Monday, September 30, 2013

Ripley Falls

Hello!  I'm back with another post of our New Hampshire Vacation.  Believe it or not, I'm still on Day Two!  We crammed a lot of adventure into the four days we were there.  I think I'll be done posting about my August Vacation just about the time I'll be ready to leave for my Holiday Vacation to Florida!  LOL!  To continue from my previous post, after our adventurous hike on Frankenstein Cliff and a brief scenic drive, we then went to Ripley Falls.  The travel catalog describes the hike to Ripley Falls as 'easy', but when you've already spent the whole day hiking, it can be exhausting, however, it was much shorter than our previous hike.  From the parking lot, the trail is only about a half mile, but it is a steep, uphill climb all the way.  It is well worth the ambitious hike,  because when you get to the end of the trail,  this is the beauty that you shall see:

 To get to the trail itself, after you park your car you have to cross over these railroad tracks.  Talk about a perfect picture opportunity!  Love it!   That's my son Jordan in the photo below.
 The sign right across the tracks directing the hiker to the falls.

The unique feature of this waterfall is the descent of the rock wall.  It's 100 feet of beautiful, smooth rock, set at a 60 degree angle, which causing the water to maintain contact with the rock all the way down.  My son is in the photos below to give you some idea of the scale of this amazing rock formation.

 The water pools in the bottom so if it's a warm day you can wade safely in the puddles below.

 That's me in the picture below.  The size of these boulders are unbelievable!
 My son-in-law Jason being silly in the puddles below the falls.

Have a great day! Amy

Saturday, September 28, 2013

September Christmas Cards

Hello!  Today I have my September Christmas Cards to show you.  As most of you already know, I play the Splitcoaststampers Christmas Card Challenge where we make Christmas Cards all year long so that were not stressed out during the busy Holiday Season.  I make about four Christmas Cards a month so that I'll have about fifty cards at the end of the year.

This month I was really inspired by a lot of Christmas Cards I saw on the web.  Some of my cards are direct cases, and others have variations from the original.  

For my first card, I was inspired by this one by this one HERE.  I copied the village scene, but used different stamps and sentiments, and eliminated the bow.  Flower Soft and glitter were added for the snow effect.  The stamps are a mix of Papertrey Ink, and random dollar stamps.

When I first saw THIS card I was awestruck.  I cased it almost directly--why mess with perfection?  The only things I changed were the ink colors and sentiment stamps because I didn't have the ones the original artist used.  I love how she used a die cut to cut out out one of the houses....brilliant!  I wish I could think of such wonderful, creative ideas like this!   All the images and dies are from Papertrey.
 For my next card, I only cased the layout of this card HERE.  I used a pre made felt image purchased at a craft store, instead of a stamp, and then I changed the papers and stamps.  The holiday papers are from DCWV and the stamp is a dollar stamp from Studio G.
 And my final card is also almost a direct case.  I absolutely loved the idea of using embossed basic Kraft paper to simulate a fire place mantel.  You can see the original card HERE.  I kept the exact same concept as the original card, but I changed the embossing folder to a brick wall embossing folder by Darice, used a Studio G Dollar Stamp instead of a die by stamping my image onto two different shades of card stock and cutting them out.  I then put Liquid Applique on the top of the Stockings and added a metal adhesive gem to portray a nail.  I changed the sentiment with another Studio G stamp, and colored in a portion of the sentiment with a purple gel pen.  The natural hemp of the original card, was changed to a purple one to bring in a bit more color.

