Friday, March 30, 2012

Dude Soap

This week's colors at the Play Date Cafe were black and white with a splash of brown. They seemed to be begging for a dude project. I've been eagerly waiting for my lye to arrive so I can make soap from scratch, but in the meantime I've been using up the goat milk soap base I'd been storing in my basement. I am experimenting with crazy recipes because, well, why not, right? I saw a great recipe on Pinterest for tea soap, and thought I'd try my hand at coffee soap.

For the sake of truth in marketing, I haven't actually used the soap. I wanted to get photos of it first :) It was really simple: dump some coffee grounds (not used) into soap base, put in mold, wait to see, put on blog. The last step is optional, of course.

Alright, enough foreshadowing. With no further ado: Dude Soap:

A side view:
Tak Stuff is the name of my home goods company. It's in the fetus stage, but I'm preparing for a Craft Fair in May, so I wanted to include the info on the tag in case it's fit for sale. Tak means "thank you" in Danish, my husband's family's language. The words "home", "made", and "good" are separated intentionally. It's homemade and made good :)

I've made laundry detergent (which works and smells great, and planning to make bath fizzies/bombs and soap from scratch. And then there's the long range dream of my own chickens.

For the chevron paper and the pinstripes I used the free digital kits from Mel. She generously puts tons of digis on her site. You can find it here. Be careful though, once you go, you won't want to leave. The top tag uses white paper with black font. The chevrons are black and white. The pinstripes are a chocolate brown, though they photo-ed all the same. Hmm. The pinstripes are my splash of brown.

I'll let you know how the soap turns out. Hopefully I won't be covered in small grounds all day :) Thank you so much for coming by. I appreciate you giving me part of your day. Have a lovely weekend!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Stamp Spot Challenge

I am playing for the first time with the folks over at The Stamp Spot. It's fun to play with new challenges. This was a fun one: to use twine, green, and brads. I used a green brad (how's that for efficiency) in the middle of my beloved Hero Arts Starburst Lace stamp, which is stamped in honey distress ink. Thanks so much for stopping by. I appreciate it very much.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Panera Play Date

Any Panera Bread fans out there? I was leaving Panera with my takeout yesterday when I really looked at the bag and thought to myself that the bag itself looked like the PlayDate Cafe colors for this week. I'm not kidding. I totally thought that. I gingerly carried my bag out, trying not to wrinkle it so I could use it for my card. I used the front of the bag for the background of the card. I stamped in Versamark and embossed in pink on the yellow side of the bag. I then stamped and embossed the pink and blue flower. There was a seam in the bag which I covered with my ribbon. Isn't it great to upcycle? The flowers and sentiment are from Hero Arts. The sentiment comes with three dots, which I covered with tiny blue gems. Thanks for coming by!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Runway Inspired #8

I'm playing along with the Runway Inspired Challenge. In the model's dress I saw lots of black, a belt, and textured flowers, which I mimicked with my embossing here. I stamped the flowers at different angles because the dress had kind of a smattering of flowers. I chose a green strip for the flowers, because it seems like it's green around her waist. What a lovely dress. Thanks for the visit.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Go forth and read, my children

Click on the blog name after the tilde to get to the article itself. :) 

Together ~ Sit a Spell
"When we were waiting to adopt, I remember sitting in adoption training and workshops as speakers attempted to paint a realistic picture of adoption.  Although I'm convinced no one can fully prepare someone to adopt, we're thankful we were not sold the lie that adoption is glamorous and easy.  Beautiful, yes.  Necessary, sometimes.  Easy-breezy?  Never.  The adoption community around us helped our family understand that we were volunteering to walk into a life-long situation built on loss, hurt, pain, and the unknown.  There would be varying degrees of loss, pain, and the unknown for every adoptive household, but we knew...those elements would exist in our story moving forward.  Most painfully, they would exist in our child's story."

