Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Hybrid Crafts: Birthday and Wedding Cards

Cherry Blossom Card

Red and Pink Papers: Bren Boone
Cherry Blossom Brushes: Jason Gaylor
Glitter style: Thaty Borges
Font: Bienville

Printed on Epson Premium Presentation Paper Matte

My friend Lindsey is getting married in a few weeks (that's the wedding I bought the cute dress for) and since her wedding invites had a sort of cherry blossom theme, AND since I had some silver cherry blossom gift wrap which I had purchased some time ago from The Container Store, I decided to go with that theme for the card. (The word on the front says "Forever" even though the "v" is hard to read.) An extra stroke of genius on my part had me line the envelope with leftover gift wrap, and I love, love, love how it turned out! *hearts*


HappyBirthday (Party Pants)

All Papers: "Party Pants" Kit by Miss Mint (Peppermint Creative)
Font: Pea Beth
Other: Pop Dots (for dimension under the circles)

Printed on Epson Premium Presentation Paper Matte

A few weeks back I saw a card on Papyrus' site that I liked, so I tried to copy part of it with the circles with the graphics and sayings in it. But I added the part to the side, and so this is very loosely based on the inspiration. And, it's for no one in particular. I kinda like just making the cards.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Hybrid Crafts: Swirly Cards

Swirl Card (Brown)

Swirl Card (Yellow)

Swirls: Holly McCaig
Floral Overlay (on swirls and envelope lining): Fairy Dust Papers by Amanda Sok
Font (on back): Pristina
Other: Rhinestone

Printed on Epson Premium Presentation Paper Matt

Done for KWerner's Color Inspiration Challenge #47.

I LURV the way these turned out. At first I tried printing on a textured card stock, but when I tried to print, the color cracked (best I can explain it), so then I added texture with some overlays and it really gave it a nice pop. I also printed some on regular paper to make envelope liners with. It really adds a lot!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Crafty Game

I have seen this game going around for awhile, but never seemed to get in on the action, until I came across it on my friend Allie's blog.

So, here's how it works: the first 3 people to leave a comment on this post will receive, at some point during the year, a handmade gift from me. What it will be and when it will arrive is a total surprise! The catch is that you must participate as well. Before you leave your comment, write up a pay it forward post on your blog to keep the fun going (or copy and paste like I did). Then come back, let me know you're going to play and sit back and anticipate the arrival of your gift! Just the thought of receiving something in the mail that isn't a bill is delightful! Come and play!!

If you want to comment first and then put this on your blog/journal, that's fine with me (it's what I did). (Oh, and just copy the italicized part for your post.) And I promise it'll be within the next few months (not year, sheesh!). Oh, and when you comment, if you could put your favorite colors or color combo, that would really help me (and I will be having to be getting some snail mail addies for some of you, if you're one of the three, so you'll have to be comfortable with that).

Monday, March 23, 2009

Quick Movie Review: Twilight

So my friend Stephanie invited me to her place on Saturday, along with a few other gals, to watch Twilight. Honestly, I wasn't sure if I wanted to. I've been trying to avoid the whole Twilight thing, so while I know a little about the story, etc., I have not read the books. However, I wanted to hang out, so I went.

I will say that watching it on a giant TV was nice! Overall the movie had a surreal, yet pretty quality, which lent itself nicely to the story. It wasn't bad, and maybe I would say it was good -- at least entertaining. However, as always, the book is probably better, and, even having not read the books, I could tell there were places that weren't fleshed out, or didn't seem to flow quite properly, which kinda made me wince in parts. (There were also some editing issues, like one part where the character of Bella gets into a car with her bag, then exits the car without the bag, then arrives home in another car miraculously with the contents of the bad. Such a simple fix, but SO noticeable. But I digress.)

The actor who played Edward looks weird to me. Not hot. Just weird. I thought he was absolutely adorable in the Harry Potter movies, so I don't know what's up with him in this one, the hair, maybe? The pale makeup? However, the actor who plays Jacob -- YUM-MY! Me-ow! SO cute! I was told that the second book/movie is mostly Jacob (very little Edward) so for that alone I may be persuaded to catch the next movie in the theater. (Yeah, okay, so he's like 16 or 17 -- I'm married, not dead. I can look! Hehehe....)

