Posted in charity, craft

Deserving Beads

This week I am sharing the blessing and encouragement sent my way by Caitie, the owner and entrepreneur over at “Deserving Beads” a site for gorgeous handmade jewelry. She gifted me with a beautiful white wood and agate stone bracelet accented with silver that I absolutely love.

Her bracelets and necklaces are designed with natural stones such as turquoise, black onyx, coral, Amazonite, and marbled glass and some include wood beads of magkuno wood, grey wood, and rosewood. My new bracelet seems more substantial then others I’ve held and is of high quality. Thank you so much Caitie for the thoughtful gift.

The website (linked to all pictures) is soulful and filled with inspiration.

But what encourages me most is the honesty in Caitie’s message and the truth she shares of her own life on the website. By being transparent she is breaking down the “perfect person” myth of social media and I think this will be a light to others. In addition to the beaded bracelets she sells “for fun” is a line which benefits breast cancer, congenital heart disease, and suicide prevention charities. What a blessing!

Thanks Caitie for both the lovely reminder of you that I can wear and for creating a peaceful site I can visit.

Posted in card making, craft, Stampin Up

No One is Perfect

Quality Card-stock from Stampin Up

My clean and simple card from yesterday was made with pink construction paper instead of quality cardstock, which I realized when I saw the waffled edge of the card this morning. Sigh, I had some older construction paper and cardstock pulled to donate to the school and mixed the two up.

So if you are new to card making here’s a tip, dental floss will slide between two pieces of paper bonded with adhesive ( a tape runner like snail adhesive for example) very well, usually without harm to either piece. Here you can see the insert removed from the construction paper cleanly. This is also a handy trick if an embellishment needs to be moved on your design.

The dental floss will help pull decorative paper glued to the construction paper, but it will not be a clean break. So I needed to lay the paper to be saved face down and pull the pink construction paper away shredding it as it was removed.

However, the decorative paper which was the face of the card was fine and the cards are now reassembled and ready to cheer someone’s day. Hope you never need this tip but if you do remember no one is perfect.

Posted in card making, charity, craft, Stampin Up

A Clean and Simple Card for Beginners

If you are new to card-making you may wonder if its worthwhile in this digital age to expend the cost and effort to create a paper greeting card. I believe it is because a physical card can grab your attention and really make your day special, even more so then a nice text message. Even the professional world has not relinquished snail mail totally for maintaining relationships with customers and employees. Its not practical for all communication obviously but a hand made card can lift the spirits and bring a smile to the face of your most tech savy friend.

So, if you are still reading and think it’s worth the effort to craft a smile in an envelope you will need a paper cutter, cardstock, bone folder, glue, and images (either from digital content or stamps and dies). Now if you are new to this hobby please know it is not as violent as you may imagIne, the bone folder is totally mis-named, no bone folding involved ( just a little Halloween humor).

Here are the details for a clean and simple card I put together quickly using Stampin Up papers for the Craft Faire to benefit World Trust (see last week’s blog for more information). If you are just starting this hobby buying coordinating cardstock, ink and stamp bundles will save you money in the long run because the pieces go together in multiple ways similar to how 10 pieces of a capsule wardrobe make a month’s worth of outfits. For your information some of the attached pictures are linked to products for sale.

To start first cut a sheet of 81/2″x 11″ pink cardstock in half lengthwise at the 51/2″ mark to yield two cards once folded and scored with a bonefolder at 4 1/4″ . Use heavier weight cardstock for the base to make a more substantial card and crisp the fold with a bonefolder for a sharp edge.

This next step is optional, you can highlight the lighter pink flowers on the “Happiness Blooms” decorative paper by brushing them with glitter glue (this takes a while but it is a good craft while watching tv ) . I do like the extra glamour but the paper is very pretty left just as is.

Here’s a hint, there are many types of glue for paper projects but when you are beginning to layout a design the liquid glue will allow for adjustments after placement. Be careful though, using too much glue can leave the cardstock wavy inside the card showing the glue line. Here is a liquid Tombow glue from Amazon which I used to put a thin line of glue on all four edges of the card only.

The decorative elements are where coordinating paper and cardstock really makes your life easier. The lighter weight decorative paper “Happiness Blooms” was offered with the cardstock, ribbon, and ink colors of “call me clover” and “calypso coral” . These colors can be mixed and matched to create many different looks.

