Sunday, December 30, 2007


Okay, I know that it isn't even New Year's Eve yet, but I am a very impatient person. I just figured out how to add a counter to my site and I was going to wait and add it tomorrow night at mid-night, but well like I said I am not a patient person so......though my site is over a year old the count is starting at 1 today!


Susan has tagged me and so now while I am gathering up energy to connect my computer to the scanned and take a few photos of some projects my daughter and I worked on yesterday I will offer a few facts about myself. 7 random facts according to the rules Susan sent. So here goes....
  1. I lived in the same house 14 years when I was growing up and swore I would never live in the same house that long again....well never say never....I've lived in the house I'm currently living in for 24 years and there are no plans to move anytime soon!!!!
  2. I love Disney World and would vacation there for a week every year and be very happy! Alas I haven't been in almost 10 years.
  3. At 5 foot 11 inches tall I am the shortest person in my immediate family. I never thought I would be the shorty!
  4. If I won a million dollars I would quit my job and devote myself to teaching quilting and stamping to others, and I would make quilts and cards to give away to people in need.
  5. I am working had to clear my home of 24 years of accumulated clutter. Made some progress in 2007, but still have a long way to go....anyone want some counted cross stitch patterns? I have lots of them.....
  6. (WOW 7 is a BIG number!) I am one of the few women in this world who has allowed her hair to go gray in a pattern and time frame that God sees fit. (actually I'm to cheap to pay someone to color my hair and too untalented when it comes to such things to do it myself)
  7. In 2008 I hope to learn how to cook in a more healthy manner.
So there are my for the really hard part, tagging 7 other people....



So visit their BLOGS learn about them and see the wonderful things they all do. AND don't forget to visit Susan and come back here I love to have visitors. Now I need to go break the news to those lovely 7 folks that they've been tagged.

Saturday, December 29, 2007


It has been a wonderful Christmas. Our house has been full of family and lots of activity. Lots and lots of food and dirty dishes as well! How quickly one forgets what it takes to feed six instead of two.....

One by one family are making their exit and heading home or on to other destinations. Our oldest son had to leave first. He had to be back to work the day after Christmas so his was the shortest stay, but it was so good to have him home.

Today Jerry's Dad leaves to continue his Christmas adventures. He heads back to Detroit this afternoon, but rather than leaving the airport to go home he will board another flight and head to California to visit with family there for a week. This will be a very special trip as he will hear one of his granddaughters give her first sermon as she prepares to go into the ordained ministry.

Next to leave will be daughter as tomorrow afternoon she will head back home to MN. I wonder if it has warmed up there any in her absence??? I do know that earlier in the week they got lots of snow.... It's always fun to have her home. She's my girl in this home that is filled will guys most times. I miss my girl. She is the one that understands (I think) my passion (obsession) for crafting.

My baby....will be next, but that date of departure is yet unknown. That's okay though cause he's my baby....well I guess at this point more appropriate to say my youngest. At some point in the future he will head back north to Frostburg to finish his last semester of college. Then the house will be empty.....well almost.

The big guy will still be here so that will get us back to the two that we started with a little over a week ago. I'm thinking it will be very quiet around here. And I will have to readjust my cooking methods back to small amounts. And hopefully healthier items. Christmas foods are wonderful, but it is good for the waistline and heart that Christmas only comes once a year!!!!! I will both miss the noise, activity and chaos of the past week AND be glad for the peace and calmness the beginning if the new year will bring.

I hope all who read this have had as wonderful a Christmas as we have had here in the Brown household. And may your New Year be full of blessings, happiness and creative fun. Yes creative fun! After all this is a BLOG devoted to the fun of stamping and quilting!

What do I plan to do in the new year??? Play with all my wonderful creativity inspiring Christmas gifts.....I've been patiently awaiting being able to head back up to my stamp room and work with all my new toys. Ideas have been swirling in my head , just like those visions of sugar plums. I look forward to putting those ideas on paper. So check back I love having you visit me in my little corner of cyber space.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007


Christmas Tree 3

Enjoy the presence of family and friendson this very special day!