God Forgets ~ Working 
"Just under two years ago I was at a family reunion, visiting with cousins that I hadn't seen in years because of our move from the East Coast to Minnesota. One of my cousins brought greetings from her father, a favorite uncle on mine. He is in the far stages of dementia, lives with the support and care of the staff of a long-term care facility, and was not able to come to this reunion. His daughter brought this greeting: "Tell my family that, although I do not remember them, I still love them."  

There ~ Freddie DeBoer
 "You don't have to be the worst off to have my support, my friendship, my sympathies, my vote, my solidarity. But to be upwardly mobile and educated and America, as I am and was, and speak of your problems as if they are the moral justification for revolution-- no. Generational warfare? Why, when the same inequity and injustice that harms the child continues to constrain the father, the grandfather? Arbitrary divisions of age and circumstance? No: I'll stand with anyone who is willing to change the world for the empowerment of the dispossessed. I will break bread with the young and educated and dissatisfied, I will work towards their goals and ending their problems, but I will never stop insisting that it is a deeply regressive mistake to highlight those problems as the first priority of a revolutionary movement. Things change, in your life, and you get to be consumed in that change, and you get to cry for the moon and for yourself for awhile, but you never forget the ceaseless cruelty of a homeless shelter, of a housing project. If that means you are speaking for the subaltern, or that you are being condescending, or that your radicalism is a product of privilege, so be it. You are who you are. Keep your own counsel, do your own good for those who are not used to having good done to them, and burn a quiet flame inside of yourself, and I swear I will have your back, no matter how good or bad I've been to you in the past. My support is probably worth nothing, nothing at all, but I swear I will keep that promise."

Tragedy Gives the Hoodie a Whole New Meaning ~ NPR
"And so, people wearing hoodies to honor Trayvon Martin are trying to turn the negativity toward hoodies inside out. Could such a sea change possibly work? Could it be the more that different kinds of people wear hoodies, the less the sweatshirts will be revolting to the Geraldo Riveras of the world? Could the Wear-a-Hoodie Movement really alter the way that some Americans look at other Americans? And, one last question, could a sweatshirt designed to enclose and envelop be a catalyst for more openness and more meaningful dialogue?"

Tears in Target ~ Katherine Willis Pershey
"I checked myself. I did feel awfully bad for the injured child. He was obviously in pain, his white face crimson. And his mother, sitting on the floor with her son, tending to his agony.
But I was also crying for Trayvon Martin and, Lord have mercy, Trayvon Martin's mother.
And I was crying for all black boys and, Lord have mercy, the mothers that love them. (Read this article by Josie Pickens on Ebony.)
At the checkout, I saw the thirteen-year-old again. He was with his mother this time. He stood next to her in line, smiling as he played that trick on her, the classic one where you reach around and tap the opposite shoulder, trying to get them to turn and look at someone who isn't there."

PaperTrey Hop

Edited: I can't get Nichole's blog to load. Can anyone help me out? I've been trying for a couple hours, off and on, obviously. Anyone else having trouble?

I had kind of a hard time making this card. Well, not this card in particular, but the inspiration photo and I fought for a while. I made a couple of hideous, fancy cards before calming down and going simple. I liked the patterns on the inspiration photo, as well as the color. I had been hoarding this ribbon from some Christmas paper wrapping. It's funny how some cards come easy and others take a couple different tries, isn't it? The set here is Simply Stationary. I used letterpress paper to get a deeper, richer impression.

I'm participating in the PaperTrey Ink blog hop. You can find out more here :)

 Thank you for coming by.

Here's the inspiration photo:

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Lucy Digital Challenge

One of my favorite blogs is Lucy's Cards. She is a master at using digital images and traditional elements to make beautiful cards that look very clean and simple. I have been using digikits for a few months and love the flexibility they provide. You can make a million bicycles, or whatever, that you wish. You can resize, recolor, flip the angles, and do almost anything to them. This was one of my favorite cards using a digi.

