Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Hello! Remember me??

It's been almost exactly a month since my last post.  And very likely it'll be a month again before my next post.  This student teaching thing has been quite an eye opener.  And I'll leave it at that.  I'm a little more than half way through, and I hope one day soon things will sort of go back to normal around here.  For a little bit, at least.

Meanwhile, I've had a couple of layouts up on the Silhouette blog and another one over on Kerri Bradford's blog.  Want to talk about intimidating?  Imagine having a layout sandwiched between Nichol Magouirk and Laura Vegas.  Holy cow - they are both so amazingly talented in ways that I will never hold a candle to. So yes.  Honored. And humbled.  See:

They say comparison is the thief of joy, and if I sit here and compare this to Nichol and Laura, sure, this pales.  But taken on its own, I love how happy this is.  I love the colors and the photos and the random memories of December.  That's a win. Right?? Right!

Next up, a recent trip to the zoo:

I love gray.  I love the way colors pop off it, but it's not as harsh as black or as stark as white. (um: duh. Hello, you can call me Captain Obvious) but the yellow here makes me happy.  And so do the different title treatments.  And I got some of the Silhouette vellum and it's beautifully thick.  It prints wonderfully.  Photo credit: Kerig.  I brought my camera.  Would have been nice if the battery were charged.  After all these years of being the sole photographer, it's really nice to have Kerig and his mad skillz around. 

Like: the photos and the baseball stitching.
Dislike: just about everything else.  Like, the Heidi Swapp banners?  The red mist ended up turning orange.  And yet, I used it anyway.  Blech.

But I still like that better than:

I can't even do a like/dislike for this one.  Dislike: absolutely everything.  I wish I could say it looks better in real life, but nope.  Just as crappy in real life. 

However, there is this:

This is up on the Silhouette blog today and I really like it.  A lot.  And it looks better in real life.  For the background, I used Silhouette stencil to cut out this polka dot lace, then poured a little glue on top of it and used an old gift card to smear the glue into the dots.  I sprinkled it with white glitter and then very patiently waited a full day for it to dry.  (This is HUGE for me.  I have absolutely no restraint when it comes to waiting for things to dry)  I really do love the way it turned out, although, in retrospect I wouldn't use the glue that I used - I would have used Nori paste which is thicker and wouldn't have soaked the paper.  That said, I'm perfectly okay with the imperfection.  The idea was to mimic the bottom picture of the streetlights through the slushy window.  

I'm also very pleased with the title.  (yay me! :P) I had such a lovely evening on this particular night and yet had no pictures.  Well, aside from these two, which really aren't the point.  But hopefully the title and odd pictures will compel you to read the journaling.  And maybe not YOU you, but you know...um, my kids and stuff. I guess.  Oh, and I'm pleased with the shape of the journaling block and the way it looks on that vellum.  That's good stuff!

And now might be a good time to mention that I've officially told Silhouette that I'm not trying out for the next Design Team.  I've had SO MUCH FUN doing this and they are a fun, supportive and generous company.  And I'd LOVE to do it again in heartbeat under different circumstances.  But this school thing: Oy!  And the fact of the matter is, I'm hoping to turn this into a "real" teaching position in the fall.  And if I'm struggling like this now, I can't imagine what it would be like to have my own classroom AND try to have other commitments.  It just seems like a bad idea and horribly unfair.  I will, however, continue to be in love with the company and all their very cool products and share that love here.  

If you're considering trying out: GO FOR IT! It's a wonderful experience for sure!

I hope that you are finding Spring and vice versa.  I know I could do with a few more 50º afternoons and a few less 0º mornings!  

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Coming out from under my rock....

(but only briefly!)

It's been a while, right?  This school thing...WOW.  It's been an emoticoaster ride!  Last week was the first FULL week since I've been student teaching.  We've had calamity days for the extreme cold weather (but oddly on the days there's snow up to my kneecaps we've not been cancelled. :P), holidays, and teacher in-service days.  And last week was the first week since winter break ended that we had a full, five day week.  It felt sort of triumphant.

Coincidentally, it was also the first week where I didn't cry after coming home.  I suppose it may seem weak to admit this.  But it's just the truth.  I want this very badly, and I'm pouring everything I have into it.  And there is a HUGE learning curve.  There is so much that goes into teaching - it seems so obvious until it all falls on you. But when things start to jiggle into place, when you say "Can I get an 'a-ha!' if you get it" and get a rousing "a-ha!" in response? Oh my. It feels GOOD.  I want to be better and more consistent, but I'm still learning.

At any rate, I've not been blogging much lately.  I haven't been scrapping much either.  I miss it, but when I finally get a chance to play at my table, I'm really cherishing it.  I thought I'd take a minute to share a couple of the layouts that have been up on the Silhouette blog recently:

Working backwards:

I really love this one.  Mostly because the story just cracks me up.  This was the day that we went to the park and Kerig jumped off the swing, and ended up wiping out (and breaking his cellphone case).  He was fine, and after dusting him off we all shared a laugh.  I wish I had taken a close-up of the journaling on the tag.  It's a series of questions with the answer "key" at the bottom...upside down.  Remember the puzzles in magazines like Highlights and World?  They would do the same thing with their answers.  I think I'm so clever. :P

And before that, there was:

(Things that make me crazy: I failed to size this properly and Photoshop has decided not to open for me.  Again.  It does this periodically, and the only way to "cure" is to reboot. Grrr.)

So anyway: I love Instagram.  I do scrap the pictures that have stories, but not all pictures have enough of a story to warrant scrapping.  Does that make sense?  But they are - ultimately - PART of the story. Part of MY story.  And so I'm wanting to make collage pages. Sort of a month-in-summary page.  I don't feel a big need to journal.  These pictures speak for themselves (at least they speak to me).  You might not get the utensil rack full of sea shells, but I'll know they were given to me by Molly after a trip to the beach in Florida.  "Buy Local" might seem odd, but it was doodled into the frost that had formed on the inside of the front window of the store.  And just after I doodled it, the sun came out and was setting, putting the whole window ablaze with that beautiful golden light.  The month also had lots of snow, my first weeks of student teaching and an amazing, once in a lifetime opportunity: being a guest on the Paperclipping Rountable.  Such a fantastic start to my year.  I hope the layout reflects that: how fun and busy and exciting things were this January.

And lastly:

Probably the least favorite of the three.  I love all the little sentiments, I don't like the execution, color scheme and the over all juvenile quality.  Kerig deserves something more dignified.  But it's fun and sweet and happy and celebrates him in a Valentine-y way.

