Monday, July 28, 2014

Petite Petals plus a Baby

Boy oh boy. 

Life has been interesting these past few months. After being told by every doctor and nurse that I'd "sooo deliver early", I ended up having to be induced at 41 weeks with my second son. After 25 hours of labor that included a foley bulb to bring on dilation and hours upon hours of pitocin (thank the Lord whoever invented the epidural), I pushed twice and my uterus ruptured (I was attempting a VBAC). I had to be rushed into an emergency c-section and both my son and I almost died. Connor was born not breathing, had an intial APGAR score of 1, and had to be transported to the children's hospital for a NICU stay. I spent one night in the ICU then three nights in the regular mother-baby unit at the original hospital I delivered in. They wouldn't transfer me to the hospital my son was at (gotta love Army hospitals and how they need to pinch pennies). So I didn't meet my son until he was four days old, and only saw pictures and Facetime shots until that point. It was a very harrowing time.

Connor was on oxygen for about a month, and has been off it thankfully for two weeks now. Because of the timing of everything I had to cancel my intended trip to the Stampin' Up Convention, which I was so bummed about! Fortunately SU was very understanding and didn't charge me the cancellation fee, and Southwest Airlines just puts the fee into a credit. I figure if I don't use it before next year, I'll repurchase a ticket to NEXT year's convention. :)

In the meantime, I've been busy trying to get acclimated to being the mother of two. Son #2 is a heck of a lot more demanding than son #1 was as an infant, and wants to be held 95% of the time. So crafting is on the backburner unfortunately. But I did manage to sneak in some time to create my first proper card in MONTHS. This was a CASE of a CASE, believe it or not. The original was found on a stampers page called Pootles Papercraft, from England. 






I changed a couple of things, including the colors, number of punched flowers and the small flower punch (from last years retired Itty Bitty Punch Pack...but it is only slightly different from this years version). I also used the new Dotty Angles photopolymer set.  I have used clear sets from other companies before and never had much success with ink showing up.  But SU's photopolymer inks like a dream!! I'm very impressed.

I'm planning a class around the Petite Petals class. So many options with this set!

Ingredients:
Stamps: Petite Petals, Dotty Angles
Paper: Whisper White, Pool Party, Lost Lagoon
Ink: Pool Party, Lost Lagoon
Accessories: Whisper White Baker's Twine, Petite Petals Punch, Itty Bitty Punch Pack (retired), Stampin' Sponge, Pearls

Purchase these products HERE.


Friday, April 25, 2014

I'm baaaaaack!!

 I think its been a year since I posted on here. In that year, due to the military, I've moved TWICE, lived through two tornadic storms in Oklahoma (one of which destroyed a bunch of toys in the backyard, the roof, the entire gutter system, and did major damage to our fence), spent a week at a hospital in Denver seeing multiple specialists for my son trying to narrow down some of the characteristics of his genetic disorder, and unexpectedly got pregnant. :)

So, in the spirit of "nothing screams Jen like complete chaos", I decided last week to sign up AGAIN as a Stampin' Up demonstrator. During the move and general inability to find customers last summer, I dropped as a demo. I've been missing it like crazy! SU offered a great deal for new demonstrators to receive a free registration to the annual convention in Salt Lake City, a savings of $300. Added to that the fact that I found a seriously cheap airfare nonstop from Denver, and I managed to convince my dear husband to let me sign up. Again. For the third time in 8 years.

So as I was organizing my craft room/guest room, I decided to find some of my all time favorite projects and post (plus SU is having a contest where people can receive product to make projects for the display boards at Convention...and I'd loooove to do that). And then I got a bee in my bonnet this week and decided to make a mobile of sorts to hang above the rocking chair in the nursery to give the baby something interesting to stare at while I'm spending countless hours rocking him. Countless. Hours.

So here is one of my favorite 3D projects. We did this a couple years ago in a class based around the Ornament Keepsakes stamp set and matching dies. 

I love to add shimmer and glitter to things and make them POP. By layering the ornament images, we were able to create an awesome 3D image on top of the box to really make the box amazing.



