Kitty Cats and Cards Don’t Mix!

Mallett's Bay Boat

Ok, I am finally ready to tell this story; it isn’t pretty, but Real Life is messy, as I’m sure anyone who has ever had a dog, a cat or a small child will understand!

I mentioned at the beginning of June that I had attended a Stampin’ Up! demonstrator’s event where we met together to make each others’ cards in what is called a Shoebox Swap. Everyone brought a card sample and all the materials for everyone in attendance to make their own copy of the card. They ranged from quick and easy to more elaborate, but hands down, this card, designed by our colleague Mary, was the most detailed and time-consuming card there. Not only was the front gorgeous, but the  inside was decorated too:

Mallett's Bay inside

It was so detailed, in fact, that to save time, I took a picture of it and just brought the materials home to finish the card. It had originally been made into a birthday card, but I decided to make it into a Father’s Day card for Reggie’s dad. I thought it was perfect; it reminded me of Mallett’s Bay, the part of Lake Champlain in the town of Colchester, VT near where Dad lives, and this Dapper Denim blue and Cucumber Crush green are the exact colors of Colchester High School. What could be more perfect?

I usually finish my cards late at night, after my husband has gone to bed, so when this one was done, as usual, I set it up on the kitchen table so that he could sign it before he left for work and we could get it in the mail on time.

The next morning, imagine our supreme annoyance when we found the card knocked over, flat on it’s face, and a giant hairball thrown up on the back of it!

Now, we have four cats, but we knew immediately who the culprit was:

Eddie. The Emeritus Cat. He’s the Old One, and lately he’s made a habit of plunking himself down on my work table, right in the middle of the stamps, cardstock and embellishments.

So, what to do? Too late to make a new card, and this one had taken so much time! I did what any other paper arts lover would have done – I cut the front of the card off, mounted it onto a new, clean card base, cut the little boat out of the inside and re-used it, stamped the greeting again and die cut another lake from the Swirly Scribbles Thinlits Dies for the boat to float on!

If any of my sisters-in-law from Vermont are reading this, you may have seen Harold’s Father’s Day card; now you know the rest of the story!

Would you like to attempt this card in your own home? I challenge you – but keep the kitties away! Here are the supplies that I used:

Have you ever had a pet-related disaster while making cards? What did you do?

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Christmas from a Cat’s-Eye View

You know how cats are always interested in what’s new and different? All you have to do is put a paper bag on the floor, or move a chair away from the table, and the next thing you know the cat is right there in it or on it!

The crowning event of new things has to be the arrival of the Christmas tree each year – not only does it provide an irresistible hiding place, but there is a lot of “low hanging fruit” in the form of ornaments to bat off and play with. We always have to think carefully about which ones we put on the lower branches!

444Graybaby’s not too good at catching mice, but she got that ornament!

Ziggy, our card making assistant, always attends classes when friends come over to stamp, and offers help when needed.

Ziggy Noel

Egypt, however, isn’t much help at all; I actually caught her up on the fireplace mantle the other day, weaving in and out between the cards in her quest to reach the vase of bittersweet. Busted! (The kitty, not the vase.)

Egypt

Egypt is our smallest and most curious cat; it’s no surprise that she was also seen lurking in this picture of the Christmas tree, no doubt waiting to play with something pretty while my back is turned:

2013-12-25 002

Here’s wishing you and all of your furry friends a very Merry Christmas!

Teenage Cat Lovers

When my husband and I first started teaching the 5- and 6-year-olds at church eight years ago, little did we know that we would start a relationship with a couple of twin sisters that would blossom into a great friendship that has endured as the girls have grown. Maybe it was because they found out that they shared a birthday with my husband, Reggie (November 5th.) Or maybe it was because Rachel and Reggie have the same quirky sense of humor. Or maybe they just appreciated that he always let the kids take off their shoes in class, saying “Free feet are happy feet!” (three hours of church is a long time for little kids!)

Rachel and Ariel 13th Bday

Rachel and Ariel at the airport for their surprise birthday trip to visit their siblings at college.

Whatever the reason, one thing I do know is that we all share a love of cats, and even though the girls just celebrated their 13th birthdays, cats are still an important topic of conversation and interest when we get together!

I wanted to make a couple of special cards for their birthdays this year, to commemorate this important milestone in their lives:

Twins 1

I used the Hearth and Home Thinlits Dies from the Holiday Catalog to cut windows in the cards, but then added kitties peeking out, and inside a selection of pastries with coordinating sentiments:

If you are what you eat, eat something cute!

and

This is no day for “just a sliver”!