So that's that.  I hope you're keeping warm and making the most of your February.   There are 28 days til Spring.  Which is positively laughable.  Today we had the warmest day we've had in a month. But while it was 39º it snowed like crazy for about 20 minutes. HOW? Tell me how it snows when it's that warm? CRAZY.  So, 28 days until the calendar says spring...we'll see how long it takes for that thought to catch up to Mother Nature.

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Puppy love.

One of the really great things about being on a design team is that you have to scrap.  When you don't feel like it.  When you feel like you don't have time.  When you don't think you have a story to tell. And sometimes when you get finished you think "I'm glad I did that."  

This picture is 7 or 8 years old.  Reba, the dog, had just been adopted by my kids and every time I got down on the floor to play with her she'd go after my hair.  I am a sucker for puppies and I couldn't bring myself to make her stop.  Many a days I headed to work with hair smelling like puppy breath.  The good news is, puppy breath isn't all that offensive.  

Reba has since passed.  Last spring she developed a tumor in her stomach.  I do miss her every day, and it was great to take a minute to celebrate her puppihood.

I want to go on the record with: I really hate shooting layouts.  This is not crooked.  The cardstock is white. The border on the bubbly part is even all the way around.

If you want links to the Silhouette cuts, or read about the (cute) puppy prints, head over to the Silhouette blog for the rest of the story.

Hope you're staying warm!  Only 50 days til Spring! Yee ha!

Monday, January 27, 2014

...and in other news:

I feel like my entire personality has been taken over by student teaching.  It's pretty much all I've been thinking about, so it's pretty much all I've been talking about, too.  However, school has been cancelled for today AND tomorrow due to the "extreme weather" so I've decided that I need to spend time today working on "Caroline" instead of my "Ms. Davis" alter-ego.

First up: Blog post!

Last week I had a layout up on the Silhouette blog that I never shared here, and now seems like a good time to rectify that:

I really like the concept of the two matching pictures (taken three years apart) but I'm not going to sugar coat it: the difference in the tonal qualities really bugs the heck out of me.  Blech.

I really don't have a whole lot to say about the layout, but I did want to mention the rhinestones.  Silhouette sent me their rhinestone setting tool and a variety pack of gems and I'm in love.  First of all, I'm sucker for gadgets, but I'm also a sucker for things that work.  Compared to the tradition gemstone set up with the line of adhesive that needs to be broken and always has an awkward tail, these are AMAZING.  There's no tail.  You put the singular, tailless gem where you want it and apply heat using the setting tool.  It melts the adhesive on the gemback and the gem STAYS PUT.  I put that in caps because with the traditional kind I feel like a week later they're all going to be pooled in the bottom of the page protector, whereas these feel really firmly stuck down.  This is a good thing!

Moving on to other news:

  • I hardly think that 2 denotes a trend, but I seem to have taken up baking.  Last Sunday I made soft pretzels and yesterday I made Parker House rolls.  The pretzels were mainly because I had a weird but incredibly strong hankering for them.  The rolls were mostly because I had two more packets of yeast that need to be used before May.  And, honestly, I think I wanted something to really concentrate on.  I feel like my brain slips back to school every couple of minutes no matter what I'm doing.  But if I'm really focused, I can escape for a little while.  So doing something that's a little out of my comfort zone is a great distraction.  Plus: rolls.  So I guess it's win/win.  And I still have a packet of yeast left to use up.  I wonder what's next?  Maybe more pretzels, because there were amazeballs. (I don't even say amazeballs, that's how amazeballs there were.)

  • I decided that I needed to go on a mini shopping spree to add some teacher clothes to my wardrobe.  LLBean sent an email offering 20% off my entire order, but I couldn't find anything I like.  Which is odd, because I really do like LLBean.  But here's the deal (and I'm talking directly to you, LLBean): as a plus sized woman, I don't want to dress like I've given up.  Or that I bought all my clothes 15 years ago.  Waistlines have moved down, and for good reason.  But the ONLY lower-than-the-natural-waist offering they had was corduroys.  Now, if you're plus sized and look good in corduroys, then God bless you and more power to ya!  But I'm not going to wear pants that not only add volume but also make weird noises when I walk.
Okay, rant over.  At any rate, I took my business to Lands End, where I found a bunch of lower waist options and they were on sale.  Yay! I love a sale!  And yeah...I bought two pairs of pants in colors that I never would have considered had they not been the only option in my size, but seriously, when they arrived I fell in love.  And then there are these lovelies:

Now, I'm considerably taller than the model, so my 27 inch inseam does not (unfortunately) come down that far (oh, the heaven I would be in if they did!) but I LOVE THESE LEGGINGS.  First, I can't believe that I bought leggings: no one needs to see all my lumps and bumps.  But here's the thing: there AREN'T any lumps and bumps to see.  And that's not because my body miraculously changed, it's because the fabric is wonderful: thick and comfy and stretchy and MATTE. None of that icky spandex sheen. Blech.  By the way, I bought that top, too.  I'm not wearing this to school obviously, but it's adorable and I will happily wear it on the weekends.  Probably both days.  ;)
  • Last Monday was President's Day and Kerig and I both had the day off.  For most people I'm sure this sounds like no big deal.  But for the last gazillion years we've both worked retail, so we've rarely had a day off together.  But now that we're both "working" in the schools (in quotes because it's not like it's an actual job.  This is technically a class for me.) we have a weekends-and-holidays-off schedule that jives up.  So anyway, we took advantage of $5 Mondays and saw August: Osage County.  It was more serious than I had expected, but it was a great story.  Meryl Streep always blows me away, and this was no exception.  I can take or leave Julia Roberts, but I must admit that she did a great job here as well.  I love a movie that doesn't tie up every loose end, and Kerig and I had lots to discuss about the characters and what happened next over dinner.  I love that we can watch the same movie and interpret things differently.  I constantly have "Huh, I never thought about it that way" moments when we talk after a good movie.
Okay! Thanks for allowing me this ramble.  I think the rest of the day involves scrapbooking and CAMEO'ing and otherwise not obsessing about graphing systems of linear inequalities and composition of functions.  Yeah. Good luck with that.  Me. Not you.  I'm pretty sure you're not going to be too worried about either of those things... :P

Thanks for stopping by!  

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Speed blogging!

I'm downloading a software update and it says I have 25 minutes...oh, wait, 19...oh, wait...27 minutes...er, something like that until it's done. So, I could walk into the kitchen and eat another one of the treats that Aunt Dorothy sent home with us on Sunday - or- I could see if I can squeak in a whole blog post.

