Scent of Gratitude


I am a knitter, and as a knitter, I read knitting blogs. Now that I don't knit quite as much as I used to, I've narrowed my knitting blog list down, but I still enjoy Carole knits. She posts several times a week - and only a small part of what she posts is about knitting. Her blog is mainly a chronicle of her life, and I enjoy seeing her photography, reading her stories, and, yes, checking out her knitting.

She does a regular Thursday (I think it's Thursdays) post called Three Things.  This week's three things was Three things that are the scent of gratitude for you.  That one intrigued me, so here's my three things:

  1. Steve's cologne - Ever since we strarted dating, Steve has worn the same cologne. I hope they never stop making it, because, for me, it is Steve's scent.  It's Lagerfeld.  I love how it smells, I love it on Steve, but most of all, when I smell it, I am grateful for my wonderful husband.
  2. At Rotary last week, the guest speaker was the owner of Charleston Bread. Listening to the owner talk about the bread she bakes and seeing pictures of it had me craving her bread.  So, on Thursday evening, I stopped at the bakery on the way home to pick up a loaf of bread to go with our spaghetti for the evening. The store has a small parking lot next to it. After I parked, and got out of my car, I could smell the bread baking.  That is the scent of gratitude for me. Baking bread.
  3. Around here, we are starting to think about Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving has a certain smell, doesn't it? Turkey cooking? It is the scent of gratitude for me - it reminds me of family gathered around the table, sharing a meal.


What scents are scents of gratitude for you?

Nametags


I belong to a digital alumnae chapter of Alpha Chi Omega. We meet most often via Facebook and email, but once a year, the group gathers for a Founder's Day breakfast with the Collegiate Chapter we support.

This year and last year I was asked to stamp nametags for the gathering. In this image are 120 approximately business sized nametag inserts for plastic holders. The carnation is from Garden Charmers by Penny Black, stamped with Lobster Lawn Fawn ink and Moss Hero Arts ink. The lyre is from a very hold Hero Arts wooden block set, stamped with embossing ink and embossed with fine gold powder. The paper is MFT sweet tooth - an almost white card stock.


The misti tool was a great help with these; I also used the new corner set to pull the card stock away from the Misti corner but still have a "corner" to position it with.

World Cardmaking Day


A couple of Saturdays ago was World CardMaking day. I would love to have had a long period of time to make several cards, but I didn't have that kind of time that day. I did sneak in one card, though.

This one is influened by Lisa Spangler (https://sideoatsandscribbles.wumple.com/) from Texas. The state outline is from Studio Calico. The mountains in the state are made from curved lines drawn with zig clean color real brush markers with the color spread out using a waterbrush. 


I like the look of the card and have already sent it off to remind someone far away that he is thought about.

Multitasking


A couple of weekends ago I attended a conference. At the tables were coloring pages and colored pencils. I tried to resist. Really, I did. But there was this black and white page and pencils and who could resist! At first, I just colored during the break, but then I found myself drawn back to the page, so I colored and listened. That must have been what they wanted people to do, right? Why else put them on the table?

I did learn that I can listen and color at the same time. I kind of knew that, but this confirmed it.

The whole time I kept thinking that I could do a better job with my own (much larger) collection of colored pencils. Who can color with just 10 color choices, anyway?

Three Things not on a Thursday

Carol at Carol Knits does a weekly post on her blog called Three Things on Thursday. I was thinking about what to write about this week, and that prompt of hers came to mind.


