with the help of the First Lady removed sod and started the process. In a couple of weeks the planting will take place. The early spring garden, as with many early spring gardens will be red romaine lettuce, oakleaf lettuce, sugar snap peas, butterhead lettuce, radishes, shallots and shell peas, onions, chard spinach, kale, collards and a host of herbs including sorrel, thyme, oregano, sage, rosemary, marjoram, chives, chamomile, garlic chives and hyssop. There’s also carrots, dill, cilantro and parsley. Some mints and rhubarb will be going in too. Later, squash, tomatillos, some berries, and perhaps more, since the garden is to be a year-round source of vegetables.

The L shaped garden is 40’ tall, 40’ wide at the bottom, and the width at the top of the L is 20’. There are marigolds, nasturtiums and zinnas lining the two walkways through the garden. Several raised beds surround the garden.

An organic garden and beehives at the White doesn’t get much better, does it?
This message brought to you by Bee Culture, The Magazine Of American Beekeeping Proud supporter of EAS 2009, in Ellicotville, NY.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Penguin Swap

I had no idea what I was going to do with these penguins but part of my bead mania week, I made several of them. I was thrilled when I saw on Split Coast Stampers someone was hosting a penguin theme swap!
I left the bottom of the card blank so the person receiving the card could add whatever they wanted. The mountains in the background are set into the card, which I cut out with my circle Nesties. I couldn't have a lot of bulk on top because the black circle frame is too narrow to cover three layers of card stock.
The other fun discovery I made was the blue highlights on the mountains are done with a Copic marker run along the back side of the paper. It bleeds through just enough to add a little color.

Penny Black Stamp Samples

I made up some samples last night using my Copic pens and differnet textured cardstock using my new Penny Black stamps. The mouse was done with ultra smooth Beckett Expression "ice berg" which is the same at Stampin Up white. The bunny was done on Bazzill's eggshell textured white, which makes a great faux water look. The hedgehogs are on linen white card stock. The background papers are from the Summer Soiree line by Fancy Pants.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Orange Card Swap

I signed up for several card swaps on Split Coasts Stampers this week. It's a great website if you have never visited it before. You will get tons of ideas for cards and other paper craft projects. This card (which was totally CASE from "Arinstamps" on SCS) is the one I made for the "orange" swap. I also have to report that my little orange finger guards I posted a while back worked out great! I didn't have any inky finger this morning.
Swaps are a great way to expand your creative box. It really helps to get you out of your card making rut. I think this is one of the first cards in a long time using one of my SU stamp set. I sponged on Adirondack inks (Sunset Orange, Rust and Espresso) on Banana card stock after I masked off a circle using a post-it note. Then stamps the two large SU image with black ink. Super fast card to make. Here's the link to the card I CASE.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Purrcy and Lucy in beads

I'm still in my bead mania mood. When I saw the pattern, I knew I have to make them look like my fur babies Purrcy and Lucy. At some point down the road I may do a class using the cats.

Blog Candy - "Snail Mail"

I have some blog candy to give away and I thought I would add snail mail to it. My mail box is feeling lonely. So send me a postcard or card and Purrcy will randomly pick the winner. I will lay all the postcards or card out on the floor and whatever one he decides to lay on is the winner. No fair using cat nip on your mail. I will post the winning entry on my blog when I post the next blog candy prize.
Email for my address if you want to play.
The first blog candy will be set of Sakura Star Dust pens, which is one of my all time favorites.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Penny Black Card Class

I'm a big fan of the Penny Black stamp line. This is another simple card class using the different ways to get the water color looks without using water. Can't really see the nice shimmer from the Star Dust pen I used. It's one of my very favorite products and a must have for everyone. Penny Black has also release a set of stickers that match their floral designs, so if you don't want to take the time to rubber stamp this is for you. I will post my samples I soon as I get them done.