Today is my turn up on the Silhouette blog which means I get to get to share here.  I don't love all my pages.  Truth be told, I don't even like a fair amount. :P  But this definitely gets a strong LIKE from me:

As is seems the case about 90% of the time, I end up with these pictures that aren't pre-made embellishment friendly.  In this photo Maggie is playing a game called Headbandz that we got for Christmas.  In the game, you wear a headband and insert a card with a word on it.  Everyone else can see the card, but the wearer can't.  The person wearing the headband then asks a series of yes/no questions to figure out what does the card say.

Is it a person? No.
Is it a place? No.
So it's a thing.
Is it something you wear? No.
Can you buy it at Target? Yes.
Would it cost less than $10? Could be.
Do you find inside a house? Sure.
Is it made of metal? No.
Wood? Could be.

I can't remember all the questions that were asked (and let me tell you, asking yes/no questions is far more challenging than you might think) but she narrowed it down to something very close to a bottle, but WHO THINKS OF A BOTTLE AS BEING MADE OUT OF WOOD? :P

Hence Maggie's adorable, very confused expressions.

And yet, how do you scrap this with conventional embellishments.  Well, as luck would have it, I have a CAMEO. ;)  So I started scrolling through my library, not really sure what I was looking for but hopeful that I'd find something relatively generic.  I figured I'd just have to do a lot of journaling to explain what's going on here.  But when I came across the light bulbs I was thrilled.  Right? Because it the game she's waiting for that A-HA moment when all the yes/no questions result in the right answer.  And I loved the outline style of the bulbs.  And after I found a couple of bulbs to work with I decided to see if there was a bottle that might have a similar vibe to match.  I'm pretty happy with what I found!

So when I started, all I had was the background with all the circles, but I didn't quite no what was going to go on over on the border part.  All things considering, I'm really pleased with how that worked out.

And I was going to talk about the stacked title and show you a quick peak:

but it turns out my download is finished, so I can go back to 'work'. Yay! :)

Thanks for stopping by for a quickie!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Full Cycle

I started this blog a little more than 4 years ago.  I had just moved and I was on the verge of leaving a job that made me miserable.  Even though I wasn't happy with where I was, I was scared of the unknown.

Well, four years (and a couple of months) later, I've recently moved and I'm about to change jobs again.  Unlike four years ago, I feel blessed in my job and my personal life is  fulfilling. So I've come full circle, back where I started, but somehow on a whole new level.  I'm still a little scared about the future, but there's butterflies of excitement in there, too.  It's good.

But my blog isn't really supposed to be about that.  It's supposed to be about scrapbooking, the Silhouette and other crafty goodness.  So without further ado:

I really need to tweak a thing or two about this layout. I'm not satisfied with the word "short" and it's bugging me.  That said, I love that I got this picture out there with that statement.  For a solid year, every time I talked to Ted I would catch him looking at the top of my head.  Hey, buddy, my eyes are down here! (har har har)  He finally passed me up in early 2013, and he's not as fixated on my part anymore.  Somehow it just didn't sink in that he had gotten this much taller than me already.  And "When did I get so short??" was my true gut reaction to seeing this picture.

And in other housekeeping:  I was on The Paperclipping Roundtable this week.  Yeah. That happened.  For real.  Such an incredibly fun experience.

Apparently it was so amazing that it rendered me incapable of writing sentences like a grown up.  The good news is that during the podcast I don't trip over my words and I sound like I have an intelligent opinion.  On the other hand, you could play a drinking came for every time I called Noell "Nicole".  You wouldn't get drunk or anything, but it did happen.  Fortunately it only happened once, and in the pre-show I apologized in advance because I had a feeling I would do it.  Very embarrassing.  But hey, I didn't cuss, so there's that.

That's about it.  Today is my very last day at Dodd Camera.   I start my student teaching stint with an orientation on Tuesday evening and I'll be in the classroom to observe starting Wednesday at 7:45.  Not sure when I'll actually get to take over the classroom, but I'll be sure to mention it here.  I'm working with two cooperating teachers and teaching 2 Algebra II classes and and 3 Algebra I classes.  Yay!

Enjoy the rest of your weekend and thanks (as always) for stopping by!

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Chilly, Sheldon and 65

Ok!  Raise your hand if you're not sorry to see the end of the 2013!  Raise your other hand if you're hoping that 2014 has more ups and fewer downs.  Yep.  Me too.  Now put your hands down.  You look silly.   :P

I thought I'd sneak in one last post for the year, and it's a two-fer.  Because I was over taken by some nasty malware (which I'm not thoroughly convinced is gone.  If you have a suggestion for an ass-kicking malware detector, by all means, pass it on in the comment section!) -- anyway, because of malware, I was rescheduled on the Silhouette blog and by some fluke I was on both yesterday and today. It feels like all-Caroline-all-the-time over there right now. :P

First up, Chilly:

As is so often the case: I like this in real life more.  IRL it doesn't appear so lopsided - that element at the top looks like it was cut off in the scan here, but it looks more purposeful in person.  That said, I don't love this layout. However, there is one detail that I do swoon over:

I love the way the circles cut from the vellum look.  It reminds me of the snow in the Charlie Brown Christmas special, when all the kids are outside skating.  It just makes me happy.  It didn't show up well in the whole-page shot, but you can see it better in person. And here. ;)

Next up, a goofy layout featuring Sheldon, from The Big Bang Theory:

I realize this looks silly and made up, but I promise, this is a memory for us.  Kerig spent a couple of hours shooting our "tree" (really a spider plant with a silver silver ball hanging from it), the Christmas presents, the Christmas lights and other assorted shots with christmas light bokeh as the background.  I will look at this shot and remember him laying on the ground, fussing with his tripod, breaking out different lenses for different effects.

And I love my CAMEO:

There's something about that crisp, clean cut, the red against the white that makes my heart sing a little.  Can you imagine trying to hunt down a store bought title for this goofy picture? I think not.

So there it is.  This is my 65th post this year.  I had sent a pie-in-the-sky goal of 76 (twice what I did in 2012 and 2011) and I honestly didn't think I'd come this close.  Thank you for stopping by.  I hope that your 2014 is your best year yet!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

I had a photographic a-ha! moment today

And I thought I'd share.

I think snow is beautiful.  Now that I don't have to drive Cleveland's scariest highways, my attitude towards snow is: Bring it on. Only, I've never been able to take a decent picture of snow falling.  Now matter how hard it's coming down, how big and fat the flakes are, it just never really translates.

