Thursday, October 31, 2013

October Christmas Cards

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

I finished these cards just in the nick of time.  Today was my day off, so I spent Halloween Day making Christmas Cards.  I don't have little kids anymore to run off to the various Halloween Parties, so what else was I to do?  All my cards this month were made with retired Stampin Up! images and used lots and lots of glitter.  My arms are covered with it as I write this post!

The first card is my favorite.  The images are from the Stampin Up! set 'A Wish for Peace'.  I stamped the main image with Avocado Ink, and only colored in the church.  Then I put Flower Soft on the trees to imitate snow.  The silver glitter paper was cut out using an MFT die and mounted up on dimensionals.  I stamped the dove, cut him out, and spritzed him with Shimmer he is pretty sparkly in real life too!.  The sentiment was cut out with a Spellbinders die, then I embossed the it with silver embossing powder and put silver glitter on the edges.  I added white/silver bows for embellishment, and I put just a touch of Gold Stickles in the church window.
 My next two cards use images from Stampin Up! 'Fruit of the Season', which is so old, I couldn't even find a gallery for it on Splitcoaststampers.  I stamped the image, colored it, cut it out, and popped it up on dimensionals using the same MFT die as I did above.  I put Crystal Effects on all the fruit so that they are really shiny in real life.  The sentiment is from a Flourishes set, the sentiment tag was cut with a Spellbinders Die, and I used Gold Glitter Ribbon for embellishment.  All the paper, except for the white panel and sentiment tag, is glitter paper.
 This Topiary Tree image was from the same set as the card above.  I did a Clean and Simple card by simply stamping the main image is the lower right hand corner, then stamping a smaller corner image in the opposite corner. The sentiment is also from this set, and I put Crystal Effects on the fruit for this card also.  My only embellishment is sequins, and I bordered the main white panel with red glitter paper.
 My last card was actually cased from THIS card.  The trees are from the set 'Sparkling Season' and are embossed with gold sparkling embossing powder.  The sentiment is from the set 'Christmas Words:  Star Studded Season', and is embossed with gold detail embossing powder.  I added three sequins for embellishment, and adhered the main panel to a gold glitter paper panel.

Have a great day!  Amy

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Happy Birthday Cowgirl!

Hello!  Today I have a birthday card that I made for a girl that loves horses.  The image is retired Stampin Up! "Bronc Buster" and the paper is Cosmo Cricket 'Wanted'.  The blue stars are buttons, the sentiment tag is computer generated, and the silver boots are also buttons.  A bit of hemp was added for some rustic embellishment.

Have a great day! Amy

Monday, October 28, 2013

Chicago in the Fall

Hello!  I know I'm still not even done posting all the pictures and stories of our August Vacation to New Hampshire, but I wanted to share these beautiful Fall photographs of a little mini trip I took to Chicago a few weeks ago to visit my daughter before the Fall Season is over and Winter is upon us.

My daughter and I spent the day on Michigan Avenue in Chicago, Illinois to do some shopping.  I was just awestruck by the beautiful Fall Flower beds on that street.  Just look at all the gorgeous color!

 Even the medians were planted with lovely, lush ornamental grasses and ground covers.
 We saw a lot of amazing stores on Michigan Avenue but this was one of my favorites.  The entire front of the store has antique sewing machines across too large window walls and up as far as the eye can see if you tilt to head back far enough.  The inside of the store had a very rustic/vintage decor to it with hardwood floors, industrial, exposed pipes, and more vintage sewing machines and old factory equipment.  The clothes in this store are to die for!  They are very creative, original, and so well-made.
 We saw this lady in a display window at another store and found her quite creepy. At first glance,  she looks like a real person in real life; she even talks!  But when we entered the store to check her out, it was just an image projected.  So interesting.  Maybe these will eventually replace sales people so customers can scream at them instead of hurting real people for a change?  JK!
 Loved this sign!  It definitely IS the MAGNIFICENT MILE!
 Beautiful Sky Scrapers!
 I loved the topiary in this Garden Bed.