Have a great day! Amy

Friday, September 27, 2013

Fashion Over Fifty: The Current Camo Trend

Hello!  This week's Fashion Over Fifty post is all about the new Camouflage Trend.  One would have to be blind or from Mars to not have noticed that the camouflage print is  everywhere this season.  Now, I've personally been struggling with jumping on the bandwagon with this trend for two reasons.  Number one, I actually was in the U.S. Army for six and half miserable years of my life, and when my enlistment was over, the first thing that went in the garbage bin was anything green or camouflage.  I never wanted to wear that color or style again!  The second reason is that camouflage reminds me of hunting season, which I loathe.  You see, I live in a prime hunting country, and every fall my neighborhood is filled with dead animal carcasses hanging from tree branches or out of the back of a pick up truck and with strange people dressed like Rambo everywhere. My peaceful, quiet, beautiful, natural surroundings, turn into a war zone where  I hear gun shots all day long, which disturb my peace of mind.  Sorry if I offend anyone by saying this, I'm not objecting to hunting if you love to hunt, I'm just saying I don't like hunting season for these reasons.  It is just not my cup of tea.   So naturally when I began seeing the Camouflage Print in fashion my first instinct was 'gag'.  However, after weeks of seeing this trend everywhere (or by the sheer power of advertising), somehow, someway, I began to soften and actually (gag) started to like this trend and I almost (gag again) bought a camo shirt at the store the other day, but resisted the impulse.

Now my fashion posts are all about fashion for women over fifty, so I started to wonder 'should older women wear camo?"  My immediate answer would be 'no, it's too trendy and it is for the younger generation', but, then I reminded myself of one of my previous posts where I debated whether or not older women should wear denim jackets or maxi dresses and I concluded in that post that it was more about body shape when it comes to fashion and not age, so I was confused by my own thinking. LOL.  Ultimately I think I decided that following certain fashion trends is more about what you feel comfortable wearing.  I really don't feel comfortable wearing camouflage because of all the reasons listed above, and also because of my age, BUT, I still think I can join the trend with an adaptation, and here it is pictured below.

 I found this Olive Green Military Jacket at Dress Barn the other day and really, really liked it.  I don't normally shop at Dress Barn because it's considered 'an old lady store', but they do on occasion (like this one) have some very nice pieces that are very on trend for the older woman.  I also like to go there for special occasion dresses, because so few stores sell nice dresses anymore.  Anyway, I absolutely love this jacket.  It's very thin, so it is perfect for this time of year when you need a little warmth from the cooler mornings and evenings, but not too much.  And I feel the color and style are a great compromise to wearing the military look, but without the camouflage print.

Underneath the Military Jacket I wore this bejeweled sweatshirt which I purchased from Old Navy.  This is another new trend that you will be seeing everywhere:  plain ordinary sweatshirts covered in jewels and sequins.  A lot of women are making their own by sewing and gluing on jewels/sequins onto their old sweatshirts. HERE is a tutorial if your interested.   Now, I normally don't wear sweatshirts because I always feel they make me look fat, and I still think this sweatshirt makes me look ten pounds heavier than I really am, but I still like it.  It is very thin and soft, and not thick and stiff like your typical sweatshirt, and I really love how the jeweled neckline dresses the sweatshirt up so you don't feel like a slob when you leave the house.

To complete the outfit, I had a light grey lace trimmed cami which was suppose to just 'peek out' from underneath the sweatshirt, but ended up hanging out a little too much for my taste for the photo.  My pants are eggplant skinny jeans from Express, and dark brown boots.  I love MK bags, but I can't even fathom spending $250.00-$500.00 for a purse, so I bought this 'Relic' look- a - like from J.C. Penney instead, and I really love it.  

And, if your braver than I, here are some pictures of current Camouflage Trends in Fashion that I really Love that I found on Pinterest.

This is an example of the shirt that I almost bought the other day but resisted.  I love how a fancy necklace was added to this masculine skirt to balance the outfit.
 Love these belts.  I would be brave enough to wear these!
 I would never wear camo pants,  but I love how camo skinnies feminize the look rather than camo cargo's.  I also like how the chambray shirt and heels worn with these pants help soften the masculine camo print.
 This jacket is fabulous!  Love the leather sleeves.
 She looks really cute, yet still feminine in this camo jacket because the print is balanced with skinny jeans and heels.  The jacket is also very small and tailored, which also helps soften the look for women.

Based on these pictures, I think if your going to wear camouflage, it looks best if it's feminized with heels, skinny jeans, jewelry, or a tighter, smaller fit.  

