Monday, January 28, 2013

The Spotted Canary

Here are some of my Spotted Canary projects that found their way into this new card class that was just released. The class is technique heavy, step by step video instructions, and FREE, so head on over and get registered!

I have to say, designing this card class was probably one of the most fun groups of projects I've done for EK Success so far. The class was based on using some kind of glitter/bling on each project, showing different ways of integrating into each project. I love each of them for different reasons, even the floral one at the bottom. It's not at all my aesthetic, but it gave me an opportunity to play with a new technique and stretch my imagination. There are six cards in the class, and these are the five I contributed. LOVE how the butterfly hand-cut card came out the best!

Happy Monday!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

My Little Studio

 This is my studio. It's where I work and play. There are days I never leave it and there are days I avoid it like the plague. But it's mine. And I love it.

When we moved into this house I had three rooms to choose from to make into my studio. I ended up in this one for one simple reason: It's in the middle of the house. I have french doors to the living areas and another door to the bedrooms. I can see the UPS man out the window, and the closet was built specifically for how I work. While the other two rooms are much larger, this one just felt right. Here I can work and still pay attention to what's cooking on the stove. And when there is a little one in the nursery, I can see right into the room across the hall.

When I first moved into this room I had a totally different setup, with different furniture. I was basically just making do with what I had. Once I had saved up enough (and got a little mulah for Christmas) I decided it was time to make a grownup working studio for my grownup working self. So off to Ikea we went, where we spent hours configuring different pieces in the tiny space I have to work with. And what we ended up buying are these two perfect pieces from the kitched department. The drawer unit is actually meant to be a kitchen island, and the other side is a countertop attached to an island frame. Totally not what it was meant to be, but it is exactly what i needed. I love that I can work at counter height, so I am able to perch on my stool or stand, and with my back and knees, that's a nice little option.

The two red cupboards are from my Great Grandma. I think they were in her parent's pharmacy and they have a bazillion coats of paint on them and are totally amazing. I was a little worried that their distressed-ness might not jive with the new look of the Ikea pieces, but I ended up loving the whole look and feel of it. The first cabinet houses some mixed media supplies, foam tools, glitter and embossing powders, stamping inks and ink pads, stamps and blocks, and lots of alterable projects and mini books. On top of this cabinet are paintbrushes, wood block stamps, and a few miscellaneous stamping tools. 

The second cabinet holds lots of fabric, sewing supplies, and a few miscellaneous embellishments, including the drawers of punched butterflies and circles. Because you never know when you might need to make a garland in a snap, people. On top of this cabinet is an old altered jewelry box that I use to hold embellies, and my card station, with lots of A2 sized papers and card bases.

I have a small addiction to buying vintage seam binding and bias tape.

I have another addiction to cutting little squares out of leftover fabric to be future little hexes for a future little hex quilt.
The crown ledges are from Eric's Nana. When she moved out of her house she passed some along to me and can I just tell you, they are great! There were eight all together, but only six of them made their way into the studio. The deeper shelves are totally perfect for above the cabinet, and I added a couple of brackets to the top one when we added the tv. You know, cuz the thought of the tv randomly crashing down one day kinda scared the bejesus out of me. And yes, that IS Blog Cabin playing up there. I love that show...

The ribbon cubby is by Making Memories from a million years ago. It used to be in my mom's studio, but somehow it made it's way here. I don't know how I managed to finagle that one, but I'm so glad I did!

All of that hanging ribbon bugs the crap out of me, and one day I will use it all up, and confine myself to just keeping what fits inside the actual unit itself. Because I'm anal like that.
My mom snagged this little baby from a yardsale for $2. Yeah, I know, she's amazing. A coat of black paint to spiff it up, and in it came to hold my sewing projects in progress. Right now it's holding a thousand little pieces for the chevron quilt I started months ago and haven't finished. 

These tables used to be our nightstands before we upgraded. So these little guys were headed to the Salvation Army until I realized I had an empty space under the window that they would be perfect for! Now the drawers hold the tv remotes, Project Life schtuff on the top, and tons of old sample lines in the basket underneath.

