Sunday, November 27, 2011

Christmas Flats

A quick trip to and from the Sioux Falls, SD airport and I'm back at the computer posting a card. While on my journey to retrieve a college student returning from Thanksgiving break back home (in Texas) I had time to survey the landscape. There was nothing but country western songs on the radio and well...nothing but...flatness to look at. I've made the trip north on Interstate 29 several times but didn't realize until today how flat this portion of South Dakota really is. Iowa isn't mountainous at all but it does have its share of rolling hills.

The flatness must have felt like home to my Texan friend because he told me that when he came for a campus visit during his senior year of high school he asked the track coach, "are those mountains?", referring to the adjacent Loess Hills  which rise 200 feet above the flat plains forming a narrow band running north-south 200 miles along the Missouri River. He said, 'yes this is as flat as home - except - you can't drive this far without seeing houses and cities and cars...and people!" Oh those big city kids!

Dillian's mother did not disappoint him and had plenty of greens and neck bones waiting for him when he got home last Tuesday. He said he only wished he could have packed his suitcase with greens, neck bones, barbecue, and an assortment of other home cooked goodies.

Here is another card for the Jennie stack. Her request is for 5 Christmas cards and 20 assorted any occasion cards.

Oh Christmas Tree
~Base card - PaperTrey Ink Kraft cardstock
~Layer of the Paper Studio Happy Hootin' Holidays
~Eight buttons with metalic floss
~Felt Christmas tree with lights and a smattering of snow flakes and a glittered star
Gingerloft - Christmas or winter
Fairy Tale - Christmas
Poodles Parlor - Christmas
Our Creative Corner - Christmas tree
Twisted Sketch - sketch plus glitter
Phindy's Place - a sprinkling of snow
Crazy 4 Challenges - snow

Thanks for clicking by,
Nancy in Iowa

Penguinies and Greens!

One of my students texted me last night. His ride, back to campus, from the Sioux Falls, SD airport fell through. He wanted to know if I would pick him up. Sure...why not? I asked him before he left for Thanksgiving break what he was most looking forward to when he got back to Texas. He said, 'my mama's cookin'. She's gonna have greens and neck bones waitin' for me! I can already smell it - greens and neck bones..." Then he got rather dreamy eyed and unfocused.

I love hearing stories from the students...what is the first thing they plan on doing...what food do they miss the most...what family activity are they most looking forward to...are they going to get all their homework done while on break...!

I have to leave soon for the drive to Sioux Falls but want to post this card that I put together early this morning. It is another one for the Jennie series. Every year I make cards for daughter Amy's BFF (since grade school). Amy and Jennie have weathered middle school, high school, undergraduate school, graduate school, Amy's Hodgkin's Lymphoma, trans-continental travels, California, and everything else that life tosses in the air. I look forward to Jennie's annual request because it reminds me that she is really part of our family not just Amy's friend.

Upon further reflection - this card could end up in the sister Gail pile...she is crazy for penguins. 'Penguinies' as we call them (an homage to friend Mary Lee's granddaughter moniker for penguins). I will just make another card for Jennie if Gail lays claim to this one.

Hooray for Penguinies!
~Base card - PaperTrey Ink Ocean Tides
~Scrap of Kaleidoscope design paper - stripes laid vertically
~Smaller scrap of same design paper attached to PaperTrey Ink Ocean Tides scrap - using stripes horizontally
~MelJen's Design freebie image laser printed on Papertemptress Cryogen White (having a sale - best cardstock ever for Copics - but could possibly win an award for worst website ever...but who cares! I love the paper!) Image colored with Copics - bling and glitter enhancements. White cardstock attached to more Ocean Tides - edges of both curved using curve punch.
~Grosgrain ribbon
~Three buttons - attached with glitter glue
Card Patterns - sketch
Dutch Dare - recipe: ribbon, embellishment, layers, image, design paper
Sarah Hurley - buttons
Craft Your Days Away - buttons or bows
Lilypad - button

I'm now on my way to South Dakota. Can't wait to hear all the details of Dillian's Thanksgiving break and time with family and friends.  (Don't tell him but I hope he doesn't bring me any greens and neck bones!).

Thanks for clicking by,
Nancy in Iowa

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Snow Place Like Home

Just a quick post before I get ready to turn in for the evening. Jennie, daughter Amy's BFF, requested her annual groupings of cards to give to her co-workers. Here is one that will make it into the 'Jennie pack'. Amy told me not to make them too 'blingy' or Jennie will keep them for herself. Jennie is as 'blingy' as daughter Amy is not - complete opposites those two!