The only problem I have right now, is that Bella was so ... average. I guess that's the point of it (and I'm not talking about the cute actress), but the character, except for her "scent" which is apparently appealing to the vamps, didn't seem all that exceptional in any way. Not even something interesting. A little bland. Maybe it was the actress, or maybe it's really the character. You'd just think there would be SOMETHING else, even if it's just quirky. She doesn't have to be super smart, or super beautiful, just have some ... ah, I got it ... personality.

Maybe it's just me. I think the movie's fun enough to catch on a DVD run, and if you don't go in with any expectations, I think you might be surprised.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Pear-Shape Shopping

Like many women, I'm a different size on the bottom than on the top. This is why many swimsuit makers now make separates so you can choose which size to wear on top and which on bottom.

I am what the fashion world would describe as pear shaped. In other words, my bottom half is larger than my top half. I can't tell you my jean-shopping woes (if it fits my hips, it may gap at my waist, but even worse, even though I am a "curvy" gal, my legs are somewhat leaner, in proportion and therefore most jeans make my legs look bigger than they are, but I digress), and ... I haven't worn a dress in many, many years.

As mentioned in my last post, a friend is having a wedding a few hours away and frankly, my sad little wardrobe doesn't really have anything appropriate for a fashionable girl's country-club wedding, so I thought I'd try and find something cute. Brian suggested a dress and I merely laughed sadly and shook my head. Dresses don't look good on me (for the most part, although my wedding dress rocked!).

First place, no luck. Second place I found something that would work (a cute top I could pair with a black skirt), but I saw this ultra-adorable dress (black and white flowers, high neck, poufy skirt).... The largest size they had in stock was a few sizes smaller than I wear, but it seemed like I could at least try and see what it might look like. If it just looked totally horrible I could just chalk it up to the size and style and go my merry way. But, while the zipper didn't go up all the way and my boobs were a little squished, this dress actually didn't look bad. Shocker! SO ... I went to another store of theirs somewhat nearby (as nearby as two chain retail stores can be) and tried on one in my size and ... lo and behold, not only did it fit, but it looked cute!!! You have to understand, I don't like shopping much, mostly because things fit oddly, and everyone has different sizing and such and me in a dress is almost unheard of. And then, a lady shopping there (because sure, the saleslady will tell you you look good in it) told me that I looked "really cute." Aww! Must have. Luckily it was in my budget as well.

The only downside is that it's sleeveless and I have to wear something over it. They had some shrugs, but the only color in my size was pink. It looked okay, really, but I just couldn't do the pink thing. So today I ordered a shrug in black, and then a fun shrug (from another company) in a "mauve berry."

So, what does the dress look like?


Since the model is holding the skirt out, you can't actually see that the skirt actually has some fullness. And I hope that with the colored shrug it will really make the outfit pop. So, I'm very excited, mostly because it's been a long time since I found something that I thought looked cute on the rack, it fit AND looked cute on me too.

Color me a happy pear!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Of Cats and Bees

We have bees. In our apartment.

Last week I found one in the bathroom and thought it odd, but then remembered I had opened the sliding glass doors to our patio and thought maybe one had gotten in. Later that afternoon, Brian and I found several in our bedroom. Some dead. Some dying. Then a couple in the kitchen. Fun times!

Looked outside and saw them swarming around near our dryer vent to the outside. So, called the apartment complex and they got someone out on a cold, wet day. Hmmm... does that make sense? Gee, I wonder why there weren't any bees or why you couldn't find them, when you yourself said that they don't like the cold and wet. I wondered why they bothered coming that day, why not reschedule?? ANYWAY, they're coming tomorrow, to rip out a hole in the wall and remove the hive, which will cause some bees to be angry, which is why we have to be out of the apartment for 3 hours AFTER they leave.

