Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Digital Tuesday Challenge 'Winter Scenes'

Hello and welcome to another Digital Tuesday Challenge! Did everyone have a wonderful Christmas? I hope so. I spent Christmas Day repainting my living room. I just bought new furniture and Christmas Day was the only day I had off all week to paint before the furniture arrived, so that's what I did! We opened presents the night before when I got home from work, and we had a still had a nice Christmas Day Dinner.

Anyhow, onto today's challenge 'Winter Scenes'. The challenge this week is to to make a card or project using a digital winter scene image and Dazzling Diamonds for snow. Our sponsor this week is 'Soft Pencil' and they are giving away a $15.00 gift certificate to one lucky randomly chosen winner!

Now, onto my card for the challenge. I used the image "Its Snowing" from 'Soft Pencil'. My paper is 'Peppermint Forest' from JoAnn's Fabrics and Crafts. I love this Designer Paper. I don't know if they have any left at the JoAnn's near you, or on-line, it went pretty fast in my local store, but it is FABULOUS! Its a mix of glittery and regular papers that all go so well together, and I love the color scheme. I also used card stock colors White, Chocolate Chip, Old Olive and Real Red. I mounted both the main image panel, sentiment, and the roof, dog, and little girl up on dimensionals. I put Dazzling Diamonds on the snow on the ground and in the air. The three large snowflakes are a Martha Stewart punch. Here is a close up so you can see the dimension and the Dazzling Diamonds.
If you'd like to play along with us this week, simply click on the Digital Tuesday Challenge Blinkie in my side bar and it will take you to the Challenge Site with further instructions.
Have a Happy New Year! Amy

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Digital Tuesday Challenge 'Let it Snow!'

Hello and welcome to another Digital Tuesday Challenge. This week's challenge is 'Let it Snow!'. Simply make a card or project with lots of snowflakes on it. You could use embossing folders, flower soft, brads, die cuts, glitter, liquid applique...anything that looks like snow!!! This week's sponsor is the fabulous Dustin Pike and he is giving away 3 Digital Images to one lucky randomly chosen winner!

To make my card, I first started out with last week's 'Freebie' on Dustin's blog. I printed the image twice, and cut the dragon out and popped him up on dimensionals. I think I will print the image a third time though, and cut out the music folder and pop up that too! I just didn't think of doing that until after I took the photograph. LOL! I also need to add some gold stickles to the candle flame. Yet, another after-thought. LOL! To create my snowflake background, I embossed a Green Galore panel and a White panel with the Snowflake Embossing Folder from Cuttlebug. I created the Snowflakes using a Cuttlebug Snowflake Die. I then added Liquid Applique to the top of the lamp post and the snow on the ground, and covered it with Stickles to make it shiny. Here is a close-up so you can see the dimension and the snow.

If you'd like to play along with us this week, simply click on the Digital Tuesday Challenge Blinkie in my sidebar and it will take you directly to the Challenge Site with further instructions.
Have a great day! Amy

Saturday, December 19, 2009

A Card for a Football Fan

I made this card for the husband of a friend of mine for his birthday. I think he should have received it by now, so its safe to post! LOL! I used the Stampin Up! sets 'Just Football' and 'Sporting'. The paper is Kraft, White, Handsome Hunter, and Soft Suede. The sketch is SC250...I'm still playing catch-up on challenges! LOL! I created my own designer paper by stamping the background with a star in Soft Suede. It says 'Happy Birthday' inside the card. Some of you have asked why my hours were cut just before Christmas. There are two reasons, one is that we had a major snowstorm about a week ago and lost a lot of business because of it, so corporate cut our hours to make up for it. It made us all mad because we over our sales goals by $36,000 the week before, but, I guess that doesn't count for anything. Then, our business also dies down this time of year because no one is crafting two weeks before the holidays. Its expected to pick up again in January, February, and March when no one has anything to do but sit at home and craft, so I'm sure I'll be working again soon. I really don't mind the break at all. My daughter is home from college and its nice to be able to spend time with her, plus, I have a lot of catching-up to do on my own crafts.