One of my favorite cards I completed for a swap in my group last year. It features a couple of things on the retirement list this year....bummer. I love the "Oh, Hello" stamp set, and Midnight Muse is an AMAZING color. Hopefully when SU does another color renovation they'll add this one back in. :) I created the score lines individually on the Pool Party cardstock using the Simply Scored Borders Plate. And yes, it took awhile and I had some pieces that didn't make the cut. :) The "flower" in the left hand corner is actually just a piece of seam binding ribbon where I pulled a seam out of the middle and then bunched it up.
 

I have always enjoyed learning new ways to create cards that are "outside the box". This one I created for Leadership in 2012. I love how bright and cheerful it is.

 Pull the ribbon and reveal your message! This card features Bring on the Cake, another retiring set. The balloons and presents are from a set that retired last year. Both sets will definitely stay in my stash, as they are awesome for birthday cards, especially for the younger crowd.

Another "outside the box" card. Sometimes the standard 4.25x5.5 card gets a little mundane! This was created for a stamp club in 2011. I have to admit, I can't remember the name of the stamp set. Its very similar to Fabulous Florets, another great floral set retiring this year.



One of my favorite scrapbook pages features my son chasing after my niece during a family vacation in Ohio. Living in Colorado now...I covet that green grass! The dry atmosphere here just doesn't allow stuff to green that much. The page was based off an online challenge.


Rosettes are wonderful. Such a great way to apply a little "wow" with a tiny amount of cardstock. My upline showed me how to create a floral image using the heart punch. Isn't it cute?


I fell in love with the ribbon border punch...and of course it was immediately retired right after I purchased it. :) And the alphabet (retired last year) will always be one of my favorites. The stamps work so well with SU ink, its such a clear and striking color.


So here is my "bee in a bonnet" project that I just HAD to get completed this week. And sadly, in my final nesting phase, I know I'll end up adding more to this before the baby is born!


I used My Digital Studio to print off punches in various shapes and sizes. Because I don't have an e-cutter, I just printed them and cut them by hand, then folded them and adhered them together using sticky tape and Tombo mono multi adhesive glue. I then glued them to some baker's twine and added snippets of ribbon. The colors are Whisper White, Midnight Muse and Pool Party. They match the bedding in the baby's room. Once the room is complete I'll have to post some final pictures.


So life has been just a teeny tiny bit hectic. But I'm looking forward to the challenge of having an SU business again, and have already found some new customers, a potential new recruit, and signed up for a vendor fair. And I'm 34 weeks pregnant. Yep.

I PROMISE I'll be posting more often on here. You can also find me on Facebook by searching for Stampin' Up with Jennifer. And don't forget my Stampin Up website where I will post classes and any orders can be made.

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Am I missing something?

I was going to post a new post with tons of pics of projects I've worked on over the past few months, but it appears Blogger no longer lets you upload straight from your computer. So I now have to upload to Picasa and THEN to the blog? That's freakin' ridiculous. Am I missing something?

Frustration.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Changing this post...

(I'm changing the title of this post because this post is getting spammed between 20 and 30 times a day. All because I linked up to a website. Sheesh! So instead of deleting the entire thing, I'm going to try and change the title and hope it doesn't get spammed anymore. Or else I'll have to painstakingly move the entire post over to a new post...which I will only do as a last resort. Yes, I know I haven't posted since May. The second half of 2012 wasn't too kind to me. My crafting business is hurting horribly and issues with my son have taken priority. Hopefully in 2013 I'll be able to come back and actually SHOW stuff on here.)
 
Its the end of the school year. This is my first "end of school year" as a mom. My 3.5 year old son attends an every-day developmental delay preschool at the local elementary. Which means I've been enjoying 2.5 hours every morning by myself, then continuing to enjoy a naptime most afternoons. I'm sure my husband would disagree with me on the necessity of all this "mommy alone time"...but considering the remainder of the day my energetic and destructive son runs me completely ragged, I've been counting on these hours to recuperate and ready myself for the next onslaught of three-year-old terror.