So what about you?  Are you daring enough to jump on this fashion trend, or are you leaving it to the younger generation?

Have a great day! Amy

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Floral Thanks

Hello!  Today I have a simple floral Thank You Card that doesn't use any stamps.  I started with a beautiful floral sheet of designer paper from K & Co as my base, then I cut a piece of plain green card stock using a Sizzix die for my next layer, followed by a third layer of Almost Amethyst Card stock using a Nestability die.  I inked the edges of  that layer with purple ink and then simply stuck a $1.00 sticker on it from Studio G.  A piece of ribbon, and another die cut (this time of a leafy branch from MFT), and I have my Thank You card.

Have a great day! Amy

Monday, September 23, 2013

Fairy Tale Wedding

Hello!  My husband and I recently attended a wedding that had a fairy tale theme, so I wanted to make a card that reflected the bride's theme.  I had a Cinderella's Coach stamp from 'Snag Em Stamps by Imaginisce', which I used for the outside of the card.  I did a simple square, but there was plenty of 'glitz' with  the beige glitter paper from the DCWV 'Glitter Matstack'  and gold embossing.  I used the Nestabiites Heart Die to mat my image.  The Coach was stamped twice, the first time in black ink onto the square base, the second time it was embossed with gold embossing powder, then cut out and popped up on dimensionals.  The Heart die cut was also popped up on dimensionals.  I made a coordinating envelope by stamping a castle image from E.K. Success 'Disney Princess'  onto the outside of the envelope.

 Some gold wedding rings (leftover from my daughter's wedding three years ago), organza ribbon, and a fabric flower were added for embellishment.  Here's a close up so that you can see the dimension and glitter/gold better.

 For the inside of the card, I simply used a pretty sheet of designer paper from the DCWV stack 'The Chateau Lavender Mat Stack' and stamped a sentiment from 'All Night Media' again embossing it with gold embossing powder.
The bride loved her card and how I personalized it to match their wedding theme.  That's one of the best rewards of being a paper crafter....being able to give those special little gifts that are filled with meaning.

Have a great day! Amy

Friday, September 20, 2013

Frankenstein Cliff Trail, White Mountain Forest

Hello!  Today I have another post of our New Hampshire Vacation.  In my last travel post I talked all about our visit to Arethusa Falls.  Well the Arethusa Falls trail is actually a five mile loop that also connects to the Frankenstein Cliff Trail.  After our long, vigorous hike to see Arethusa Falls, we decided we didn't want to go back the same way we came up because we wanted to see something different, so we took the Frankenstein Cliff Trail back down.   BIG MISTAKE.  Now, on the map this trail looks short, and it is described as a 'moderate, well-marked trail', I beg to differ!  This was probably the most difficult hiking trail I have ever taken in my life and we were completely unprepared for it.  Now, I'm over fifty, but I'm in good shape and walk constantly with my job, my husband is an older athlete and he is in great shape, and I had my two twenty-something 'boys' with me who are also in good shape, and I think we were all frustrated with this trail at some point.  

The first picture below shows the rugged sign of the trail and the miles.  What I didn't know when we started the walking the trail was that Frankenstein Cliff is a 2500 foot sheer face of rock and the path (if you can call it that), gains about 1400 feet of rugged elevation and takes about three hours to walk.  I thought it would take about 20 minutes, so we had no water, no walking sticks, compass, or anything else a smart, well-prepared hiker would have.  We did see a sign like the one pictured below which added to my worries as we entered the dark, endless, lonely forest.
In the picture below you can see my son standing at the top of the trail.  I don't have a lot of pictures of the actual hike, because I was too busy trying to climb and not stumble to take photographs, but the trail is very steep, and filled with either a lot of small jagged rocks like in the picture below, or tree limbs,  steep climbs, and lots of mud and water.  There are also a couple of little brooks you have to cross over by stepping or jumping on stones. (If you click on the Frankenstein Trail link above, you can see more examples of the ruggedness of this trail). 