  1. I ordered a new fountain pen a couple of weeks ago. It's a TWSBI Eco.  I ordered the one with no color with a fine nib. It's a demonstrator pen - the first one I've owned.  I filled it with Diamine Ancient Copper ink. I anticipate that I'll be using it for the headers in my November bulletin journal.
  2. I ordered this traveler's notebook cover through Amazon. It's a really pretty brown leather, and not very expensive. I really want this one, but decided to go with a less expensive one for now to see if it will work for the purpose I'm planning for it. I think this will take the place of my Plum Paper planner. I love the Plum Paper planner, but I only use it to plan my work as communicaton coordinator at my church - it's really more than I need. I created an insert for the traveler's notebook with my weekly spread for my work at church. I ordered an undated monthly insert from Penguin Paper Co. on Etsy. We'll see how it works.
  3. I pulled out my crochet hooks this evening to fix a "run" in my mom's prayer shawl. I told her I wouldn't be able to match the pattern. She didn't care: "put a flower on it." So I did.

Watercolor Cards

I've been playing around with drawing and watercolor - oddly enough, with fruit images.






Flower Card

While we were in Pittsburgh at the end of August, I worked on some art while Steve rode his bike in an event. The front panel and cards below it were a product of that time.

The flowers on the card were stamped using stamps I received from my mother's cousin, who used to stamp, but doesn't any longer. I drew in the leaves to fill out the design.  The paper is Nennah Desert Storm, and I colored the images with prismacolor pencils.   I like how it turned out.

Prismacolor pencils look different on kraft cardstock - trying out different combinations.

Completed front panel with the pencils I used

Finished birthday card

How you Bean?

Our son's birthday was at the end of August. When he was growing up - when he was learning to talk - he would point to jelly beans on the counter, and say, "Bean." Joshie Bean became his nickname among the family - really only among his parents.

For his 21st birthday, I used the Lawn Fawn How You Bean? set to create his cards.  I made a series of four cards, and on each one, the jar was more full of jelly beans, until it was overflowing. I mailed a card to him each day, so that they arrived gradually, up to his birthday.

Here are the card fronts:


Weekly Layout

One of the ways I express my creativity is through Bullet Journalling. I've mentioned that before.  

There are so many (so so many) people in the blogging, pinteresting, youtubing world who are "doing" bullet journalling, and sharing their work, that it seems redundant for me to do so here. But... here I go, anyway. Over the next few weeks, among my other posts, I'll share a few of my regular layout styles - what they are, why I use them, etc.


This is a weekly layout. I do one of these pages on Saturday evening, in preparation for the week. On the top half of the page, I list each day of the week with a column for schedule and a column for deadlines. The schedule side are events that I need to remember; the deadline side includes items I need to remember to do by that day.

On the bottom of the page, I list three goals for the week, I track fitness (steps, stairs, a personal rating of my food tracking and weight change for the week), and I list potential meals based on the groceries in the house.

This layout helps me to see the week all on one page. It isn't my To Do list, and it doesn't serve to record what I HAVE done that week - it is only a look at the week before it happens.

This layout developed over time, but at this point, I think it serves me well.

My Hero - May

Some months, I purchase the Hero Arts My Hero kit. A couple of months ago, it had a safari / African animals theme. I wasn't sure what I would do with it, but it was unlike any stamp sets I had, so I went ahead and ordered it.

Sometimes a kit proves to be a "really useful engine," and this one did. From it, I made several Fathers' Day cards and birthday cards.










Art by the Lake

Last week, I spent several days at Lakeside Chautauqua in Ohio for a Stewardship Conference. It was a beautiful place (flowers everywhere) with Lake Erie in the background and perfect weather. I was able to find some time to sit in the park near the water and do art.


This image is my practice work using the book Botanical Line Drawing by Peggy Dean. You see my iPad because I'm using a Kindle version of the book. The tablet is a Rhodia dot grid top stapled A5 notebook. The pens are Faber-Castell Pitt Artist pens in S and XS.


The next day I used my Zig Clean Color Real Brush markers to color two Suzy Plantamura's drawings (sold by Simon Says Stamp). They are taped with blue painters tape down to art boards to keep them from warping.

These were great breaks from the Conference.