 The famous Old Chicago Water Tower.
 A beautiful old church covered in Ivy.  I always love it when there is a mix of the old with the new in big cities.
 We had a long, leisurely lunch at the Cheesecake Factory.  Here is my daughter with her gluten free cheesecake.
 And here I am with my Chocolate Cheesecake.  No dieting today!

Have a great day! Amy

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Vintage Baseball Card

Hello!  Today I have a Vintage Baseball Card that I made with the Crafty Secrets set 'Play Ball'.  I used a star embossing folder for the large background panel, and just inked it a bit to highlight the impressions.  The second layer is stamped  with a baseball and then inked again.  The two main images were stamped, colored, personalized, cut out, then inked to age them.  I hand sewed a edge of the main panel with a stitch similar to what you'd see on a baseball.

Have a great day! Amy

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Bethlehem, New Hampshire

Hello!  For the past couple of months, I've been posting once a week about our New Hampshire vacation, which up until now have been entirely about the White Mountain Forest and waterfalls.  Today's post is also about our vacation, but these pictures are of a couple of churches we saw in Bethlehem, New Hampshire as we drove to the White Mountains everyday.  When we were driving back to our hotel after our last day in the White Mountain Forest, I finally made my husband pull over so I could take these pictures of these two beautiful, stone churches.  The sun was just starting to set, so it wasn't the best time of day to take pictures, but it was either these shots, or nothing, because we couldn't come back to take pictures later.  

I'm a sucker for older buildings.  Even though there is a lot of modern architecture I love and could easily see myself living in, I still believe they just don't build things like they use to.  I just love all the beautiful detail and original craftsmanship you see in older buildings, that you rarely see today.  Here is a front shot of the first church we saw.  It had gorgeous stone work, stained glass arched windows, and old, worn wooden doors.

 I was so surprised to see such a recent date on the stone.  It seemed so much older to me, like some ancient building  I would see in Europe.

 You gotta LOVE this door!  PERFECTION!  I love the large hinges and how the carved stone echoing the shape of the doors.
 These beautiful lanterns graced both sides of the doorway.
 The church was closed when I took these pictures.  I would have loved to have gotten inside and taken a look at these gorgeous stained glass windows.
 This is the second stone church I saw in Bethlehem that I really liked.  These stones were more rounded and rustic than the first one pictured above.
 What an exquisite front entrance!
 And another amazing doorway.  Love those large rounded boulders.
Have a great day! Amy

Friday, October 25, 2013

Fashion Over Fifty: Some Role Models and What I Wore in the Big City

Hello!  This week's Fashion Over Fifty post is going to be mostly about some role models that have inspired me.  A couple of weeks ago, I came across a very inspiring documentary on the Inside Out Style Blog, it's forty five minutes long, but if you have the time to watch it, I highly recommend it.  It is  about the lives of  six elderly women between the ages of 70 and 90 and how they still dress fashionably for their age.  But even if your not interested in fashion, you would still enjoy watching this, it's probably the best 't.v.' I've seen in a long time.  It will make you both laugh and cry as these amazing older women share their lives, their love stories, and their 'opinions'.  I loved how each one of these women has their own unique sense of fashion, and none of them seem to care what anyone thinks of the way they dress.  They live life and dress the way they love to dress, and they really don't take age into the equation;  although one woman said she had terrible feet, so instead of wearing heels, she wears sequined tennis shoes!  What a fun alternative!

Then a few days ago I discovered another wonderful blog called Advanced Style.  This blog is actually written by a young man who is inspired by older women who dress fashionably.  He says he basically 'roams the streets of New York looking for the most stylish and creative older folk', and then he asks if he can take their picture.  What beautiful photographs this man takes!  And how rare it is today to see a young man who respects and admires the older generation.

When making a decision to start writing about fashion I was really worried about being judged.  I thought about it for a full year before I made my Very First Fashion Over Fifty post.  My biggest fears was that I didn't want anyone to think I was vain, materialistic, silly, or worst of all, a big joke:   after all, who was I to write about fashion--I certainly don't have a degree in fashion.  But when I really examined my motives, they were pure of heart:  I simply want to inspire women who feel that they are no longer pretty, desirable, or wanted, simply because they are old.  I wanted to let them know, that they still matter, that they are still needed, and that no matter how old they get, they can still dress up, wear the latest fashion trends THEIR way, and that they are still beautiful.

