Saturday, February 28, 2015

Penny Black Simplicity Challenge

Hello!  I made this card for the Penny Black Simplicity Challenge, and I hope they consider it simple, because I certainly do!  It was very easy to make.  The main image was very small, so I just stamped it in the left corner onto designer paper that looked like a sky to me.  Then I stamped just the flowers a few more times.  I used two different grass stamps and two different green inks and filled in around the flowers.  There was a tiny a little butterfly in the set, so I stamped it twice.
 I was just going to stamp the sentiment directly onto the designer paper to keep it really simple, but I just felt the space needed a little bit more, so I cut out some clouds using an MFT die, and stamped the sentiment directly onto the cloud.
 I put Stickles onto all the insects, and in the center of each flower.
 The Penny Black stamp set I used is called 'Garden Friends'.  It is such a cute set with spring and Easter images.  My designer paper is "Annalee",  from Prima, and I used Lovely Lilac as my card base.
It's so nice to dream of spring when the weather is still so bitter cold.  Making cards like these, helps me get through it.  That, and buying spring clothes!  What do you do to help make it through the last brutal weeks of winter?  I'd love to hear from you!

Have a great day!  Amy

Friday, February 27, 2015

Fashion Over Fifty: Mixing Prints

Hello!  Mixing prints can seem really scary, especially if your over fifty and you can recall the days when it was an absolute 'no-no'.  Remember when we use to laugh at people who wore mixed prints?  Well guess what, the joke's now on us because mixing prints is totally in!  Now, I must admit, mixing prints scares me, a lot!  It takes courage to walk out of the house with a bold, mixed print ensemble.  So I'm adapting to the trend by doing it in small doses, such as in the outfit I'm wearing below.

The trick to mixing prints is to still stay in the same color range or use a complementary color.  In other words, the prints can be different, but the colors can not clash.  Instead of wearing a completely different print on top than my bottom (which is the style now), I did it in a very small dose by just adding a different print in my scarf.  That way I'm incorporating the new trend, without it being too intimidating for me.
 My skirt is a one of my daughter's thrift store finds, the off-white turtleneck is from JCP (old), the black vest is also from JCP (purchased this year, but no longer available), the scarf I picked up at a fabrics and crafts store, and my black flats are ancient!
 The black and white cotton scarf has a hounds tooth pattern in it, whereas the skirt has a geometric pattern of circles and stars.
 I wore silver bangles for jewelry.
 Here is a close up of my flats.  They have an alligator print on them along with a pretty, and unique buckle detail on the toes.
 As always, because the skirt is on the short side, I wore it with black tights, but it would also look cute with leggings or cable knit tights.
I really liked how this outfit turned out.  It was cute and playful (my style), yet warm, comfortable, and somewhat dressy at the same time.  Totally me!

And now, here's some more mixed print styles from Pinterest for your inspiration:

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So what do you think?  Would you be courageous enough to mix prints like these fashionista's did?  I'd love to hear from you!

Have a great day!  Amy

Linking up with Thursday Fashion Files, Trendy Wednesday,  Confident Twosday, and Fashion Cache Friday Link Party.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Geometrical ROCKS!!!

Hello!  This week Vicki at Stamp Smiles challenged us to use shapes or make a shaped card for the Flashback Friday Challenge.  At first, I wasn't going to play along this week, because I don't really like to make shaped cards (too much extra work), and I've never been really good with modern designs that involve geometric shapes.  Then I was scrolling through pages of cards I printed off years ago, and came across a design that I thought would work and I was able to case.  I don't have a link to show you the original card because there was no water mark on the picture to reference.  I also altered mine quite a bit from the original card.  But, if you recognize a similarity of my card to another, let me know, and I will edit my post.

To make my card, I used the retired Stampin Up! set 'Extreme Snowboard' for the main image.  I love this stamp!  So easy to use, and boys love the image!  My sentiment is from Inkadinkado 'Rock Star'.  To make the hexagons, I used the smallest die in my Spellbinder's Nestability set and cut the shapes out of the Me and My Big Ideas 'Urban Youth' stack.
 After I adhered all the shapes to the white card base, I stamped the image on top so a little bit got on an orange hexagon.  It left some white space, so I filled it in with a black marker.

 I adhered the white card base to a black card base to really make the card pop.

Have a great day!  Amy

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Staying Fashionable in a Cold World

Hello!  While I was reading a lot of posts last week about New York's Fashion Week, I kept coming across blogger's stating how difficult it was to be fashionable when the weather is so cold.  I felt like commenting on each and every one 'Welcome to my world!' but I didn't.  I have about fifty pairs of the cutest little flats and heels I'd love to wear just hanging out in the guest room, but when I step outside and my foot sinks into six inches of snow, it's just not possible.  So I go in and visit my little shoes once in awhile just to say 'Hello' and I tell them hopefully it won't be too much longer till I can wear them again.  Yes, my fellow Fashionistas, winter is a challenge to dress for.  One thing I always struggle with is sweaters.  I love their warmth, but I hate the bulk.  I always feel that they add ten pounds to my figure the minute I put them on.  But some days are just so bitter cold, a sweater is a must, and this was one of those days!