Have a great day! Amy

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Sweet Color Challenge

I actually had some time to play the Color Challenge on Splitcoaststampers the other day. I haven't played the Color Challenge in so long, I almost forgot how it works. I noticed they added a 'dessert option' to their challenge...I wonder when that started? I combined the Color Challenge with an old Featured Stamper Challenge when 'Treasure Oiler' was the Featured Stamper....see, I'm really catching up on my challenges now! Thats what happens when my hours are cut to only 20 hours a week! Oh, the life of retail. Anyhow, you can see her original card HERE. I kept the same layout, but I changed the image, papers, and colors, then I added a balloon where the snowflakes are on her card.

The colors this week for the Color Challenge are So Saffron, Mellow Moss, Melon Mambo, and a Neutral. The 'dessert option', as they like to call it, are 'polka dots'. You can see my polka dots in the patterned paper I used on her dress, the balloon, and the middle panel. The image is a digital image from Heather Ellis's "Pure Innocence" line. I obviously paper pieced the dress and balloon, and the main image panel and balloon are up on dimensionals. The image is colored with Copic Markers.
Have a great day! Amy

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

My Very LAST Christmas Cards for the 2009 Year!

I'm a few weeks late, but I finally finished my Christmas Cards for the 2009 Christmas Card Challenge on Splitcoaststampers. Yeah! Now I have about 2 1/2 weeks off, and the 2010 Christmas Challenge begins! LOL! If you haven't participated in this challenge before, this is a good year to join. I'm so happy I did, because with the very busy Fall I had I never would have had home-made Christmas Cards to send to friends and family had it not been for this challenge. Participation is easy, simply go to Splitcoaststampers and sign up for however many cards you need to make a month, then make your cards and post them in the gallery on time every month...there are even prizes to be won as an added incentive!

For my first card, I used the SC252 layout. The image is from Papertrey Ink 'Holiday Button Bits'. The paper is Cosmo Cricket, Baja Breeze, and Very Vanilla. The leaves are up on dimensionals. My second was also made for the Featured Stamper on SCS 'MitchyGlitchyGloomy'. You can see her original card HERE. I changed the colors and papers, and added some snowflakes, but kept the same layout and image. The image is from MFT.
Here is another card I made for another Featured Stamper Challenge on SCS 'RachaelHope13'. You can see her original card HERE. I changed the image and sentiment placement, but kept the same colors and layout. This image is a retired Stampin Up! Image called 'Sweet Seasons'. I just love vintage images.
This card was sketch challenge SC251. The image is from Penny Black "Jolly Follies". The paper is Papertrey Ink.

I put the sleigh and the first mouse up on dimensionals. Isn't this just the cutest image ever?

My last card also uses an MFT image and a SCS sketch: SC257. I just love this image, because it reminds me so much of myself. I put so much work into Xmas....I decorate every single room in my house (if you'd like to see those decorations, simple scroll WAY back in my blog to Nov/Dec of last year...I did about a dozen postings of all my Xmas Decorations everyday focusing on a different room in my house), throw a huge holiday party for 50 of my closest friends, make a delicious Xmas meal for my family, Xmas Cookies, Xmas shopping, hand-made Xmas gifts/cards, blah, blah, blah, that by the end of the season, THIS is what I look like. LOL! So this image really makes me laugh.

I paper pieced the chair and put adhesive crystals on the tree. The main image panel is up on dimensionals.

Have a great day! Amy

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Digital Tuesday Challenge 'Happy Birthday'

Hello, and welcome to another Digital Tuesday Challenge. This week's challenge is to make a birthday card or project using at least one digital image. Simple enough, eh? Everyone on the design team thought it was a much needed fun break from all the Christmas and Winter Cards we've been making lately.