Which brings me to the "cats" part of this post. If I don't want to stick around for angry bees, do you think I want my cats here? Uhm, no! The office was SO helpful (*sarcasm*) and suggested putting them in an empty apartment (but they asked us to keep the cats in their carriers because they couldn't let them roam around -- hello! it's a carrier not a crate. How would you like to be cooped up in a space you can barely move around in for over 3 hours?? THEN, they suggested putting them in the manager's office because she's out of town. Okay, and what if this goes past after hours, who's gonna get my cats out, AND do you really want yowling cats in your office (even if it IS behind a closed door). So dumb. So finally, I decided to take them in for a checkup, and leave them at the vets for a few hours (my vet has dropoff), since they both seem to have a little bit of a cough. (Yuki has always had some cough, usually after she eats or gets too much exercise, but the other day Yanni had THE nastiest-sounding cough for a moment, so I think he needs to be looked at. Fun.)

So what shall I do for several hours? Well, we're going to an out-of-town wedding (a few hours away) next month and I need something to wear, so I will go shopping and hope I find something.

But still! So inconvenient. But, I guess it's better than having bees buzzing around.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Hybrid Crafts: Black and White Cards

Black and White Congratulations Card
Black and White Congratulations Card (Inside)

Card Template: "Shanta Silver"
Papers: "Manhattan" Pack by Andie Smith
Fonts: Feliz ("Congratulations"); DB Floral Infusion (flowers)

Printed on (White) Epson Premium Presentation Paper Matte and (Gray) The Paper Company cardstock. SIlver ribbon is from American Crafts, and the rhinestones are from my stash (I no longer have the packaging, but they aren't the fancy kind).

Done for KWerner's Color Inspiration Challenge #45.

KWerner's challenges are geared more toward the card makers, but she accepts other things as well (which is why I usually do digiscraps LOs). So, I figured I would try and actually do some cards this week. I'm better off when I use templates, and the like, and this cute foldover-type card was easy and forgiving. It actually turned out pretty much like I had planned, which is nice. This card can easily be for a wedding, or anniversary, or some sort of accomplishment. (I think I know who I will give it to, but we'll see.)

AND, because I sort of messed up on my first printing, I decided to make another card, with a little punch of color, and went ahead and made it a birthday card. I also may have a recipient in mind, but it's kinda nice to just make them and then decide who they are for. Seems like less pressure, for me.

Black and White (with Blue) Birthday Card
Black and White (with Blue) Birthday Card (Inside)

Card Template: "Shanta Silver"
Papers: "Manhattan" Pack (B&W) and "Cape May" Pack (blue) by Andie Smith
Background Flower Image: Jess Volinski
Font: Wendy

Printed on (White) Epson Premium Presentation Paper Matte. Blue ribbon is from Michaels, and the rhinestones are from my stash (I no longer have the packaging, but they aren't the fancy kind).

(And sorry for the not-so-great photos -- it's been cloudy and rainy here for the past several days and getting any sort of natural light is impossible. Seeing as the color challenge deadline is tomorrow, I HAD to get the pictures taken. Ah, well....)

Thursday, March 12, 2009

DigiScrap: Brian & Gabby

Brian & Gabby

Kit: "Wild Hearts" by Miss Mint (Peppermint Creative)
Sliced-Up Square Frame: Red Leaf DigiScrapping
Font: Pea Sue's Print
Photo: Missy Saunders Photography & Design

This LO was done for Peppermint Creative's PMP (Pimp My Page) Challenge #8 (March 2009). Basically, they provide a template and you can do whatever you want with it (as long as you use Peppermint Creative products on most of it).

Used one the of the pictures that we had taken back in November. The colors don't exactly match the photo but I'm trying to think a little more out of the box.

Friday, March 6, 2009

First Friday Fanfic: Dream Giver (Parts 1 & 2)

(This is the first in a series of First Friday Fanfics, in which I will be posting pieces of fanfics that I am currently working on. Hopefully this will motivate me to finish them, but also, with your comments, polish it to a respectable writing piece. The first Friday of every month I will post a part or parts for your perusal. I love criticism, but please be constructive. How else can I learn? If you like something, what specifically did you like? If there's something that doesn't seem right, let me know! But please be kind. ^_^)

Dream Giver
(a Stargate SG-1 FanFic)

Part 1

The preliminary survey had barely touched on the woodland they now encountered. Having earlier watched it through a tiny view screen with muted colors showing through a grainy picture, the party of four now stood in awe as a noonday sun streamed down through the leaves of large, lush trees and warmed them.