Sunday, December 23, 2007


Tomorrow is Christmas Eve. I would be nice if I could report that everything was ready in my home, but alas I can not tell that big of a lie right before Christmas. There is much yet to be done. All will be attempted, but not all will be accomplished. There just aren't enough hours left in the count down. I will continue to tell my self that the most important things have already happened. All kids have returned home! If all the cookies don't get baked or all the last minute gifts don't get purchased or finished Christmas will still come and we will all be together to celebrate the birth of the babe in Bethlehem.

I would like to share a short story that was sent to me from an anonymous but very wise source. I hope you will take a short moment to read it and then reflect on the busyness that tomorrow may bring to many of us and how you will choose to deal with that busyness and those loved ones and friends around you.

The Box

It had been some time since Jack had seen the old man. College, girls,
career, and life itself got in the way. In fact, Jack moved clear
across the country in pursuit of his dreams. There, in the rush of his
busy life, Jack had little time to think about the past and often no
time to spend with his wife and son. He was working on his future, and
nothing could stop him.

Over the phone, his mother told him, 'Mr. Belser died last night. The
funeral is Wednesday.' Memories flashed through his mind like an old
newsreel as he sat quietly remembering his childhood days.

'Jack, did you hear me?'

'Oh, sorry, Mom. Yes, I heard you. It's been so long since I thought of
him. I'm sorry, but I honestly thought he died years ago,' Jack said.
'Well, he didn't forget you. Every time I saw him he'd ask how you were
doing. He'd reminisce about the many days you spent over 'his side of
the fence' as he put it,' Mom told him.

'I loved that old house he lived in,' Jack said.

'You know, Jack, after your father died, Mr. Belser stepped in to make
sure you had a man's influence in your life,' she said

'He's the one who taught me carpentry,' he said. 'I wouldn't be in this
business if it weren't for him. He spent a lot of time teaching me
things he thought were important... Mom, I'll be there for the
funeral,' Jack said.

As busy as he was, he kept his word. Jack caught the next flight to his
hometown. Mr. Belser's funeral was small and uneventful. He had no
children of his own, and most of his relatives had passed away.

The night before he had to return home, Jack and his Mom stopped by to
see the old house next door one more time.

Standing in the doorway, Jack paused for a moment. It was like crossing
over into another dimension, a leap through space and time The house
was exactly as he remembered. Every step held memories. Every picture,
every piece of furniture... ..Jack stopped suddenly.
'What's wrong, Jack?' his Mom asked.
'The box is gone,' he said
'What box?' Mom asked.

'There was a small gold box that he kept locked on top of his desk. I
must have asked him a thousand times what was inside. All he'd ever
tell me was 'the thing I value most,'' Jack said.

It was gone. Everything about the house was exactly how Jack remembered
it, except for the box. He figured someone from the Belser family had
taken it.

'Now I'll never know what was so valuable to him,' Jack said. 'I better
get some sleep. I have an early flight home, Mom.'

It had been about two weeks since Mr. Belser died Returning home from
work one day Jack discovered a note in his mailbox. 'Signature required
on a package. No one at home. Please stop by the main post office
within the next three days,' the note read.

Early the next day Jack retrieved the package. The small box was old
and looked like it had been mailed a hundred years ago. The handwriting
was difficult to read, but the return address caught his attention.
'Mr. Harold Belser' it read. Jack took the box out to his car and
ripped open the package. There inside was the gold box and an envelope.
Jack's hands shook as he read the note inside.

'Upon my death, please forward this box and its contents to Jack
Bennett. It's the thing I valued most in my life.' A small key was
taped to the letter. His heart racing, as tears filling his eyes, Jack
carefully unlocked the box. There inside he found a beautiful gold
pocket watch.
Running his fingers slowly over the finely etched casing, he unlatched
the cover. Inside he found these words engraved:

'Jack, Thanks for your time! -Harold Belser.'
'The thing he valued most time'
Jack held the watch for a few minutes, then called his office and
cleared his appointments for the next two days. 'Why?' Janet, his
assistant asked.

'I need some time to spend with my son,' he said.

'Oh, by the way, Janet, thanks for your time."