I was thinking about fashion and the interest I've had in it all my life, and I was reminded that no matter what my age, throughout my entire life I was always being told not to dress a certain way because of my age.  When I was young, I was told not to wear make up or heels because' I didn't want not to look too grown up',  then when I became a mom a teenager told me I couldn't wear the latest trends, because 'I was a mom now and I had to dress like a mom'.  When I was in my thirties, a friend mocked me because I mentioned I wanted to wear a head band that a twenty-something had on and she said I was' too old for that look'.  Now that I'm in my fifties I'm hearing quotes like 'nothing  makes a woman look older than a woman who tries to dress young', or 'if you remember wearing something a couple of generations ago, your too old to wear it again.'.  Stop it. Everyone. Yes, there are some elements of truth to all these statements, but no, we don't have to abide by certain 'rules' when it comes to age and fashion.  Let's try to balance these rules by keeping them in the right perspective.

  I recently received some great advice from Imogen, the author of Inside Out Style,  and a professional fashion stylist in New York,  when I commented on her blog that I was afraid to wear the colors purple and red together for fear that I'd be a walking advertisement for the Red Hat Society, and she replied 'It's all about the style of clothing you choose and how you put it together.  AGE HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH IT! (caps are mine), make sure that your reds and purples aren't too vivid, but more smoky. Make sure the styles of clothing aren't frumpy,....age is JUST A NUMBER!"  (again, caps are mine).  Then, when I commented on the documentary that I mentioned in my above opening paragraph, about what an inspiration the women in the movie were to me and how I wish I had friends like that in my own life, Imogen wrote back 'Be one of these women Amy!  You can be an inspiration for others!' So Imogen, I'm taking your advice.  I'm going to be one of these women and be an inspiration for others, and if anyone judges me, and thinks I'm doing it for any reason other than this, well, shame on them.

Now, enough preaching for one post.  I recently went to Chicago to visit my daughter.  It was a beautiful warm weekend but unfortunately I brought all the wrong clothes with me and was sweltering in the heat.

In the photo below I'm standing by one of the many beautiful fall floral beds on Michigan Avenue.  I actually intended to wear an amazing new brown leather jacket with this outfit, which would have really completed the look, but it was too warm.  Because I knew I would be shopping and walking all day, I dressed for comfort, not beauty.  Looking at this photo now, if I could change anything about this outfit it would be the pants.  A dressier, darker denim would have looked so much better than the casual jeans I have on, but when I looked in the mirror, I thought it went great together at the time.  Isn't it funny how you can look in the mirror and get one perspective of yourself, and then have a photo taken and see how others really see you in real life?  I guess it's a really good reason to take lots of photos of yourself.  And it's also quite humorous that I'm carrying a 'Forever 21' shopping bag after all my preaching in the above paragraphs. LOL!  I bought scarves there ladies, scarves!  Oh, and a sweatshirt too!
 Even though it was warm, Chicago is still known as the windy city and there was a slight chill in the wind, so the leopard print scarf really came in handy.  The sheer long sleeve blouse from Express and the slight warmth the scarf added, were  perfect for the weather, and also had fall colors and styles.

I didn't spend too much money on Michigan Avenue.  Their prices and taxes are much more expensive than Wisconsin or Minnesota, and I could find the same items on line that I saw in the stores cheaper too.  However, I really learned a lot.  I think my daughter and I spent most of our time there just studying the window displays and mannequins and seeing how creatively outfits were put together by the designers.  I also found it fascinating to see stores and designers I could never really afford to wear in real life like Michael Kor and Kate Spade.  What beautiful works of art expensive clothes are.  I could never morally justify spending money on those type of clothes, even if they were in my price range.  I think I would always feel guilty while wearing them because I would be thinking 'the cost of this purse would feed a family for a year in a third world country'.  But, I did enjoy looking at their exquisite beauty.

In addition to visiting Chicago, my daughter and I also toured a few smaller towns in the greater Chicago area, one of them is called Naperville where they have a lovely covered bridge and river walk where these pictures were taken.