This week's sponsor is Ildi Co. and they are giving away three digital images to one lucky randomly chosen winner. The image I used is from Ildi Co. and is called 'Cuddles Kuma Party'. Isn't he just a cutie? I colored him with Copic Markers and added a puff ball to his hat. The main image panel and the sentiment are mounted up on dimensionals. The designer paper is from K & Company. If you'd like to play along with this week's challenge, simply click on the Digital Tuesday Challenge Blinkie in my sidebar and it will take you directly to the Challenge Blog with further instructions.

Have a great day! Amy

Friday, December 11, 2009

October Christmas Cards

No, my title is not typing error. These really are my October Xmas Cards that I'm just finishing up now. Now that the Holiday Shopping Rush is over, my hours have been cut in half, so I can catch up on all my Christmas Card Challenges. I just need to finish 5 cards for November, and 5 more for December, and I'm all done for the year! Then I can start all over again in January. LOL! For those of you who may not already know, I belong to a Christmas Card Club on Splitcoaststampers.com. I committed to making 5 Christmas Cards a month, so I don't have to make them all at once in December. But because I'm in retail and was a little busy with holiday shoppers, and I just got back from Italy, I'm a little bit behind in my commitment.

So without further ado, here are 2 of my 5 October Christmas Cards. I've already shown you 'Hanging Stockings', 'Holiday Wishes' and 'Let it Snow' because they were part of the Digital Tuesday Challenges.

My first card uses an image from Just Rite Stamps, and a sketch from 2 Sketches For You. I put Liquid Applique on the snowman's hat and colored him with Copic Markers. The designer paper is from a My Mind's Eye 'The Merry Days of Christmas'. I have the main image panel and the sentiment up on dimensionals.
My second card I made for this month's Crafty Secrets Challenge on Paper Craft Planet. Darlene challenged us to make a holiday card, and since I NEED holiday cards right now, I was more than happy to play along. I used an image from the 'Snow bunnies' set and colored it with Copics. My layout is actually from a Jesse Rone card that I saw and admired, but I no longer have the link. I used torn cardstock and Stickles for the snow. The main image panel and the sentiment are up on dimensionals. The paper is Bashful Blue, Brocade Blue and DCWV Holiday Collection 'The Winter Matstack'. Sorry the photograph is so dark, I always find blue cards the hardest to photograph.

Well that's all for me for a few days. I have to work all weekend. I'm actually quite happy about it since every one's hours have been cut in half. Oh well, more to play in my craft room. And maybe now I'll actually be able to sew my daughter's wedding dress! I haven't even started! LOL! Have a good day! Amy

Thursday, December 10, 2009

A Crafty Secrets Thank You

First of all, to all who were worried about me driving in the snow yesterday, I did not go into work. It was the first time I missed a shift in the 8 months that I worked at the store, and I felt terrible about it. When we still weren't plowed out by 11:00 a.m., I thought, 'you know, rather than worrying about whether or not I should drive , I should just call and ask if they even need me today'. It turned out they only had one customer all day and they really didn't even need me, and were probably relieved I called in so they wouldn't have to pay me. Then about an hour after I called in, my road was plowed (by my neighbor, not the county! LOL) and I would have been able to go to work. Oh well, now I know next time don't panic too soon. Its just a guessing game trying to figure out how long to wait to call. I don't ever want to wait too long in case I have to find someone to take my shift. But I did enjoy staying home warm and cozy in my house. I made Christmas Cookies, watched a Jim Carey movie with my son, and made a couple of cards. Now today I work again, and I'm not looking forward to going out there! Not because of snow this time, but BITTER COLD. I asked my husband last night "So, are you ready to move South yet?" LOL! He is such a die-hard Wisconsinite, that he would never want to leave, but after 4 hours of shoveling snow in bitter cold temperatures he said he was thinking about it. LOL!

Anyway, onto my card for today. This card was actually made a few weeks ago for the Crafty Secrets Paper Craft Planet Challenge. Since it was the month of November, and Thanksgiving was approaching, Darlene challenged us to make a Thank You or Thanksgiving Card. Well, I had already made all my Thanksgiving Cards, so I decided to make a Thank You Card. I used the 'Bouquet of Joy' image as my main focal point and colored it with Prisma Colored Pencils and Gamosol. The paper is Basic Grey 'Lemonade'. The lower portion is embossed with a Cuttlebug Folder. Have a wonderful day, and I hope your staying warm wherever you are! Amy

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

My Last Day In Italy!