No Place Like Home
~Base card Stampin' Up cardstock
~Layer of Paper Studio Happy Hootin' Holidays (vertical stripe)
~Layer of Paper Studio Happy Hootin' Holidays  (same stripe placed horizontally)
~Die cut sentiment sticker from Paper Studio Happy Hootin' Holidays
~Layer of pink cardstock topped with another selection (snowflakes) from Paper Studio Happy Hootin' Holidays
~Layer of pink cardstock - topped with house recycled from a last year's Christmas card
i{heart} to stamp - sketch
4 Crafty Chicks - snowflakes
Creations by Gill - recycling
Scrapbooks Sisters - Christmas

Thank you for clicking by,
Nancy in Iowa

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Braced for Christmas

The work on the Franciscan Team 'edible' Christmas tree continues. Here are the latest creations. (Note to self - "when taking photos of ornaments drying on the kitchen rack dust the rack prior to taking the photo.")

Orange 'butts', cranberries, and pretzels.

Tonight a few of the college kids are coming over for a night of laundry, "homework", and movies. Little do they know that they will be put to work during movie time - stringing cranberries! I'll snap a shot of the tree once it is all decorated and post it.

Here is a card I put together for one of my special 'peeps' at school. She gets her braces off on Monday. Every day for the past month she pops by my office heralding the days until her straightened teeth are unveiled for all to see. I've known Trayna since her first day on campus, as a wee freshman, prior to the braces. I've had the updates of tightening, rubber bands, what happens to caramel when you 'cheat' and eat them anyway...we traveled the road of braces together. I thought she deserved a card. This is what I came up with.

A Smile Fit for a Princess
~Base card white linen
~Layer of pink cardstock American Craft Weave: Taffy
~Layer of Colorbok Rhapsody design paper
~Cuttlebug oval die cut/embossed of American Craft Weave: Taffy cardstock
~Grosgrain ribbon loops with aqua brads
~Sentiment printed on white cardstock using laser printer
~Freebie digital image by Melon Headz, printed on Cryogen White cardstock, colored with Copics, crown highlighted with gold glitter glue and rhinestones, heart on dress coated with Smooch Sassy Pink, polka dots and shoes highlighted with Inkssentials Glossy Accents
2 Sisters - let it sparkle
Cardmadfairy's - digi plus texture
Stampin' for the Weekend - sketch
Freshly Brewed - anything goes

Thanks for clicking by,
Nancy in Iowa

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Friends, Flora, and Fauna

I am making ornaments for a nature friendly, 'edible' Christmas tree. I am part of the Franciscan Team at work and I volunteered to decorate one of the twenty Christmas trees scattered throughout the student union. It is a competition between campus organizations. As un-Christian and un-Franciscan as it might sound...I WANT TO WIN!!!! But mostly - I REALLY need to learn how NOT to volunteer.

Since St. Francis of Assisi is the patron saint of animals and the college I work for is a Franciscan university, I wanted to incorporate our native wildlife without me having to prowl the 100 acres of native prairie grasslands adjoining campus for sprouts, sprigs, and other such makeshift 'ornaments'. So then I thought  -  why not have the animals come to us? What better way to do that than with smorgasboard tree? We share our campus with dozens of deer, turkey, squirrels, and many, many birds of flight on a daily basis. We might as well give them a Merry Christmas meal too!

Here is my plan: star shaped cookie cutters of sliced white bread, orange slices, cranberry strings, and some nuts. In keeping with the all natural theme - I'll be using 100% cotton thread and jute twine to string up the creations. The tree will be inside until the Christmas break - then I'll move the 'yummy' treats off of the artificial tree to an outdoor tree for 'all God's creatures great and small'. Here is a picture of the stars. I'll keep you posted on the rest of the produce ornaments. Let me know if you have any other suggestions for me to add to the edible list!

Here are three of the 120 stars.

While I had the stars in the oven for some dry-time I managed to put the finishing touches on this card.