It's Christmas Eve today and snowing big, fat, snowy snowflakes and I can't help being happier because of it.  I wanted to take a picture, but the pessimist in me said "Why bother? It won't show up anyway. :("

And then it dawned on me:



Have you ever seen a picture of an airport that looks deserted, even if you know that place is usually packed?  The photographer used a tripod and a slow shutter speed to make all the people "disappear."  The long exposure means that only the parts that stay constant have a chance to burn in - everything else just fades away.

The same premise is true for falling snow.  Only in this case, the falling snow is like the people who fade away.  Because it's generally a little darker when it's snowing, the camera compensates by holding the shutter open for a longer time.  This allows more light to seep into the camera and get you a proper exposure.  When the shutter stays open for a longer time, anything that's moving shows up as blur.  If there's enough disparity between the shutter speed and the moving object, the object can disappear completely.  That's not usually the case with snow, but it blurs enough to just barely show up.

In order to get the snow to show up, then, we need to dial in a shutter speed that's fast enough to "freeze" the action.  In these examples I jacked the shutter speed all the way up to 1/1250.  That's probably way higher than it needed to be. And to get a decent exposure on this very grey, snowy day I had to up my ISO to 12800.  I was shooting in shutter priority, and the camera dialed in an aperture of f/13 - so obviously I could have brought down the ISO and still had a very workable image.  But it was cold and I'm at work, so I wasn't going to be fussing around too much. ;)

Bottom line: this settings are probably way more drastic than they need to be, but the premise is the same: If you take a snowy day picture and the flakes aren't showing up, you'll want to up your shutter speed (and probably your ISO).  Start by doubling your current shutter speed - if you were shooting at 1/60th, try 1/125th and keep playing until you get where you're going.

I was only about 15 feet away from this wreath when I took it.  The snow shows up, but there's only about 15 feet's worth of snow.  On the other hand, I was across the street from this clock tower:

So there was LOTS of snow between me and my subject and even more behind it.  The cumulative affect is so exciting!  To me anyway.  It might take more to get you excited.  I get it.  To each her own. ;)

Merry Christmas!
And if you don't celebrate: Happy Random Wednesday Off!

Monday, December 23, 2013

One last one...

We're here! Right in the final stretch!  I have 2 more days of work, Maggie comes home from RIT tomorrow today ☺, I'm almost finished shopping, and I'm almost finished wrapping.  One day I dream of having all my ducks in row way earlier, but this year? This year I'm grateful for where I am.

I don't do a lot of baking at holiday time.  I only have two coworkers, and none of us (my coworkers, Kerig, my kids and I included) really need the extra temptation.  But it can't be a week before Christmas and not make some fun treats, right?  

Bring on the Candy Cane Rice Krispie Treats:

I love Rice Krispie treats. Seriously. 
But a doctored RKT can really make me happy.  

I found a recipe online (yes, I'm looking at you, Pintrest) but it wasn't realistic for me. It called for things I couldn't find, like peppermint marshmallows and peppermint Hershey's Kisses.  These things may exist, but not anywhere I'm shopping.  So I reworked the recipe to make it work for me.  And I thought I'd put my tried (twice!) and true recipe here.  Mostly so I can find it again next year, but if you'd like to try, hey, more power to you!

Candy Cane Rice Krispie Treats
1 stick of butter
2 10 oz bags of miniature marshmallows
1½ t. Peppermint Extract
9 cups Rice Krispie cereal
1½ cups white chocolate chips
½ t. vegetable oil
5 candy canes (full size)

In large pot over low heat, melt butter and two bags of marshmallows until soft and lump-free. Stir frequently.  Stir in peppermint extract. Stir in cereal.  When cereal is fully coated with marshmallow, pour into a greased 9x13 pan.  Press down to make flat and even.  Let cool for a half hour or more.

Put candy canes in Ziploc bag and crush with rolling pin (or can of soup, or whatever's handy) until you have small chunks.  (But don't crush too much, because the red stripes get lost, and I like them)

Once the treats are cool, cut into even squares.  Microwave white chocolate chips and vegetable in a microwave safe bowl for 40 seconds.  Stir. Microwave at 50% power in 15 second intervals until smooth, stirring after each time. 

Drizzle squares with melted chocolate and sprinkle with candy cane crumbs while hot. Let cool.  Enjoy.  Come back here and tell me what a genius I am. 


Okay, that's it for me. I'm tapping out until after Christmas.
Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Ho Ho Ho!

Yesterday was my day up on the Silhouette blog, which means that I'm free to share here. Whoopee!

I bought the Peace Love and Joy paper pack from Lawn Fawn to use on my Advent calendar.  Truth be told, I ordered two of those paper packs, just to be safe.  Turns out one has yet to be touched. Oops.  But I did use more of the paper here.  Because why search through my enormous stash of papers, when I can pick up the pad that never got put away?  The little sequins and plastic snowflakes? They're from an embellishment pack, also Lawn Fawn's Peace Love and Joy collection, purchased for use on the Advent calendar.  And, yep: same reasoning: they were still sitting on the desk.

And it's sort of funny how things unfold in scrapbooking.  I love the background paper.  It's from Elle's Studio and I couldn't wait to get my hands on it.  It sort of reminds me of a prisoner's jumpsuit, but I'm willing to overlook that because color on gray is my favorite right now.  It did have two sayings typed on it.  And they were very drippy love related.  Nothing that I wanted associated to some random old guy dressed up as Santa. So I'm glad that the piece of washi tape that says "♥ Merry" covers up the saying without looking too out of place.

I love (love, love) the way the huge scroll-y snowflake looks.  I'm not taking credit - I didn't do anything other than pay for it and cut it out big.  Well, that and spend TWENTY FREAKING MINUTES CAREFULLY PRYING IT OFF THE CUTTING MAT.  Which makes me a crafting genius. :P  But that tool in the picture?  That's the Silhouette spatula that I've been raving about.  And this project (done a while ago) is why I'm now totally sold on this tool.  There's no way that I would have gotten that snowflake off the mat in one piece without it.

Now, that said: I do not like Silhouette scrapper. And I feel compelled to say this so that you understand that when I like something I really, genuinely like it. I'm not just a puppet-for-hire. This blog has been rah-rah-Silhouette loooong before they even had a design team, so yes, I'm prone to loving their stuff, but I'm also prone to not holding in my true opinion.

Okay, so that whole paragraph wasn't to bash the scrapper, it's to say this: when I cut something that has lots of negative bits that are left behind I use an old plastic gift or credit card to scrape them off.  At the right angle those little bits pop right off the mat.  It works best if the mat is laying flat - and that's the hardest part.  Frequently I have to take it to the kitchen table to do it because even though I run a tight scrapping ship, in the middle of a project my desk is still a mess.