I went really straight-foward with this sweet bicycle image. I simply printed and colored it and made what I hope looks like a trail of hearts coming from its wake. The flowered paper is from jillibean soup. Thank you for coming by.

Friday, March 23, 2012

My Help Comes

I really like this sentiment stamp from Verve. It was read at my grandpa's funeral last month, but I have liked it for a long time before that. I like the idea of lifting my eyes up, scanning the distance, and seeing help come for me. Sometimes, when life is rough, I need to imagine in full color that help is on its way, and endurance will get me to the finish line.

Anyhoo, I made this card thanks to the inspiration from Mojo Mondays. Here's their sketch:

The starburst lace stamp in the background was stamped with Versamark. It's from Hero Arts. The border punch is from fiskars.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Cheep Cheep

These great birds are part of a Skipping Stones set Everyday Blessings. The sentiment, which is unfortunately hard to see reads "When I count my blessings, I count you twice". I stamped the birds in different colors of distress ink. The twine is from MME. Easy, peasy.

I'm playing along with the Skipping Stones sketch challenge (sketch below) and the Ribbon Carousel Challenge to use baker's twine. Thanks for coming by!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Moxie Smooches

This card is kind of crazy. I began by white embossing the sun in the middle. Then when I was using the swirls to make the wreath, I accidentally got the block sticky with Versamark, which resulted in the extra swirls and stars in the middle. I decided to leave it as it was. I added a few green and pink pearls for subtle touches of color, like the wreath from Paper Smooches. I hope you like it. Have you had any crafting mishaps lately that you preferred to your original idea?

I'm also entering this in the Moxie Fab World Tuesday trigger Challenge. After I made the card, I noticed that the colors were very much the same in both pictures: kraft, and white with touches of green and pink. The Trigger picture was sitting on my table whilst I was making the card, so it must have subliminally snuck in :)

P.S. I heard the world "whilst" on the radio this morning and resolved to use it sometime today. Thanks for bearing with me.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Amazing Friend

Laura Bassen has been giving us some gorgeous inspiration on the CASE blog. I pretty much straight up CASE'd her card. I used my beloved LifeStyle die cut flowers for the main image. I wanted the twine to go through the flowers, which I arranged at different angles on a straight horizon. The sentiment is from Hero Arts. Thanks so much for coming by!

P.S. This was my second post for today.

Sail Away with Me

When I saw the colors over at The Play Date Cafe, I was struck by how nautical they felt. Weird thought, right? I decided to go with it, but was initially thwarted by my lack of nautical stamps. I was then forced to try something new to me: masking. The stamps here are all from the My Happy set from Hero Arts. The bottom of the boat is half of the woodgrain circle. I started there. Then I masked off a triangle which I hoped would work for the sail. I stamped the green first, then the red, then the bright blue. To finish it off, I stamped part of the sentiment to make the mast say "happy". It's obviously not perfect stamping, but I was really pleased that I could make the thought into a presentable card.

What new techniques have you tried lately?

I am also entering this in the CAS-ual Fridays challenge to use a pattern (the chevrons), a sentiment (happy) and an image (the boat itself). And while I'm at it, the Simon Says Stamp Challenge to use a little bit 'o green :)

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Spring Flowers

My friend Kailash loaned me this pretty stamp. I went to town, making about six cards, which I'll share this week and next. Here I embossed the image in black. That's the best method, for me, when I'm going to color. Then the lines are clear and I don't bleed the lines out. It's less important when working with pencils, but it's my preference with markers as well. The little twine here came with a package of Paper Smooches stamps. Kim Hughes had wrapped the stamp set in this twine, so it was the perfect size for this top-fold card. I hope you're having a good Sunday wherever you are. 