Friends in the Garden
~Base card PaperTrey Ink - Kraft cardstock
~Layer of Colorbok Cafe' au Lait
~Layer of light green cardstock with coordinating layer of Colorbok Cafe' au Lait
~Three purple brads
~Layer of purple cardstock
~Sentiment stamped on vanilla cardstock
~Taylored Expressions Friendship Blooms leaf stamp
~Taylored Expressions Leafy Branch die cut
~Taylored Expressions Friendship Blooms flower stamp embossed with purple embossing powder and die cut using Taylored Expressions Friendship Blooms
~Three green brads
Scrappy Frogs - kraft
Challenge Up Your Life - friendship
Crafty Ann's - floral frenzy
Frosted Designs - embossing
Paper Crafting Journey - embossing

Thank you for clicking by,

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Baskets of Food and Flowers

Today was the annual canned food drive on campus. Two hundred plus students descended from "The Cliff" to the surrounding residential areas to collect canned food for the Foodbank of Siouxland. It is another outreach opportunity for our students at Briar Cliff University. The freshman always look a little skeptical but come back with smiles on their faces, bags of food in their arms, and stories of the human condition called generosity.

A co-worker of mine is on medical leave with a knee replacement. With the physical therapy he is going through I thought a card with an image of a bicycle would be just perfect!

Bicycle Built for One
~Base card - PaperTrey Ink Kraft cardstock
~Layer of Colorbok Cafe' Lait
~Three strands raffia
~Blue and orange cardstock - edges smudged and corners curved
~Bicycle is stamp from Unity Stamp 'A Basketful of Wishes', colored with Copics, fenders and brace topped with Inkssentials' Glossy Accents, flowers in basket topped with Flowersoft
~Two silver metal brads

Fashionable Stamping - In Times Gone By
2 Sisters - anything goes
Just Some Lines - orange and blue
Inspire Me Fridays - anything goes
Divas By Design - metal

Thank you for clicking by,

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Thankful for Squash

Spent the day cleaning the basement...yuck! Also baked a chicken and squash. It is now my 'break-time' so thought I'd post a card. Friend Nila shared part of her squash harvest with my sister Gail. Gail in turn shared her squash gift with me hence the baking of the squash and creating a thank you card.

It is rather minimal but gets the message across.

Lots of Thanks
~Base card - PaperTrey Ink Kraft - edges smudged with brown ink
~Off white cardstock embossed using Cuttlebug and Cuttlebug Thanks embossing folder - edges and raised lettering smudged with Tim Holtz Distress Inks
~Brown ribbon - re-purposed from a flower bouquet
The Crafter's Cafe - thankful
Stamp, Scrap & Doodle - thankful
Card Makin' Mamas - thankful
Fussy and Fancy - thankful
Phindy's Place - thankful
Aud Sentiments - thankful

Thanks for clicking by,
Nancy in Iowa

Thursday, November 10, 2011

With This Ring

Still working on the Mary Lee request for two 'second-time around' wedding cards... She sent me an email wondering if she should stop issuing 'difficult' requests. I wouldn't say the requests are hard - just challenging. I have to admit I enjoy a good card challenge. A challenge to start exercising - or go on a diet...not so much!

I'm still not sure I've nailed the challenge but here is this evening's effort. Here is card number one.

With This Ring
~Base card PaperTrey Ink - Kraft
~Layer of dark brown cardstock
~Layer of Tim Holtz Idea-ology
~Assorted vintage seam binding (a present from sister Gail)
~Two jewelry pieces (transfer of crap from sister-in-law Jayne)
DYSU - inspired by a song (Mendelssohn's Wedding March)
Southern Girls - inspired by a song (Mendelssohn's Wedding March)
Heart Song Inspirations - anything goes
Catch the Bug - anything goes

Thank you for clicking by,
Nancy in Iowa

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Magic and Marriage

Every year on campus we host a Christmas party for persons with special needs. Most of the guests live in group homes with a variety of mental and physical disabilities. It is my favorite day on campus. I believe it is the best thing we do all year. And I am proud to say we do many good things in the community. A room full of excited special needs adults, on a field trip, anticipating the arrival of Santa and his elves, live choir music and gifts from Santa - it is truly a magical day.

The list of names of those who will be attending along with their first and second choice of present is made available to staff and students. Students and staff take the name and wish list for an individual and select a name for purchasing a Christmas. The limit for expenditure is $10.00 per person. Here are some of the items that are being dreamed about for this Christmas: anything Iowa Hawkeye, University of Iowa Sweatshirt, warm socks, winter hat and matching scarf, beads, hand lotion, a soft blanket, an Iowa Cyclones t-shirt, a cooking pan, kitchen towels, a Faith Hill CD, a Tim McGraw poster...and the item that caught my eye? That would be Kelly C's, a male client at one of the residential homes. All he had on his list was 'fireman scrap booking items'. I've never met Kelly and I don't know what the relationship is for Kelly and firemen - but he evidently has a story to tell using scrap booking and I intend to get him just what he needs to tell that story. I'm looking forward to my trip to Hobby Lobby and possibly Michael's to scoop up all I can to make Kelly's Christmas a scrap booking delight!

