Tuesday, November 30, 2010

D.I.Y Greeting Cards and Tags

Yesterday, Jill commented on the gift tag post:  I never thought to make my own. Do you print them on stickers or paper? How do you like Publisher?

Yes, or yes. I usually print on whatever I have hanging around. Stickers, business cards, card stock. I've used Publisher for many, many years so I'm very comfortable with it to make greeting cards, labels, tags, business cards, and long ago my webpage. I like Publisher especially if I don't have label paper or business cards that are already marked and scored. In the Print Set up function, Publisher allows crop marks which makes it easier to know where to cut if you are using plain paper or cardstock

However, you're not limited to using Publisher, espeically if you don't own the program. You can design cards and labels in Word. Microsoft Office On Line offers hundreds of templates for all Office products. The service is free. The templates are easy to use as is or to edit for your own desgins.

Don't have Office? Not to worry. Avery Products offers free templates plus free software for their paper products. Avery also makes it easy to customize a template. The site also has project ideas with step by step instructions. A myriad of Avery products can be found at office supply stores like Staples and Office Max.

Long  before Publisher came along, I used  Print Master  by Broderbund to make cards and things. This program is not free, but provided a lot of entertainment for my girlies when they were little as the program was easy enough for them to use.  I liked it because I could scan in my own artwork or my girlies' art as well as use the clipart provided. Got artsy-crafty kids? This would make a great gift. You can find the software at Staples, and I think I've seen it at Target.

Wouldn't Grandma love a set of address labels with artwork by the kids?

And of course you can hand make items without using a computer. The Welcome sign above was made by decoupaging wrapping paper snow people onto a scrap of mat board using Mod Podge as the glue. Torn tissue paper was glued on for the snow. Snowflake and holly stickers were added. Don't have Mod Podge around and don't want to buy it? No worries. Use a 50-50 mix of PVA glue (good ol' Elmer's white glue) and water.

Have fun crafting!

Monday, November 29, 2010


Before being dragged into the season crush, thought this little drawing would make a cute gift tag. Will import the image into Publisher. The business card template will make a nice size and yield 10 tags on each sheet.

Have you started your season preparations?

Friday, November 26, 2010

The Friday Five

Four things I won't be doing today. One thing I will be doing.

1.  I won't be getting up at the crack of dawn. Not if I can help it. Himself is an early riser getting up between 4am and 4:30am.  I usually try to roll over while he goes out to milk the chickens or whatever he does at that ungodly hour.

2. I won't be out and about at the malls looking for those Black Friday deals. I'll leave the thrill of the hunt to the experts, BVMom and her sister. I may get a jump on Black Monday point and click shopping.

3. I won't be driving. Anywhere. Not here. Not there. Not in a car.

4. I won't be cooking. When someone asks, "What's for lunch?" I'll reply, "Pretend I'm dead." Same reply to dinner question too.

5. What I will be spending a good portion of the day on will be figuring out why the smartphone no longer syncs properly. The calendar syncs, but not the contacts and why my administrator settings crashed and burned. Thank Gawd the data is backed up all over the place.

What are you doing today?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Today is...

Pie Day! Well, not THE pie day. That's 3/14. Today is pie making day. Pumpkin pie, coconut custard, and I shall attempt Dreamy Apple Pie from The Pioneer Woman.

Are you baking pies? What kind?

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Friday Five

One of my favorite places to hang out when I was a kid was the library. Sometimes I would just wander through the stacks running my hand along the spines of the books. I used to dream of one day having a library of my very own. Floor to ceiling bookshelves and a ladder on caster tracks to reach the highest shelf and roll from wall to wall.

I also love electronics. Shiny, sleek gadgets, with glowing screens and the gentle hum of power. Wouldn't it be great if someone could put a library ino the palm of your hand? Enter e-readers and my dream come true.

1. iPad. A Holy Grail of bells and whistles is out of my price range unless I win a lottery. I think I have a better chance of being struck by lighting.

2. Kindle. Affordable. 3500 book storage. Be still my heart. Wi-Fi and free 3G for life. Limited Internet. Upload your own PDF files, but may need to pay small upload and reformatting charge

I was lusting after the Kindle and came very close to purchasing, but as I always think when a new gadget comes down the Pike, will something better come along shortly? Should I jump in or wait and see?

3. Barnes and Noble Nook COLOR. Affordable. Wi-Fi and an SD slot. Be still my heart SD. That means unlimited amounts of storage. That means more than 3500 books even if I couldn't read them all in my lifetime. Upload PDF files with USB cable. No fee

4. Wi-Fi vs. 3G. Wi-Fi not as fast as 3G still able to connect to my own home network and can pickup the hotspot in any Barnes and Noble store, airports

5. 3G fast and free for life. But what happens when  4G (that is fourth generation) comes along? Will 3G still be supported and will it still be free or is that for a short time only?