So is it snowing where you live? It certainly is here. The snow is knee deep and it keeps coming down. We are in a Blizzard Warning until midnight. I'm suppose to work tonight. I don't know what I'm going to do, because my road isn't plowed yet. I also live 45 minutes away from work, on dangerous, curvy, isolated, roads, so even if they did manage to plow my road before I left, it would not be wise to drive. I'm scared to even call in to work to tell them I can't make it. I'm afraid they'll tell me I have to find someone else to cover my shift, and I just don't feel comfortable asking anyway to drive in this weather. I just heard the weather man say it takes 45 minutes to drive from one end of the city to another, which normally would take only 15 minutes. My husband didn't even go into work today, and he hasn't missed a shift in 11 years! So you know its bad if he stays home. But he's not in retail, so he doesn't have to worry about finding someone to cover his shift.

Anyway, onto my last post about my trip to Italy. Thankfully, we had another beautiful, sunny day to enjoy, since so many of our days in Italy were filled with clouds. By our final day, Pam and I were both tired of sight-seeing, and still had some Euro's left in our pockets that we hadn't spend and didn't want to transfer back into dollars (there's a fee every time you do that), so we decided to spend the day shopping for gifts for our loved ones back home. However, our first stop was this gorgeous piece of architecture. We had driven past it several times during our week in Italy, but were never able to photograph it because its on a very busy street. On this day however, Pam and I jumped out of the car, leaving Anny inside to drive in circles till we could jump back in, to photograph this beauty. I was so happy we did.
From there we went back to the Centre of Florence to buy our souvenirs. I have already shown you pictures of the vendors in an earlier post, but I didn't show you the food market pictures. In the Centre is an indoor food market where you can buy and taste all the food Italy is famous for. It is quite the culinary treat for the eyes, and mouth!
Here is a picture of Pam and Anny at one of the vendors. I took this picture of the Pinocchio statue because you see Pinocchio dolls everywhere in Florence because the author of the book was born there. I actually bought a hand-carved Pinocchio puppet as a souvenir.
Pigs head, feet, and all the other parts of the swine. Mmmm, yummy, heh? LOL!
This is how they display their chickens in Italy. They leave the heads on! Yuck!

Believe it or not, I'm actually eating a ground up pigs head here. And you know, it was absolutely delicious. Notice the shawl around my shoulders? Its actually an Italian Scarf that I bought while in Italy. I just love it. I wore it both as a scarf and as a wrap. I got so many compliments wherever I went.

Here is a display of all the variety of nuts available in Italy.

And all the available dried fruits.

And my favorite display...the flowers!

The furniture store IKEA is very popular in Italy. Anny loves their stuff. I personally can't stand anything IKEA makes. Their products are just too cheap and modern for my taste. It was an IKEA futon that I slept on all week in Italy, and by now, you all realize how miserably I slept. I think IKEA is very popular in Europe because everything on the outside of buildings is so old, that people tend to want modern things for the inside. That's my theory anyway. Anyway, Anny wanted us to see their store so we went there next. I was stunned at the beauty of the mountains behind the store. It was very, very, busy inside. I was surprised by that since it was the middle of the work week. Anny said its packed on weekends. So they really do like their IKEA products in Italy.

And that was basically my last and very uneventful last day in Italy. Just shopping, and then home to pack for the long 24 hour trip home. We both very anxious to get back. Pam was really missing her family...she still has 3 little children at home. This is a picture of Pam wondering if were ever going to board our 2nd plane.