“I could get used to this,” the leader quipped as he swiped his cap off and scratched his gray-haired head for a moment before adjusting his cap back on his head.

“It is beautiful, Sir,” the blonde-haired woman smiled with a warmth given to someone that was a good friend, and not just a superior.

“Indeed,” the large, black man nodded, the golden symbol on his forehead gleaming softly in the rays of the sun.

The brown-haired, bespectacled man nodded as he made his way down the steps of the landing. “It appears as if this is a place of worship, or some sort of shrine.” He pointed to several containers filled with exotic flowers placed carefully around the area. His forehead crinkled as he pushed his glasses up his nose. “But I don’t see any writings, so I—”

“Hey!” the leader called out playfully. “We’ll have time for that later, first we need to—”

“Sir?” the woman called out calmly, but with a hint of chiding as her gaze landed on two figures peeking out from behind a tree.

The rest of the group followed the woman’s gaze.

“Oh, hey,” the leader blinked. “Hey there!” he called out cheerfully. “Come on out.”

“We will not harm you,” the large man said stoically.

The woman grimaced as she looked at the large man and merely shook her head with a soft laugh.

The figures came out from the shadows and walked toward the group slowly. They were young women, both with pale hair, light eyes and slender figures. Though their features were distinct, one might have thought them to be sisters. Their simple dresses of a silken material, floated behind them as they came close. Warm smiles touched their faces as they were now near enough for greeting.

The taller one spoke. “We thought it possible, but no one has ever come through the Chapa’ai before.”

The brown-haired man jumped a little and made his way to right in front of the women. “Chapa’ai. You know this word?”

The young women gasped softly as their eyes went hugely round. Huge smiles then began to spread across their faces. They crossed their hands lightly over their lips and gave a bow of their heads.

The shorter one spoke, with an uneven, young voice as she looked back up at the brown-haired man. “We never thought we would ever get to see you! There are many that believe you do not exist.” She almost seemed to giggle, and the taller one put a hand on her shoulder.

“We, however, are not of that belief,” the taller and seemingly older one said calmly, with a hint of delight, as she pointed to the flowers. “We are of a group that believed one day we would see you.”

The brown-haired man blinked as his eyes narrowed. “You’ve been expecting me?”

The older woman merely smiled and then turned to the younger one. “You must tell the others! I will lead them shortly.”

The younger woman nodded, gave another strange bow and took off running.

The rest of the party looked on in disbelief.

“Wait a second!” the leader called out. “You want us to go with you?”

The young woman turned to him and smiled softly. “Is that not the reason you came?”

The leader’s mouth opened as if he was about to speak, then he shrugged and nodded. “Yeah, sure, okay, but first I’d like to know what’s going on?”

“I do not understand.”

The leader narrowed the gap between himself and the brown-haired man. “Why do you think you’ve been expecting him?”

The young woman smiled beatifically. “Because he is the Dream Giver.”


Part 2

The SG-1 team all looked at one another, perhaps trying to see if anyone else in the group understood what this young woman had just said.

“Dream Giver?” Major Samantha Carter asked, brows furrowed.

The young woman smiled widely as she nodded and continued looking at Daniel Jackson.

Teal’c quirked an eyebrow, his lips twitching just a moment. “What is this ‘Dream Giver’?”

The young woman didn’t blink an eye as she answered. “The one who gives dreams, of course.”

“Oh, of course!” Colonel Jack O’Neill let out quickly and then pursed his lips together.

Blue eyes narrowing in thought, Daniel finally let out slowly, “One who gives dreams to whom?”

She blinked. “You do not know?” She didn’t give Daniel a chance to answer as she smiled softly. “Of course, you do not know her name. She said names were never given, that’s why she called you the Dream Giver. It was the only way she knew you.”

“She?” Daniel’s glasses slid a little off of his nose as he looked at the woman.

The woman smiled widely, almost beaming, and stood straighter. “Yes, my sister, Elpis.”

Sam blinked. “You mean the girl that just ran off?”