I hope that your December is filled with joy and merriment, food, laughter, family and love.  I feel so schmaltzy for saying that, but I mean it.

Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Kicking and screaming towards the holidays...

I don't mind hearing Christmas music at the grocery store.
I don't care if you put up your tree the weekend before Thanksgiving.
When someone says "I'm finished my Christmas shopping" I'm happy for them and more than a little bit envious.

But, for the most part, I'm not one who gets into the spirit.  I'm not cranky or bah-humbug, I just...I just like routine, and Christmas (holidays in general, in fact) really messes with that.

So you can imagine my reaction when I found out that I had to create a Christmas decoration using Silhouette's Advent Calendar.  I was centered somewhere between a knot of dread in my stomach and full on panic.  And that lasted for days.  Every moment in the shower, driving to work, loading the dishwasher and folding laundry was spent wondering how I was going to pull this off.  Surely, I thought, my Christmas non-spirit would show through, and everyone would know I was a big, fat phony when it comes to Christmas cheer.

And maybe that was true in the beginning.  Maybe I was faking-it-til-you-make-it, but just as that implies, somewhere along the way a switch got flipped, and I started to have fun. Then I started glittering stuff and then I started having a LOT of fun.  And then I noticed glitter in Kerig's beard and, well, you just can't get any more fun than that!

Maybe you're asking yourself "So what did you do with it??"  Or not.  But let's proceed like you were actually curious, shall we?

After all the thinking about how I was going to do this, I finally came up with the idea of combining two of my favorite childhood Christmas traditions.  Our family didn't decorate the tree until Christmas Eve (I know, right?  Ridiculous!) so we didn't have the same level of daily anticipation that "kids these days" have. We did get the cardboard Advent Calendars, and the best part of them was hunting for the day.  What was behind the door was never really all that great, but there was something about looking at all the numbers and finding the right one - that was the exciting part to me.  The other thing that I liked was this thing that my aunt made for us.  It's too hard to explain, but it suffices to say that it had 25 peppermint candies tied to it and every night after dinner we got to untie one and have our mint.  Twofold greatness: candy AND getting to watch the line of mints get shorter every day!

So my thought for this was to combine the two elements I liked best - the hunt for the right day and candy.  On December 1st, this will be nothing but rows of numbered bags. On the first day, we'll find the number 1 bag, and have the Hershey's Nuggets that are inside, and then rehang the bag with the decoration side out.  Every day we'll repeat this process, and as Christmas approaches, it will go from boring rows of numbers to lots and lots of sparkling Christmas and winter scenes.

 Here's a couple of the decorated sides:

Ok. I'm not going to pretend that I don't have favorites.  And this snowman and that penguin? They're the favorites.  You can't tell in the picture, I don't think, but the snowman's eyes and coal buttons are actually black glitter.  Who knew there was an actual use for black glitter??  Well. Now you know! Adorable.  (That is so not humble. But I'm just so pleased with them!)

These are distant runners-up in the favorites category, but it doesn't matter, because the cumulative effect of all these little boxes is sheer Christmasy goodness.  This is going to stay on the shelf behind the sofa, where it'll get seen a lot and is easily accessible to for bag-flipping-and-candy-retrieving.

Be sure to stop by the Silhouette blog to see the other girls' ideas for the Advent Calendar.

And if you're wondering about supplies:
Simple Stories Snowflake-Chevron paper (for the bag)(I *love* this paper and wish I had some left over.  the black/grey chevron is fantastic)
Lawn Fawn Peace Joy Love 6x6 paper pad (for the little patterned bits)(except the snowman's and penguin's nose - that's a scrap of BoBunny paper.)
Lawn Fawn Peace Joy Love Mixed Sequins  and Lawn Fawn Peace Joy Love Snowflake Sequins are the random bits here and there.
The glitter could be from Silhouette or Martha Stewart, and the penguin's hat is glittered using Doodlebug's Sugar Coatin Chunky Glitter
All the shapes except the bag are from the Silhouette online store.  You can see the Silhouette blog post for clickable links for those.
The bag itself is something I made so it would fit perfectly within the structure of the advent calendar and be wide enough to hold a couple of Hershey's Nuggets.  If you're interested, ask for it in the comment section and I'll send it your way.
And, ohmygoodness, is that another aflairforbuttons flair? Why, yes. Yes it is.  And I'll tell you another thing: that link takes you to the set of flair that has the one I used, but I didn't buy that.  I actually did the 12 custom buttons option.  I just didn't have a need for 8 (eight!!) Christmas themed buttons.  So I picked a couple of Christmasy flair and then mixed in some more Caroline-friendly themes.  ;)  (No. I'm not in the aflairforbutton lady's back pocket.  I just love these flair pieces.)

Thanks (as always) for stopping by! I hope your December is off to a great start!

Friday, November 29, 2013

Almost Finished

"Cakes get done, people get finished."  I wonder what little quirky sayings my children will remember about me?  Wow, new world record for digressing.

Last Friday I was heading in to class, walking the long way around to avoid some stairs (giving my knees a rest) and I looked up at exactly the right time.  I usually take the stairs, so I get a different, less photogenic view.  When I looked up and saw the school from this angle, with the tree and the glow of the inside lights - I knew I had to back up a foot or two and get a quick Instagram. 

Sometimes it seems to take forever for Instagram to boot up.  Especially if one is running a little late or if it's chilly (definitely the later for me, I'm usually pretty good about being punctual).  So while I waited I was thinking about I only had 4 more classes in the semester.  That day and one more week.  This is the last math class that I'm taking.  Next semester I'll have one more class, but I'll only have 2 or 3 actual classes - after that we'll be set lose for student teaching.  It'll be a TON of work for certain, but a different kind of work.  More meaningful, more immediate, more urgent, with bigger stakes and more direct feedback.  I'm a little scared and VERY excited.  And yes, all these thoughts ran through my head waiting for Instagram to fire up.

And I wanted to take some time to document this - the excitement, anticipation, nervousness and immediacy - before it was in the past.  

I have a pile of glassine envelopes - I think I picked them up at this weird bulk paper goods place not too far from here.  I've had them forever, and used some and there, oh, and here, too!  (Isn't it great when you have evidence that actually used stuff you bought??)  I also bought a huge box of library cards from a teacher supply store.  I think there were 500 cards in the box and it cost about $11.  I've used a ton of them, too, but barely made a dent in the box.  They've been great for journaling, die cutting and even just making lists or quick notes.  Today I used them for hand journaling.  *Gasp*! I rarely hand journal, for a whole bunch of reasons, but the library cards are liberating, especially in the glassine envelopes - it's easy to start over, the handwriting doesn't have to be perfect since it's pretty well concealed, and I don't have to worry about keeping it short, since I can easily stack lots of the library cards in the pocket. That's a win/win to me.

