Faded Shabby Blogs

12 December 2010

Ornaments CASEd from Lisa Stenz (lisascreativecorner.blogspot.com)

Inspired by an ornament swap, I finally committed to making these little Kraft Mini Albums into ornaments to adorn the tree and keep memories of the year or the Christmastime.  Thanks to Lisa Stenz for the images that inspired me.  I made some "errors" in trying to recreate her work exactly, and in doing so created something a little more my own.  (I should thank Tresa Black too for the paper scrunching technique that helped enhance my projects!)

These little Kraft Mini Albums are such a deal...only $2.50 each!  Right now on my website, JuliAnne.MyCTMH.com, you can order some for yourself and create memories of your own to adorn your tree!  Throughout the month of December, CTMH is offering a special called "Plenty for Twenty".  Spend $20 on product through my website and get a FREE D-sized stamp set included in your order!  This is a $22.95 value, and all stamp sets included are no longer available to order.  It's an exciting surprise when you open the box!  PLUS, you could also win a Sticky Boy stamp, as the CTMH staff are placing these into random orders.  If you place an order through my site and receive one that you don't want, let me make an offer to take Sticky Boy off your hands!!!

Here are some pictures of this little project.  It can go together so quickly...a perfect weekend project.  I made a few tonight (had an order after the swap!) and realized that it is really easy to piece a few options together at once.  Perhaps I'll go back in time and make albums for every year of my marriage...

30 November 2010

Studio J: Fall layouts

I've been terrible as a blogger, but I'm making tremendous headway in the unpacking my life in just a month category.  And with two preschool-age children, that is no small feat!  I've been working on my paper crafts and finally found the cable to connect the camera and the computer, so soon I will have another tutorial for you.

In the meantime, I'll post what is turning about to be a strong passion of mine.  Close To My Heart launched its Studio J online design software earlier this year.  In the fall, they introduced Studio J memberships, and I am taking full advantage of mine!  I encourage anyone to go to my website, JuliAnne.MyCTMH.com and click on the Studio J link.  You set up an account and start playing.  You don't even have to upload photos to begin to play, although it is really fun to look at the assorted photos you've uploaded and make decisions about the paper, the number of photos per layout, the designs.  It is free of charge to do this.  Try it out.  For any mothers of young children, families with extended branches and a desire to connect through the story of your shared lives in scrapbook form (but no desire to be the one to make X-number of the same layouts), or anyone who is interested but doesn't want to have to have a room (or house) full of scrapbooking supplies, it is a clever little development!

Once you begin playing and find a satisfactory layout that you would want to have printed, you would make a purchase then.  The two-page layout costs $12.95 (plus shipping and tax).  Order between 5 and 10 layouts and you also get free memory protectors that fit into a 12x12 post-bound album (these can be purchased from my website too).  Order 10 or more layouts and you get 10 memory protectors and free shipping.  It's a pretty good deal.  But the membership...now that gets even better!  An annual membership is $99 and entitles you to half-priced layouts ($6.50 per layout, or $3.25 per page), free memory protectors, and one free shipping per month so long as that order has at least four layouts in it.  You also get FREE .jpg files in two sizes - large (each one is sizable and has only one page of the layout so you could go to a photo place an print your own 12x12 page if you wanted, or if you wanted to print extras for family members who adore your layouts!) and small (each one contains both pages of the layout and is suitable for sharing via e-mail, FB, or even on your blog!).  The printed page is durable enough so that you could embellish with classic scrapbook embellishments like brads, ribbon, etc.  So you can even create embellished studio layouts. 

Here are the layouts that I made this weekend.  Yes, I said this weekend.  (Remember, I couldn't find the connection between the camera and the computer!?)  The layouts taken in Clarkston, Michigan (with photos by Amy Peterson, soulfuldancer.blogspot.com) were all done today.  In under two hours.  That included the uploading of the photos.  Which isn't an eternity, and while you are uploading photos you can select more to upload!