 It can be a scary experience because there aren't a lot of people on this trail.  In fact, in the three or four hours we hiked, I think I saw only four other groups of hikers, which is really small considering we were there during prime tourist season and a lot of other places we visited were filled with people.  I think they must have known how hard this hike was and avoided it.

Besides the worries of running into a bear, we also worried about getting lost.  Because the trail was so rugged, there were many times that we questioned whether we were going in the right direction.  The only markings were an occasional blue paint splatter on a tree or a rock, that sometimes turned to a yellow marking for a different trail.  If we didn't see a blue paint splatter for awhile, we would always start to worry, but then we would breathe a sigh of relief when we did see a marking for we knew we were safe.

The trail seemed endless to me.  Every time I thought we were near the end, we'd go back up again, then we'd start to climb down, then suddenly we were climbing steep rocks and clinging to tree limbs and pulling ourselves back up. and many times we'd reach a point where we would look at a nearly impassable rock formation and see the blue paint splattered on a rock on the other side and we would say 'THEY EXPECT US TO CROSS THAT!'.  I think we had all fallen, stumbled, and struggled at some point on the trail.  At one difficult, slippery spot in the trail, I needed my husband's help to get down a cliff, and he had to pick me up and set me at the base and I finally just burst out laughing (because I was near tears by then) and said 'What are we doing?  Two people, in their fifties, climbing up a mountain with no hiking gear, water, or anything?  Are we crazy?'.  Have you ever been in such a difficult situation that you felt like crying, but just ended up laughing, because it was so insane?  That was the moment for me.

HOWEVER, once we started to reach the summit, a glimmer of hope would arise, because we knew we were not only at the half way point, but we would start to see inspiring views through the dense forest like the one my husband is pictured in below.
 This is the view from the actual summit.  It is quite breath-taking, however, all I could think about was that I saw just as pretty views from the comfort of my car the day before, and I didn't have to spend hours climbing rocks and hacking my way through a forest to do so.
 I think I look pretty good considering everything I had just been through to get here.  Notice that the sweater came off and got wrapped around my waist at some point on this hike.  I really worked up a sweat.
 Alright, now it's time to go back down the mountain.  I wish I could say it was easier, but it wasn't. The trail doesn't take a direct decent down, but zig zags across the cliff, so many times we were climbing back up again.  There was one point in the trail that was so difficult that when my son reached  it (who was hiking ahead of us) he screamed back at us :  'They can't be serious!  Good luck MOM!"  But somehow, I did it.  I felt like I should have received a badge that said 'I climbed Frankenstein Cliff' when I was done. By the end of my adventure I had lost a pair of sunglasses, completely destroyed my white sweater which was covered in mud and had several rips and holes in it from snagging onto tree branches,  and a bruised and battered body.

Now your probably wondering why this trail is called 'Frankenstein Cliff'.  My husband theorized that it was because the cliff looked like the face of Frankenstein, but I couldn't see a face of anything in the rock, so I doubted that theory.  Then my son said halfway through the trail 'I know why they call this Frankenstein Cliff Trail.....because it's a monster of a trail'.  That made the most sense to me, so that is what I assumed was the reason for the name.  However, upon getting home and doing some research, we discovered that the trail is named for a German artist who has nothing to do with the monster Frankenstein.  I like my son's theory better....Frankenstein Trail IS a monster of a trail.  If you decide to hike it, be more well prepared than we were.  Wear appropriate clothing, take plenty of food and water, walking sticks, even a rope would be beneficial, and be sure to take a compass in case you get lost.

After that tiring hike, we decided to just sit in the comfort of our car, and drive the beautiful scenic routes of the White Mountain Forest, stopping to take a few pictures along the way.  Enjoy these lovely scenes of God's Beautiful Creation below.

Have a great day! Amy

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Fashion Over Fifty: The Long Awaited Stitch Fix Post

Hello!  For a couple of month's now I've been mentioning Stitch Fix in my Fashion Posts with the promise of telling you all about it in a future post.  Well, since I just received my new 'Fix', I thought today would be the perfect day to explain what Stitch Fix is all about for those who have never heard of it before.