The woman laughed delightedly. “Oh, no. That was my youngest sister, Hebe. I am Daphnis. My oldest sister, Elpis is the one of dreams.”

“Uhm,” Jack called out, “Daphnis, could you please excuse us for a moment?” He gestured to his teammates to follow him off a ways.

She merely nodded and backed off herself.

Once gathered, Jack began to whisper. “Okay, who here thinks these people are nuts?” He raised his hand and looked around.

Sam chuckled softly. “Well, Sir, to be honest, this isn’t the first time the local female population has become enamored of Daniel.”

Jack gave a wry grin.

Daniel’s mouth dropped open, a hurt expression crossing his face. “Sam? Humor? Really?”

She shrugged and tried to contain a large grin.

He scowled. “So suddenly this is all my fault?”

“Major Carter’s comment is valid, Daniel Jackson,” Teal’c said calmly, though a touch of a raised eyebrow also confirmed his mirth.

Daniel threw up his hands and sighed.

Jack patted Daniel on the back. “It’s okay, Daniel. Really.” He then looked around to the rest of them. “Seriously, though, what do we think?”

“They appear to be harmless,” Teal’c spoke first.

“But why do they think that Daniel’s this Dream Giver, and not any one of us?” Sam’s brows furrowed.

Jack nodded. “Good question, Carter.” He looked toward Daphnis and waved her over. She nodded and walked toward them. “Daphnis, why is it that you think Daniel here is the Dream Giver? Couldn’t it just as easily be one of us? We all did come through the Chapa’ai.”

She blinked at looked at Daniel. “Daniel? That is your name?”

Daniel nodded.

She smiled softly and then turned to Jack. “We know Daniel is the Dream Giver, because we know his face.”

“What!” both Daniel and Jack questioned in disbelief.

Daphnis’ face fell a little. “Perhaps it is better that I take you to my father and the others. He is the leader of our clan.”

“Yes!” Jack nodded. “Take us to your leader.” He grinned widely.

“Sir,” Sam chided lightly.

“Oh, come on Carter, you know it’s fun to say!”

She merely shook her head with a boys-will-be-boys smile on her lips.

Daphnis blinked, nodded, and began to lead them through a path in the forest toward her home.


Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Writing Wednesday: Words

This is the first in what I hope will be a series of "Writing Wednesday"s. While I'd love to tell you that I will do this every Wednesday, I just can't make that promise. So, you will just have to be content with what you get. ^_- I plan to make either observations on writings or perhaps a tidbit or two of my own writings to help me get writing a little more -- goodness knows I have quite a few stories that need finishing!

As some of you know, I do like to write, though truth be told I'm not prolific enough nor do I practice enough to probably ever make it to a published work. I mean, I still have a NaNoWriMo novel in the heavy editing stage (that it still needs a lot of). So, instead, I have contented myself with being a proofreader, and of course am attempting a freelance career with that skill. So far, I have only had one job, BUT it's better than nothing. (To be honest, I have had a good deal of responsibilities at church and home things that I haven't had the time that I would like to devote to this career as of yet, but things have seemed to calm down a little, so we'll see.)

This book that I'm currently proofing got me thinking about words. The reason I bring this up is because this author, bless his soul, has a real problem with some of them. It's interesting, because every so often he puts a word in there that makes me think his vocabulary is actually better than some of the misused words he puts down. Unless he used a thesaurus. Oh that he had also used a dictionary.

The most misused word he has in there is "chuck." He writes about a "chuck of clear ice" or a "chuck of metal" or "chucks of matter floating [in space]." Clearly he meant "chunk" and I couldn't for the life of me figure out how he could have gotten this so wrong! Interestingly enough, he actually did use it correctly in another place. Hmm.

Sometimes, while proofing, I thought that maybe some of his misused words were words that he knew what they meant, but as he was typing them, he either had an auto-correct function (sort of like when you're texting and you get suggestions for what your phone thinks you want to say), or he just spelled it as close to what he thought it should be, and left it as is so long as spellcheck didn't tell him it was wrong (or he did run spellcheck and he chose the wrong word to correct his spelling mistake). Here are some examples (with my thoughts in italics):

A mummer swept the room.
(Now, out of context this might seem okay, except why would a mummer be sweeping a room? Turns out the author meant "murmur." Yep. AND, he made this mistake very, very often.)