The next statement is full of irony. "Fortunately", my son has qualified for extended school year, and will visit with his class teacher and his therapists for 1.5 hours, three times a week, for six weeks over the summer. I put quotations around "fortunately" because it is ironic. Basically I'm saying its fortunate that he's still so delayed that he qualifies for the maximum amount of time during the summer. Now, I will say that his improvement over the past few months has been amazing. I am so unbelievably grateful that my school district has these services and that they even have a summer program. I was concerned that we might lose steam over the summer with his progress, and he might revert back to not-so-stellar behavior (we've recently made the oh-so-successful switch from w-sitting to 'criss-cross-applesauce', which I'm sure all your moms or educators out there know exactly what I'm talking about!!). So I am relieved that he'll continue to work with the educators he already enjoys and trusts...and that I'll get a small break a few days a week. Even if its just to clean up the mass destruction that we generally have each day in our house. Because let me tell you: I am NOT one of "those mothers" who has a spotless house. I enjoy playing with my kid. I enjoy letting him experiment with messes. We also have three pets, two of which shed like its going out of style. So please, come visit my house. Just don't eat off my floor. Or adhere to the five-second rule, whichever floats your boat. :)

On to a project!!

One of my son's paraprofessional aides is retiring after 32 years of service. She considered my son to be one of her "babies", and worked with him every day. She did such a phenomenal job with him!! I already bestowed countless teacher gifts during teacher appreciation week (which would be for another post, because all EIGHT of my son's various teachers/aides/therapists received gifts every day all week), but wanted to do something special for this aide on her last day. So I made her a set of stationery.



I have a confession to make: I am a designer series paper hoarder. Not even joking. I have paper that hasn't even been OPENED from 2007. You know its old Stampin' Up stuff when it isn't double sided!!! I have kept every single Simply Scrappin' kit, whether it be retired colors or not. The thought of throwing any of this away scares me.

BUT, seeing as how I love soooooo much of the new paper, I have made it my goal to get rid of some of my old stuff. The paper I used for this is from an old pack called "Jersey Shore". Now, I think its at least 3 years old...because I think that blue is Brilliant Blue, which was retired in 2010. But I did my best to match it up with current stuff. And piece of advice: don't color match using an open window. The colors will look completely different than they actually are. Because that orange?? Sooooo NOT Tangerine Tango. Oy.


I found a template for the box on another blog, and now I can't remember whose! I think it was Sharon Armstrong, but I'm not sure. I'll look and see if I can find it. Anyway, her original box template was for the regular Stampin' Up envelopes, and I honestly didn't think anything of it. I just made one, popped it together, then attemped to put one of the envelopes I made using the Simply Scored Diagonal Tool in there. This was how I figured out that the Diagonal Tool envelopes are BIGGER than normal SU envelopes. Live and Learn! Anyway, the box measurements are 9 1/4 x 7 3/4 (bottom) and 8 3/8 x 6 7/8. Score the bottom at 1.5" on all four sides, and the top at 1" on all four sides. Cut the corners, adhere, and there you go. :)

I figured this was as good of a time as any to use some of the outgoing items. You know, I seriously JUST bought that ribbon punch, and I'm sooo bummed its retiring! Also allowed me to use Curvy Verses, which is one of my all time favorite sets. I've had it since I first started buying Stampin' Up years ago. I think it was one of my first sets I purchased.

Not only was this a good time to play with retiring things, it gave me an opportunity to pull out some of my new stuff that I received from my preorder this week! All the sentiments were stamped in Midnight Muse, one of the new in-colors. I'm sure you've heard that Stampin' Up has redesigned all of their ink pads. The containers are the same, just the pad has changed. The new pad is called a "firm foam pad". It is sort of spongy, and definitely has a better ink coverage than the previous pad. When I first stamped with it, I felt that the ink was more like the craft pads. You do NOT have to push down hard with your stamp! You can lightly tap it on the stamp pad to get awesome coverage.

Also wanted to use up some of the retiring grosgrain ribbon, since I have a gazillion rolls of it. This is Whisper White grosgrain. Not even kidding. I dragged it through the Midnight Muse stamp pad, and boy did it take that ink!! (note to self: Midnight Muse ink does not come off fingers easily. When dying ribbon, WEAR GLOVES!!)