Twins 2

Oh, and when the girls came over to get their cards and gifts from us, they had a special birthday gift for Reggie and me too, painted by Rachel:

CAT

How appropriate!

Rabbit, Rabbit!

Rabbit 1

Happy November 1st!

Rabbit 2

Products used in my Rabbit, Rabbit card, some from the Holiday Catalog:

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Black Cat by Moonlight

This is a true Halloween tale that is worth telling because it includes fang-like teeth, razor-sharp claws and… blood!

Eddie belonged to my husband first, and before we got married, whenever I went over to visit, things seemed OK. Eddie did appear to be somewhat wild, kind of high-strung in his play habits, but he never bothered with me, so all was well. Or so it seemed.

One day shortly after we got married Reggie was at work, and I was in the hall, putting things away in the linen closet. All of a sudden I felt an intense, ripping pain in my right calf, and realized with horror that Eddie had crept up stealthily behind me for an ambush. He was wrapped around my leg, teeth and claws sunk deep, while the blood dripped to my ankles. I kicked him off and ran to the bathroom, screaming. The message was unmistakable: You don’t belong here – get out!

Well, let’s just say that things were tentative for quite some time in our new household. Eddie was mean to everyone, not just me! Allow me to demonstrate:

Eddie_0001

I’m not making this up; the camera doesn’t lie! This was the photo that we used on our Halloween cards that first year. So imagine my delight when I opened the mail yesterday and found this incredible card from Reggie’s sister Sherry:

Moonlit Eddie

Inside she wrote, “Does this look familiar? Inspired by Eddie.”  This is about the most darling thing I’ve ever seen, right down to the green glowing eyes! She nailed it.

I’m happy to report that as the years have gone by, Eddie has mellowed out and at age 14 he is really a very sweet old boy.

Eddie_0002

And yet… is that just a hint of the “evil eye” that I see peeking out? You just never know about a black cat on Halloween.

Paper Pumpkin Wickedly Sweet Treats

It’s been an eventful week; teaching school and getting everything out of the master bathroom so that it could be completely demolished on Friday – yes, we are finally getting our bedroom and bathroom remodeling started! Everything went as planned except for one thing:

Egypt1

Miss Egypt

Egypt – whose middle name ought to be Mischief! We kept our youngest and most curious cat in one of the smaller bedrooms while the workmen did their deconstruction. When they were done, all that was left of the shower stall was the 2″ x 4″ wall framing and the plywood flooring – and a hole where the drain had been, open to the crawl space underneath the house. After the guys left, we let Egypt out of the bedroom, not thinking, “Where will she go first?”

Straight to where she had been kept away from, all morning! A beeline to the hole in the floor. Down under the house. Well, there was no use calling her; cats don’t mind you. We just shut the bedroom door so none of the other cats would follow her down there, and we waited an hour or two. She finally came back out. On her time.

So, it was great that my friend Anna came over today to work on the September Paper Pumpkin kit with me. A good way to relax after a busy week!

Sept Paper Pumpkin

We worked on our Wickedly Sweet Treats kits; here are mine all made up and filled with treats for the ladies from church that I Visit Teach monthly. As you can see, Ziggy is checking them out, because he is quite interested in anything to do with “treats.” We wouldn’t have had to worry about Ziggy being able to follow Egypt down the shower drain hole, no matter how exciting that might have been! His ample girth also keeps him confined to the backyard and unable to climb the fence like Eddie (sigh.)

Sept Paper Pumpkin 2

Here’s what Anna decided to do with her Paper Pumpkin kit: as an alternative to the kit instructions she used her materials to make these jaunty scarecrow treat bags! She will also be able to use the eight leftover pieces of fringed kraft paper strung together and decorated to make a Halloween or Thanksgiving banner.

The Paper Pumpkin box pictured is not the usual orange color; that was the October Blissful Bouquet kit that we just got and Stampin’ Up! donated $1.00 for every kit sold this month to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, plus an additional $1.00 for every new subscription in October.

To find out how to get your creative escape in a Paper Pumpkin box each month, follow this link to My Paper Pumpkin.