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


A quick post to encourage all to slow down and enjoy the process of card making and making them well. (Notice I said well not perfect!)

As Christmas approaches at lightning speed I am finding my self getting sloppy. When I get pressured by time, or I should say lack of time, I don't do some things I know I should do to help my cards be the best they can. This card is a good example of that.

Can you see what I mean? You don't have to look to close or too long to see it. I have learned from past experience that I need to use my stamp-a-ma-jig whenever I am stamping a sentiment directly onto my card. Do I always do it? Obviously not! And the times I don't are those times that I am in just to much of a hurry to get out the tool.

I probably should just leave it out on my stamping table. Then I would have no excuse.

So this post is an admonition to myself and anyone else who needs it to slow down and enjoy the process of making a nice card rather than taking the time to come up with a nice layout and design and then ruining it with a lopsided sentiment!

What was it we were told: "Do as I say, not as I do!" Or was it, " A picture is worth a thousand words"?

Sunday, December 16, 2007


A couple of posts back I talked about my wanting to learn more about coloring systems especially COPIC markers. I decided to try my own little experiment using various different products and methods of coloring to see if I could see any differences or come up with the product and method I preferred. I also was trying to answer for myself whether COPIC markers were worth the investment for me a non-artist. By non-artist I mean that I have very limited skill in how to shade and color things effectively.

This was not as easy to do as I thought it would be. One thing I discovered was that there were a lot of different variables to consider including paper and ink used to stamp the image. So though I have eliminated a set of options I am not sure that I am any closer to deciding the best set of products and methods for me to use. Here is the fist installment of what I discovered. Through out this process so far I have used a single stamp to color using different products.

I used Watercolor paper for these samples. As labeled; image 1 uses Prisma markers; 2 uses SU markers; and 3 uses the Copic Sketch markers. I have to say that though I already own all the SU markers I only purchased 3 colors of Copic and 4 of Prisma. I thought would just be enough of each to be able to experiment. I used watercolor paper because I had found a tutorial on making SU markers look like Copic markers. I wanted to see if this would work for me because if it did I could save LOTS of money.

So....what did I discover. Well one thing I discovered is that I want to try this again using SU watercolor paper with the SU markers. I used some off brand that I have on hand and I think that it still looks more like water coloring than markers. Which in and of itself is not bad, but I was trying for the bold marker look. Still I do like the way number 2 turned out. I don't really like the way 1 and 3 turned out as much.

Now to be fair, there are a couple of issues that I think gave an unfair advantage to the SU markers. The first being that I don't think either Copic or Prisma markers are made to be used on watercolor paper. (Of course I didn't think of this when I began my little experiment. I was thinking more about holding a variable constant; which in this experiment is really not a good idea!) The second problem is that I had such a limited color set to choose from with the Copics and Prismas. In fact the Copics I only have the primary colors red, blue and yellow because another tutorial suggested that was all you needed and you could just blend them. Blending I've discovered is something I can't seem to get the hang of. Part of the problem may be that I cannot find a Copic blender and though they told me Prisma would work fine I'm not sure it does.

So did I learn anything from this other than Prisma and Copics don't work well on watercolor paper. Yes, I did discover that one thing I don't like about Prismas is that they don't have a brush end the Copics do and I really like that. On the other hand to get into small spaces I like that Prisma has a fine point end. They both have a chisel point broad tip on one end. SU markers have both fine point and brush ends. SU markers however are water based inks. Prisma and Coptic are alcohol so are not going to run if they get wet and they work on surfaces SU won't. I've also learned that if I choose to get either Copics or Prismas I need to get a lot of them to do any effective amount of blending and that will be a big expense.

So where do I go from here.....I'm going to try my Copic and Prismas on regular card stock. And while I'm playing I am going to compare my Prisma pencils with turpentine ( I haven't found anyone who sells Gamsol around here yet and turpentine works it just stinks) and my watercolor pencils using plain old water. So stay tuned!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Snowman Returns

I have been asked by several people if I have a pattern for this little guy. I don't because I bought him at a craft fair, but I've pulled out my trusty tape measure and tired my best to come up with measurements for the hat and scarf. The face you can see here and simply copy the design. I assume it can be done with Sharpie pens and a little swipe of pink pigment ink on the cheeks.