For this card cut a 3/4″ strip from the short side of the “call me clover” cardstock and then notch it using the banner punch on both ends to create a ribbon alternative. The banner punch is doing double duty here, the punched triangle leftovers could become part of a birthday or welcome banner card.

Then lay the “thank you” messages from the “All That You Are” cling stamp set on a hard surface face down and push a clear stamp block on top. This avoids the message getting distorted by placing it on the block. To ink the stamp I find it helpful to tap three times on the ink pad with average pressure, then you will stamp off on “whisper white” cardstock for the card’s sentiment. I used an oval cutting trace from my Creative Memory scrapbooking days, however If you don’t have an oval or round cutting tool you can use your paper cutter to make a rectangle message instead.

Here’s the final cards, you may notice one has an extra dot embellishment on the sentiment to cover a smidge of ink, I like it and may have to add some to the other two. Below the cards made today is a visual thought board for the next round of cards from Stampin Up’s current catalog. If you enjoyed this tutorial for a clean and simple card that goes together quickly please check back for the next design.

Posted in card making, charity, craft

Handmade with Love Craft Faire

Willow Glen Bible Church is raising money for the Vision Trust Charity, which serves thousands of at risk children around the world, with a “Handmade with Love Craft Faire”. I’m so excited to donate handmade cards and know the proceeds are going to continue their work for the children of Liberia, here is their link: https://www.visiontrust.org/about/ . I enjoy creating cards and I love that they will go to help a great cause.

The Craft Fair will be held on November 1st and November 2nd starting at 10 am at the Peninsula Bible Church in Cupertino so drop by if you get a chance .

Posted in Food and Cooking, Travel, wine

Wine tasting

We are taking a short virtual drive for “Travel Thursday” this week to two Santa Cruz foothills wineries. There are many wonderful wineries in the region for great Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, and Pinot Noir. No secrets there, even Condé Nast Traveler called it one of the best wine regions to visit in 2019 (link https://www.cntraveler.com/gallery/best-wine-regions-to-visit ). However, limiting my tastings to keep my balance and sense of taste, (don’t even suggest spitting out good wine) I chose Testarossa and House Family Wineries two beautiful wineries close to home.

From San Jose we approach the area via the Silicon Valley town of Los Gatos in the Santa Cruz foothills, which has a charming historic downtown of top notch restaurants and shops. We drive past a plethora of nice stand alone tasting rooms on the way but I like the ambiance of a working winery tasting room so up the hill we start.

Dramatic entrance to Testarossa Winery

Our first stop is at Testarossa Winery which is my favorite for Pinot Noirs. It also has great outdoor dining, music and special events. This time we just did a tasting in the main hall but we also enjoy having a glass of wine and snack outdoors, enjoying the mediteraen climate and listening to music.

These pictures of Testarossa are courtesy of Tamara at Tamaraitsmylife.wixsite.com , since my Testarossa pictures disappeared, darn wine. Thanks Tamara, that was a fun day.

With my bottles of the 2016 Pinot tucked safely away, we head north on the Saratoga Los Gatos Road to the House Family Vineyard for some Cabs. This is wine tasting with a view of the San Jose Valley and surrounding vistas. Here is the pretty path through the vineyard from parking:

The view from the tasting room:

The 2016 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon did not disappoint, a bit pricey but with club membership there is a discount and tasting is complimentary for four. We have also come up on a Friday night to hear music and just do a tasting so the experience is reasonable.

They have a small menu and we ordered a cheese plate and loaf of French bread, which is baked on-site and amazing. So, as I sit here thinking of the crusty french loaf and delicious glass of Cabernet, I leave you with this quote:

The gospel needs a family of sinners, saved by grace, committed to tearing down the walls, throwing open the doors, and shouting, “Welcome! There’s bread and wine. Come eat with us and talk.” Rachel Held Evans

Blessings,

Posted in Food and Cooking, Travel

Lake Tahoe Summer Vacation

It’s Travel Thursday so I’m sharing about our trip this summer to beautiful Lake Tahoe in the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range. Forever, we had heard of magical summer trips to Tahoe where the water was gloriously cobalt blue, the beaches were warm, the water sports abundant, and the views were picture perfect.

View of Lake Tahoe from the west coast of lake.