Okay, so there they are!  I placed the order at 5 PM Pacific time and had an e-mail within the hour (CTMH is on Mountain time) that the files were ready to download.  For members who don't want to wait for their shipment or pay CTMH directly for the prints, there is an option to buy just the .jpg files.  So if I were trying to get some Christmas presents made and put into an album and ship back to friends or family in Michigan, I could just order the .jpg files, go to Kits Camera up the street and have them printed within an hour.  It just occurred to me to create a terrific Studio J layout and leave the photo wells empty.  I could print multiples for each individual family within the extended family...and then we could have matching layouts for Christmas.  A little corny, yes, but it's a little toned down from the matching pajamas the kids all had one year, no?  Oh, who am I kidding?  I love that kind of corny stuff!  Bring on the matchy-matchy outfits.  That's one of the things that makes this the most wonderful time of the year!

Now, off to work on the cards (and my tutorials) for this season!  Merry merry!

05 November 2010

Finally Connected Again!

This past Saturday we moved into the incredible rental house in Bellevue.  Oh, to get to purchase this and make our own mark!  Maybe we can convince the homeowner to sell her family home and allow others to get sentimental over it!

Anyway, the cable installer was here today so I have connectivity again.  As soon as I find the stuff in all the boxes, I'll post something meaningful.  Right now I'm going to enjoy a napping daughter, an engaged son, and a moment all on my own, mentally.  Just looked down and saw that our computer still thinks we are on Eastern Standard Time, which means I need to change that or I'll constantly have a sense of panic that I haven't gotten dinner started soon enough. 

Stay tuned...I'm coming back!!

22 October 2010

Getting Acclimated

The Vs and I have been here in the Seattle area for just two weeks now.  We've packed a load of "adventures" into that short time.  I thought I would already be an uber-blogger, but we just aren't as technologically advanced as I thought we might be at this point.  Next week, we move into the rental house (and get all our stuff back!), will trick-or-treat at Uncle Tom's neighborhood in Puyallup, and really begin the life we expected to lead here.

I'll post another tutorial.  This laptop doesn't have the photo editing system I'm accustomed to, and I'm unwilling today to learn the one that this machine has so I can post some pictures.  But there will be one soon!

12 October 2010

Date Clarification

For anyone who is reading and wondering, I wrote the post including "One Day and a Wake Up" title last week when the kids and I were still in Michigan.  The computer there didn't care for Adobe and crashed repeatedly when I tried to upload the pictures of the Studio J layouts. 

We have now been in Washington for the better part of a week (and a good one at that).  I made my first foray into a local grocery store today solo and, thanks to the advice of Chuck in the fish department, even came away with some fish for dinner.  I'm a fish lover (right down to the sushi I'm so excited to be near an ocean to enjoy!) but rarely have ever cooked it.  Truly, Matt has always purchased and cooked our fish.  Today was different.  We tried Basa Swai, a Vietnamese catfish, apparently.  I didn't know that this would be the fish I came back to the apartment with, nor did I know any recipes to use to cook this.  Given all that, I didn't have enough of the ingredients for many of the recipes we found.  But the dinner was palatable.  My hubby even smooched me for having cooked a good dinner.  (So it was either good or he just wanted to reinforce that I would know he is appreciative of my cooking.  Either way, it's a win.)

I had also made some rice pudding for dessert.  With basmati rice.  Yummy.  Vincent was disappointed that I took his away before he was finished.  Matt's bowl was clean.  Verona proudly announced she ate it all.  Ah, the standards!

Studio J Layouts, One Day and a Wake Up

My husband had been in the military.  As a means to help time pass faster, they referred to their count-down days as the number of days remaining (minus one, really) and a wake up.  I have one day and a wake up until the kids and I finally move out to the Seattle area to join my darling husband in life there.  It is a time filled with tears (mine and friends'), as it is difficult to know when I'll see them again and hard to sustain the sense that we WILL see each other when we don't know the date for that reunion.

Of course, all the other "farewells" of this summer (my YiaYia, Matt's Oma, and finally my mom, whose 40 day memorial just passed...the final marker of this sad summer) have not made this any easier.  I know there is joy to be found, and a good life awaits us.  Still...