The closet houses all the things I don't get into all that often. The bottom space used to hold my sample boxes when I was repping, and how just a few are left, filled with different categories of older product that I just couldn't part with, the cat bed (where the cat is currently sleeping and purring ridiculously loud), and some canvases waiting to be covered. The shelf above is where I store all my paper; by manufacturer first, then cardstock by color. I just cut down fedex boxes that just so happen to fit perfectly between the shelves. The next shelf is where projects in progress live. It's kind of ridiculous, actually, because I haven't touched most of them since I put them there two years ago. In the drawers above are rubons, alphabet stickers, chipboard alphabets, finished layouts waiting to be stored, journaling spots, etc. Thickers, frames to be altered, cards, albums and empty containers are on the shelf above that, and big tools like my laminator, old diecutting machine and xyron are on the very top shelf.

On my main work table are all the things that I use all the time. The Cameo, sewing machine, laptop, and all of my favorite papers and embellies right now. And my bowl of washi. Because it holds a special little spot in my heart. I mean, washi and a Bauer bowl? Yum. I try to just keep the things I know I'm going to use in the immediate future out on my table, and right now it's all about Project Life. Products will cycle through and containers will get changed out over time. And that's how I like it. I love that this room evolves and changes based on what I need. 


In the drawers are also things I use quite a bit. The top left is adhesive, below that are paper trimmers and rulers, below that is the crammed full office supply drawer with all the random things you'd typically find in a normal office desk drawer, and the bottom drawer is where I keep all of my Cameo supplies. The middle top drawer is where I keep my smaller tools, below that is journaling cards which I have to say I rarely ever get into, and below that is the chipboard drawer which I really need to start using. The top right  drawer is filled with sewing supplies, below that is all of my thread which is so very yummy looking, below that is where I keep patterns and embroidery supplies, and the very bottom drawer is where I keep my most current supplies for EK Success projects. 

And no, you don't get to see any of the other drawers. They are way too pathetically messy to photograph.

So that's about it. It's a work in progress, but I am loving it so far. 
Thanks for coming by to check it out!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Almost Perfect Day

Eric got up at 5 this morning. He had to do some traveling today for work. After I gave him a half-conscious kiss goodbye, I promptly fell back asleep. I would like to say that I slept in nice and late, waking to feel completely refreshed and replenished and raaarrrrrring to go. But it was not to be. No, no, my body clock is so unfair. 7:58 am and I am up. Not exactly wide awake though, just enough that I couldn't find my way back to dreamland. blah.

While the usual Britt would drag her ass out of bed and get going for the day, the Britt of today decided to wrap herself up in the comforter from the bed and burrow into it on the couch and finally watch the season premier of Downton that has been calling my name and TRHOBH and Grey's. It was a good decision. I needed this morning of blatant lazy.

After I got the lazy out of the way, I did all of the normal things for a Friday - made the bed, opened the house up, picked up the three half-empty water bottles and two empty soda cans that Eric leaves out virtually every night and  the clothes that he is incapable of putting in the laundry basket but rather in front of the basket. Does yours do that? I mean, he goes to the effort to put it in a specific spot. They're not in the bathroom or under the bed, or hanging from the fan. He does it on purpose. Puts them in front of the basket. It defies logic.

Once all the little chores were done I thought about perhaps cleaning the baseboards or ceiling fans or any one of those every few month kind of chores. And that thought lasted about 22 seconds, until I had the pledge in my hand it it said in the sweetest voice, "Girl, you need to play with paper." And since it asked so nicely, I did just that.

I've been loving Project Life so much, and while I thought that making it my priority would alleviate the guilt of doing any real scrapbooking, it has actually motivated me to do some! Whoda thunk? So I used up a bunch of scraps and some extra December Daily photos and made this little ditty:

And I love it. The pale color palette, the polka dots, and the little dent I made in my scrap dish. But my favorite things are the gold fabric tape I made, the arrow, and the glittery stars.

 Martha Stewart Gold Glitter, ZIG 2-Way Glue, Studio Calico Day by Day Class stamps, Distress Ink in Pumice Stone and Spun Sugar, Ranger Foam Applicator, Golden Iridescent Bronze Acrylic Paint, and my favorite Simply Simmons brush.

Lemme explain. I have this ugly roll of fabric tape that I got ages ago and never use, because, well, it's ugly. Combine that with my new love of shiny gold with pale pink and now you see why I just had to make the ugly tape into beautimous shiny gold tape. Well, Iridescent Bronze Fluid Acrylic by Golden actually, but who can tell the difference? And those stars? I used my new Studio Calico Day by Day class stamp set and some Pumice Stone Distress Ink to stamp em out, my Zig glue pen to lay down some sticky, then sprinkled some Martha Stewart Fine Gold Glitter over them. And bazinga! Super adorable sparkles. LOVE. Oh, and the gold arrow? I cut it on the Cameo, ran it through the Xyron, and painted right over the top.