Tahoe is only about four hours from the South Bay so we drove across and nestled our travel trailer among the towering pines in the Fallen Leaf Lake Campground. It’s in an alpine canyon between Fallen Leaf Lake and Lake Tahoe, 1/4 mile from Fallen Leaf Beach where the water was warmer then Tahoe (though still invigoratingly chilly) and just a 10 minute drive to the views and activities of South Lake Tahoe. The campground was rustic with the feel of nature as we hoped. Here is a picture of one of our neighbors who was rough and a little grumpy but kept to himself. https://tahoesouth.com/stay/fallen-leaf-lake-campground/

Our Tahoe Neighbor

So this should be the travel blog where everything is lovely and we have a wonderful time (cue the menacing music). It looked like we were in for a great vacation until our trailer went all Cujo on us with toxic gas and all night alarms. The folks at Fallen Leaf were great to help us with our difficulties and we were still in a beautiful location but I was frazzled not relaxed. So instead of hiking or renting a boat we took a scenic drive then enjoyed the town of South Tahoe.

“The Pour House” in South Tahoe had a good food rating with live music on the patio, so we headed over for lunch and were happily surprised to find it was a self pour wine bar. This is the best idea ever! Once a tab is established you are given a card that activates the wall taps and you are only charged for the wine poured. The wines were labeled with descriptions and on the wall they ranged from crisp light whites to full bodied reds, which is the order to serve in a winery tasting room. So I tried just a mouthful of five wines without feeling tipsy and losing my sense of taste (for me the typical winery pour is a lot). Then I went back to the crisp Chenin Blanc for a full glass with my salad. By the way I have been looking for a self serve wine bar in the Bay Area without luck, so it you know of any pour houses here please let me know. This is a brilliant idea. https://www.tahoepourhouse.com/

Well, this wasn’t the vacation I expected and I don’t have as may pictures as usual but I can say there is something for everyone in Tahoe whether you are there for the views, water sports or fresh mountain cookery with wine.

Blessings,

PS. Sorry that I haven’t posted since January. Our family lost it’s wonderful patriarch then and I needed to finish mourning before I started posting about my life again. My father-in -law was someone I had always respected but really grew close with over time. What helped me heal through this mourning was crying, sharing my feelings, doing small things to honor his values, and remembering his life. I’d love to hear the ways you have worked through loss to healing.

There is no shame in crying when the world loses a good person and I shed some even at Nordstrom before Father’s Day when I didn’t have a gift to buy this year. I enjoyed talking about my time with him and helping my husband talk about his feelings too. We sent a donation to the NRA in his name honoring his commitment to live in a free democratic society. It’s been eight months since he passed on to his next adventure but he will never be forgotten.

Posted in card making, craft

Gearing up for a birthday

My family is filled with car guys, who enjoy discussing motors and gears in depth when out driving, at dinner, or watching tv (you get the picture) . So I was so thrilled to see gear thinlit dies in Stampin Up’s Classic Garage Set in time for my husband’s birthday. The set includes stamp images of a classic car, tool box and fuel can which will be useful for so many masculine birthday cards. But what stopped me in my tracks were the gear dies. Yes this would be lovely paired with the classic auto for a traditional card but the minimalist in me can’t wait to try a modern card with shiny silver gears, One google search later I took my inspiration for this card from CraftyKylie.com on Pinterest. Lovely job Kylie.

I wanted a sleek modern card so the Cardstock was paired down to a gray and black color combination. The gears definitely look modern in silver foil paper (See A). These were first cut with the foil side against the cutting edge producing a clean image. However when I tried to make a slightly different image by reversing the die so the cutting edge was against the paper backing the image was too rough. Any ideas on how to reverse the die cut edge with good results? Well, I will definitly try that again because I like the slightly different pattern (See B)

You probably recognize the tan cut up grocery bag under my work. When I forget my plastic sacks at the grocery store this is my way of re-using their bags.

The Card goes together quick and easy, I spent some time adjusting the silver gears on the left side of the Cardstock but then all that’s left is embossing the greeting in silver . My first try I used black ink instead of versa mark with the silver embossing powder and a fullers earth pad (my mistake but it was right next to the embossing powders at the big box store) instead of the anti static embossing buddy to stop stray embossing powder and the results are underwhelming. Did I mention I just bought my heat tool? But thanks to Brenda Keenan over at http://www.keenankreations.com/ I now know the right way.

Finally, once I had all my tools in place the card was finished in 15 minutes. At the last minute I switched gears, literally (see C below). Here is my birthday card, hope this encourages you on your next project.

Figure C – Initial idea for card and final version on bottom