Faded Shabby Blogs

25 December 2011

Christmas Day

Could it be Christmas already? It seems this month passed so quickly, and with very little posting on my part. Mea culpa. I guess I was living in the moments (and attempting to decorate with paper crafting) too much to be electronically connected. I neglected a number of key arenas in my electronic world this month.

Today my husband really surprised me with a Kindle Fire, which could possibly help me with my electronic connectivity. It certainly has been fun to see the illustrations and images in a book I've been reading on organizing some areas of my life! Of course, it makes me wonder whether my loving hubby wants to see me at all. Between enhanced connectivity and some preparations to coordinate some crafting time with other like-minded people, I'm worried that we'll lose contact. I guess I could IM him from the Fire. Maybe I'll just try to talk with him!

The Vs had a delightful day with spoils that reflect a generous and loving family. I am grateful to all our extended family for making this first Christmas in our new home more than memorable. I pray that you have all had a season of delight and wonder. Be safe and feel blessed in the year to come.

(I will post some photos of things like my Christmas cards and some of the decorations I made soon. Just need a few days to recover from the excitement of the season and preparation! And now I need to move some dishes around and start some laundry...)

30 November 2011

A Christmas Gift revealed

My Gramma Birney was an extraordinary woman with many talents. She was meticulous about many things - quilting, knitting, sewing, stamp collecting, photography, and even scrapbooking. She was ahead of her time. And she created a book for my father's 40th birthday that has become quite a keepsake in our family (I understand that she had the organization intact for the books for her younger two children, but passed before those books were completed). Now that none of us lives near our dad in Michigan, I long for the ability to peruse even some of those photos.

So I asked my dad for a favor. The following Studio J layouts are the result of my dad's agreeing to the favor (loaning me this precious book for an undetermined amount of time so that I could scan photos from it) and then my reconceiving my Gramma's work in a slightly modern (and more cost-effective) way.

I'm pretty sure the recipients don't check my blog. If you do, I apologize in advance for spoiling your Christmas present! I assure you, it will be a different experience to have the item in hand. At least, I hope it will! I'm just so excited about the end results that I want to share right away!

I have more layouts to make, but there were some issues with scanning certain photos (like wedding pictures). One of the great things about a CTMH album is that the page protectors are top loading, so you can rearrange the order of the layouts and pages as needed.

Some of the benefits I'm reaping as a Studio J Member are: half-priced layouts (instead of $12.95 for each layout/double-page spread, I pay $6.50), free shipping once a month on an order of at least 4 layouts (this incentive alone keeps me "up-to-date" on projects; I love saving some money!), free JPG files (large for reprints and web-ready like the images above - these are still large enough to print a smaller size; remember my new home announcement? That was printed from the web-ready images), the option to buy only the JPG files ($3 if no 12"x12" prints are desired), free Memory Protectors for the same number of layouts I purchase, and archived copies of my layouts so that I can order more if need be. This last item was particularly helpful in my most recent order. I wanted to spend some money in November and some in December. I ordered one copy in November and will place the order for another copy of the same project in December! Of course, if someone else I know says, "Oh, JuliAnne! What I wouldn't give for a copy of that terrific layout of Indian River," I can even reprint that!

If you haven't yet given Studio J a whirl, try it out! Go to my website (www.ctmh.com/JuliAnne) and click on the Studio J link. You only need an email address and to create a password, and then you can play away. It costs nothing for you to experiment! (There are some time restrictions for saving the projects, so if you don't make a purchase your experiment will go away eventually.) Nothing to download. Hey, you can even log in to give yourself some ideas for layouts in Classic Scrapbooking. I like to do that sometimes too - log in for the ideas as well as engage in Classic Scrapbooking. :)

24 November 2011


Thanksgiving brings the opportunity to reflect on our gratitude for the many blessings in life. My day has been no different, even as the week has found me scurrying about making preparations for the first Thanksgiving for which I ever cooked the entire meal. I am grateful for my incredible husband who handled all matters with our Vs in the evenings while I worked to finalize the menu, the preparations, the house. I am grateful for our wonderful children who still ask me to sit and read to them and snug with them, even when I'm feeling stressed with time constraints; sitting, reading and snuggling are certain ways to calm me and remind me what matters most.

I'm also grateful for the people we've found in this move. For the second year (oh, my...is this a tradition?!), we gathered with friends through Matt's work and the children of one. While I don't want to derail anyone's healthy eating/living plan, I was flattered by the numerous trips to the buffet area made by those who were adamant that they would be demonstrating restrain and resolve. Because I'm a foodie. As well as a paper crafter. And I'm slipping into food crafting as well!