More Stamping Fun With The Ladies

Pumpkin Sweeties

The Hostess Stamp Group came over yesterday, and Ziggy was in attendance again, greeting the ladies at the door, rolling over for a belly rub, and finally crawling into the empty Stampin’ Up! box for a snooze:

photo(1)

The rest of us, however, were busy with our projects; one of which was the Christmas Window card that we had made with the Vermont stamp group a couple of weeks ago (see that card here http://stampingwithvalory.com/2015/09/11/have-some-fun-at-a-stampin-up-workshop/)

We also made an easy Halloween card with the Among the Branches set and some Into the Woods Designer Series Paper from the new Holiday Catalog. I told my friends that I had figured out a way that we would be able to make Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas cards all from this one pack of DSP. Later on I’ll show those cards on the blog. Here is the selection of papers from the Into the Woods pack:

Into the Woods DSP

We also used the Spider Web Doilies on our Boo Bird card:

Boo Bird

Kathy was our hostess this month, and she made the cutest girly pumpkin party favors for us!

Lady Pumpkins

Looking forward to October’s meeting!

Here are the supplies used to make the Boo Bird Halloween card, and the Pumpkin party favors:

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The Intersection of Past and Present in Art

My friend Moana from the Studio824 blog just posted a lovely card that I want to share with you:

MoanaJ

You can read her entire post here about how she made it: https://studio824.wordpress.com/2015/09/16/a-whole-lot-of-lovely-2/

I told her that when I saw the card, it reminded me of a happy moment from my childhood; in this case it is the color and the main design element that triggered the memory.

When I was born my father was in the US Air Force and after he was discharged, he went to college on the GI Bill. I was just a little girl when my dad was an Industrial Arts and Education student, and I remember when, at the age of four, he had me sit for a portrait in the front room of our little rental house in Chico, CA. I was wearing a turquoise-colored diamond-quilted jumper with a white cardigan sweater underneath. I believe it was one of those mother-daughter outfits and that my mom had a dress just like it. It was the color of Moana’s card and the diagonal pattern that jogged my memory of that day. I still have the portrait on the wall of my bedroom, nearly 60 years later:

Valory Lee

“Valory” by E. Vernon Krause, 1958, oil on masonite

My dad doesn’t consider this a great work of art; he never felt that portraits were his strong point. But it’s special because my dad painted it for me and because I remember when he did it.

Over the years I have often thought, in a time of disaster, if we had to leave our home quickly, along with our family and pets, what one cherished thing would I most want to save, and my mind always goes to this picture. And now, as thousands of acres of California go up in smoke and hundreds of people are losing their homes to fires brought on by the drought, it is a sobering thought to know that there are many who have had to make those very real and heart-wrenching decisions as they flee for their lives.

May we all offer a prayer of protection for the firefighters and comfort to those who have lost so much, and that we will be blessed with abundant rain in the coming months.

Clearance Rack… Back on the Track

JFK-BTV

I’ve been so busy, jetting from one end of the country to the other, planning stamp projects, and posting them that I almost forgot to let you know that SU! has stocked up the Clearance Rack again, with great sale prices, up to 80% off! Who doesn’t love a bargain? I know I do; when we flew to Vermont this year we had saved enough points to get one free ticket on JetBlue – yahoo!

Ziggy-Bags

My cat, Ziggy, wanted to go with us on our trip – he even tried to pack himself in my suitcase!

Ziggy Stamper

Darlene and Ziggy at the stamp table.

But Ziggy always wants to be involved in everything; he’s even a regular attendee at our Hostess Stamp Group meetings! So take Ziggy’s advice and check out the Clearance Rack now; I guarantee you’ll find something that’s the “Cat’s Meow”!

Sale: $9.59

Price: $15.95

Sale: $1.19

Price: $2.95

Sale: $3.19

Price: $7.95

Sale: $14.99

Price: $24.95

Sale: $1.59

Price: $3.95

Sale: $3.19

Price: $7.95

Sale: $22.79

Price: $37.95

Sale: $7.99

Price: $19.95

Sale: $9.95

Price: $15.95

Sale: $1.19

Price: $2.95

Sale: $2.39

Price: $5.95

Sale: $2.79

Price: $6.95

Sale: $2.39

Price: $5.95

Sale: $3.99

Price: $9.95

Sale: $19.79

Price: $32.95

Sale: $3.19

Price: $7.95

Sale: $14.99

Price: $29.95

Sale: $9.59

Price: $15.95

Sale: $10.19

Price: $16.95

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