 Some detail shots.  I don't necessarily think you want or need them, but I'm getting into the habit anyway.  

Some favorites right now:
  • Have I mentioned lately how much I ♥♥♥ aflairforbuttons at Etsy?  Oh, I have, haven't I?? Naughty blogger!
  • I just found the font Grand Hotel at fontsquirrel.com.  Wait.  Wasn't I just talking about them recently, too?  Hmmm.  I'm turning into my grandmother maybe. 
  • The "Math Notebook Washi" blends in too well, which is a crying shame.  It's beautiful.  Freckled Fawn is genius for making it. For me. Let's go with that. I like to feel special, and it's working. 
And there's no link for it, but I do like the swoopy way I did the stitching.  I don't know why I did it, or why I like it so much, but I do.  

And I wonder if I'm the only person who's guilty of using leftover tidbits from recent layouts, even it it might not actually work.  The little star (next to the heart)?  It's a leftover from a recent football layout.  The scalloped circle under the owl is a leftover scrap of paper from that same layout.  The scallop shape is one I just used in a Christmas project I'll share next week.  But when I knew I wanted a scalloped circle to ground the flair, I know exactly which one I wanted to use. And why. (It's the 5 scalloped circles from the Silhouette store.)  The little white tag and the red heart were also in my little bowl of leftover die cuts.  And the aqua blue thread was the thread on sewing machine.  It only just barely works, but it doesn't NOT work, so I wasn't going to go to the effort of changing it out.  I don't know if that's laziness or a sign that I've gone zen in my old age.

I hope that you had a fantastic Thanksgiving and are making it through Black Friday untrampled. 

Plan on stopping by Monday afternoon.  We did a fun project for the Silhouette blog and I'm really excited to see what the other girls came up with and I'll have some extra details and thoughts on here. 

See you then!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

My day up on the SIlhouette blog

Which means I get to share here and add my 2¢.

So, I talk about most of the Silhouette-y stuff over at their blog, so I'm going to skip that stuff. ;)  Problem is, when I write the post for them I'm thinking "Oh, I want to talk about this on my blog.  And this, too!" But a week and a half later I can't remember doodley.


So, the one thing that I wanted to mention is that I used Scotch Quick Dry Adhesive for this technique and I really think it made a world of difference.  I can't think of another adhesive that would have been this quick and this rock solid.  I gently folded the leaves and had a blob of the Quick Dry on a piece of scrap paper and I just dipped them in and put them on the page.  I was able to scooch them around for maybe 10 or 20 seconds, but then after that they were pretty well stuck.  I was worried that the glue - which is white - would be super obvious.  But it dried clear.  You can see it if there are big globs of it, but fortunately I was tidy. ;)

The other thing that I want to point out is that I LOVE THIS TOOL:

It's the Silhouette Spatula and it's pretty amazing.  I don't get all goo goo about everything that comes my way, and in the interest of full disclosure: this was given to me by Silhouette. And I'm sooo glad they did!  Obviously it's main purpose is to lift things off the cutting mat.  And it does an excellent job at that.  It has saved me from ripping all kinds of intricate cuts.  I can't explain why it's so fantastic, but it is. There's something about the way it curves into a point - it allows you to work it under the thin, delicate parts of the design to gently pry it up.

But it's useful for other things, as well.  For instance, the leaves up there are fairly small.  I couldn't quite bend them easily with my chubby fingers.  I used the spatula tool and bent the leaves around it.  Made life so much easier.  AND, I've been working on another project that will go up next week and there's a TON of glitter involved.  TONS.  Ever notice that when you sprinkle glitter some of it that doesn't land in the glue sticks around? FOREVER? I'm finding this tool very handy for removing glitter that gets stuck in crevices.  I'll point this out when I have a decent example that I can share.  But it's just another reason why I love this tool.

So that's that.  I loved so many pictures from this afternoon, and I hope to do at least two more layouts.  I hope that I can squeeze them in before I love my autumn-mojo.  Does that happen to anyone else??  The two layouts that I want to do are story based and have nothing to do with the time of year, but naturally the color scheme will still reflect that.  But once the season passes, I find it harder and harder to get motivated to do "out of season" layouts. Hmmm.

I think I feel safe in saying that I won't be posting again before Thanksgiving, so I feel comfortable in wish you and yours a wonderful Thanksgiving.  

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Open on Sunday.

My store is closed 47 Sundays out of 52.  I can't complain.  As far as retail environments go, I'm blessed and I know it.  However, we're open, it's Sunday, and we didn't run an ad, so no one even knows we're here. We've had two customers so far.  I sort of brought something to do, but I couldn't drag it into a 5 hour task.

So here I am.

I made this layout a couple of weeks ago.  I had originally intended it to be a Silhouette blog post but I made layouts that I liked better and were more seasonally appropriate, so this one got benched.

Little shy on the journaling, eh?  I made this shortly after I got the high blood pressure diagnosis.  I had a pity party that lasted for a couple of days, before realizing how lucky I was.  That catching it allowed it to be treated.  And treatment means avoiding ugly surprises, like, oh...say...a stroke. And my treatment is so easy: I take a half of a diuretic pill every morning.  Whoopee.  I am glad that my gynecologist caught it and that my family doctor is testing the easiest treatment first and keeping an eye on me.  I'm watching my salt and caffeine intake and being more conscientious of my body cues.  So yes: Life if good.

I've said that I think the sports pages are challenging.  And they are.  But I also think that super girly pages are not my forte.  I don't think this is "super girly" but it has more pink and pastels than any layout I've done in the recent past.  It was challenging, but also fun to switch out of my color-scheme comfort zone.  The thing that I really like on this layout is the pink line around the edge.  I just used a fine tipped paint brush in Tattered Angles spray mist.  I am often too heavy handed when I try to outline things in pen, so I tend not to attempt that anymore.  But the paint brush was much easier for me to use without making a mess out of it.

Alrighty then! Happy Sunday to you all!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Because I'm feeling cheeky...

I thought I'd share a layout I made a while ago that didn't really..uh...go anywhere.
I probably shouldn't show you this very risque shot of my daughter holding a pair of underpants.  But she's 19 years old in this picture (and currently rounding the corner to 20!); she knows about the layout and that I'm going to share it; and lastly, the underwear was purchased from Target, on an endcap where literally thousands of people would have walked past it without having a single untoward thought.