I am leaning towards the Nook Color.  with the SD slot the storage becomes giddily unlimited. Color makes it atrractive to read magazines. I have some PDF art technique reference files and would be nice to have them handy to the drafting table instead of running back and forth to the desktop or having to print out and store a hardcopy. ditto recipes in the kitchen. Not having to pay even a minimal fee is attractive too. I was hoping to see a demo at my local Barnes and Noble, but as the product hasn't been released yet, the store didn't have one. They are supposed to get one in on Black Friday (sales high holy day the Friday after Thanksgiving). I'll wait until Monday to go see it as the crush of crowds and the thrill of the hunt do not beckon me.

Now, if someone could just create a device: lightweight, thin, small, but with a large enough screen, powerful to surf the web, color, capable of unlimited storage and had phone capabilities (with a Blue Tooth headset for privacy) so I didn't have to carry around a bunch of devices: laptop or netbook, phone, and e-reader, I'd be right there.

What do you think?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Wed Letter Day

While it's still Wed, today and last week's letter B and Z. B Sharpie markers over tissue paper. Z, Ziller Glossy Black with the ever faithful Nikko G, Pearl Ex pigments because I felt sparkly today.

What are you working on?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Counting Blessings

One of my guilty pleasures is fresh, baked cinnamon buns. My friend, Lambie, would make them when I went to visit. I was over her house so often, she gave me her recipe. LOL On Sunday morning, I got up at 5am to make a batch. The process is not fast, but so worth it. The heady smell of cinnamon, a light and fluffy texture, drizzled with a sticky sweet icing. I'm  dying just typing this.

Walnut ink, Nikko G, colored pencil, Painters white calligraphy pen

What's your guilty pleasure?

Monday, November 15, 2010


I was hoping to get a chance to demo Barnes and Nobles new e-reader,  Nook Color today. My local BN didn't have a demo model. The sales clerk gave me a brochure (where the graphic came from) and a sign up slip to be notified when the Nook Color comes in store. Supposedly, it will be on site for demo on Friday, 26. November 2010. Black Friday. No way will I be at the mall on that day. More thoughts on e-readers on The Friday Five.

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Friday Five

The holiday season is just around the corner. With the stress of cleaning, preparing meals, shopping for the perfect gift, and dealing with in-laws, family and outlaws, sometimes it's tough to keep a sense of humor.  Five movies that crack me up no matter how many times I've seen them:

1. The Russians are Coming, The Russians Are Coming,  A Soviet submarine runs aground off theNew England coast. Misunderstanding and hilarity ensue as the Soviet landing party tries to find a boat to free the sub and the town residents are under the impression they are under a full blow attack. Wonderful cast with Carl Reiner, Alan Arkin, Brian Keith, Theodore Bikel and Paul Ford. The movie is especially funny as there are no subtitles when the Soviets speak to each other, but there are enough cues for the audience to easily follow along.

2. Young Frankenstein. The grandson of the infamous Dr. Frankenstein tries to live down his family's repuation and fulfill his destiny. A Mel Brooks classic. Just looking at Gene Wilder (Frankenstein) is enough to reduce me to fits of giggles. Add Marty Feldman, Madeleine Kahn, and Peter Boyle as The Monster and prepare to laugh until your face hurts.

3.  Coneheads Beldar and Prymatt an alien couple from planet Remulak on an invasion scouting mission to Earth become stranded. In their own way, they try to blend in and settle for a comfortable life on Earth. Until the INS and the invasion force from their home planet catch up with them. Dan Akroyd and Jane Curtin

4. Some Like It Hot. Musicians Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon witness a mob hit. The only way they can escape is to disguise themselves as women and join an All Girl Band. The plan goes well until Tony Curtis falls for Sugar (Marilyn Monroe) and the millionaire (Joe E. Brown) tries to woo Jack Lemmon. Both Curtis and Lemmon are superb as they try to negotiate girdles, high heels, and a feminine walk while trying to maintain their secret.

5. Arsenic and Old Lace Poor newly married Mortimer (Cary Grant) just wants to take his bride and go on the honeymoon. Before any happily ever after, Mortimer must deal with his two dotty aunties who put lonley old gentleman out of their misery, a brother who thinks he is Teddy Roosevelt, and the return of Johnny an evil thug of a brother who resembles Boris Karloff.  The Karloff schtick is a riot as is Grant's performance from sane to nearly being a candidate for The Happy Dale Rest Home.

Do you have a comedy I can add to my list? By the way, these would make great holiday gifts.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Begin Again, Finnegan

Plateau dreaded word. Three weeks of not moving forward even though I was sticking with the plan. I didn't think I'd hit this point so soon. Thought I would reach this point when trying to lose the last 10 balloons, not the first ten. Poor body went into shock. I even tried adding an extra lap to the morning walk. Nothing yet.

So no loss, but no gain. How's your week?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


"He who findeth a wife findeth a good thing. Proverbs 18:22 And occasionally I telleth my husband" A small amuseument done at the WAM Open House demo. I set it aside and came across it the other day. Brause  1.5 mm, Higgins Eternal on Diploma Parchment, watercolor pencil. Digitally framed in PSP X3

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Counting Blessings

Falling back to standard time has its advantages. An extra hour of warm feet.  What do you like about going back to standard time?

