Christmas Cards

I think that all but two have been delivered by now, so it is safe to show you the cards I made for us to send out this year.

I started with two photos I took this fall, of our asparagus plants with nice red berries.  A and I did not agree on which one to use for the card, so I did half with one and half with the other.

#1

asparagus 3

#2

asparagus 8

Which one do you like better?

I printed the photos on a nice linen textured paper, at a size of about 3.75 by 5 (inches) rounded the corners with a punch, and then got to work with my beloved Cricut, cutting out a huge pile of “Peace on Earth” in red, at about two inches.  That’s Cricut inches, which seem to bear no relation to any other measurement known to woman.

Cricut

Next, I spritzed them with Tattered Angels shimmer spray, in a gold color, and then highlighted the “on” with smooch moonlight ink.

peace in a box

with and without smooch

Yes, sometimes I get bogged down in the details, but doesn’t the bottom one look better than the top one?

The last bit of shine I added was to highlight the dew drops with a Sakura silver star pen.

I attached the Peace on Earth to the photo (it is hard to take photos that show sparkle – does anyone have tips on this, in the dark of winter?)

almost done, no flash

almost done auto correct and flash

Then, attached the whole to a card made of soft gray textured cardstock

scan card 2

(This is a scan made with the fancy new printer) Card made with photo number 1.

card 1

(This is a photo) Card made with the photo number 2.

Have you changed your mind about which photo makes a better card?

hallmark 2014

The last little bit, to stamp the back with the hallmark.  I love this little angel stamp.

These were quite simple to make, and went quickly – and not a speck of glitter, so no long dry time!  A procrastinating crafter’s dream.  🙂

Downsizing Christmas

Just as I am downsizing my job, so am I in the mood to downsize Christmas. I just feel like it is time to reduce stress, and taking Christmas expectations down a notch feels like it would help.

But A really wanted a tree.

If you remember from past years, you know we go a bit overboard on the tree. What are cathedral ceilings for, if not to allow for huge 12 and 14 foot trees?

the tree, going up

This year, we won’t need a step-ladder to decorate – even I can reach the top of our “little “tree!  It is just about 6 feet tall, and it is A’s project this year.  She will decorate while I am at work this week.  She is on vacation, but I am not, once again! (only 6 more work days for those of you keeping count.)

minimalist tree up

I can’t wait to see what she does with it!

Just so you know I am still me, I spent all weekend on the Christmas cards – first batch of 35 will go out today, many more tomorrow.  Here’s another teaser for you – I always put a little hallmark on the back of my cards – sorry for the blurry photo – the angel is silver ink, and doesn’t show well with a flash, and it’s too dark to see it well without.  🙂  I add a “sarah” or “sal” in the middle, depending on how I am known by the recipient.  🙂

hallmark 2014

Have a good day!

Christmas card making

For the past ten or twelve years, I have made my own Christmas cards.  And during that time, I have ranged from making millions hundreds of cards of different styles to making a basic pattern and changing it up with different colors and papers to making all of the cards identical.

Each method has its benefits, and I don’t have a favorite. (That’s the fun of being a Gemini, right?  Always of two minds.)

This year, I am really pressed for time, so there will only be two designs, very similar.  There would only be one, but A and I disagreed on which photo we preferred for the base.  So, I am making half with her first choice, and half with mine.

I spent the evening last night playing with the paper-cutter to cut out all the photos I printed on linen textured paper and while I did that, my beloved Cricut cut out dozens of the sentiment.  Sometimes Cricut and I don’t get along (it tears paper if everything isn’t perfect) but I used good quality paper and a new cutting mat, and had good luck.

Cricut

This morning, I picked out all the little bits of paper and got the Cricut cuts ready to use.  Almost ready to assemble! Just have to determine where and how much sparkle to add.

I might be mailing by Monday!  Woo hoo! I can catch up, I know I can.

Friday List

First off – a note to the powers that be at Word Press. Please, could you add an auto save feature? Yikes – I just lost a whole Friday list post.