The only point I want to make is this: I have never before used this selective colorization.  While I think (generally) that it can be very cheap and obvious (seriously, no more beautiful women in black and white holding a colorized rose: BLECH), in this case it really worked.  No one really looks their best at 7:30 Christmas morning, and while it doesn't really translate here, that Superman logo is glittery, and in the real life version of this, it looks fantastic.

Hey, thanks for stopping by - AGAIN. :)  Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Spoils of "Another Happy Tuesday"

Hello folks! Today is NOT another happy Tuesday.  Heck, it's not even another happy Wednesday. It's more of a sip-your-coffee-and-keep-all-your-angry-thoughts-to-yourself kinda day.   But the good news is, I have a blog post to divert my attention! Yay for blog posts!

I started this layout over the weekend.  I've mentioned before how hard I find scrapping sports layouts.  I've also mentioned that I don't own and can't find a lot of blue that works with the royal blue in his uniform.   So I feel like I'm scrapbooking with one hand tied behind my back.

That said, I knew I wanted the word teamwork in the title, but I also had another die cut and I couldn't make it work.  I'm not in love with the finished page, but after several hours of shoving around titles and embellishments, this was a good compromise.

I'm also finding it difficult to find sports themed embellishments that aren't juvenile.  Even on my beloved Silhouette, the pickin's are slim.  So for this, it's stars (aren't all athletes stars? Even if only in their own minds...) and arrows (to show the forward momentum of the play) and a semi-generic GO! banner that I made.  (If you're interested in that file, let me know and I'll send it your way).  I worked in a little blue with the accents and figured green, brown and grey would work well enough, for the grass, mud and general overall grey quality of northeast Ohio during football season.

And the journaling tells why it was worth it for me to get the page done when I just wanted to abandon it and move onto something more scrap-friendly.  I love this picture.  On the way home from this game Ted and I were talking about the game and he asked it I saw that one play where Sushi was carrying him.  Uh. No.   I have no idea what you're talking about.  He went on excitedly, telling me about how in the one play when they were starting off at the 15 yard line he ran the ball and just as he was about to be tackled by South, Sushi was right there behind him and "he carried me for like 20 seconds!"  Later that today I was scrolling through my pictures and noticed this shot and sure enough, Ted's feet aren't on the ground, and sure enough it was Sushi (#71) and #70 who were hoisting him up by his jersey and carrying him - and the ball - down field.  Judging by the fact that my camera shoots 6 frames per second, he was only off the ground for about 2 seconds, but still: that's teamwork.

These are a few of my favorite things:
Flair: Minimal 1 flair at aflairforbuttons.
Wood veneer: Arrow Wood Chips from Freckled Fawn and they're colored with a dumb ole Sharpie and sanded a bit.
Enamel dots: Ombre Black Enamel Dew Drop Stickers, also from Freckled Fawn.
The washi at the top and bottom is also from Freckled Fawn.
The font on the main title is Blackout Midnight from Font Squirrel - and you know you want to check them out based on the name alone.

So that's that.  Things are probably going to be scarce here for a while.  It's Christmas in retailland, and theoretically we're coming up on final exam time for school, but I'm thinking that's not going to be a big deal this time around.  And no, you won't hear me complaining about that!

Thanks for stopping by!  Don't forget to say "Heyyy" in the comment section.  Not gonna lie: I love a comment or 2 here and there. ☺

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Another Happy Tuesday.

I have Tuesdays off, and I love days off.  Especially since this semester is so much easier than previous years - I feel like I can actually enjoy my away-from-work time.  I usually tutor on Tuesdays, but my tutee had a test today, so we met last night.  This means I don't even have to leave the apartment: Yay!  There's nothing wrong with going out and about, but when it's cold and grey and I'm broke, then staying home and watching Downton Abbey, scrapbooking, blogging and otherwise lounging about on my own terms is absolutely heavenly!

Ted turned 15th last month.  We had a great day - we went bowling, walked around the mall, visited the arcade and had dinner at a new pizza place that was really quite tasty. Afterward we came home and had some cake.  Once again, Kerig came through with the photos!  He did a great job - I love the fact that he thought to get a snap of Molly decorating the cake.

I love the way the layout came together.  Yes, it's even more Silhouette-y than usual, but it works.  I'm fond of the swirly border - both the pen on the right side and the cut on the left.  But it's the candles that make the happiest - they're tall and fun and I love the layers on layers in the flame. The "eat" button is from Kelly Purkey at Simon Says Stamp (as are the letter stickers for the word 'birthday") - and while I love her products and aesthetics, I do prefer the buttons from aflairforbuttons on Etsy.  Kelly's button is bigger, which isn't a plus for me - real estate on an 8.5x11 page is too precious, so even that tiny little bit can make a big difference.  But more than that, the bottom side of the button is concave, so adhering it is much trickier than the flat-backed variety at aflairforbuttons.  It's nit picking, really, but it matters to me.

Okay, it's off to the next phase of DAY OFF TUESDAY!  Thanks for stopping by! ☺

p.s. If you're so inclined, this is the featured layout on Silhouette's (FABULOUS & INSPIRATIONAL) blog, and stopping over there would fill you with great crafty ideas!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Halloween Prep, y'all.

(I don't know what exactly the "y'all" is about.  I'm feeling sort of punchy at the moment, I guess.)

A couple of weekends ago our big Sunday fun was carving pumpkins.  Here's a little full disclosure for you: I hadn't really planned on carving pumpkins this year.  The kids spend the week with their dad so it seems sort of silly to go to the expense for something they'd see twice.  Plus, they're getting to that age where holidays just aren't as big a deal as they used to be.  Or so I thought.  So when Molly asked if we were carving pumpkins I didn't think to consult Kerig, I just said no.  It was a decision I'd already made.  Although, Kerig had apparently made his own decision about the situation, and as soon as he heard me say no, he chimed in with "Yes, we are."  Well, okay then.  It hadn't occurred to me that maybe he was looking forward to this.  So I was happily overruled.

We went to the local pumpkin patch  nursery garden center and chose our pumpkins. Ted, Kerig and I chose moderate sized pumpkins - something big enough for carving room, but not so large as to be a pain in the neck to carry upstairs.  Molly, on the other hand, bought into BIGGER IS BETTER and picked out one of the biggest ones they had.

At home we washed them off, spread some newspaper, cranked Pandora's Halloween station and went to work.  Molly had already picked out her design from the pattern book that came with the tools - a ghoul at a graveyard spookily raising his hand.  Since I really wasn't super into it, I just went with a standard jack-o-lantern face, with rounded features.  Kerig contemplated his design for quite some time and settled in on a menacing jack-o-lantern face with sizable fangs.