These special guests are greeted by students and elves. Lunch is served by the students (the students volunteer a guest meal or two or three for the visitors). The full complement of 100+ college choir members will perform traditional Christmas carols, there will be a sing-along for the guests to join in, with the final song being 'Here Comes Santa Claus" - during which Santa magically appears! This year sophomore student Ethan will portray Santa - picking up each gift, reading the tag, and announcing the recipient. The student elves than scurry around the room delivering the greatly anticipated gift to each of the eager guests. They are frequently shocked that Santa knew what it was, exactly, that they wanted.

It is such a dear and heartwarming experience. I look forward to it every year and even more so this year as I will be purchasing paper craft items for someone's special adult child, Kelly.

Now...on to the card. Friend Mary Lee put in a request for two non-traditional wedding cards. She knows me well enough to know I don't do fru-fru, sentimental, mushy, or sappy cards. She also knows my palms get sweaty and I freeze up at the thought of making wedding or anniversary cards. Also this is a second marriage for both of her friends so a traditional card was not going to be the ticket. This request said something about her friends being up to the challenge of going down this road (marriage) for a second time.

I always have to really think about what to put together when Mary Lee makes a request. When my sisters ask for cards they simply state..."I need some birthday cards", or "I need a graduation card"...."do it"! They take what I crank out. My daughter's friend Jennie requests cards to give as Christmas gifts - all I need to do to make Jennie happy is to put lots and lots of bling on the cards. Daughter Amy's signature request for cards is anything with a cupcake on it. Mary Lee on the other hand...she makes me THINK!

For the first card I'm going with a 'journey' theme. Marriage is a journey...sometimes it is a 'wash-board' dirt road...sometimes it's a flower bordered cobblestone path. I'm confident Mary Lee will come up with an appropriate sentiment for the inside of the card.

Up to the Challenge
~Base card PaperTrey Ink Kraft
~Layer of Bazzill cardstock Herbal Garden Dark
~Three design papers from the Tim Holtz Idea-ology collection - all the edges smudged with ink
~Three Prima flowers with center metal brads
~Medallion metal brad
I Brake for Challenges - no white or ivory
Ladybug Crafts Ink - love and marriage

Thanks for clicking by,
Nancy in Iowa

Monday, November 7, 2011

Pfaffs and Flowers

Granddaughter Olivia turned one. My daughter in law must have spent hours decorating and even more hours un-decorating. Here are a few pics from the big day.

The princess is granting audiences now.

Banners and fringed crepe paper.

Flowers on the over-head light.

Banners and goodies.


Banners and clothespins.

I think I'll wear my tutu with my dress plus
I'll just casually toss my new leggin's
and sweater over my shoulder.

We found out that all this one year old wanted was clothes. I've never seen a kid more interested in clothes than toys (or empty boxes).

Here is a card I popped together. I found out doing all the fancy stitching that my Pfaff sewing machine was in dire need of a spa day so it is at the sewing machine repair shop in Omaha. I may even try a bit of quilting when I get it back. Sister Gail took one look at this card and snatched it up. I even put a little effort into the inside of the honor of my blogging buddy Julie! Her cards are so beautiful - inside and out! Check them out over at Rainbow Days.

In Stitches
~Base card PaperTrey Ink Kraft cardstock
~Two design papers from Colorbok Faded Denim collection
~Taylored Expressions stamp stems/leaves stamped on vanilla cardstock - edges smudged with ink
~Taylored Expressions die cut flowers using Colorbok Faded Denim scraps - button centers
~Machine stitching
Inside of card:
~Taylored Expressions die cut fence
~Flower punch
Craft Your Passion - anything goes plus brown
Heart Song Inspirations - anything goes
Lollipop Crafts - Thanksgiving/Fall
Craft Your Days Away - Autumn
Creative Inspirations - anything goes
Incy Wincy Designs - stitching
Ohh La La Creations - stitching
Totally Paper Crafts - stitching

Thank you for clicking by,
Nancy in Iowa