Here is the envelope assortment. I'm loving the new diagonal tool, and how easy it will be to make custom envelopes that will be a joy to send. Imagine how awesome it will be to open your mail, full of crappy bills and adverts you don't want, and then find a happy envelope like this! I'd be smiling already. :)


After this marathon project, my craft room/guest room looked like this. Glad no guests were coming...because it still looks like this. My goal tomorrow is to clean it up if my son lets me. The cutest part of this was clearing off half of the table so my son could play with his playdoh while I crafted. Every now and again I had to get into the playdoh too...strictly for educational purposes, of course. :)


My littlest helper. We rescued this kitty on Christmas Eve. We were at a stop light while visiting relatives in Dallas, and we could hear horrid meowing coming from the car next to us. A kitten had climbed up into the engine block to get warm, and then had taken a precarious ride for over 20 miles on INTERSTATE before getting to that stoplight. I got ahold of him and he immediately started purring. Apparently since I was the first to hold him, he and I have established a bond. He follows me pretty much everywhere. He's sitting on the back of my chair as I type this. His name is Blitzen, since we found him at Christmas. We also refer to him as Houdini, since he manages to get out of every collar we put on him, the "cone of shame" that was on him after he was declawed and neutered a few weeks ago, and THREE different wrappings on his paws on the day we brought him home after the declaw.

I officially live in a zoo.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Finally something to post!

You just never realize how AWFUL it is to survive without a camera until your only one breaks and you can't afford to buy a new one. :( Seriously, a camera phone should NOT be what you depend on for craft pics, preschooler pics, and everything else. I needed a REAL camera, really badly! Fortunately my birthday is coming up in a few weeks, so I convinced my dad to go halfsies on a new camera with me. I'm the proud new owner of the Nikon p500 superzoom. I really wanted the Canon SX40, but it was $100 more...and the Nikon came with a case and a 3-year warranty. Now I will say that it seems out of the case the Canon is easier to work with, while I'm shooting a lot of things multiple times because the Nikon doesn't have the best image stabilization out there. But I'll figure it out. If only I could get my 3-year-old to sit still. :)


So I've had the camera for a month now, but haven't had a chance to post anything because both my son and I have been really sick. He came down with strep throat and pink eye at the same time...you have to love preschools and all their germs. I got a severe sore throat and thought it was the same thing, but kept testing negative. Suddenly I had a debilitating cough and my doctor couldn't figure out what was wrong. Ironically, it seems all of my issues were related to acid reflux, which I've had pretty bad since my son was born (another awesome perk of pregnancy!). Now I'm on a daily med for that. Still can't get rid of the cough completely...the acid came up and irritated my throat, tonsils and adenoids so severely that at one point I couldn't swallow. It was really bad.

On to some new projects! I had a stamp camp last weekend with two other demonstrators. All of the projects featured now extinct Sale-A-Bration products...but seriously, I'm sure most of you picked up the paper pack in SAB because it is completely adorable. One of my favorite DSP packs EVER.



Hard to see, but the squewers are actually going through Snickers bars. And everything was colored with markers. The smaller "stamps" are actually just from one stamp, the "Packed for Birthday" stamp. We just picked out sections, colored it, then punched it out with a 1" circle punch. Easy Peasy! And the stuffing is actually the packing paper from SU...sent through a shredder. Awesome way to reuse something!!


This is one of my favorite projects we did at the stamp camp. It is made completely of name binder holders! Its the perfect size to do a mini scrapbook and keep in your purse. We punched extra holes in the ends to tie more ribbon on.


I am in the process of putting all my photos in. I'm loving having this little scrapbook I can carry around to show people what I actually "do", as well as have a reminder of my cutie preschooler. :) I don't intend to add too much extra stuff, because it will become too big and bulky. I like how small and compact it is. And the colors are so doggone cheerful. Who would have thought I'd end up absolutely LOVING Lucky Limeade?? I thought that would be the one color I wouldn't use...and its in almost everything I make these days!!



Come back again soon for more projects! We did an awesome butterfly frame, a way to sneak Stampin' Up into herb gardening, andother amazing projects. Cool stuff!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Without a camera...

You have no idea how hard it is to live without a digital camera. Yes, my phone has a camera...but its not the same!! My wonderful Canon Powershot that I've had for almost 6 years bit the dust on the first night of Stampin' Up Leadership about a month ago. Seriously...the first.freakin.night. How ill-timed is that?!?!