Ted, however, was the man this year.  I don't think of Ted as being super artistic, but he's very good with the fixing/building/figuring out of things.  He decided that he wanted to do Snoopy asleep on his doghouse.  He asked to borrow my laptop and searched google images until he found something suitable to use as a guide.  And I'll be darned if he didn't make it work!

It's really nice having Kerig around.  He's quick to pick up a camera and he's good at it, too.  He stepped right in, made certain there was a picture of everyone working as well as final product shots, and lots of other details.  It was hard to not use all the pictures, but I managed to whittle it down to just 6 pictures and then printed them relatively small.

And then I carefully crammed them all onto one page:

Since I struggle when using more than one picture on a page, I feel rather triumphant that I was able to semi-effectively cram 6 pictures on here.  Go me!

Hey, so, uh, this was up on the Silhouette blog yesterday.  If you're so inclined, you can click this link and check it out again over there.  Cuz yeah. Why not?

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Lesson learned.

Good grief.  I'm really glad that I cleaned my desk off on Thursday.  This is a tale of before, during and after.  And I'll cut to the moral of the story: Don't be stupid, Stupid :P

So, this is a picture of my desk shortly after we got settled, taken in the beginning of July:

And that's basically the set up I've been running with. I took the Ott light off, because I just didn't need it.  I also don't ever put my laptop on top of the desk anymore.  Real estate is just too precious, so for entertainment I use my Kindle instead, and I put the laptop on a tall chair off to the side for my Silhouetting.

My desk is a vintage drafting table that I got about 18 years ago when we lived in Indiana.  My oldest had sort of taken it over and trashed it, and when we moved I reclaimed it and refinished it.  For weeks I couldn't walk past it without running my hand over the top and asking "Isn't she pretty?"  Yes.  I love it.

BUT, it's a drafting table.  It's meant to have a couple of sheets of paper on it.  NOT all the stuff that I had piled on top of it.  And, as a drafting table, the table can be raised and lowered and the top swings up - drafting is often done  with the table top angled up.  The combined affect of these facts is that the whole dern thing shifts around.

So I've put stuff across the back part, which has probably put more pressure there than it can handle. And over the last couple of weeks I've noticed the whole thing dropping down a little bit at a time.  So I asked Ted and Kerig to lift up the top, and I was going to put some old kid's building blocks under the legs so that top couldn't drop down again.  For whatever reason, I didn't think I needed to take everything off the top.  The good news is, I just cleaned my desk on Thursday so it was very close the way it looks in the picture up there.

The bad news is, this was a stupid decision on my part and everything ended up on the floor:

Oops.  Fortunately nothing broke.  And I would have preferred to just raise and reinforce the desk as we had originally planned.  But instead, I got to reorganize.  Never mind that I had just done this on Thursday.  I did decide that I needed to get a lot of weight off the back side of the desk, so now it looks like this:

One of the things that I love about my table is that it's tall enough for me to scrapbook standing up, which I prefer.  One of the benefits of scrapbooking standing up is that you don't have to have everything right there - walking four feet is no big deal when you're already up.  So tonight I just reevaluated what I needed at my fingertips. The black thing is a lazy Susan thingee (TJ Maxx $10 - l♥ve) and it has scissors (multiple pair, because they're so easy to lose), basic hand punches, tweezers, pokers (like for making a hole for brads), Zig glue pens, my Basic Grey file set and my Tim Holtz Tiny Attacher.   The red box has current pictures and a my (teeny, tiny, minuscule) collection of acrylic stamps.  They don't need to be at my fingertips, but I hope to remember to use them if they're there.  The round silver thing is my small bucket of flair.  My Fridgebinz box of adhesive is a must-keep-close item for certain.  The white Making Memories thing has all kinds of pens, paint brushes, lens and stamp cleaners, my ATG gun, SEI buttons that rarely get used but make me happy, and then the little drawers hold extra blades for my trimmer, CM circle cutter blades, Tiny Attacher refills, o-rings and teeny bits.

This was not how I had planned to spend my evening.  But that's okay.  I've been meaning to make some adjustments and this helped that.

Thanks for stopping by.  I hope to have some thing more directly scrapbook related soon. ☺
Have a great week!

And don't forget: Don't be stupid, Stupid ;)

Friday, November 1, 2013

Cameo'd phone case

If you're an iphone user, you've never had to go out of your way to find a phone case that reflects who you are. It doesn't matter if you're at Target, Best Buy or your local she-she boutique: apple cases in dozens of cool/funky/beautiful/sparkly varieties are available to you.

If, however, you use an Android phone... Pffft.  You might be able to get something at your carrier's store.  And they *might* have an Otter Box at Best Buy.  But good luck with that.

I don't want this to dissolve into a my-phone-is-better-than-your-phone debate.  But apple has been very smart in keeping it's shell the same size across multiple generations: this makes it so much easier for third party companies to feel confident about making accessories.  Maybe one day Samsung, HTC, Motorola, etc will take a page from Apple's book but I'm not going to hold my breath for that.  They don't make money from those types of accessory sales, so there's no real incentive...

So, what's a girl to do?

Answer: a girl with a Cameo has no problem.  Well, that's not entirely true.  Weeding through about a million shapes to decide which one represents you best poses the tiniest of problems.  Oh, soooo many choices: #firstworldproblems.

Here's what I chose to do with it:

I like owls.  In fact, I think I'm going to use them as my "theme" when (eek: if) I get my own classroom.  They're fun, and smart.

The case was a whopping $7.49 from Amazon.  The owl is from Echo Park and available in the Silhouette Store.  I used the word bubble collection - this worked great because for whatever reason I thought it was really important that the little hangy-downy piece be on the left side.  I honestly don't know why that mattered last night, but it did.  But the collection gives a good variety to choose from.  From there I just added my hokey sentiment using the DJ Groovy font.

I do want to mention that I needed to put down three or four layers of the wings, because the chest feathers showed through until I put multiple layers on.  I happen to like the extra texture it gives, but if that really bothered me it would be easy enough to subtract out the wing shape from the owl's body and then you could lay the wing down directly on the phone case - voila, no chest feathers to worry about!

And yes, I see that the bottom right side of the speech bubble is a little deformed.  The vinyl must've shifted as it went through the machine.  I didn't even notice it until I looked at the picture.  I'll probably fix that later today.  Or not.  Because sometimes imperfection bugs the criminey out of me and sometimes I like a little quirkiness.  We'll see. ;)

As always, thanks for stopping by! I hope you have a very crafty weekend!