Again, it was warm, so this is what I really had on that day:  boot cut jeans from Express and a striped tee from H&M.
 But this is the outfit that I planned on wearing but ended up only wearing for the photograph.  It's far more put together with a black jacket from Express and a burgundy scarf from T.J. Maxx.

Have a wonderful, fashionable day! Amy

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

A Funny Little Crab

Hello!  Today I have a fun little card to share with you.  I used an old retired Stampin Up! image and lots of dies, punches, and stickers to create this scenic card.  The image was stamped three times, cut out and popped up dimensionals.  The water was created with a Fiskars Border Punch, and the sun was made with Spellbinder Dies.  The sentiment is a sticker, and the water droplets are also stickers.

 Here is a close up so that you can see the dimension and detail better:
I hope this little guy made you smile today.  He certainly did for me.

Have a great day! Amy

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Fall Gift Tag

Hello!  Even though both my children are grown adults, I still like to give them each little treats every holiday.  My daughter and her husband got their Halloween/Fall Gifts early because I went to Chicago recently to visit them.  Because they don't eat much candy, I filled a purple gift bag with fall towels, a fall home decor item, and just two candy treats.

Here is the Fall Tag I made to attach to the gift bag.

 I used my Cuttlebug to cut out a tag and the pumpkin.  I stamped a sentiment on the tag, and inked all the edges of both the tag and the pumpkin.
 I hot glued some fall leaves and raffia to the bag for extra embellishment.
 And here is the completed gift package.  I also included a home made fall card inside too!
Have a great day! Amy

Friday, October 18, 2013

Fashion Over Fifty: How to Wear a Chambray Dress

Hello!  Today's Post is all about the Chambray Dress and how to wear these light weight, short little garments when your over fifty.  Most dresses today are way too short for my comfort, and I usually solve that dilemma by wearing tights or leggings underneath, and/or wearing them more like a long shirt than a dress.

The Chambray Dress below was actually purchased on clearance at Old Navy;   I think it was meant to be worn as a spring or summer dress with sandals.  But I felt the material would be suitable for fall and winter if I wore the dress with tights and boots.  Here is my completed outfit.  It's hard to see the boots in the picture because of the dark color, but they are brown ankle boots from Famous Footwear and you can see them more clearly HERE.
 I was inspired by this photo on Pinterest.  I loved how the scarf added a pop of color to an otherwise bland outfit.
My scarf was actually given to me by my daughter last Christmas.  It is a hand made scarf made by a woman in a third world country who is being helped by a missions organization called Ten Thousand Villages.

Because the scarf is my main accessory, the only jewelry I wore was a salmon beaded bracelet and I carried an imitation leather brown bag by Relic, sold at J.C. Penney.
 Here's a close up so you can see the pretty details of the scarf.
Have a great day1 Amy

Thursday, October 17, 2013

The End of Our Last Day in the White Mountain Forest

Hello!  Today's post is all about the end of our second and last day in the White Mountain Forest.  After we were all done hiking trails and visiting waterfalls in the forest, we took the beautiful scenic drive in the park just as the sun was starting to go down.  We got some gorgeous photographs of the historic resort Bretton Woods.  My, what a beautiful hotel this is;  the scenic background is amazing.  I love the pop of the red and white against the green mountains and blue skies.

 We also visited a trail that had a really neat suspension bridge over a river.  Of course the boys had to bounce up and down on it and make me sick to my stomach.
 Here is the view from the bridge.  It reminded me of Colorado for some reason, and I don't know why.  I've never been to Colorado, but I certainly would like to.

 By now I was feeling pretty tired after getting up at the crack of dawn, and hiking and climbing mountains all day, so I was pretty content to just sit in the car and view the scenery from the windows. My husband however was like a little boy in a candy store and just did not want to leave the mountains until he absolutely had to, so he kept stopping the car and taking pictures like the two below.  This was a beautiful lake and picnic area spot along the scenic road.

 There were many covered bridges in the area, and this bridge below was one you had to go through to get to the White Mountain Forest.  They are fun to drive through, but they only fit one car, so you have to stop and wait your turn if someone is coming from the opposite direction.
Have a great day! Amy