Quick & Simple Stop Watch Cards

Set of cards for my quick and simple stop watch card class at Memories Live On. The cards are all made out of one 12x12 sheet of paper and are so fast to make, that everyone will make two each for a total of 6 cards. They asked that I not use a lot of stamps so all the sayings can be computer generated. I guess there are some people not yet addicted to red rubber. :)

Today's the Day!

Happy St Patrick's Day everyone!
Eight weeks ago I went to the doctor's office for my sore shoulder. She was more concerned about my blood sugar levels and said I had to lose 20 pounds by my next visit. So today (on my scale) I've lost 18 pounds. I will get new blood work done and see where my numbers are at. The scale in the office is in the main hallway but I plan to strip down to my underwear, hey ever ounce counts in my world! I know I have to add more cardio to my daily life, but one mountain at a time for me. Wish me luck! Update: I got patient of the year 2009 from my doctor today! Even the nurse was impressed by my weight loss and blood test results. My glucose was down 25 points and my LDL (bad cholesterol) was down 90 points so a major victory for me. The bad news is that the doctor wants me to lose another 20 pounds but at least I have six months to do that.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Where are the Coasters?

Several people have asked where to get the coasters I used for my free make n take last month. I ordered a whole box and you can get them at Cottage Crafts in the "ZZ" booth. The shipping was more than the coasters! You have to order a 1,000 at a time and I didn't think anyone wanted that many. :) I kept them in their bundles of 100 to make my life easier. If you would like me to drop them off somewhere closer, let me know. The coasters are now here for you to play with.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Yellow Card Swap - More Bead Mania

This is the card I will be doing for my "yellow" card swap on Splitcoast Stampers. Yellow isn't a color I work with, so it was a good excerise designing something outside my comfort zone. This week I'm in a bead mania mood so I whipped up six bugs for my swaps. I wanted to keep it simple so the ladybug would stand out. The flowers are from my Cricut machine.
Update: People have been asking about how to make the ladybug, bee and cupcake I use on my cards. I was also asked to do a card class that doesn't use any stamps (for those non stamp addicts) so I combined both ideas into one class. It will be a two part class and your choice if you want to learn how to bead the embellishments or just make the cards. Will post when we get the date and times set.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Creative Break - Swap Mania

I took a break today from all the sorting and cleaning (yes, I'm still cleaning out my scrapbooking closets) to sign up for some card making swaps. I find that card swaps (Split Coast Stampers) helps me get out of a design rut. This is not an original design by me but something I CASE from a card given to me many years ago. I signed up for two swaps, "clean and simple" and "cupcake". This card will cover both swaps and my cornflakes swap coming up in a few weeks. The cupcake is easy to make, so long as you have the right size wire and beads. I also made the cupcakes in chocolate.

Signs of Spring

I was out in the backyard this evening barbecue up a steak for dinner and realized our cherry tree was starting to bloom. Our tree is always the last one to bloom in our area - don't know why. We became urban bee keepers so we could get a least some Bing cherries, well really one would be nice. :) First it was the squirrels that ate all the blossoms when our neighbor who use to feed them moved away. Then the tree was not getting pollinated because there wasn't any bees around. Hand pollinating didn't work either. Our girls (bees) are doing a fine job and we hope for another good cherry year.
This is the time of the year (at least here in California) the bees will start swarming so if you see or hear of one, please call your local bee guild.

Along the fence (sort of blurry) is our collection of abalone shells. We use to go abalone diving all the time but now with the kids gone and hubby getting older, it's only once or twice a year. The shells are just to pretty to throw away.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Senior Center Cards

Once a month I do a free card class at one of the local Senior centers. This it the set we will do tomorrow. I went of simple this time around. I only had a few hours to design and prep for the class since I'm still knee deep in cleaning out my scrapbooking closets. Amazing how paper and embellishments multiply! I can't believe some of the stuff I've saved thinking I was going to do something with it.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Yet another major clean up