Monday, November 8, 2010

Time Change

To bad the Fall Back time change rule, didn't include the weather. I wouldn't mind the weather falling back to July.

What's the weather outside your window?

Friday, November 5, 2010

The Friday Five

As a kid I loved watching television. Ma worked and as a latch key child (only we didn't have a name back then) I spent a lot of time in front of the electronic babysitter. The television was controlled by The Brother, sixe years my senior, but I loved most of the shows he watched. Shows I watched when I was around 8 or 10 years old.

1. Lost in Space. A family of space explorers knocked off their course to Alpha Centauri. Too bad they didn't have a GPS. Hokey even back then with monsters made from plastic garbage bags and giant artificial palm fronds, I loved this show. Starred Guy Williams from Zorro fame.  Loved the Robot the best. Family Network is now showing this chestnut at 5p and 6 p EDT. I sometimes tune in while making supper. Still hokey, but lots of fun especially seeing some big name actors guest starring: Albert Salmi, Michael Rennie.

2. Before Guy Williams starred in Lost in Space, he was Zorro righting wrongs in Spanish California. I loved the way he slashed a Z on poor Sgt. Garcia's ample girth.  As an adult I watched the movie starring Tyrone Power. Wonderful movie, but Guy Williams is still Zorro to me.

3.  From Irwin Allen, the same producer as Lost in Space came Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea. Following the adventures of the submarine Seaview and her crew. One of the first shows produced in color (second season on) Monsters from Lost in Space were recycled for this show. My favorite character is the Exec, Chip Morton. What can I say, hard to resist a blond fella in uniform. 20th Century Fox has been releasing the series to DVD. Happy to say the 2nd half of season 4 the final season is scheduled to release just before Christmas.  The show is as outlandish as ever but wonderfully entertaining.

4. The Outer Limits a sci-fi show was good for producing heebie-geebies. The show opened with a voice announcing "We have control of your television...." One episdode especially gave me the shivers. Something about a group traveling to Mars. Everyone was sitting in the space ship all excited. The pilot was wearing a helmet with the sun visor down. He lifted his visor and his eyes!  Oh my gawd! They looked like fried eggs! At that scene, I buried my face in the carpet. Later, The Brother thought it was hilarious to circle his thumb and forefinger and place his hands over his eyes and chase me around the house, the fried egg-eyed pilot chasing me. I was not amused.

5. One of our favorite shows came from England, The Adventures of Robin Hood starring Richard Greene. This show was broadcast on WMUR TV channel 9 from Manchester, New Hampshire. The only way we could see this show was for me to hold onto the television rabbit ears and dance around until the static snow cleared to a grainy image. Didn't matter I loved the handsome and dashing Richard Greene.  I even got to wear the Robin Hood hat I coveted from The Brother's Halloween costume. It wasn't until I was a young adult that I saw the movie starring Errol Flynn as the outlaw hero. The fencing scenes in the television show aren't nearly as well choreographed as the movie, but Richard Greene cuts a fine figure and makes a very believable Robin of Locksley  fighting for good and justice. I also fell in love with the book adventures of Robin Hood illustrated by Howard Pyle. Most likely this was the seed that led to my studies of Middle English Literature in college.

 A year or so ago, I found the entire first season of the show in the bargain bin at Wal-Mart. I couldn't resist. I still love the show. Last week, The Young One pulled out the DVDs and became totally engrossed in the story.  Made me proud. Good to edumucate the younger generation.

So what "modern" novel does the character of Robin Hood first appear? Cue the Jeopardy music...

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Begin Again, Finnegan

A gold star for me! That's my familiar, Ink, and me in the illustration. I'm wearing my Jack O'Lantern shirt.  A darker color blob made an interesting shape that looked like a cape. Not my hair blowing in the wind. My hair isn't that long. Gouache, Sharpie marker, crayons, and stickers. Lettering needs to be added.

And why did I award myself a gold star? I did not eat any Halloween candy. That's right! Not a morsel passed through my lips. I asked Himself to buy a bag of Reese's Cups to hand out to the Trick or Treaters. I don't like Reese's Cups. Adding peanut butter is a waste of perfectly good chocolate in my opinion. So it was very easy for me to stay away from the pumpkin treat bucket.

Week 5. Another week where I plateaued. I didn't expect this to happen so quickly. Deep sigh. Forlorn look.

How was your week?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Wed Letter Day

A re-do of the letter S. The first one was a wax resist on a pale blue watercolor background. It didn't show up very well.

Have you scrapped a project and started all over again?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Counting Blessings

I was taught this little rhyme when I was in Kindergarten. It's stuck with me ever since. And remember, if you don't vote, you don't get to whine.

Ziller Glossy Black, Brause 1 mm., Ziller Cardinal Red, Nikko G

Monday, November 1, 2010


Another study of hands. I found the left hand exceedingly difficult to draw. Just couldn't "see" the shapes and get my head and pencil to go around them. Barbie says, "drawing hands is hard." I'll set it aside and come back to it later.

Have you found a task difficult to comprehend and execute? Do you just plow through it or, do you set it aside for a later time?