And then, because I still had some crafty to get out, I made this 3x4 journaling card box to hold my printed, cut, and pre-made cards for Project Life. It's hard to find the perfect container for them, so I figured I'd just make it! It was super easy and I LOVE how it looks on my desk, all stuffed full of cute journaling cards! All it took was some leftover cardboard packaging, some washi tape and a book plate. And my dollar store glue gun, of course!

And now as I sit here writing this it occurs to me that all that crafty energy is the result of not wanting my brain to sit still. Now that it's nearly bedtime, and things are all quiet in the house with just Eric's snores coming in from the living room, and my knees reminding me that I need a hot bath, is when I can't avoid thinking about my mom and sis in the hospital. Kate was admitted again early yesterday morning, with complications of Crohn's Disease, and today we found out that her colonoscopy results are some of the worst that her GI has ever seen. And he's seen a lot. And the medication that she can try has about a 10% chance of working, and that's only after the massive infection has cleared up. THEN she can start a drug that severely compromises her immune system and leaves her feeling basically just as sick as she does now, but with hopefully less pain. Because right now it's pretty unbearable. Imagine Crohn's Disease, severe Rheumatoid Arthritis in every joint of your body, migraines, sleep apnea, ulcers and lesions, nausea, and confusion all at the same time. To name the less humiliating parts. Imagine being 24 years old in a house alone 12+ hours a day and not being able to do anything. Yeah, that's her life. Oh, and she hasn't eaten more than like, three bites of food at a time in months. Add starving all the time to the list.

So instead of wandering the CHA showfloor, my mom is with Kate at the hospital. Because you wouldn't believe how many things go unnoticed and how many times the wrong medications make their way into her IV. And that's when the nurses manage to make it in to actually give her her meds. Not to harp on nurses - it's a tough job and there are some amazing ones out there. But there are also some who decide to jam a feeding tube up someone's nose without an ounce of sympathy for the nose that happens to be lined with ulcers, or the girl who just wants to ask what happens when she throws up. I mean, does it come out her nose? Does she need to worry about that? And rather than take a breath and answer the girl who is facing major surgery, who hasn't eaten a bite in two days because it's too painful, but is expected to drink a gallon of golytely, she scoffs and yanks it right back out, demanding to know if she wants it or not. Because anyone wants a tube shoved up their nose, you nasty unfeeling sorry excuse for skin bag.

So one of us is always there. Though this time and the last time my mom has taken on the entire watch herself, with just a little reprieve in the evenings from Kate's fiancee. And can I just tell you that Kate's roommate is a crazy old lady who curses all day, walks bare-assed to the bathroom where she shits all over the floor, then leaves a trail of nasty all the way back to her bed? So yeah. Fun for everyone.

So here's hoping that her test results come back soon, that this infection clears up so she can come home, that she can start a new medication, that the new med is effective, and that we can put off having her colon removed. So pray, cross your fingers, send a shout out, pass on some good juju, or whatever you do for Kate, wouldja?

Hope you have a great weekend. Do something fun for Kate!

Friday, January 4, 2013

The rest...

I did it. I actually finished my December Daily! For the first time. With only like, 4 pictureless days, no less! And I have to say, it felt reeeeaaaalllllly good to close that sucker up and yell, "I did it I did it I diiiiiiid it!" Eric wandered in a minute later to ask if I was okay, but aside from that, the moment was sweet victory.

And now I feel even more excited/confident to take on my new Project Life 2013 album! I signed up for Studio Calico's Day by Day class last month, and it just started on on Tuesday. Lots of printables, lots of cuttables, and lots of inspiration. Plus lots of other crazies to make me feel a little more normal. That is of course until Eric wanders in and asks why the hell our monthly data limit on our satellite internet is nearly used up. It is at this point that I had to confess I'd been slightly obsessive with pinning and downloading TONS of Project Life crap. Like. A lot.

So now it's time to stop pinning and start cutting and printing!

Here's some more pages from my December Daily 2012.

I have absolutely no idea how I managed to change by background to black without realizing it in those top shots, but I was sooooo not going back to fix them. You understand.

I hope you are all enjoying this new year!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

December in Review...

Here's a look at December 2012. Definitely getting on the Instagram bandwagon. It's so fun!

Hope you are having a great New Year's Day!
PS: Who saw the special on Fox? Was that not the worst one ever? Where was the ball? Bikini cat walk? A Wayans brother? God, I miss Dick Clark...