Bullet Journal

Late last year, I started investigating the idea of keeping a bullet journal. If that phrase is new to you, check out the website of the person who coined the phrase and initiated the craze. (Ha, a poem).  His name is Ryder Carroll, and the site is www.bulletjournal.com

For me, a bullet journal serves three purposes: it helps me to record what has happened in the past, remind myself of what needs to be done today, and plan the future. I don't use it for work (I use a Franklin Planner for work), but I do use it for what I do outside of work.

Last December, I decided to give it a try for a month and see if it was something I wanted to devote time to. I grabbed a blank book off my shelf, and started. This is my first hint for you if you want to try it: grab a book that doesn't matter, any pen you have, and try the method. No pressure, no cost - just try it, and see if you like it.

Obviously, I did like it, so I ordered a Leuchtturm 1917 from Amazon. I ordered a lined, navy blue book. Most bullet journalists seem to be using the dotted version, but I thought I would like lines better. One January 1, I started using the book.

I haven't missed a day since then. Each evening, I spend a little time with the book. I write down what happened that day - quickly  - just a few lines, usually. And I plan the next day - what do I need to get done. I filled up that first book, and ordered a second one that I started using in July. This time I went with the dotted notebook, and I do like it better. There are tables and lines I draw in the book, and the dots are helpful.

I have also found that bullet journalling is a creative outlet for me. Mine is not as fancy as some you see, but each month has theme, and a couple of colors I use for headers. I fill empty spots with stickers and washi tape. For example, for this month (August), the colors are water colors - blue and aqua, and the theme is "things that swim."  I have fun.

Over the next few months, I add some posts about some of the spreads I use, and some of the other ways I use the bullet journal.

Oodles of Doodles - June and July

One of the items I do monthly in my bullet journal is a challenge from the.petit.planner on Instagram. It's a doodle a day, based on a theme she chooses. Each day has a promt - they are listed to the side of the images.

Below are my June and July pages from the Oodles of Doodles Challenge.

June 2017
July 2017

Anniversary Card


July 17 was our 30th Wedding Annivesary. I made three cards for Steve; this is one of them. It's watercolor, hand drawn, no stamps.

Sometimes I am just brave enough to paint. I hope you are, too.

What difference a Machine would make

I have a new toy. Steve got it for me for Mother's Day - it's a Brother Scan-N-Cut.  It's a luxury I wouldn't have purchased for myself, but he heard me saying how I would like to have one, so he bought it for me.  Yes, he's wonderful.

The great thing about a Scan-n-Cut is that it scans stamped images and then cuts them out. It can replace the need for matching dies for stamped images. I imagine, after a while, it will have paid for iteself. I don't purchase every die for the stamps I have - far from it - but I do purchase some. I buy them especially when I am planning on mass producing a particular card and to do that, I will need to cut out an image (or images). Instead, I buy the dies.

For Mother's Day, I used a set of stamps from My Favorite Things called Polynesian Paradise - it's a Birdie Brown design (I love Birdie Brown's work). Using that set, I made eight cards featuring the girl doing hula, a palm tree (from another set) and the parrot. I mounted the girl on an action wobbler, so she dances.  I made seven of these cards for friends for Mother's Day (and the other one became a birthday card). I don't own the dies, so I had to handcut all eight girls, eight palm trees and eight parrots. Imagine how much faster that would have been with the Scan-n-Cut.

Time to Destash

This is a box that contains yarn. It's stuffed full of yarn. This past weekend I decided that my yarn stash was too large and that it contained too much yarn that I would never use. I have a friend with connections to a ministry at a prison near where she lives. She (and others) collect yarn for the inmates to use to knit layettes, chemo caps and other items to give away. I facebook messaged her and asked if what I had would help. The answer was yes, so I packed it up and sent it off to her this morning.

I've had a lot of this yarn for a long time, keeping it, thinking I might use it. Almost everything I sent to her were complete, unused skeins of yarn. Waiting for a purpose that I was never going to provide.

Believe me, it's hard to destash. It's hard to let go of what we aren't going to use - to admit that we will never use it, and that what remains is enough. 