I actually got rid of a lot of my pullover sweaters because I didn't enjoy wearing them for the reason stated above, and also because if I got too warm, I couldn't just take them off easily.  So I really have been investing more and more in cardigans the past couple of years.  But, as always, when the weather got cold, I missed my pullovers and I regretted tossing them.  So when JCP had their after Christmas door buster sales, I ended up buying three of them:  all under $10.00!!!!  Oh I how love JCP!  The sales are amazing!  You can see one of the other sweaters I bought HERE.  I wore it on our outdoor adventure to Perrot State Park.

I bought the sweater I'm wearing in this post for several reasons.  It was a classic cable knit sweater that never goes out of style,  it was a color that could easily go with anything in my wardrobe, and, I have been looking FOREVER for a sweater to go with my ankle length cords that I bought years ago at T.J. Maxx.  The sweater has tiny little copper flecks of color that are the exact same shade as my cords, so it matches them perfectly. JCP still has this sweater on-line and it's on clearance.  Not as cheap as I got it, but it's still available HERE.
 I wore a long sleeve, blue knit collared shirt under my sweater to bring in a different color other than brown into my outfit.  I left it untucked, but it wasn't very long, so you only see a peek of the blue on the bottom.
 I carried my big, black bucket bag from Express.  Everywhere I go, people comment on this bag.  They either say 'I Love Your Bag!', or they comment on the size.  Of which I then reply 'Yeah, you can  certainly pack it full with stuff, the trouble is finding it.  Everything tends to get lost inside!'  But it's great for traveling when you have to carry more than usual,  and also for sneaking food into a movie theater (shhh, don't tell anyone!).
 I had some cheap, gold bracelets that turned into a rusty copper, and rather than clean them, I decided to leave them this color since I had plenty of other gold bracelets but none this color.  The burnished color went much better with the copper cords than a shiny gold would have.  It was a blessing in disguise!
 For footwear, of course, I was wearing boots.  Boots, boots, boots.  I said to my husband the other day how tired I am of wearing boots.  I remember back in August when all the locals started wearing their boots and I thought 'Are they crazy?  It's eighty degrees outside!  Why do women always rush the seasons?  They'll have six months to wear those boots.  Wear flip flops while you still can!'
 I got my boots at Famous Footwear a year or two ago.
 Here are a few close ups so you can see the flecks of color in the sweater.  Looking at this picture, I can see flecks of grey and I'm thinking this sweater would look great with my dark grey skinnies too!
 To glam up a very casual outfit a bit, I wore a necklace that daughter gave me.  It is a hand-made necklace made by an artist in a third world country.  It is sold by a missions group that helps people in third world countries make a living by selling their goods in America.  The little pops of color in the necklace really livens up and completes the outfit.
So what about you?  If you live in a cold climate, how do you stay fashionable in a cold world?  Or do you just give up and sacrifice fashion for warmth and comfort?  I'd love to hear from you!

Have a great day!  Amy

Linking up with I Feel Pretty, and Trendy Wednesday.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

You're Berry Sweet!

Hello!  How is everyone doing on yet another bitter cold morning (unless you live somewhere warm that is)?  After a frigid Sunday and Monday, I thought we were all in need of some sweet summer thoughts, and nothing reminds me more of the beginning of summer than STRAWBERRIES!  I absolutely love strawberries!   There are many strawberry pastures where I live and it is quite common for locals to go and pick berries all day and then make jams, jellies, and lots and lots of my favorite dessert:  STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE!  I personally don't like to pick them, but I do go to the farm for the freshest berries.  I just pay a few cents more and buy the pre-picked ones.

The card below I actually made a couple of months ago for my in-laws to thank them for their Christmas gifts.  The image is a retired set from Fiskars.  I covered the strawberry with glaze to make it extra juicy looking.  My paper is from Cosmo Cricket Garden Variety.
 I used a notebook punch on the main image panel, and wrapped a gingham bow around it.  I added just a few adhesive gems for embellishment.
So what about you?  Do you like strawberries?  Do you have any farms where you live where you can pick the berries yourself for a reduced rate?  I'd love to hear from you!