In the spring, my dad turned 70.  I had the forethought to ask my friend and favorite photographer to come and capture memories.  Check out Amy's blog here..  You'll be glad you stopped over!

Here are some layouts I made using Studio J (love the new membership benefits, like having JPGs to post pictures or print additional layouts!) and employing Amy's great photos of the afternoon with our family.  My brother was in from Puyallup, WA; my sister and her daughters from Charlotte, NC.  Enjoy!

22 September 2010

50 Card Workshop - Thanks, Deb VanPatten for Cutting Guide!

Fellow CTMH Consultant Deb VanPatten devised a terrific cutting guide for a Christmas card workshop.  I needed some thank you cards so decided to put her cutting guide to the test using Olivia papers from the new Autumn/Winter CTMH Idea Book (item x7128B, $12.95 and less than half the pack of paper was used).  I used the colors from the papers to guide my ink selections (Pear z2197, Sunset z2191, Barn Red z2104, $5.25 each for each ink pad) and selected Colonial White Value Pack cards (x1410; 50 cards and envelopes for $14.95) as Colonial White is one of the base page colors in the Olivia paper pack.

I assembled my items, consulted the cutting guide, determined which paper would be used for each selection (Deb's cutting guide was set for the Mistletoe paper pack, so the names of the papers and designs are different).  Here is a photo of what I gathered:
The somewhat translucent envelopes to the left of my Fiskars paper trimmer (item z338 for $29.95; I actually purchased mine with a 40% off coupon at a local craft store) are Paper/Stamp Organizers (item z335; 3 6x6 items for $5.25; I'll be honest with you: I've never purchased these.  Instead, I consolidate my stamp sets and save the unused organizers for just these occasions.  I happened to have stamped on mine with Staz-On ink to make them decorative).  This cutting guide makes 10 each of 5 cards, so there are 5 organizers.  I put the cut items for each card into one organizer, then I can take my time in assembling the cards.  (Did I mention I have two preschool aged children?)

The image above shows the cutting-in-progress as well as the cut items lined up on each of the respective organizers.  I'm a little methodical, so after I cut a page, I turn over the cutting guide.  You'll note that the turned pages also contain one page of B&T; that was a page that needed circles cut out.  I did that after cutting all the papers. 

Once all my papers were cut, I readied the cards for assembly,  When purchasing pre-scored cards, you will need to fold them.  I find it makes a crisper fold to use a Bone Folder (item z1204 for $4.95); it also saves my finger tips from getting too sore from the folding.  Lots of craft kits happen to come with scoring tools or bone folders, so if you have one already, start using it!  A little note that it took me a long time to learn:  the way to fold a scored item is to fold away from the indented score line.  I used to think the ridge should be at the outer peak of the fold, but you'll notice your cardstock "cracks" when you do this.  Here is my gratuitous scoring photo.  Like my scar?  When your children try sitting on the back of the couch, show them the cautionary tale of my escapades as a five-year-old!

Deb's terrific cutting guide utilizes five patterns from our "Wishes Card Confidence Program" How-To book by Jeanette Lynton (item 9033, now just $21.95).  In addition to the five patterns I have used here, there are three multi-card "workshops" built in to the book to help you really make the most of your time and effort!  I used the square card workshop last year to create my Christmas cards and CD cases.  It went very smoothly and allowed me to customize each and really make an impact.  (And I made over 200 last year!)  Just follow the paper placement in the "Wishes" patterns, like I've done here:

When it came to having "sentiments" I pulled out some new stamp sets that I've really been enjoying in a number of projects.  Featured are elements from Circle of Love (D1438 for $22.95 - this one also has an incredible peacock on it and feathers!), The Present (D1436 for $22.95), Everlasting Life (D1440 also $22.95) and Tag the Occasion (B1362 for $13.95).  I'm excited to challenge myself to use stamps outside their first and obvious use, like the Everlasting Life is featured in the Winter stamp sets (near Christmas stamps).  When using My Acrylix stamps, it is important to have the spongy "cushion" under your paper.  Unlike rubber stamps, ours does not have the built-in cushion and you need a little give in this process!  Just so you know...