A few months ago I moved my hubby's office into the smaller bedroom that was fast becoming a storage room for my extra craft supplies. What we didn't do was move all the stuff in the closets. So my craft stuff was in his office and his bee keeping, paperwork and tools were in my space. Today I tackled moving everything out of both closets and sorting out what is going to stay or go away. I've shredded enough to fill (and I'm not kidding) four extra large garage bags. That was just the old paper work Hubby just had to save. In the morning I'm tackling my scrapbooking supplies. Once again my family room is filled with boxes and trash bags. I don't know how we can get so much stuff in such a little house!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Punch Storage

Here are some better photos of my lastest auction find. The top drawers are deep enough (happy dance) to hold all my punches and Accu Cut dies. I'm using the lower cabinet to storage my plastic class kit boxes and extra reams of paper. I'm still in the process of cleaning it up and remove all the stickers glued to the front of the drawers. It's takes a long time to get those off without damaging the wood. The lower cabinet at some point got hit with a can of black spray paint. It's coming off slowly but it will always be darker than the top. The rolling door is in excellent shape and I'm guessing that it wasn't closed all that often. It is a little big for my studio but I plan to live with it for a while then sell it off at some point.

Creative Reuse

I'm taking a break for cleaning and moving furniture around to have my lunch. Since hubby is out visiting some of his off site hives, I sat down with my very small salad (still working on losing those last two pounds) to do some blog surfing.
This has to be one of the most creative projects I've seen using leftover scraps. At first I thought is was a book binding gone a stray but then I realized it was a jewelry rack made with the Bind it All spines. Here's the link to Jennifer's blog where she gives the whole story of how it came to be and materials like.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Great Auction Find - Printer's Cabinet

Another great auction find! This is a photo from the auction house, when I get this baby home and cleaned up, I will post better photos. Is this not the coolest thing!?!!! The top part (in the photo) is the roll door (so you can lock the cabinet up) which is covering the printer drawers. The lower half is a base cabinet. What is nice about this cabinet are the deep drawers. I have some old wood mount stamps that won't fit in my other printer's cabinets.
To date this is the most expensive one I've gotten. They are getting harder to find. I had thoughts of selling it but I think I will live with it for awhile and see how it works out. Can't wait to pick it up!!!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Come Flea With Me by Heather Bullard

Many people ask what is Alley Cats Vintage Treasures, one of my many side lines is all about. Heather Bullard (a blog I follow and love) did this great video. Here's the link to her blog. Heather is an amazing photographer who captures the beauty of vintage items. She also has a "hot" hubby who makes nice eye candy when she post his pictures. So back to what Alley Cats is all about. I hunt through auctions house and other shadowy places to find interesting vintage pieces for my alter art work. Slowing I was building a mountain of found items at my house. Many time things come in what is called "lots" so I would have to drag boxes of stuff home to get the one piece I wanted. Sensing there were others out there that like this type of stuff but didn't have time to hunt (which is 90% of the fun) everything down, I started Alley Cats Vintage Treasures. The difference is that I've done the running around and cleaning up before you see it in my booth at Cottage Crafts. Heather's video is such a great visual for you to see what I see when I'm on the hunt.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Copic Markers

I was so happy to see at one of my local Scrapbook stores (Memories Live On) they had a stack of Copic markers "cheat sheet chart" free for their customers. I don't know about you but how many times have you picked out a color you already had? I was so excited to come home on one of those really rainy days we had this week and fill in the chart. From my, what I thought was a big stash of markers, I would fill out the whole thing. Once I was done and could see I don't have as many colors as I thought! I "like" my Copics but not "in love" with them enough to go out and get every colors but this chart is a must have item for any Copic junkie. Update: here's th elink to the handy chart.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

One Sheet wonders - sort of

I'm working on some card samples and I thought I would try one sheet wonders with a 12X12 sheet of paper. How many things can you make out of one sheet of paper. I'm still working on it but this is what I have so far. The card on the left is what I now call "stop watch" cards - can be made in 5 minutes or less. It's nothing fancy but if you have to make a card in a hurry, your non card making friends will never know. The card on the right takes a little longer but once I figured out the size of the window, it's a fast card too. Paper is g.c.d designer paper.