Here are some images from our day; I think they demonstrate the results of my plans over the last few days. Right now, I'm even grateful that the day is relatively done. I finished the dishes (save the one soaking pan), and my loving husband massaged my aching back. Have I mentioned that I am blessed?

Above: the table set for 10. Below: a closer look at the place settings. I used the Cricut Art Philosophy cartridge and coordinating stamp sets to create the place cards, handled boxes, and the napkin rings (these doubled as bracelets for the children!). I made little turkeys out of cake bon bons (pops without the stick), candy corn, whoppers, orange triangle "sprinkles" and edible ink markers. I am no Bakerella, but they are identifiable!

Above: our kitchen table served as the buffet today; not enough room at the dining table. I made Cranberry-Pomegranate Sauce, Soft Wheat Crescent Rolls, Corn Pudding, Mashed Potatoes, the turkey (personally, I thought it was dry but Trader Joe's gravy helped that), Roasted Asparagus, Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes with Chipotle Pecan Streusel, my Mommers' Sausage and Pine Nut Stuffing, my Aunt Liz's Carrots (with Velveeta and Bacon), PW's Green Bean Casserole, and Matt assembled the Greek Salad (below - but I made the dressing); I wish I had taken a photo before he tossed it. It was positively beautiful, with circles of feta, olives, pepperocini, onion! I forgot to snap a photo of the yummy pumpkin pie our guests brought. Oops! Maybe they'll make another for the photo op?

03 November 2011

November Specials!

Every month CTMH offers an exclusive, limited-edition Stamp of the Month. It can be purchased outright for $17.95 or at a discount (just $5) with any $50 purchase.

This month, they've upped the ante and included the Holiday Wishes D-sized stamp set for $5 with the purchase of $25 in stamps. Both the Stamp of the Month and the Holiday Wishes special offer coordinate with the Cricut Art Philosophy Collection. I just can't wait to show you some of my creations!

Off to create something! Contact me if you'd like to place an order...these are available through November 30!

20 October 2011

While You're Waiting...

I'm waiting for everyone to be done being sick (my turn now) and crafts to be created so I have something of interest to present you. In the meantime, check out my sister-in-law's new-ish blog! She had been posting these little tidbits as her Facebook statuses for a few months. Someone took great offense, but the rest of us encouraged her to go public with her blog. If you have a sense of humor, you will find yourself laughing!

Her blog is written from her two-year-old son's perspective and is aptly titled The B-Blogs: theb-blogs.blogspot.com - give her a view! :)

04 October 2011

Distractions Continue

Really...I'm working diligently on getting the new house organized so I can justify spending some time in my craft room. I've missed it so terribly. And it's just over -------> there! But I know there are other priorities right now. My sweet little Vincent has had a stomach flu for too many days, so even the unpacking has been put on hold (and school has been missed!).

While I've been unpacking, I've been setting aside items I realize we just haven't used recently enough to warrant keeping. This is the most square footage I've ever had but I don't intend to clutter it up! And clutter is just waiting to happen!! So I left an assembled box in a room and started putting things there. Duplicates. Unused. From another lifetime. Outgrown. Outshrunk (oh, it's my hope to offer up more of those again!). You name it. Last week a plastic bag from an organization called PAVE (People for Action, Voices for Empowerment) made it to my doorknob, letting me know they would be in the area and would be gracious enough to pick up whatever I had to offer. By this morning, I had six boxes ready for them.

While I was putting the boxes out (on a tarp that could be folded over, as rain happens here, with a note that requested that the tarp be left), I saw something moving in the corner of my eye. I wasn't quite sure what it was. But I knew it was a large "cat". I closed the garage door, made sure the Vs were safely ensconced in the house, and grabbed the camera. I am, after all, a paper crafter. :) I captured a few shots of this creature (and then zoomed in so you don't really need to be bored with all the other people's houses and yards in the pics) and then met a neighbor who had its species: bobcat. I just had never imagined they would be this big. Note its size as it goes past the mailboxes for some perspective, as these are at a regulated height (3 1/2 to 4 feet to the bottom of the boxes).

Sorry that the order of the pics is fouled...it was an upload issue that I can't seem to edit right now. Did I mention my son has been sick? I haven't slept well since Friday because of it...Off to bed now. I need to crash!

10 September 2011

A Little Distracted

I'm a little distracted, as just yesterday (9/9/2011) the house above officially became OURS!! I've been packing up the obvious and trying to slip the Vs' items out of their sight as unobtrusively as possible. It's a little challenging to do. All the while, I've been driving Vincent to kindergarten in our new town and this week added taking Verona to preschool in our current town.

If a seven-bedroom, four-separate-bathroom house won't be enough to keep me fit (or return me to fitness), I've been hitting the Y pretty hard to try to prep myself for all the stairs and boxes. I'm also trying to manage the stress level that is rising as Moving Day comes closer each minute I dally. Actually, the Y has given me a terrific outlet and helps me to use some awkward time slots well.

But tonight I bit the bullet and signed up (again) for Weight Watchers. This time I signed up for the online version. Eight years ago, I concluded my 63 pound weight loss with Weight Watchers. I was a receptionist and leader for several years. After Verona was born and I was struggling (and Matt was traveling quite a bit, making the once-a-week leader commitment challenging), I had to resign my post and effectively lost motivation. Actually, that isn't quite true. It was all the other loss of 2010 including the At-Work meeting I had participated in that really sent me spiraling.

My thought processes are positively delusional about my progress, my appearance, and even my fitness level. I've been opting out of photos much too long. I need to get back into the pictures, fully engage in my life, and remember that I am more than numbers on a scale or inside my jeans. But I need help doing this.

I'm hopeful that the combination of a terrific method (I was successful losing, losing after pregnancy, and even maintaining for a long time), support, activity, and the stability of owning our own home and really establishing roots in a community will all help me to achieve my goals. My hubby's determining that he is going to weigh less than he did on our wedding day by his birthday in April probably helps too. I want to look like the bride he wed too. And I especially want to stop thinking these crazy thoughts, which I fear will be revealed to my children.

I believe I will also have more energy to be creative here in the blog and in my paper crafting. I set my goals high. I think it's the right thing to do. Henry Ford said, "Whether you think you can or you think you can't, you're right." I choose to be right about thinking I can do all these things! I'll keep you posted!

28 August 2011

Fabulous at 40

In August I had a couple of different friends who joined me in the Fabulous at 40 phase of life. I won't name names...but I thought I'd share the cards I made for them. For both of these cards, I utilized the new Cricut Art Philosophy cartridge. You're probably getting the idea that I LOVE this cartridge. And I do!

It's getting late, and I've got some laundry to move around (really, the only work involved in the task and yet it always seems so challenging!), so I'll be brief and just show you the pictures. :) Hope you like!

20 August 2011

Key To My Heart Banner

Was it three years ago that CTMH had as its National Scrapbooking Month collection the Key To My Heart papers and stamps? I think so. Which means that for three years, I've been hoarding paper I just love so much. I love the colors (Juniper, Sorbet, Tulip, Creme Brulee - these all played a part in my Renaissance garb too, so don't think I'm a Johnny-Come-Lately to them). I loved the texture.

But I'm trying to Use It Up, as you well know! I'm also trying to be the thoughtful person I'd like to be. You know, the one who sends a little note to a friend just because. Well, my friends are getting a little more than notes these days (when I actually get around to creating something and shipping it!).

My dear friend and first college RA (yes, she is forever my RA), Lisa, is someone I have admired, turned to for support and laughter, and just loved from the first moment. She understood I needed a bit more human connection than my first college roommate was able to give, and she provided that. We had such fun times, gathered in her little RA room with her very romantic ideal bed drapery. She got a book with quirky things written for each day of the year, and we all had a grand time looking up our birthdays and remarking about them. Memories of those days are more vivid than something twenty-some years ago ought to be. And the memories continue to flow: I was a bridesmaid for Lisa, and she was one of the Cornellians who attended my wedding too. I truly feel blessed to call Lisa my friend.

So I thought to make her a banner to adorn her home. It occurred to me well into the project that I've never been to her home in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. I don't even know if there is any wall that can sustain this banner, let alone a window which would display both sides at once. So she might have to take the time to turn it around from time to time. Or it might just be something she looks at once and thinks, "That crazy JuliAnne!" Either way, it was fun to make this and I think it will get a little more action than the latter. Here are some of the photos (I won't bore you with too many). I must apologize, as I took the pictures at night and this rental house really lacks appropriate lighting. I have tried to fix colors and such digitally, but I have failed to make these look high quality. Hope you enjoy them nonetheless:

Did I mention that I cut all these shapes (letters, 3D flowers, other shapes, triangle banner pieces and little flag banner pieces) all with the new CTMH Cricut Art Philosophy cartridge? Well, I did and if you couldn't tell from this, I am LOVING it!! Contact me today to come play...or to snag one of your own!

12 August 2011

Give Away!

I really love it when PDub gives away things on her blog. Let's try a little experiment here on mine.

I can tell you absolutely that I find myself more in need of a little recognition of my efforts than ever before. Perhaps this stems from days when Mr. V tells me, "Don't you remember what a HORRIBLE mother I told you you are?" (this after I have said no to a request, no doubt) or when Ms. V lets me know, "I don't need any help! I can do it myself!"

I sometimes find myself scrolling down my posts to the end to see if anyone has left me any feedback. I get a little giddy when someone has clicked "love it" or even "CASEing it". Because then I know that someone has looked and has taken some time to give me feedback. Thank you, button clickers. I really do appreciate it.

And then, of course, I wonder who might have clicked. Was it someone who knows me or has some random onlooker stumbled on my blog and thought enough of it to read and click?

So today I shall encourage a little commentary on the part of the onlookers. Perhaps even the followers. :) Be so kind as to leave a comment and I will enter you in a drawing (optimistic, aren't I? Oh, to have multiple comments!) for something paper crafted with purpose by me! Thanks in advance for your feedback, critiques, suggestions. I really do appreciate any time you give me!

10 August 2011

Some of My Art Philosophy Fun!

I really have been playing a lot with the Cricut Art Philosophy cartridge and components of its collection for Close To My Heart. My Cricut has not seen this much action in the three years I have owned it! And I'm not likely to stop, especially when Ms. V comes into my craft room, finds one of the 3D flowers I've made with this and coos and goes on about how beautiful it is.

I will admit: I've been making some cards for friends, facebook promises, and have also begun my Use It Up challenge in earnest. I am currently taking all the paper I've been hoarding and the special boxes or other items to find new purpose and am crafting some pieces for an open house I plan to have within the next couple of months. This will be a fund raiser for Operation Smile, as well as terrific way to get me to live up to this challenge: make it for someone else! I will post some of my projects for that as I get closer to the day, as well as information about the open house as it gets closer too. No firm plans.

Actually, all plans are really wobbly right now as we still don't know if there is or is not the opportunity to go to Luxembourg. Whether or not there is, we have moved forward on finding a house and are waiting somewhat less than patiently on news of the paperwork, closing date, and opportunity to move. (Of course, Luxembourg would mean stuff moves into storage and we try to rent our lovely new home to someone else while we are gone!)

But I'm babbling. I'm wont to do this, as many of you know. Right now, I'd like to show you some of the things I've created lately. Product may be new or old. Many use shapes from the Cricut Art Philosophy Collection. Here they are:

Above is the new Roxie paper pack. That ribbon itself did require some "fussy cutting" but there are some awesome shapes that don't. :) Like below:

The bracket card (oh, yes! LOVE these) and the fancy bracket on which "merry christmas" is stamped are our shapes. Even the holly leaves (with coordinating stamps to perfectly fit inside them) are part of the collection. And CTMH hasn't made much fuss over the circles since any Cricut cartridge might have circles. But I measured that holly berry stamp. It was 1/4 inch. So I cut as many as I needed for my swap at 1/4 inch (the smallest setting on the Cricut) and then (hot tip, although it may seem obvious) I left the cut circles on the Cricut cutting mat, put that on my Versamat and stamped the cranberry colored berries while they were stuck to the cutting mat. Because I can see through My Acrylix stamps from Close To My Heart, I could line up the stamp image exactly with the cut circles. No chasing them all over the page. No cutting the circles by hand after the stamping. I embellished the light dot with a Bitty Sparkle to add a little bling to this simple yet festive card.

The bracket shape above is another shape, and the stamp is one that comes as part of the Cricut Art Philosophy Collection with CTMH. I used some of the new Bronze Glitz Glitter Glue to embellish the bottom/side of the card and to mark the occasion for congratulations. It is a simple card too. But I think the unusual shape gives it interest. Having just one element like that makes it a lot more "achievable" to create something hand crafted. Faster. Simpler. Easier. That's the CTMH way!

The cartridge has a ticket tag, but I simply stamped the ticket "Thank You" sentiment on one piece of card stock. I had originally just had the scalloped circle shape on the card. Showed it to my loving husband and he told me it looked like a badge. That wasn't what I was going for. Found the stem with leaves image on the Art Philosophy cartridge, and suddenly my badge became a flower head.  