Fortunately the gals I went with took a bazillion photos so I was able to get some copies of their shots to continue to live blissfully within the joy of SU Leadership. :)


Wouldn't this be a great teacher gift?? Crazy what people can make out of paper!


Beautiful fabric pillows. This fabric will be released later this year. Our Leadership bags were made out of this fabric..and I get compliments on the bag every time I'm out with it. In fact, a recent hostess tried to steal the bag from me. :)


Beautiful roommate gift from my up-upline. Made entirely out of border punches...can you believe that???


We were challenged to create a book using the art journals in the catalog. This was one example that was shown. I'm such a sucker for butterflies.


Isn't this gorgeous?? This was one of the sets we received at Leadership. Now I just need to get my greedy little hands on that punch...


Isn't this amazing!!! On March 1st customers can purchase a Diagonal tool insert that fits on top of the Score Tool. It will allow you to make boxes like these with absolutely no cutting! The diagonal tool will also allow you to make beautiful envelopes and packages using designer series paper. Just another thing I can't wait to get ahold of. :)


I sure do wish my camera didn't break when it did. Seriously, it was the first night of Leadership, I was walking around after the make-and-take session and was only able to snap about 50 photos of displays before it started making this completely heinous sound and then the lense jammed and wouldn't go back into the camera. I even hit up a professional photographer there to see what he thought, and he basically said, "buy a new camera." So I'm currently pricing new ones and trying to decide which will be the best option for me.

Some of the pictures above showcase Occasions Mini catalog materials as well as Sale-A-Bration materials. If you haven't received these catalogs yet, contact me and I'll get them to you! Remember, for every $50 you spend, you'll receive one FREE item in the Sale-A-Bration catalog! Great time to stock up!

Stampin' Up announced at Leadership that the catalog program will be revamped this year. Gone is the summer mini catalog, and the two remaining "mini" catalogs will be bigger (both in size and pages) and last longer (five months instead of four). Also the main catalog will change on June 1st instead of July 1st. I encourage you to look at your stock now to see what items you might need, because accessories, embellishments, and In Color items go FAST. The current 2010-2012 In Colors will retire effective May 31st. Stock up NOW!!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Tot School is hard with tantrums

Man Alive.

My child has seriously exhausted me the last 18 days. 18 days since he attended his normal 2.5 hour preschool. That is 432 hours...not that I'm counting or anything. But he has been a NIGHTMARE all the time. Seriously! I have a behavior chart with a bunch of tasks, one of which is whining. I haven't been able to give him a star for not whining since putting the chart up. In early December.

My son is 39 months, or 3 years, 3 months (for those of you who wish to keep your addition/multiplication/division at a minimum unless doing helping your kid with his homework). When he was just shy of hitting the 2-year-mark, I was trying to convince my husband to start trying for another baby. Then C hit the terrible two's. And that just never stopped. Needless to say, I think if C becomes a big brother, he might be in kindergarten by the time I give birth. And he has a late birthday, so kindergarten is 2.5 years away. :)

Needless to say, the pics are slightly chaotic. Its hard to take pictures when your child is having a full on kicking-and-screaming tantrum and throwing things at you. Oh yeah, my kid's a thrower. I'm proud. Especially of the red dry erase marker line on my arm after he barely missed my face earlier.



One great thing I did was buy a large dry erase board and hang it on the wall. Its basically right above the trim so my son can either stand, kneel, or sit and fiddle on the board. I bought a bunch of different colored glass gems (hit up the floral department of Hobby Lobby: lots of times they are 50% off and you can get them for only a couple bucks). Then I bought some circular magnets and glued them on. The gems typically have a rough back which means the magnet tape won't stick on them perfectly, so I just add some gorilla glue...those suckers aren't going anywhere. :)




My goal has been that C enjoy playing with these things, but also learning about shapes, colors, and following directions. So I would draw a line or shape and ask him to put the magnets ON or IN the shape. He didn't much care for putting the magnets on the line, but loved outlining the star. Go figure! (my mom told me today that, duh, a line is soooo not fun. Shapes are more fun. Umm, okay.)