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Good Reads

I've compiled a few things I've enjoyed reading lately, most of which you can link to here. Full disclosure: most of these people are my friends.  Biodigester
"Because of this, there is a great opportunity to improve health and to conserve the environment at the same time.  For the reasons above, people have long realized that the developing world needs better options for cooking their food. This has led to the development of many types of "appropriate technology" including solar cookers and fuel-efficient stoves such as the ones developed by Guatemalan Cultural Action (another Global Ministries partner).  Biodigester projects have been especially successful in China, but a number of Nicaraguan groups have also had success in the hot, western parts of the country, and there are even big plans to expand."   Talking Ashes with the Baby 
"I’m going to give Zora some basic explanation. Probably along these lines:
This is a day when we remember that God made us. In your Bible books, it says God made the first people out of the dust of the earth. So we have dust put on our foreheads to remind us that God made us. Some people also put dust on themselves when they are sad that things aren’t going the way they should. Like when people die. Or when people do mean things to each other. So that dust is a reminder that God made us and that God made us to be good. And it reminds us to try to be good like God made us. I might also bring up some things from her baptism: that we made the sign of the cross on her head with water when she was baptized, just like the ash cross. And then, we’ll just have to see where it goes.

The Fault in our stars by John Green. This is not on the internet, I mean, unless you download it onto your Kindle or whatnot. I am in a book club and this is our book this month. It was so amazing I'm kind left with gibberish to describe how freaking good it is. HOLY COW. See? Gibberish. It's a hopeful yet honest tale of two kids in love who happen to have cancer. It's a young adult novel, but you won't mind. That's how good it is. Go buy two copies. You'll want to give it to everyone you meet after you read it, so you might as well plan ahead.

Calvin vs. Hobbes by Ben Dueholm
"Readers may be surprised to find one of America's foremost Calvinists (Marilynne Robinson) painting such a noble portrait of the human self, but that's only because we've lost the language of paradox - unimaginably destructive, yet a little lower than the angels- that once charted our capacity for both good and evil."

Friday, March 16, 2012

Make It Monday

I made this card for the Papertrey Inc Make it Monday challenge. The technique is what they call colored kissing. Basically you stamp your image (the circles here from the Simply Stationary set) onto your paper. Then you stamp your other image onto your first stamp, then stamp it onto your first image. That's how I got the medallion look onto the circles without the medallions overlapping the edge of the circle. I'm not explaining that very clearly. You should check out their video :)

I paired this with some Recollections paper. And I've noticed I need to wash my windows - it's not the card that's flecked- it's my windows! Now that it's 75 degrees here, I've got no excuse, I guess :)

Thanks for coming by. I hope you have a great weekend.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Faux embossing

The technique challenge this week over at the Just Us Girls site was faux embossing. There are a couple ways to do it. I die cut my flower image out of the same paper as my background paper. Then I adhered it using glue dots, and ran it through my die cut machine. I used the embossing plate (verses the cutting), and used about 6 sheets of cardstock as shims to get it thick enough. That flattened the flower into the paper so it looks like I used an embossing plate with this design. The sentiment is from Hero Arts. This was a fun technique. I think I'll use it again.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Casual Appreciation

Very early in my blogging days (which number less than a year, so it's all relative) I posted a little card on the Play Date Cafe of which Julie Ranae is a part. She wrote a super nice comment and started following my blog, which meant so much to me. She and I are located in similar parts of the state of Illinois, too. So while I'm sorry for her to be leaving CAS-ual Fridays, I'm glad she's still out in the blogosphere and wish her the best to come. All the best, Julie.

The paper here is from Recollections. Michael's has it on sale 6 sheets for $1 this week, so you should go get some too :) The sentiment is from Hero Arts friends collection. A little twine, a few gems, and all done. Have a good one, folks.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Homemade Laundry Detergent Tutorial

Some of you know of my wish to become a farmer's wife in Iowa. On this farm where I would live, with my present husband Ben, who would stop being a pastor and a writer and instead be the aforementioned farmer, we would make all sorts of things for ourselves. We would compost (we already compost, but stay with me), we would can stuff that would be edible later, we would raise chickens (stop making that face, Mom), and we would make our own laundry detergent.