And here is a view of the airport in Germany as we await our 11 hour plane ride home. I bought a neck pillow at the terminal so hopefully I could sleep better. However, I ended up not sleeping much at all because of the time change...there was too much light in the plane...we left in daylight and arrived in America in Daylight. It was such a weird experience. My body felt like it was night time, yet the sun never stopped shining brightly.
Getting back into America, even as a United States Citizen was quite the ordeal. I wish I had some nice things to say about Airport Security and U.S. Customs, but I don't. The airport officials were very rude and screamed at us for 'not doing things right'. They just didn't realize we didn't do things right because we didn't know what we were doing. Neither one of us had much, if any, international flying experience. It was so funny, because I thought it would be difficult for me to get into Germany or Italy when I went through customs, but other than a quick look and stamp on my passport, I just walked right in. Then when I come back to America, that's when I'm put to the test! First we had to fill out a form on the plane stating everything we bought while in Europe,and, convert it to US dollars and state how much money we spent. If they thought you were bringing anything questionable into the country, your luggage would be searched. You basically couldn't bring any food back into the country or have said you visited a farm while in Europe. Then we went to the first round of security where they stamp your passport. That's the first time we were yelled at for not standing behind the yellow line. We never saw a yellow line. It was simply a marking in the tile, it was nothing anyone would know was a line. Then we had to pick up our luggage and go through security AGAIN. They even had drug-sniffing dogs. That's when I was screamed at by an official who accused me of skipping in line. Which I did not, but I dared not yell at her and have her 'detain me'. Then we had to recheck our luggage since we had a connecting flight to catch. I was so upset by the treatment we received at the George Bush International Airport in Texas I had a hard time getting over it. If I as an American Citizen was treated so rudely, I could only imagine how a non US citizen was treated. Oh, by the way, when the plane lands, the US Citizens are separated from the NON US Citizens, so I never saw if their treatment was worse than mine. I would have written a complaint about our treatment, but I didn't think anyone would care what I had to say.
When I finally arrived home at 2:00 a.m. the next day, there was a beautiful bouquet of flowers awaiting me on our dining room table with a note that read 'Welcome Home! We missed You!' It was the sweetest thing my husband and son had ever done for me. And you know what was even better? The house WAS CLEAN!!!! They did not leave a ton of dishes and laundry for me to do when I got back, and the entire house was neat and tidy. It just goes to show you two men really can take care of themselves when the women aren't around. However, they did eat a lot of pizza while I was gone! LOL!
Well I hope you enjoyed my tour of Italy as much as I've enjoyed sharing it with you. Have a good day, and STAY WARM! Amy

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Digital Tuesday Challenge 'Christmas Song'

"Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow" is one of my favorite Christmas Songs! Although, the older I get, the less and less I like the snow. Mostly because I hate driving in it, and I hate the cold, but I certainly enjoy the beauty of a fresh-fallen snow. Anyway, this week's Digital Tuesday Challenge is 'Christmas Song'. Simply make a card based on a Christmas Carol or psalm using a digital image. This week's sponsor is the wonderful Digital Stamp Oasis and they are giving away three Digital Images to one lucky randomly chosen winner.

For my card, I used the Digital Stamp Oasis image 'Christmas Snowman'. I put an adhesive gel heart over the heart image. I cut out the tree image, popped it up on dimensionals, and added adhesive red crystals and a star brad for the top of the tree. I put stickles all over the image panel and on the snowflakes.
Here is a close-up so you can see the detail.
If you'd like to participate in our challenge this week, simply click on the Digital Tuesday Challenge Blinkie in my sidebar and it will take you directly to the Challenge Site. If you'd like to purchase this image, simply click on the Digital Stamp Oasis image in my sidebar and it will take you directly to the etsy store.
Have a great day! Amy

Monday, December 7, 2009

Day Six in Italy!

Day Six in Italy was a packed with adventure...so brace yourselves...I have lots of pictures and stories to share today! We decided to take a country drive and visit three separate cities: Certaldo, Sam Gimignano, and Pisa. The weather was beautiful! It was the first time the sun had shone in days and the temperature was a perfect 70 degrees! As we drove through the countryside looking at all the beautiful views of Tuscany, I could not even think of enough adjectives to describe the beauty of the land....all the rolling hills filled with vineyards, the mountains, the gorgeous Terra cotta colors from the villas dotting the landscape, the fall foliage...everything was just so beautiful. I drove with the car window down just enjoying the breeze, the sun, and the warmth. It felt so good to be warm again after freezing for several days.