Stitch Fix is basically an on-line company where you get clothes picked specifically for you by a stylist.   You can arrange to have monthly 'fixes' or just schedule a fix whenever you like, which is what I do.  When you sign up for Stitch Fix, they ask a lot of questions like what is your bra size, your shape, what size you normally wear in clothing, etc.  Then you look through a series of pictures of clothing and you rate those pictures as to whether you love those items, or dislike them:  this is to give them a sense of your clothing style. But you can also request to be 'surprised' by a clothing item you would never normally choose for yourself, which is what I did.   The price for the fix varies for everyone, you pick what price range you are willing to pay for the clothes.  It also costs $20.00 for your fix, which is waived if you keep everything.  You can send anything back that you don't like.

Now the question your probably wondering, is why did I choose to try Stitch Fix.  Well, most people do Stitch Fix because they struggle with fashion and need a little help.  For me, it's a couple of different reasons.  First, is time:  as much as I LOVE TO SHOP, I'm very busy and I don't have the luxury of having a full day to spend at the mall trying on clothes.  So it is nice to have someone do the shopping for me.  Secondly,  I tend to keep buying the same 'style' of clothes over and over again.  Stitch Fix takes me out of my style rut, and forces me to try something I otherwise would never have considered.

When your 'fix' arrives, it comes in a pretty little box like this.  I can't even begin to tell you how much I enjoy opening up this box every time I get one.  Being the mom who has everything, I'm always buying presents for other people, but I so rarely receive presents because no one ever knows what to get to me, so they get me nothing.   Therefore, I find it is really nice to get a present, that I don't know whats inside, and be 'surprised', even if I'm paying for it!  LOL!
 For each 'fix' you can request a specific stylist or the type of clothing you would like.  For my first 'fix' I requested comfortable travel  clothing for my New Hampshire vacation.  For this 'fix' I requested 'just some new fall things'  and this is what I received:
 Every clothing item comes with a little tag like this which shows you  two possible outfits you can put together with this item.  I actually keep these little cards in my purse so that if I am on a rare shopping trip, I know what to look for to go with what I already have in my closet at home.
 Now my first 'fix' I absolutely loved and didn't have any problems with any of my clothing pieces.  This 'fix' however I wasn't as thrilled about, but I did keep everything.  The reason I did was because you get a 25% discount on your total order if you keep everything, and when I did the math I realized I was financially better off if I kept everything than if I returned two items.  This jacket was one of the items I wanted to return but I kept it.  It is made of a sweatshirt material, and it is just a bit too casual and bulky for me.  I also did not like the grey sweatshirt lining showing in the hood. On the card it shows wearing this with a pencil skirt (for a dressy look) but I don't think that would ever work because of the material and the grey fabric showing.  It is a very warm jacket however, especially for these cool fall days when a coat would be too much and you just need a little warmth.  I've already worn it to work and got some compliments on it, but I would never wear it with a skirt as a show piece item.
 The second item I received that I wasn't thrilled about was this navy blue silk shirt (the picture makes the shirt look periwinkle, but it's a very dark navy in real life).  There is absolutely nothing wrong with this shirt, I just didn't need it.  It has a lovely silky feel to it and fits me perfectly, but I already have enough similar shirts in my wardrobe.
 My third item was this amazing black polyester knit, exposed back zipper shirt.  Now, I already have something similar to this is a sweater form in my closet, but I kept this too because I love the back zipper and the fit of this shirt is fabulous!
 My favorite item in this fix was this emerald green silk tunic.  The color is really washed out in this photo, but it's so rich and beautiful in real life.
 In addition to clothes, Stitch Fix also gives you accessories.  In my last fix I received a gorgeous white statement necklace (which I haven't worn yet, so I don't have a picture).  In this fix, I got these beautiful geometric emerald earrings that will go beautifully with the emerald tunic or black top I received.
 Although I have read of other fashion bloggers who have sent things back to Stitch Fix because they didn't fit well, I have never had that issue.  Everything has always fit me like a glove.  Just be very honest with your size, and you probably won't have a problem.