I’ll try to remember it all. 🙂

So this morning, I am waiting for the bug man to come do his regular quarterly visit, and then I will call Crimson Crow so we can meet in Ellsworth. Lots of chores to do there, and of course, some fun things, too. A visit to the Craft Barn is in store, if, after I check supplies I find I do not have 6 pieces of 12 x 12 brown paper. My challenge will be to leave with not much nothing else. I will do the grocery shopping while there, at the big store, and then head over to Reny’s for some Christmas shopping. We do a Christmas is for Kids program at work, and A and I try to help out with that each year. This year there were two kids who went unclaimed by all the other donors, so I am shopping for a couple of 4-year-old boys – should be pretty easy! Crimson Crow mentioned a trip to GoodWill, and of course, we will need lunch! Should be a good day.

There will be knitting involved somewhere along the way, of course. I have already done my sock knitting this morning, but I have two other projects on the needles right now – the Estonian Lace scarf, and the lace cardigan. Here’s a photo for you – both projects in progress – amazing the difference needle size and yarn weight make! I love them both in their place – no way would I ever get through a lace weight cardigan, though I would love it when finished. 🙂

lace projects

I have done some thinking, and reached a conclusion – this is my last pair of socks this year. I am slowing down the sock knitting, to make it last. 🙂 Twenty six pairs of socks! Wow, I never would have believed it. I was hoping to knit up my sock yarn stash, three skeins!!!! Did that ages ago. I am no longer afraid of socks, and I will likely keep knitting them, but at a much slower pace. So, this pair will linger on my needles. Actually, it will only be one sock that will linger, I will likely finish the current sock tonight or tomorrow. Part of what is driving this decision is that I have no more sock yarn, and am not ready to spend some of my precious yarn stash cash on more sock yarn at this point. With the changing finances ahead, I know it will be a while before it builds up to this level again.

Back to my list for today…

I will do a load or two of laundry, and the usual local chores, Post Office, etc.

If I have the patience, I will try to figure out why the new printer doesn’t see our Wi Fi, but even if I don’t crack that nut, I will start printing the photos for the Christmas cards (it prints fine with the cable). Yesterday I worked on cards at work, and it got me in the card making mood – yeah! At last! A says we are getting our Christmas tree on Sunday, and so the holiday things are coming together at last.

That’s about it – lots to do today because we are going to spend the day with A’s sisters and aunt tomorrow. So I had better get moving.

Have a good day!

First Friday – December

I am looking forward to a low-key day, doing chores (laundry, groceries, post office, clean the pellet stove) and some crafts.

It’s past time to get the Christmas cards in process – I think this year’s card will be relatively simple, so I have procrastinated, but I need to get moving!

I will meet A in Bangor after work, so that we can go get a printer. That’s our exciting Christmas present to each other this year, and I need it for the cards, so we will get that rolling. I am excited that it can be wireless, now that the wifi works. Printing from the living room without a million cords – ooh lala!

I have been wearing sweaters and socks all week, as it is finally getting cold. And I realized quickly that I really could use a blue cardigan. So, since I have the yarn for that, I might cast on a sweater this weekend. Or, I might see what Christmas presents need knitting, and cast those on. Or, I might do both. 🙂 I will be breaking my rule on the number of works in process, but it is the holidays, right?

One other thing I NEED to get done is to dig the last of the carrots. Before the ground freezes any harder. 🙂

Not really sure what else will happen, but I think I will just let the day unfold as it will.

Christmas cards revealed

As they are all in the mail, I can share this year’s Christmas cards with you.

The design and assembly were pretty simple, thanks to a 1 inch hexagon punch. I was able to use up lots of bits leftover from previous years’ cards, which is nice, as not only have I got a yarn stash, but I also have a paper stash. Using this pattern, I was able to get 4 cards out of a sheet of 12 by 12 paper and a sheet of 8.5 x 11 paper. However, it would have been more economical to put the solid color beneath the print, I think I could have gotten 6 cards from the 12 x 12 had I done that. Only trouble is I like them better this way. 🙂

card still life

card base

card base assembled

paper bits\
I used the wonderful Cricut machine to cut the sentiment.It is a wonderful machine for “mass” production work.

card with major parts attached

I never miss a chance to add glitter and sparkle (stardust pens from Sakuri, stickles from Ranger)

glitter and pens

with glitter

Because I was using stash papers, I was able to make several different versions of the card.

array 1

array 2

array 3

array 4

array 5

Saturday, and a snow storm coming

Yesterday was really productive AND mostly fun.