Have a great day!  Amy

Monday, February 23, 2015

Age Trumps Youth at Oscars

Hello!  Did you all watch the Oscars last night?  I was so excited because this was the first time in SIX YEARS I was able to watch the Oscars live instead of just catching the highlights the day after on the news.  I'm not a big fan of rewards shows, but the two I do want to watch and look forward to every year are the Academy Awards and the Tony's.  I just love the red carpet interviews, the musical numbers, the movie clips, the "In Memoriam" segment, the fashion, and of course, all the unplanned drama that is twittered, and talked about on every news program the next day.  And this year's Oscars did not leave us with a lack of things to talk about!  I don't know what I had more fun with, watching the Oscars, or tweeting about it.   I watched both my T.V. and my IPhone simultaneously laughing at all the tweets as they appeared on my feed.  People are so clever and witty!  I only wish I could come up with some of the funny lines people on twitter do.

There were many highlights for me on this years Oscars, but what really struck me was how the more mature women really shined not just in appearance, but in presence, experience, and dignity.  First up, Melanie Griffith.  Twittered exploded moments after Melanie and her daughter Dakota were interviewed on the red carpet.  Dakota, looking beautiful in her hot red Saint Laurent dress came across to the American public as a spoiled teenager, whereas her mother, who has a lot more experience with interviews on the red carpet, handled the awkward situation very well.  I did love seeing the mother/daughter duo attending the Oscars together.  If only Dakota didn't ruin the moment with her immature behavior.  But maturity, is something that just comes with getting older, and more experience.
Isn't Melanie gorgeous at 57?  I love her dress!  The  silhouette is perfect for her and I love the neckline!  She looks absolutely stunning.  What a figure!
Speaking of stunning older women, 65 year old Meryl Streep never disappoints, in both what she wears and how she behaves.  Everyone was blown away by her eloquent reading of the teleprompter as she introduced the "In Memoriam" segment of the Oscars.  People tweeted that she should have won an Oscar just for that!   Only Meryl Streep can move people to tears by reading a teleprompter.   And I loved the custom made Lanvin skirt and suit ensemble that she wore.  The high waist and belt of the skirt with the tuxedo jacket is very trendy, yet classy and elegant at the same time.  And who, but Meryl Streep could pull off wearing a power suit at the Oscars?  It takes confidence and experience to wear a unique outfit like this instead of a typical ball gown.  Your amazing Meryl!

And while were on the topic of the confidence and experience of older women,  "Wow Oprah!"  This 61 year old has curves and she knows what to wear to flaunt them!  I just love the fabric and lines of this dress.   The buff rose color looks gorgeous on Oprah.  Every detail on this dress flatters her figure.  From the "X" layer of chiffon over the bodice and hips to the belted waist , and the sheer sleeves.  Absolutely breath-taking!

And now for the queen of the night, 79 year old Julie Andrews!  When I saw this lovely lady take the stage, I thought 'My goodness, can she possibly become any more beautiful?'  This woman not only does not age, she grows more beautiful with every passing year.  How is this even possible?  Perhaps, this is where inner beauty comes to play.  This is an example of a woman who is beautiful inside and out, and her inner beauty just radiates out and emotionally affects everyone who sees her.  I absolutely loved how she hugged and kissed Lady Gaga after her amazing medley of "The Sound of Music" songs.  She was so genuine and so appreciative.  There are many older artists who would resent younger talent and not encourage the next generation like Ms. Andrews did.  She is the queen of grace and humility, and a beautiful soul that never stops touching the hearts of people no matter how old she gets.
Now I could go on and on with how impressed I was with the 'older women' of the Oscars.  For example, I was awestruck with Best Actress Award Winner's Julianne Moore's Red Carpet appearance, and her acceptance speech.  She is yet another example of a graceful, talented,  humble, and wise woman.  And I was also impressed with the middle-age group, the forty-somethings:  Laura Dern, Cate Blanchett, and Jennifer Aniston.  In fact, my absolutely, favorite dress of the night was worn by none other than 45 year old Jennifer Lopez!  When the Oscars came back on after a commercial break and I saw Jennifer wearing this gown, my jaw dropped to the floor.  

I loved the fullness and shape of this dress.  She looked like Cinderella in a sea of tulle and sparkles!  My only complaint about this dress is that it came across awkward at times due to it's mammoth volume.  When Jennifer was presenting an award, her dress was so huge that her co-presenter couldn't even stand close enough to her to speak into the microphone.  And the backstage camera caught some embarrassing footage of people stepping on her dress as she tried to exit the stage.  But if she can just stand there, so we all can just stare and drool over her dress, then, it is perfect.

But I can't end this post without mentioning two of my favorite looks of the night, both worn by two women in their thirties.  33 year old Jennifer Hudson took my breath away in this lovely yellow gown.  Wow!  This woman has come a long way in her appearance from her American Idol debut!  She has not only become increasingly more beautiful, but she has matured and grown in the way she carries and presents herself.  