And it's hard to find the motivation to go through what we have to separate what we will use and what we won't. And yet, to me, as I took the box to the post office this morning, I realized that it was an example of stewardship. 

What am I holding on to that I should let go of? What material items? What grudges? What hurts? 


It's time to destash.

Variation on Inspriration: Watercolor block stamping

 Are you a card maker? Do you follow Jennifer McGuire's videos? If you are and if you don't, you should.

The latest one demonstrated a technique in which she use an acrylic block to stamp watercolor ink (distress ink) on paper, and then emboss images on it.

I liked the look of what she did, and was inspired by it. All of my acrylic blocks are curved at the edges, but I do have a mirror stamp from MFT. I used that, along with distress ink, to stamp on Tim Holtz watercolor paper.

The first image uses Aged Mahogany, Victorian Velvet and Shaded Lilac. The second one uses Mowed Lawn, Evergreen Bough, Broken China and Salty Ocean. I inked the mirror image stamp, sprayed it with water, and then stamped it on the watercolor paper. I didn't lift it, and placed a jar of water on it for 5 minutes.
After lifting the block, I then allowed it to dry, used an antistatic tool, and then stamped Penny Black Dreamy (a wonderful, wispy flower) with Versamark ink, and then embosssed it with Ranger Liquid Platinum powder.

These are both anniversary cards, and the Celebrate stamp is from the June Simon Says Stamp kit, Floral Bliss.

Movie Knitting

I'm making progress on my Snowshoe scarf. The picture to the right is the scarf. The color is ALL WRONG because the image was taken in a dark movie theater. The scarf, Steve and I were at Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol 2.

Do you knit in the movies? I love to do that. The pattern has to be simple (this one is 2x2 ribbing). Of course, it's dark in there, so I can't follow a pattern. Yarn that is at least worsted is better that smaller yarn. I've tried socks, but it's harder for me. Circular needles are good because I can't loose them. Knitting markers are OK - they are great if I need to track a pattern - but they do pop off, and get lost in the dark.

For me, the best movie knitting is a simple scarf. I've made scarves almost entirely in movies - so much so that I didn't see how they looked until I was almost finished with them.

Movie knitting is great.

Distress Oxide Surprise

I'm highlighting this card today because it was made with an ink I've never tried before - distress oxide ink.

When the distress oxide ink first came out, I thought, "Oh, no - I don't want another kind of ink. I have way TOO many ink pads, and I really don't want to start with another set. I'm sure I don't need it."

Then, this past month, a distress oxide ink pad was included in the Simon Says Stamp card kit for the month. (I'm sure they do this on purpose!). And, truth be told (is this confession time?), I was interested in trying it out. I'd been looking for the ink pads at my local craft stores, and missing them. And THEN, SSS had a Ranger sale - 20% off. So you know the rest. Many of the colors arrived at my house.

But - I like them! I played a little to make this background. I placed some of several colors of ink on my ranger craft mat, added water, and picked up the ink with a piece of ranger watercolor paper. The result was awful. The yellow took over and turned everything to mud.  

So, the next time, I just put green, blue and yellow on the mat. Wet that. Picked it up. Dried it with a heat gun.  Then, I put pink, purple and blue on the mat. Picked that up. Amazing. It layered instead of mixing, and I loved the result. 

So much so that I'm going to stop typing now and go make another card.

(The penguin in is from the SSS card kit from April - Wild Cuddly Critters.

Five Items

I was thinking yesterday that if I had to list what I consider to be the best cardmaking purchases I have made, what that list would be. I decided to eliminate the obvious and necessary purchases, such as paper, ink and coloring supplies. Beside those, what would be the 5 most useful or enjoyable cardmaking purchase I have made?