I got done everything on my list, amazingly. Had a fun couple of hours with niece B – we visited in her dorm for a bit, then braved the bitter, windy cold and headed to downtown Bangor for a bit of shopping, and lunch – she had not eaten all day. We talked about all sorts of things, and she did what she has always done – asked me a question she really wanted to understand and thought I could answer. “Why do some people who say they are Christians feel that birth control is bad?” I told her what I thought the answer was, and she wondered why they thought that they could tell other people what they should and should not do. I wonder the same thing myself, often.

I had a simply horrible customer service experience at Best Buy. I walked in when the store opened. I knew exactly what I wanted and went straight to that section of the store, where I was ignored for 29 minutes by 2 different sales people, even after I asked one of them for help. I know it was 29 minutes, because I told myself I would wait patiently until 10:30 and then I would raise holy hell. They were just one minute under my deadline when the salesperson finished talking to his friend and asked if I would like some help.

It actually was amazing to have this experience there, because usually they are smothering in their eagerness to help.

Other than that, it was a good day. The dermatologist is pleased with how bad my mouth looks, and says I won’t have to do this to my lips again for years. She hinted that I might have to do it to other parts of my body, which I won’t worry about until my next appointment with her NEXT OCTOBER. Yea!

I got a few craft project supplies while I was out and about – some beads for a knitted necklace, a paper making kit meant for kids, but with which I will enjoy playing, I picked up a Cricut cartridge from niece T, which I will use tomorrow so that I can return it next week. We are supposed to decorate our office doors at work for the holidays, and everyone else is going wild with bells and garland, etc. I want to go the other way, and nail simple humor. 🙂 So, I plan to cut out a large planet earth, and some green circles which I will stick above it.

Peas on earth.

🙂

Last night, A told me she invited her sisters over or lunch, because she had a few projects to do for them, and she knew she wouldn’t get them done. That meant we had to get up early and crank on chores – I hit the PO, the grocery store, the library and delivered some packages to a local family for our Christmas gift program at work. While I did that, A went to the dump and to pick out our Christmas tree.

I made curried squash and mushroom soup to go with the turkey paninis A made for lunch, and then she and L went down and worked on the framing project that needed to be done. S and I visited upstairs while I knit on that blue scarf. 🙂

Then L came up and A worked on her commission from S. It is pretty cool – a platform for under a desk, to elevate feet for proper posture at work. S works in a agency with as little money as mine, and she has a group of short people who need the box under their desk. A built it to order, right height, large enough to be useful, and she did it for free out of scrap wood, so it is definitely more affordable than the expensive ones in office supply stores.

So now we sit with a Christmas tree upright in its stand ready to decorate, laundry to be done, and Christmas cards to write. We are all set for the big snow storm we are getting tonight and tomorrow – estimates vary between 8 -14 inches. I am just sad it is happening 24 hours too soon for us to maybe get a snow day. 🙂

When I was at the store today, I could not help but notice the hordes of people stocking up on staples – in anticipation of the storm. Why do people do that? Do they really think they will run completely out of toilet paper/milk, eggs, and not be able to shop for a month or two? Even in the worst storm here, the ice storm of ’98, when people were without power for as much as three weeks, the stores were open with in a day or two. I don’t get it. So, I just got a few things, and we will get by with what we have.

One thing I will do before I head to bed is fill a couple of jugs with water, just in case. I know I could melt snow and boil it, but if I can avoid having to do that, I would like to.

I hope you are all as warm and snug as we are –

Friday again?

Wow, this week flew by!
Busy list with a big gap in the middle…

Dr. early in the morning, which means no laundry – hurrah!
Then I have about 4 hours to fill in Bangor. I have some Christmas shopping to do, and some non-Christmas shopping to do, too. I have to run up to Orono to borrow a Cricut cartridge from A’s niece T. More on why later.:-) and I will probably go hang at A’s office for a while, have lunch with her.