Over the weekend, in an attempt to get a cute idea that would involve a lot of creativity on his part, I drew a snowman shape and had him glue cotton balls onto the shape. To say he was THRILLED with the glue stick would be an understatement! But, do you know how hard it is to explain to a 3-year-old how a glue stick shouldn't be jammed into the carpet? Note to self: glue sticks only given AT THE TABLE.




According to C, a snowman doesn't need two eyes. It needs a gazillion, all over its body. And one on its arm.


Due to his enthusiasm with the snowman, I quickly just ripped up a piece of paper and asked him to glue them onto a new main piece of paper.


I have to admit, this required more of my husband and I than my son. He really just wanted to play with the glue stick. He, of course, had a tantrum when I took the glue stick away.



Looking for a cheap toy? This one can't be beat! Take a drink container (this is the WalMart version of Crystal Light). Cut a small hole in the lid. Put a $.99 container of small pom poms in. Give to your kid. Watch the fun.


C is in love with anything that requires dumping and then putting back into containers. That is why I can say he's actually quite good at cleaning up toys. He loves to put stuff back. He's now started helping us empty the dishwasher...obviously we only give him his plastic cups, bowls and plates to put away. But he thinks he's pretty cool helping out.


Dump 'em out, put 'em back in. Awesome fun! (excuse the horrible glare off the tv, my husband was searching the schedule for something to DVR).


Very intrigued with the lid and the hole. I made the hole slightly smaller than the pom poms, because I wanted him to have to WORK to get the pom poms into the container. This is a great task for working on fine motor development. He also loves taking the lid off and putting it back on, another good thing for fine motor skills. Our dog apparently felt the need to get involved. If you think he's big, you'll enjoy knowing he's not even 9 months old yet. The vet who told me he would "only" be 40-50 pounds is full of it! I can't even lift him anymore, I think he's at least 60 pounds.


Capping off the week with more dry erase board fun. C is definitely left-handed, so I positioned all of his magnet letters on the right so he has more than enough room to draw and be crazy with the markers. His favorite color to work with is definitely red.




Some other activities we completed this week but didn't get pictures of included working more in our Toddler Book letter A stuff, playing with stickers in a lined notebook I've decided is only for his stickers (another great fine motor game!), painted with water colors and paint daubers (my water baby was much more enthralled with the small container of water I had on the table for the watercolors...although he didn't quite understand why the water wouldn't show up with the amazing colors I could produce when I actually painted correctly. :). My camera had a coniption fit and "locked" for some reason, so I couldn't take pictures for a few days. Him working with the Letter A stuff is pretty cute. I've decided to hold off on printing the Letter B packet, and instead printed the Winter Tot Pack and The Snowy Day printables...I just have to get to a bookstore to buy the book. :) Or, incontinuing my desire to stay cheap, maybe I'll see if the library has it.

For next week, C GOES BACK TO SCHOOL!!!! Oh Joy. Now, I know there are moms out there who will be aggravated with me for being excited about that. But he goes to a fantastic preschool within the local elementary. Their resources are things I could NEVER give him. I'm not trained in physical therapy, speech therapy, and occupational therapy. ALL of the ideas I've posted over the past two Tot School posts have been things I've found online. The preschool also means my son has fantastic opportunities to engage with other children. He has a "best friend" in the classroom, who is the same height and blonde like him. Its really quite cute.

Having him in school also means I will have more time to devote to a couple of at-home jobs I do. I sell Stampin' Up, as well as write for a couple of local newspapers. It brings in a little extra money, which means I get to stay home with C and not have to think about him being in full time care. Plus, my son LOVES school. He loves the way they make him think, the fun activities they do, and the great amenities that my house just doesn't have. They have a big gym with lots of toys and whatnot, plus a P.T./O.T. room with swings, gym pads, and lots more. The improvement he's made since beginning preschool in mid-October is phenomenal. I'm so glad we live in the place we do, and that his teacher chose to come back to preschool developmental delay when she did. Having 2.5 hours by myself each day isn't bad either. :) 



This post is linked up with Tot School over at 1+1+1=1. Amazing stuff over there! Lots of the printables we work with were from there!