The above stamping examples show first- and second-generation stamping.  Both employ the Sunset ink, but the saturation is completely different (giving the effect of two different, yet perfectly coordinating) colors!  A tip I learned recently:  if you want to maximize your spending, buy deeper shades of inks first and utilize second- and third-generation stamping to increase the "number" of colors you can create!

I went easy on the embellishments for these cards as I need to get them out fairly quickly AND I want to put them in the mail without much extra postage (sometimes required if hand-cancelling is required).  Here are my completed cards:

Please contact me if you'd like to learn more about card workshops like these!  Hope you enjoyed this look at how easily these come together!  (Really...even with my sweet Vs coming around to see what Mommy is doing!)

02 September 2010


The verb "to commence" means "to begin", and yet so often the noun form, "commencement" takes on a meaning of an ending.  Friday, September 3, 2010 marks an ending of an era for me - my employment at Oakland Community College comes to an end.  My years (a decade and a half) working with some of the finest colleagues I could ever imagine concludes.  My role as a helper of the students at OCC will no longer be.

Of course, this ending also marks a beginning.  It is the beginning of my life as a stay-at-home-mom (the dream job I've wanted since the moment I learned I was pregnant, just over five years ago).  It is the beginning of my family's new life in the Seattle area.  Matt has already gone and begun his work.  The work of readying the household to be packed and shipped is before me.

Tears are flowing freely.  I can't tell if they are for my mom (may her memory be eternal), for the other members of my family who have to carry on without her presence right here in our lives, for the rapid changes in my daily routines, for the fear of losing good friends due to distance, for the fear of not being able to make friends as easily as I will desperately need.  There are so many emotions.

And now, there are many muffins to pack up for the farewell and many dishes to be washed so that the house looks ready for a prospective buyer.  Please let there be a buyer soon!  (Did I mention I have many emotions?)

Let the celebrations commence!

28 August 2010

Dear Saint Anthony...

For years, a Catholic friend from childhood would recite, "Dear Saint Anthony, look around; something's lost that must be found."  Over the years, I've invoked his name frequently to help me in my searches for items.  I've learned a few things about this process.  For one, you need to be specific after invoking that rhyme so that Saint Anthony knows what it is you have lost.  And then you need to go back and look where you have looked before.

It may sound crazy.  Superstitious.  It may also sound faithful and helpful.  Perhaps it is simply the matter of relaxing my mind about the lost item that allows me to see it upon the next search.  Regardless of the psychology behind it that may apply, I find that Saint Anthony helps me.

Earlier this week, my father realized that a necklace my YiaYia had left for me was missing.  A couple of days later he realized that the necklace with three diamonds my mother had been wearing was missing.  We all spent time looking for these objects.  These two missing items might seem minor, as my beautiful mother died on Monday after nearly three decades of battling breast cancer.  It became a small obsession, trying to understand my mother's brain processes in her last weeks in order to find these two sentimental necklaces. 

On Friday, a day after her funeral, I was again at my parents' house, and the topic of searching for these necklaces came up again.  I asked my dad if he had asked Saint Anthony.  He hadn't.  I recited the invocation, specified the objects of which we were in search, and then said, "Now, we need to look where we've looked before."  I went to one of the drawers my mom kept jewelry in and pulled out a plastic case with compartments that held "costume jewelry".  In the very center compartment (of a case we had searched at least twice when I was there) were both necklaces. 

In a week in which we are finding significance in the butterflies fluttering about us and attempting to know better the desires of my incredible Mommers who fought valiantly and gracefully to the end, I felt a small sense of accomplishment.  Perhaps I understood my mom.  Perhaps I had engaged in a "communion" with a Saint.  Perhaps I was better learning how to let go and let God...Maybe I just found something we had all overlooked.  Regardless, we all feel easier for our having found the missing items.

Premiere Post

This is actually my second post on a blog.  Amy Peterson invited me to be a guest blogger last week on  Heart & Soul.

Check out the post there.  You may also comment on her blog with any complaints about my setting this one up; it's her encouragement that has led to this!

I'll be posting again in a bit...Matt and the Vs are home, and I shall attend to my family here first!