For the hat and scarf you will need a small amount of red felt. Cut two pieces. The hat is a 3inch by 5 inch piece and the scarf a 1 inch by 7 inch piece. These measurements are approximate depending on the type of plastic spoon you are using, but they should be fine. If slight adjustments are needed I'm sure you all can figure it out.

To make the hat; along one 5 inch edge make cuts about 1/2 inch down the entire 5 inch length. This is the fringe at the top of the hat. The opposite 5 inch end you are going to fold up about a half an inch. This makes the brim around the bottom of the hat. Wrap the hat strip around the top of the spoon as shown in the picture. (Place a dab of glue at top of spoon to hold the hat in place) Overlap in the back and glue in place. Use a piece of hemp or twine to gather the top and tie in a bow. (I would probably put a dab of glue over the knot of the bow so it can't com untied, but that is up to you!)

The scarf is easy; simply fringe both 1 inch ends. Place the tootsie pop at the back of the spoon as shown in picture and tie the scarf around the stick of the pop and the handle of the spoon. When placing the tootsie pop against the bowl of the spoon I think I would use several glue dots maybe even one of the big pop up glue dots to hold it in place.

I hope these instructions make sense and will help those who want to be able to make these little guys for some special person. They are really cute and I think they would be pretty easy to make. Have fun!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

No Cards Today!

I had hoped to stamp today for a bit, but instead I have been redoing the look of my BLOG. What do you think? I've been learning all sorts of new things and am even going to start to you labels. The computer and all you can do on it including BLOGGING is great, but it does eat up some of that precious free time that could be used for stamping or quilting. Well maybe tomorrow.....hope is what keeps us going! With out hope we would be, well just plain hopeless. So check back to morrow and see if I've found time for stamping fun!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

These are two cards that I made for my SCS FLYBaby 30 set challenge. The challenge is to use 30 stamps or stamp sets that haven't been used in a while (or in my case maybe never) and make a card for each. The second part of the challenge is to not purchase anymore stamps or sets till the challenge is complete. I'm taking the first part of the challenge but am not sure I will complete it before I purchase new sets. I need to place an SU order before the end of the year to stay active next quarter and I don't want to miss out on the hostess set or new catty preorder both of which need to be placed before Dec 31..

The elephant comes from a set called Year After Year. I actually love this set because is so lends itself to watercoloring which I am very hooked on. The elephant is one of my favorites in the set. The patterned paper is Wintergreen which is a winter themed pack of Double Sided Designer Paper which is being retired at the end of the month. The ribbon is the double stitched Blue Bayou ribbon. I'm so glad the current In Colors will be around for another 6 months. I really love this set and will miss them when they retire at the end of June.

The Cherish card used the Vases in Vogue level 3 hostess set which will also be retired at the end of Dec. I purchased this set as part of the hostess preorder in June. Only in my dreams do I ever place a $500 order to qualify to obtain a free level 3 hostess set. I also like this set for it's water colorability. The card stock is Groovy Guava which is really growing on me as a color. The paper is the DSP in Always Artichoke (another of my favorite colors). The ribbon is once again the double stitched ribbon this time in Groovey Guava.

I have a third card I've made for this challenge but that will be for another post.


No pictures to post right now just a question that is confounding me. There is a lot of buzz right now about COPIC markers. Now I am intrigued by them. The samples of cards I've seen using them are awesome. BUT they are pricey; around $5 a marker. (That's for the "sketch" style. I can't find anywhere locally that sells the "ciao" style.) My dilemma it are they really that good or are other less pricey markers just as good. Also is there any hope that a non-artist can use them effectively. When I color using markers it always looks like a 5 year old did it, and that may be an insult to five year olds. So my dilemma is I really like they way they can look, but can I really make them look that way and are they worth the investment?????

Got to run...have a teleconference call to be on in 15 minutes. I wonder what Shelli has to say....while listening I will scan a few cards and post later.