And I will eventually show you pictures of me with all of these new fall Stitchfix items in the near future.  For today's post I just wanted to talk about what Stitchfix is, how it works, and what a typical package looks like.

In the meantime, pictured below are two blouses I received in my first Stitch Fix when I requested comfortable travel clothes for my New Hampshire vacation. (You can see the other items I received from my first Stitch Fix HERE and HERE.)   In the first photo I'm wearing a sleeveless silk blue and white shirt with dark skinnies.  Stitch Fix really came through for me when I requested 'comfortable' clothing.  All the materials in this fix were so soft, silky, and felt comfortable against my skin, yet, still 'dressy' which I love.  I love to be comfortable, but I don't like to look comfortable.  Does that make any sense?  I would never wear sweat pants, simple T-Shirts, or sweat shirts out in public.  Those clothing items are only for exercise or home wear for me!

 And in this picture I'm wearing another sleeveless, cowl neck, knit chevron shirt with a khaki pencil skirt from Express.  Although no two 'fixes' are ever the same, I actually saw another fashion blogger wearing this very same shirt, so you may get an item someone else received; but that is no different than buying any other piece of clothing from a store, so who cares?   I really love this shirt, it's hip  because of the colors and chevron is so 'in' right now, and also because the material is a polyester knit, it's very 'comfortable'.....the magic word for me.
I hope I've answered all your questions about Stitch Fix, if not, feel free to ask me more.

Have a great day! Amy

Monday, September 16, 2013


Hello!  I am so in love with this new burlap paper from DCWV that I had to make another fall card with it.  If this is the first time you've heard me mention burlap paper, check out THIS post where I made another card with this awesome stuff.  

To make this card, I used this week Splitcoaststamper's Sketch (SC453).  I thought the Sunflowers from Flourishes fit this sketch perfectly.  I colored them, and fussy cut them all out.  I put Crystal Effects on the lady bugs.  The sentiment was stamped directly on printed Kraft paper from 'The Printed Craft Stack', also from DCWV.  The only embellishment added was a red gingham bow.

Have a great day!  Amy

Saturday, September 14, 2013


Hello!  Today I have another Clean and Simple card to share with you.  The cue word this week at the CASology blog is 'silhouette'.   I had purchased several silhouette stamp sets from Flourishes last Christmas, and two of them had yet to see any ink, so I thought this would be an great opportunity to use those neglected stamps.

To make my card, I used a little girl silhouette from the set 'Kid's Play'.  My sketch is from the Clean and Simple Blog, sketch 256.  I used a Cuttlebug Embossing Folder to emboss the floral border, then I added some adhesive crystals to the centers of the flowers for embellishment.

I really like silhouette images because you can make really quick and easy cards since you don't have to color:  perfect for a CAS designer like me!

Have a great day! Amy

Friday, September 13, 2013

Custom Gift Tags

Hello!  One of the best things about being a paper crafter is that you always have a great stash of ribbon and embellishments to create pretty gift tags and packaging in a hurry.   I was packing for our New Hampshire vacation and had to very quickly wrap  a couple of birthday gifts for my daughter and her husband.   I didn't have time to make them cards (I know, sad isn't it?  I make beautiful hand made cards for everyone but my own family!), so I decided to make them pretty tags instead.

The first gift is for my son- in- law.  I used some balloon gift wrap with bright, bold colors to wrap the gift.  I cut the tag using a Spellbinders Nestability Die.  Then I just added some cute birthday epoxy birthday stickers by K & Co and lots of pretty purple satin ribbon from my stash.  I left their names off the tags because I wanted them to be able to reuse the tags.  REDUCE, REUSE!  That's my motto!

Here is a picture of the entire gift box.
My next gift was for my daughter.  The gift wrap was a beautiful textured ivory with gold glitter print.  I then used the same Spellbinder's Die to cut my die, then I embossed a sentiment using gold embossing powder and added gold sequins for more bling.  The entire gift was wrapped with gold ribbon.
And here is her pretty package.
Have a great day! Amy