Well, it turns out I don't have to convince my husband to move to Iowa, forsaking his calling and educational training to become a farmer, because I have made my own laundry detergent in our present home in the suburbs of Chicago. It's absurdly easy, but since I've become obsessed with other people's tutorials, I made my own to share with you. Like I said, any idiot can do this.

How do I know that?

Play Date

I was intrigued by the colors from the Play Date Cafe Challenge this week: charcoal, ash and butter. I had some great patterned papers waiting to be used and the very busy LifeCrafts die. I sneaked the grey in on the border which I faux stitched. You can see a little bit of how pretty it is here in the background of my card, which I took on the window of my office while I was totally working. :) 

Here's a close up of the flower. I cut it twice in the October Afternoon patterned paper and twice in yellow, and pop-dotted the layers. I adhered flat one white and one yellow, and popped up in between the two flower sandwiches. Does that sound like gibberish? I didn't want it to be too tall, but I like a little dimension. The striped paper is from Recollections. The whole page is rainbow stripes, but I cut out just the yellow.

Thanks for coming by. 

Monday, March 12, 2012

'Cause we felt like it... the challenge name for the Ribbon Carousel Challenge this week. Funny, eh? I used this great felt circle combo that Cristina sent me a while back for my focus.The papers are from Echo Park's About a Boy collection, as are the stars. I love these basic colors - they could work most occasions. Thanks for coming by!

Sunday, March 11, 2012


I'm playing along with the Mojo Monday's sketch challenge found here.I used a Verve sentiment, and a PTI stamp for the background circle. I really liked this sketch. Thanks for coming by.

Here's the sketch:


I found the tag on this card in the bargain bin at Michaels. It was part of a set and oh so sweet. I added a few paper flowers and pearls to the center. The sentiment is an SRM sticker. I'm playing along with the ColourQ challenge. The color inspiration: 

Friday, March 9, 2012

Moxie Fab World

I loved the gorgeous picture from the Moxie Fab World for this week's Tuesday Trigger. I had some My Mind's Eye papers which had the same colors, and I mimicked the design of the poster from MFW. I used a typeset sentiment from Hero Arts, which I clear embossed. I was concerned that the turquoise ink might fade into the kraft and be illegible. The little heart was stamped from the My Happy set twice. The first time, onto the orange patterned paper, the second time onto red paper, which I cut out and adhered inside the first heart. I love how soft the card turned out. Thanks for coming by.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Happy Blue

I'm playing along with the Cure for the Winter Blues Challenge in the Moxie Fab World. If you'd like to play you can find info here. I used some of brand new and favorite stamps from the My Happy set from Hero Arts. I love how many different ways I can use this stamp set. Thanks for stopping by!

Just Us Girls

I'm playing along with the Just Us Girls challenge. The patterned paper is from My Mind's Eye Stella Rose Mabel collection. It's actually one sheet of paper that I used both sides of. The sentiment is from Hero Arts, as are the gemstones. Another card with twine :) The card base is a lovely heather shade.

We're going to get our taxes done today, so this'll be quick. My husband and I are both ministers, which means we're both employed and self-employed for tax purposes. It's a mess, so we just hand all of it over to an accountant. Everybody wins, and nobody has to go to minimum security jail for tax fraud. :)

Here's the sketch from JUGS:

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Paper Smooches blue and kraft

I was fortunate to have enough time to make two cards for the Paper Smooches Sparks Challenge. For the first I used sentiments from the Simple Sentiments set. I tried to make it look somewhat like a clock.I dyed my white ribbon with some antique linen distress ink. Both my ribbon and hands were a nice shade :)

The second uses stamps from Eco Friendly. I especially liked the colors in the photo - kraft and blue - and the strips of color, which I imitated with some scoring and the rustic feel with twine. Thanks for coming by!

Here's the inspiration photo:
for Paper Smooches: