Monday, November 30, 2015

Time is Marching On

My blogging has been a little sporadic of late, I know. This summer and fall have been a tough one for me. I have spent a fair amount of time pondering.

The passing of time.
Fate and reality.
Loving and loosing.

The photo above is circa 1972, our fabulous little family. Daddy, Linda, (my step mom since I was two), my brother and myself. Check out the print on my dress! And on Daddy's pants too - crazy! Let's not talk about the cigarette hanging out of his mouth - it was the 70's after all.

Daddy died in 2007 from pancreatic cancer. He was well one day and gone 16 weeks later. So sudden and I barely had time to say goodbye. I still miss him every single day. I am so sad he never got to meet his beautiful great granddaughter - I know he would have loved her and doted on her just like he did my girls.

This photo is my Gussie - Daddy's Mama. This was the last Christmas we got to spend with her in 2009. She passed in 2010 and it almost broke my heart. I was her caregiver for the last 10 years of her life. She was the absolute joy of my life and I loved her so much. I am so very thankful I was able so spend so much time with her, and that my girls were able to as well. They had their Great Grandmother until they were in their 20's and she lived a half mile down the road from us. A blessing for sure.

During this time my oldest friend also died - from cancer. It was very sudden and very unexpected. She went to the ER one night and never went home again. I had just had a tonsillectomy - I got the call that she was in the hospital while I was on the operating table. I wasn't allowed to fly. I couldn't talk. She passed away before I could even say goodbye. I wasn't allowed to fly out to go to her funeral. 

This May, shortly after Mother's Day, Linda was diagnosed with cancer as well. Colon Cancer. Her outlook was good. They found it early. The surgery was successful. They removed all of the growth. Chemo was going well. Then she got sick.

One morning I got a call from the hospital Doctor. You know it is not good when the actual DOCTOR calls you, not a nurse. She was failing fast and they wanted her Medical Power of Attorney there quickly. That person was me.

Packed a bag.

Drove like a madwoman to east Texas to the hospital.

Conferenced with the DR. 

Made a hundred phone calls.

Sat in the ICU for 3 days looking like a serial killer.

Having to make a loved one's end of life decisions is something I hope you never have to do. Having to remain calm and collected while you watch someone you love die is heart wrenching to say the least.

One more funeral to plan. A house to clear out. Legal details to clean up. Bills to pay. A thousand phone calls to make. I still keep forgetting to actually call the funeral home during business hours to arrange to have her date of death inscribed on her headstone. One more detail to be seen to.

Half of our little family gone now. How is it possible that time has passed this quickly? How can this many people be missing from my life now. Have I just reached that age where everyone I know starts dying? I swear I am not that old! I just keep hearing a little voice in my head saying "this isn't the way it was supposed to happen".

I have reached a creative low point and I am struggling to find the motivation to do the things that have always brought me such joy. I have decided that the month of December is going to be the month I put me first and take care of me. I need some extra care right now.  I'll be back in full force the first of the year, until then I will be a little scarce.

Hug your family close and tell them you love them. At the end of the day that is all that really matters.

Winter Wonderland Passport Book

A couple of weekends ago I was fortunate enough to teach at a fabulous event at the Crafty Scrapper - our very first annual Christmas Carousel. I knew I wanted to use this Passport Book die by Eilleen Hull for Sizzix, so I grabbed some papers and got to work.

My papers for this project are from Kaisercraft - the Silver Bells line. I also added in lots of other media- because I can't just make a mini album with paper!

I created this first page using watercolor paper - I simply sealed the edges to make a pocket for my tag. The very cute ribbon on the edge is from Maya Road's Fall release.

My second page is made using an acetate sheet from American Crafts - I edged the die cut piece with a gold pen - a super easy way to add some glamour to your page!

So,, do you see these rhinestones here (the same ones I used on the cover)? Take my advice and don't shop Amazon Warehouse in the middle of the night! I seriously ordered a 30yd roll of this stuff one night!! 5" wide by 30YARDS long!! I am using it on everything these days!

The last page was made with a flat kraft bag - I just folded it in half and punched the holes to match .

My covers are die cut from matboard, and I finished the papers off with a coat of DecoArt Crackle Paint. When the crackle was dry, I added a light coat of Silver Metallic Lustre - it really gives the look of Mercury Glass.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Rustic Christmas Ornaments with Deflecto Crafts

Howdy y'all!  Who needs a quick and easy craft for Christmas. This is the one for you right here!

I used Mini Slanted Sign Holders and Flexible Sign Danglers, both from Deflecto for this project. (note: I used the smaller 1.5 X 2 frame, not the  2x3 frame in the photo)

To decorate the frames I grabbed some Christmas themed paper and embellishments from Authentique. I also added bits of ribbon and twine to finish them off.

I used double sided tape to adhere the frames to the wood pieces - which came from Hobby Lobby pre painted.  I covered the Flexible Sign  Danglers with washi tape, bent them into shape and adhered them to the back of the frames for hangers.

Please check out Deflecto Craft for other fabulous ideas.

Friday, November 20, 2015

DIY Handmade Christmas Ornament Blog Hop

I am so happy to be joining in the fun on this hop! There are so many wonderful ornaments to see along the way so be sure you check them all out.  For my ornament I decided to use a flat glass ornament and some etchall® to create a gift for someone special.

To start off I cut my mask on my Cameo machine.
Etchmask cuts beautifully in my Cameo! Once it is cut I like to trace around the cut design with a marker so I can see where I am placing it. Then I apply my etchmask Transfer Sheet to the top, remove the paper backing and apply to my surface.

After removing (weeding) the etchmask where I want to actually etch, I applied my etchall® etching creme and waited 15 minutes. (When I am working with small ornaments I like to keep a paper towel under them to keep them from getting scratched as I work.)

After 15 minutes remove the etching creme back into the jar to use again (you did know that etchall® etching creme is reusable, didn't you) and rinse the ornament. Since I was going to color my etched design I was very careful to not lift the edges of the etchmask as I was rinsing.

Since the surface has been etched, it now has some "grab" to it and will take color! I used Brilliance Cosmic Copper which has a little mica powder in it for some shimmer. 
NOTE: This does take a fair amount of time to dry! I waited a bit and then used my heat gun on it to finish it off.

I used my white Signo pen to add some accents to the colored design, then set the whole thing aside for a couple of hours to let it dry before removing the etchmask.

Of course, it wouldn't be Christmas without some ribbon so I added a nice big bow to the top, some Maya Road snowflakes, some rhinestones to the design, and of course some glitter. Gotta have glitter!

By leaving the etchmask® on while I inked the design, I got a nice dark border around the etched space- this would not happen had I removed the etchmask and then inked.

Be sure to check out all the amazing products that etchall® offers- and remember that if you use the code ANITAS when checking out you will receive a 10% discount on your order!

Be sure to check out the other blogs on the hop and spread some love- it is the season after all. Well, almost the season. But you get the idea!

Thursday, November 19th

Friday, November 20th

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Vintage Crate with Altered Christmas Tags

It is that time of year when my thoughts turn to documenting my family Christmas. I normally make a mini album with a page for each day. This year I decided to make a series of tags and I altered a crate from 7 Gypsies to hold them all.

This beautiful flower is new from Maya Road and yes the bling comes in the center! I used my Cameo to print and cut the circles for the tops of the tags.

I used DecoArt's Crackle Paint in white on the crate first. When it was dry I lightly inked with silver metallic ink, then added touches of Metallic Luster in Silver and buffed it to give the crate an aged look.  I added paperclips with embellishments to several of the tags - a great way to tuck extra things on them! - this little glittery light bulb is my fave!

 For each tag I sprayed with Perfect Pearls mist and added ribbons, flowers, and other embellishments.

I used the Festive Collection from Tim Holtz - paper and ephemera - to decorate the tags as well.