Morris Code echoed from the speakers.
(First off, "Morris"??? And it echoing? Wouldn't that defeat the purpose of Morse Code?)

She is temporality unavailable.
(Darn, don't you hate those temporal displacements?! A few shifting of letters, and some additions makes it "temporarily.")

The palace was inundated with bright flowers, aged wine, garment food, and colorful musicians.
(There are a few things wrong with this sentence that make it a little odd, but the one that struck me first was "garment food." It took me a few seconds to realize the author meant "gourmet." Hehehe....)

Anyway, there are several more, but these were probably my favorite. The thing is, I understand typos. I even understand leaving out words as your writing (becuase your brain is thinking faster than your fingers can type). But the completely WRONG word? I wish I knew if he just really put them there wrong or he chose the wrong word while running spellcheck.

However, those weren't his only issues, as there were some grammar and tense issues as well (not to mention punctuation, and even some places where he misspells some of his own made-up words or even changes a character's name!). (There are also a few things that I think the author should have done a little research on, because they're not quite correct.) Brian thinks that perhaps he's not a native English speaker. It IS possible, I suppose. But if it were me sending this to be published, I would have had a friend I trust read it over for me. I also think the author should have read over it as he wrote it. I know I do, especially to make sure I didn't leave words out or used the wrong word (like the author of this book used "souls of his feet"), but especially to make sure the flow feels right.

I know some of you are writers, but many of us have blogs and the like. Are there words that always mess you up? Or are there words you see others mess up? I always think young children are funny when they're learning new words and don't quite get it right.

Any thoughts on this subject?


AND, this is a lead-up to a regular (I mostly promise) post: my First Friday Fanfic. This coming Friday (March 6), I will begin posting parts of my Stargate fanfic (which some of you had asked me to finish some time back). I'll be honest, I'm not done with it. I'm stuck at a little bit and don't quite know where I want things to go (though I do have a lot of the end mapped out in my mind, but I need to get there). However, I have enough written to start posting bits for your perusal, and hopefully so you can not only catch any typos I have (it's true!) but also help me in making my writing, and the story, better. Hopefully this will help me finish it so I can move on to the next one.

I also hope everyone will read it, and I don't believe you don't need to be a Stargate watcher (or fan) to enjoy the story. I think. So, stay tuned for this Friday, when I will post the first couple parts of my Stargate fanfic Dream Giver.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

DigiScrap: Family

Family (Oct. 2008)

October 26, 2008
Template: Mandagirl Creations

Kit: "Olivia" by Shabby Princess (except brown paper and staples), including "Family" rub-on
Brown Paper: "Vintage Florals" Kit by Shabby Princess
Staples: part of template

Fonts: CK Curly (names); Pea Beth R (date)

Layout done for KWerner's Color Inspiration Challenge #43.

When I first found the kit I wanted to use, and after inserting the picture, I thought that all of the colors and patterns together were a little too busy. However, by using the sepia-toned image, I think this came out rather nicely, even with everything going on (which is why I kept the elements to a minimum). I also think I'm getting better at drop shadows (well, as well as I CAN be given that Photoshop 7 only lets one do so much with drop shadows).

This was a quick family photo done last October, sans one of my brothers. We used my camera on a tripod. I had to run to get into place, and it was also windy that day so we had to take several pictures. I framed this picture and gave it to my mom for Christmas -- she really liked it, especially the "vintage" feel I gave it.

Hybrid Craft: Happy Fortune

Happy Fortune

I forgot to post this hybrid craft I made over a week ago for a friend's birthday (though if you keep an eye on my Flickr photos on the right, you might have seen it). I found a card-making set and made the takeout box and paper fortune cookies to match it (using digital papers and template for the box). I filled the small box with the recipient's favorite candy. Overall I think it turned out cute, though it took me a few tries to get the paper cookies right (darn card stock!). Next time I try this though, I think a small eyelet for the ribbon holes would work much better. Now I only need to get a cool eyelet tool (methinks perhaps a crop-o-dile) and some eyelets.

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