A little after 2, I head over to Husson U to meet up with my niece B, and do something fun with her (as yet unidentified) and make sure to give her the presents I have for her and her sister before she heads for home for the holidays.

She has something happening in the late afternoon, so I will drop her back off, then go catch up with A when she gets out of work, and maybe have dinner or something.

Meanwhile at home…

The contractor called, and he will come over tomorrow to get measurements and set up for working on our new screened in porch, which he thinks he will have completed by the end of the year! that is just so exciting to me. He will also hang the storm doors and we will talk to him about a few other things we want to do in the future.

Christmas cards are slowly getting done, the first round will be mailed tomorrow, which means that SOON I can reveal them to you all. How exciting for you. 🙂

Knitting is coming along even more slowly, I didn’t have any meetings today that I could knit in. waaaah. I’ll bring it tomorrow for sitting time.

That’s it – the weekend plans keep changing, so I will probably post again to let you know what I am up to then. One thing that seems unchanging – snow on Sunday. Good for knitting and tree trimming.

weekend update

Sunday afternoon already…. where do the weekends go?

Friday I had a nice time at Mom’s, although it was short – we had lunch at a place in Rockland, and then headed back to her house to knit and chat for an hour or so. Here’s the really amazing part – she said “Do you NEED anything at Over the Rainbow?” (that’s her LYS, and I love it there) and I said “No, I am set.” Can you believe it? I must have been feeling ill or something. 🙂

Anyway, after I left her, A and I went to Ellsworth to have supper at Finelli’s. They make the best pizza in Ellsworth, maybe in Maine.

Our next stop was to be the World AIDS day event that Down East Aids Network help at the Library. But as we had an hour or so to kill, we went up to Home Depot to walk. Why we think we can just exercise there, I do not know. We got a lot of interesting things while we were there.

We did get to the DEAN event, where we visited with a few people and I was able to check out my silent auction bids, and up one a wee bit.

Saturday A and I split up and she headed up to Bangor to get the car serviced, and have breakfast with her sister. I headed to Ellsworth for the craft fair and to do some Christmas shopping for our “secret” family. This was my last chance craft fair, and it was the best yet, but not great. Two good things – there was a lady selling knit things, and her hats were priced at $30 – yeah! – and a papercrafter I have known for years was there, so I bought a few things from her, and a few handmade glass beads from another vendor. I got out of there in time to cross town before the 11:00 Christmas parade. Whew! I hit Reny’s to buy Christmas gifts. A and I always volunteer to provide gifts to a family who calls our work Christmas program. This year, we got a family with three small kids. It always gets me when they ask for warm clothes and simple toys. These kids did, so I got each one an outfit and a few toys, which of course meant I spent more than I had planned. BUT I did take long enough that the parade was over when I was finished and I was able to get home again.

Since then, I have been spending my time gluing and glittering, I think I will get the cards that have to be mailed finished today, and will just have a few more to do for hand delivering. Then I must knit… I mostly do that while glitter dries.

Update on the lips – the eighth treatment is when I really started noticing the discomfort and blistering. I’ve got ten done now, and it is really nasty. Not sure I will make it to 14 but I am going to really try.

Friday list, December version

Good morning!

Here’s what I am doing today!

Either:
PO
Grocery shopping
Heading over to Mom’s for a knitting day (won’t know until she finds out if she really has jury duty)
A little Christmas shopping in Rockland

OR:
PO
Grocery shopping
run up to Bangor for some Christmas shopping

Either way, when I get home, work on Christmas cards and knitting.

Seems like a short list, but with either version, there is a lot of driving involved!

In the evening, we will hopefully go to the Down East Aids Network event to celebrate AIDS Awareness month. I have left it up in the air because I did not know how my face would be looking with this chemo ointment treatment. So far, so good. I have done 7 of the 14 treatments, and while my lips are chapped and raw feeling, they are not blistering or sporting open sores. So, if things are the same tomorrow, we will head over to Ellsworth for the event.