Despite my just having mentioned utilizing one special shape or effect being sufficient at times, there are also times when a little over the top is what you want. On Facebook earlier this year, I promised to send five people who commented first something handmade at some point throughout the year. This is the third person's something. I made a card box (pattern can be procured from Vicki Wizniuk as a bonus with the purchase of a hand-crafted card by her!) and used a few 3D flowers, two other shapes from the Cricut Art Philosophy, and a whole lot of bling. There are even sparkles inside the flowers. The box itself has two compartments, for cards and envelopes. Once this set of cards is gone, Lisa (my friend and recipient) can keep putting other cards and envelopes in it. Or she can use it for something else. I suspect that she is going to keep this for a bit, because she replied to me that she doesn't know if she'll send any cards for a while and when she does, the person must be extremely worthy. Thanks, Lisa, for such a compliment! But USE them! That's why I sent you CARDS!!

Here is an example of the cards inside the box. Each one had a Bitty Sparkle to dot the "i" in Splendid. Each one had a slight variation on the embellishment on the right. On these cards, unlike the above cards done for my swap, I used Sorbet card stock as an accent color. The Roxie paper pack comes with Smoothie (and Tulip, with accents of Desert Sand and Black). I just don't have a lot of Smoothie on hand. I think both colors look good with this fun zebra B&T paper (its backside is the subtle leopard with Desert Sand base).

Here's another example of the different embellishments on the side. I am literally trying to use up stuff I've been storing for way too long. :) It's a terrific exercise for me. I have loved looking at embellishments, and finally I am just using them with what feels like reckless abandon. It's so much FUN!! Let me know if you feel like coming over to play...

Here's another card frame that can be cut with the Cricut Art Philosophy. Some of the cards are entirely the shape of the bracket, oval, or circle. This one creates a rectangular card and cuts out the bracketed image from the center. I random stamped the leaves and stems from a stamp set and adhered some 3D flowers I had cut with the Cricut and then folded over the paper or card stock before rolling and securing. It takes up less depth but adds a distressed look to the flowers. In some ways, I think it can make them look more like real flowers. I'm playing with folding before the flowers are wound, spritzing with water to make them soft and rolling down edges after the flowers are formed. It's been fun.

With the tag that was cut out of the center of the card shape, I embossed "celebrate" in Cocoa and then sponged Crystal Blue ink all over the piece. (It is the exact piece that came out of the card...a frugal way of utilizing that piece but not having to have it the same color!) I sponged the edges with Desert Sand ink. And then I adhered it to the center of the card with 3D foam tape. Just a little more dimensional play. I thought this was a better way to celebrate my friend's 40th birthday than black balloons or pranks!

Hope you like what you are seeing so far! Let me know if you want to pick up your own collection! Now is a great time...JuliAnne.MyCTMH.com

30 July 2011

Kristine shares some of the Cricut Art Philosophy Collection projects!


Sorry...I'm having too much fun playing with my new cartridge and product to get photos and post. More from me directly SOON. But I really wanted you to see the options available to you in this!

28 July 2011

Cricut Art Philosophy!


So excited that CTMH has made it so easy to complete craft projects, use up my hoard of paper supplies, and really Paper Craft with Purpose! My goal is to create items to sell in an Operation Smile fundraiser. Please let me know if you'd like an invitation to the event!

22 July 2011

Back from Close To My Heart Convention at Disneyland!

I have a confession to make: I didn't tell my children where I was going for Convention. Just "California." When Vincent pressed me for the name of the hotel, I told him, "Frontier Tower." We haven't really gotten around to looking at photos from the time I was gone, and I haven't been very forthcoming that the place I went to was really the Happiest Place on Earth. I was gone, and now I'm home. That seems sufficient. So were the Disney straws I brought each of my children. I love the simplicity that can be!

My hubby even liked the Mickey bottle opener (as did the TSA agent in the Santa Ana/Orange County airport security). Whew! The reports I have are that my roommates liked the gift I made for them. With apologies to Holly for making this post something that she has already seen in person, here are some pics of the pages of the little mini album I made for my three roomies (and some uplines) for the Close To My Heart Convention 2011. I had a great time...now I just need to get my pictures printed to finish this album!

The idea came from the Paper Craft Planet blog, which featured a Disney-themed mini album with a spinner on the front. They provided a template for one, but I wanted to make sure the things on the spin were events or experiences that the recipients were sure to have had (and I wasn't planning on going to Planet Hollywood myself). And, well...I also needed to work on using up some of the paper I have in my "collection", since I am giving myself the challenge to Use It Up for real! CTMH is driving home the point: consume it, don't collect it. And I have done just the opposite. It must go! More on how I'm going to do that later!