The first city we stopped at was a medieval city called Certaldo. It was beautiful...filled with narrow roads and walk ways of stone paths, and all medieval buildings. Anny told us they have a medieval festival in this city where the locals dress up in medieval costumes, put on shows, and serve food that was probably eaten during the time period. Wouldn't that have been to see?

What I liked most about this city was how I could see the tops of the Terra cotta roofs in this town. I could just imagine the Hunchback of Notre Dame jumping from roof to roof. And there were so many cats! If you don't already know, I am a huge cat lover and I loved seeing the cats everywhere. How I envied them though as they basked in the warmth of the sun and strolled among the olive trees. What a life!

Here is a picture of me on a higher level of the city overlooking part of the rest of the city and the countryside outside the city. Here are some of the gorgeous rooftops of Certaldo.

I just love all the vines in Italy! What a beautiful stone wall and ancient door too!

Here is a picture of Pam and Anny walking up a narrow street.

Another narrow street.

And yet another narrow street. Oh, how I'd love to live here!

Don't you just love all the brick and stone work in Italy!

More Terra cotta roof lines! What great opportunities for photographers! Its impossible to take a bad picture here!

Here is a picture of restaurant. You can eat outside in the garden (under the arch) too.

This is the town well. Isn't is gorgeous?

Here is a view looking down one of the streets.

From Certaldo we then drove to the city of San Gimignano. Like most medieval cities, San Gimignano sits on top of a hill and is surrounded by walls. This is the entrance to the city.

San Gimignano is known as the city of Towers, because there are many tall towers in this city for the medieval soldiers to keep guard.
Here is view of one of the city streets.

This town is filled with many quaint gift shops and restaurants. Here is an Italian pottery shop.

And here is a meat market. Wild pig is very popular in Italy. They hunt pigs there like we hunt deer in America.

Look at these beautiful aged windows and stonework.

And this is San Gimignano's Piazza and well. How beautiful!

We climbed, and climbed, and climbed to get to the top of the city and enjoy the gorgeous view. Here is one of the narrow, stone staircases we had to climb.

And here I am at the top enjoying this magnificent view.

Pam and I at the top of San Gimignano.

Our last stop for the day was the city of Pisa. It was getting late, and I was hoping to get there before dark, but we barely made it. The sun was setting as we arrived. But I still enjoyed myself and enjoyed seeing the city at night too. I LOVED Pisa. It reminded of New York...it was a big city filled people of many different cultures. It seemed to be the dirtiest and scariest city we went to, but that was part of the attraction of the city to me. Odd, I know. Pisa, like Florence, is located on the Arno River and had a beautiful view of the Arno River. I especially loved it at night when the lanterns lined the walkways and bridges and reflected in the water below.

Here is a picture of a typical city street in Pisa.

Pisa is closer to the Ocean, so they have more tropical foliage plants there and palm trees. I just love the color and architecture of this home.

Here is a view of the Arno River at sunset. Oh, how the colors of the setting sun enhance the already beautiful Tuscan colors of the buildings.

Another beautiful building. I just love that peachy-orange color combined with the green shutters. How striking!

Here is another city street in Pisa.

And finally we arrived at the Leaning Tower. Pam was shocked at how short it was. I thought it looked just as I imagined it to be and what I saw in storybooks. And its really not that short. I think its all about perspective. Just look at the building behind it and how huge that building is. The tower is in front, so it appears shorter, but its just as tall at the cathedral behind it.

Here is a closeup. What beautiful architecture and carvings on this magnificent work of art! I love the white stone too.

Here is a better view of the Pisa and the Cathedral, so you can see its really not that short as it appears.

And finally, the Arno River at night.

Well that is all for today's post. Wednesday will be my very last Italy post, for it was the last full day we spent in Italy. Have a great day! Amy