Quick Easter Card

It rained all day yesterday (not normal for CA) so I only made one trip out of the house and spent the rest of the day making cards to restock my card rack at the store. I wanted to do some simple cards (customers like that) and when I saw this one on the Impress Rubber Stamp site I did a quick CASE.
I'm really working hard using what I have in my HUGE stash of paper. It's a Martha Stewart punch and A Muse stamp. The carrot was cut free hand.
This card was so fast to make, I think I will do a class called "5 minutes or less" for those people who don't have the time to spend hours making one card.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Support Our Troops Card Making Party

A request to make Mother's Day cards for the troops overseas has gone out. These are cards made so the troops can mail them home to their moms. I was able to send out 100 Valentine's day cards with the help from family and friends. I would like to double the amount of Mother's Day cards.
I will be hosting a card making party at my studio on Saturday March 14, 2009 starting at 11:00.
I will have all the parts ready (or ready to be cut or folded) to make 200 cards. It will be assembly line work with everyone doing some part of the card or packaging. Hubby is scheduled to be home, so I've asked that he cook up some snacks for us too.
It's all free but if you would like to bring some postage stamps to add to the package that would be appreciated too - it's a little hard to buy postage stamps in a war zone. Just email me if you can make it so I make sure to have enough room for everyone.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Happy Birthday Lucy and Square Root Day

Today is Lucy's birthday. As you can tell Lucy likes to stick her tongue out when she doesn't want her picture taken. We adopted Lucy 6 years ago after she had been bounced around from several homes. No one wanted such a hyper active kitten. Actual Lucy's life of being abandon happened in utero. Her mom was taken to the pound when her owners didn't want to deal with a pregnant cat - which they didn't bother to get fixed. A cat rescue took her in until her kittens were born. At first the rescue person wanted to keep Lucy but she turned out to be a handful. After that in a few short weeks, Lucy had gone through several homes. When she came to us she found her true family. We didn't care she wanted to be chased around the house or wake up to find all her toys on your bed (she also likes to fetch) we had more than enough energy to keep up with her and her alter ego "bull dog".
She is one of the reasons why we support "A Place to Bark and Purr" - see my blog roll for the link. If that kind hearted person did not take in Lucy's mom, we would not have our crazy little girl. Our fundraiser is moving right along. I hope to have the stamp images to the rubber company by next week. More on that later.
Today is also "Square Root" day 3/3/09 which doesn't happen all the time.

New Quick Cards

I worked on making cards all day Sunday. It's time to stock up my card rack with some fresh inventory. I decided to focus on filling the sections that are getting low, get well, sympathy and Easter. I'm also trying to use up my HUGE stash of paper. I finding that customers like the simple cards the best. Over the top ones don't sell has well. A Muse is always my go to stamps when I want quick and simple. I'm also working on a Mother's Day card to send to the troops. I'm planning on throwing a card making party so 100 cards can be made in time to get out to the troops, so they have time to mail them home. Let me know if you're interested in coming over to help out.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Tea Mystery Solved

Last year my niece gave me a tin of my favorite non green tea - Marco Polo from France. When I brewed the tea it just didn't taste the same as when I have it at my favorite restaurant "Red House Cafe" in Pacific Grove. Last night we had a wonderful dinner at the Red House jumbo sea scallops with saffron and white wine creme sauce with green beans and broccoli. It was served with garlic mash potatoes. I had to skip the potatoes but Doug said they really good. O.K. back to my tea discovery this morning. I decided to try and brew a pot of tea (it's going to rain all day today - so good tea weather) when I notice my new can of MP didn't smell the same as my old can of MP. When I looked at the label I saw the word "Rouge" on the new tin and was wondering if that made a difference. After a quick Internet search I found out it in deed was a totally different type of tea. Now I know why it doesn't taste the same, it's not the same tea! I'm planning a field trip to the Market Hall up in Oakland (the only store that carries it) to stock up.