  1. My raskog cart. In fact, this is the item that started me compiling this list in my head. I love the convenience of this cart. It is used every time I make a card. Because items are organized well, and right at hand, it saves me time. And I love it.
  2. Two background stamps that I use all the time - The My Favorite Things Sheet Music Background stamp and the My Favorite Things Romantic Script Background stamp. I use both of these all the time - they just complete so many cards and make them look finished. Love them.
  3. My Misti and my Misti.  Yes, I have two of them. I have one of the original size and one mini. I hesitated to by the mini - after all, I had the original size, what did I need with a smaller one. My husband bought it for me (lovely man). I use them both, sometimes at the same time. 
  4. My paper trimmer. It's this one, the smaller one. I have two other larger ones, and I use them, too, but this one is small enough to fit on my desk (the others are too big for that). I love that I can see exactly where it is going to cut and that I can see the measurements to the right of the cutting blade. I use it on every card I make (I can't cut a straight line without it.).
  5. My scoring board. It is this mini one from Martha Stewart. I realize that I could use the "gutter" in the trimmer for scoring, but I don't like it. I like this. It sits on my raskog cart, right next to my Misti, and I use it on every card. I can't fold at all - not straight, anyway, and this does it for me.
There are others, but these are the first three that came to mind. I could also wax poetic about my Ranger craft mat, my Wagner heat gun, my Sizzix die cut machine, the mason jars I use for watercoloring, but five was my pre-set limit.

As a bonus, I love these pieces of pottery that are on my desk.  They catch trash when I need them to, hold the backers off of tape, and sequins (the flat one does that). I could have bought less expensive and less pretty dishes for those purposes, but these make me happy when I craft.

Birds

This month, I've been posting an image each day of birds on my Facebook and Instagram feed. I thought I would share some of them with you.  These were all taken with our Nikon 5100 and the Nikon DX 55-300mm lens.







Card for a Bishop

About a week ago, a friend, who is also the spouse of the Director of Connectional Ministries for the West Virginia Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church, facebook messaged me. They needed a thank you card for the Bishop who was preaching for the annual conference - would I make one? I said yes, and asked her what it should look like. The answer was mountain scene or birds.

This is what I did:


The card is water colored on Arches Coldpress paper. I took inspiration from an image of the view from Snowshow Mountain that I found on the internet.

It was nerve wracking to do. A card I make for a friend or family member is one thing - but a card for a bishop? Done at someone's request? Quite another thing.

But in the end, what is done is done, and out it went.

West Virginia Mountains

We went to the northeastern mountains of West Virgiina over Memorial Day Weekend.  These images were taken using all three of my cameras (listed here).

Blackwater Falls from far away

Blackwater Falls from stairs

Ferns

Hawks Nest View - High water

Hawks Nest View

Hawks Nest View

View from Snowshoe lift

Oodles of Doodles - May


I've mentioned before that The Petit Planner on Instagram publishes a monthly doodling challenge.   In  May, the challenge was a list of foods.  It's fun to do - and fun to think of creative ways to interpret the words.

Some of my favorites this month were cookie (I drew the Cookie Monster) and hamburger (Hamburgler).

Snowshoe Scarf

Often, when we travel, I'll buy yarn. I like my yarn souveniors - when I knit with the yarn and then use the knitted article (usually a scarf), I am reminded of our trip.

Last weekend we went to the mountains of West Virginia. I knew I wouldn't find a yarn store there, and I wanted to knit in the car while we traveled, so I ordered yarn to take with me.

I am drawn to blues and greens, so much so that many of my scarves are shades of those colors. I do buy a few other colors, but not beige. I like color.

I ordered this yarn because the name of the color is snowshoe - we went to Snowshoe mountain for the weekend. I couldn't reisist it! And it will match my coats (which are black with taupe trim).

I'm knitting a 2x2 rib with Knit Picks City Tweed, Aran weight. The yarn is soft - 55% merino wool, 25% superfine alpaca, and 20% donegal tweed. It's a heavy worsted weight yarn, so I'm using US size 9 needles.

On the trip, I knit one skein - 164 yards. I purchased three of them.

The top image is the scarf sittig on a rail of the deck at the hotel. The second one is the scarf sitting on the dashboard as we aproached Seneca Rocks.