O.k. sorry, we have to look at this gown one more time.  Oh!  Such beauty!
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And finally, 31 year old Lupita Nyong's dress was one of the most talked about gown of the night and it definitely caught my attention.  This lovely lady is know for her amazing red carpet looks, but this dress consisting of 6000 pearls was absolutely stunning.
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Talk about details!  How gorgeous!

Now,  I really didn't plan on falling in love with the gowns of women over the age of thirty.  It just happened that they were the women that I felt not only looked the best on the Red Carpet, but also carried themselves well.  They behaved in a professional manner carrying themselves with grace, dignity, and confidence.  Traits, which usually only come age and experience.

So what about you, did you watch the Oscars?  What were some of your favorite moments or dresses?  I'd love to hear from you.

Have a great day!  Amy

Friday, February 20, 2015

Fashion Over Fifty: A Vintage Midi and Mary Janes

 Hello!  It may not feel like spring out, but I'm in the mood for spring so I had to show you this cute vintage midi skirt I borrowed from my daughter.  Isn't it just the sweetest?  Of course, you know I don't like to dress too feminine, so I paired it with my own chambray shirt to give it just a hint of masculinity.
 I wore a lace trim white tank top underneath the chambray shirt, and tied in a knot at the waist to make it a little more casual and playful.
 For jewelry, I picked up the turquoise color in the print of the skirt, and wore this statement necklace from Francesca's.  I also carried my red clutch from Express because there was just the hint of red in the  skirt, and I wanted to bring even more color into this otherwise sea of blues.
 Here are some close-ups of the floral print on the skirt.  Ah, flowers, will we ever see them again in nature or is this snow stuck upon us forever?

 I am a firm believer in never, ever, throwing away shoes unless they are in bad condition.  Would you believe I have had these Mary Jane's in my closet for over twenty years?  Well now not only are they considered vintage, but they are also back in style.  Aren't they fun?
 I really love how just about any dress length is 'in' right now.  A woman can choose the length she is most comfortable wearing whether it's a mini, midi, or maxi.  I personally love all the lengths, so I don't have a preference.  I just adds tights or leggings if I feel the skirt is too short for me.  I do think the midi length is hard to wear if your older even though I'm sure a lot of women would disagree with me.  They can give me a really 'frumpy' look if I'm not careful.  By pairing a midi with the right accessories and a more trendy top, the problem is solved.
 I continued the turquoise theme going, by wearing the same color in a bracelet.
So what about you?  Do you like that skirts are going below the knee again?  What about shoes?  Do you keep them forever, or do you toss them out as soon as they become dated?  I'd love to hear from you!

Have a great day!  Amy

Linking up with Confident Twosday.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

February Christmas Cards

Hello!  Today I have my February Christmas Cards to show you.  As most of you already know, I play the Splitcoaststampers Christmas Card Challenge where we make cards all year long so that were not stressed out during the busy holiday season.  I make five cards a month so that I'll have about sixty cards at the end of the year.  I try to keep layers to a minimum to make them easy and inexpensive to mail.  I also do a 4 x 8 card so I can fit a letter and Christmas photo inside.

I own a HUGE, retired Stampin Up! collection that I got years ago by stalking EBAY.  However, I haven't been on EBAY since then, and I was surprised on a recent visit how few Stampin Up! products they had.  They use to have thousands of stamps for sale, and the last time I checked I don't think they even had ten.  I heard a lot of crafter's stopped selling on EBAY because they weren't making much of a profit anymore when the company raised their fees, perhaps that is why.  Or maybe this is a fallout from the  Stampin Up! decision a few years back not to allow any of their demonstrators to post links to other companies on their blogs.  I don't know.  In any case, there were not many Stampin Up! stamp sets on EBAY.  I did however find this one, "City of David", and I was the only one who bid on it so I got it for the asking price of $14.95.  Yeah!  Lucky me!  I've always loved this set.  I'm not only constantly looking for religious Christmas images (they are quite rare), but also ones that are easy to create with.  I loved the clean and simple design of the set, and the sentiments are so true!
 To make my card, I simply stamped Mary and Joseph in the left corner to make it look like they were going on a journey.  I stamped the City of David on a separate piece of card stock, cut it out using a round Nestie, and then adhered it to a metallic gold card stock.
 The image is colored with Copic Markers.  I used glitter pens on the domes,  and then added some Stickles over the stars.
 I stamped my sentiment directly on the paper, and then punched some hearts out from leftover metallic gold paper to emphasize the word 'love' in the sentiment.
I finished the card by adhering the main image panel to a metallic gold panel, and then attaching that to a Sahara Sand card base.  A very clean and simple, yet, meaningful card.

Have a great day!  Amy