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Fun with a Green Screen

During Thanksgiving dinner:

ME: OK, Family, what are we doing for our Christmas photo card this year?

JOHN: Matching pajamas?

EMMA: Never.

KARL: I think we should Photoshop our heads onto the members of Nickelback.

(lots of laughter)

JOHN: Why Nickelback?

KARL: Why not?

ME: Actually . . . this sparks an idea. What if we got a green screen? We could plop ourselves into any scene we wanted!

KARL: (enthusiastically) Plus, for videos . . . 

ME: Exactly!

Karl and I were already wavelengthing on the possibilities for video effects with a green screen. 

The day of the shoot arrived. It was overcast with intermittent rain so we set up in the carport. The day before we'd gone out shopping to find flannel shirts and scarves that had no green in them. 

Behindthescenes

We really weren't sure what background to choose. We tried various stock photos and ended up choosing the moon. I did my best with Photoshop but I'm certainly no expert, so there is a slight green halo around us, but that works for the moon, right? Green cheese and all?

John suggested adding the shadows at our feet including darkening Emma's boot where it would be in shadow from the moon rock. Nice touch, eh?

John was also the one who figured out that our card should say "Peace on Earth" or "Joy to the World". We settled on this one:

Screen Shot 2014-12-30 at 3.08.53 PM

I also had fun with a few of the outtake photos:

FunWithGreenScreen
FunWithGreenScreen

 

Good times. Good times.

Today I set up the Green Screen in my office so I could shoot the intro for a sneak peek video for my new CHA collection. While I had the screen up I decided to also shoot a quick trailer for my YouTube channel. 

  

The Sneak Peek video should go up by the end of the week. I leave next week for CHA (gulp!) and there is still so much to do.


2014 Countdown to Christmas Finale - the Auction!

This year we decided to hunt clues only once a week but still managed to miss last week because of Finals. Rather than make up the missing week I promised the kids an "epic" finale to the Christmas Clues on Christmas Eve.

Today was the day!

I knew I wanted to end with a Survivor-style auction with a decadant amount of sweet treats. (We would, of course, impose consumption limits on the treats) I headed up to Kroger to buy 8 auction items. My thought was to start with something simple, like a single donut with red and green sprinkles and then work up to the final item which would be a mystery box filled with a mixture of every type of M&M's. I bought regular, peanut, mini, mega, pretzel, peanut butter and dark. They didn't have the mint ones and I skipped the almond because the kids don't like them.

I shut myself up in my office and sat on the floor mixing M&M's in a giant plastic bag. The rest of the items were still in shopping bags next to me. Suddenly the doorbell rang - a delivery that we had to sign for. The dogs, as is their custom, were barking and scratching at the front door, waiting for me to open it so they could either bolt out the door or lick the deliveryman. Rather than attempt to wrangle them I got the bright idea to just shove them in my office and close the door.

Yeah.

I know.

When I finished with the deliveryman I realized my mistake. I opened the door to find two happy dogs attempting to open a big bag of M&M's and a Nutella snack pack. The waxed paper was all that remained of the donut. 

"SH*T! SH*T! SH*T!" I yelled, in true Christmas spirit.

Luckily it was really only the donut that was lost. The M&M's and Nutella survived the attack.

I got everything arranged and hidden and then called the kids to start the hunt.

2014_4_Clue1Read

KARL: "Check the back of lime pie (key), What's the word for little g? The second word (pick up the pace) Is soft & fluffy and has a case"

EMMA: I think it must be your yogurt, Karl.

It's really MY yogurt, by the way. I love Key Lime Pie yogurt but once Karl discovered it he keeps eating all my yogurt. So much so that the Key Lime Pie yogurt is now referred to as "Karl's yogurt". Sheesh!

They went to the fridge and checked all the yogurt containers.

EMMA: I don't see anything on the bottom of these yogurts.

ME: The clue doesn't say to check the bottom.

EMMA: OK, so the back, but what's on the back?

KARL: I suppose the "little g" means grams. But grams of what?

EMMA: Oh! Karl, I think it means that the clue is something of Gram's! We have to figure out the second part. OK, so what's soft and fluffy and has a case? My instruments have cases but they aren't soft and fluffy!

2014_4_Clue1Look

Now you may be wondering "Why is Emma not figuring out that easy clue?" and to answer, I have to stop and tell a little story that happened Sunday, while John and Karl were picking up his mother ("Gram") to come stay with us for Christmas and Emma and I were cleaning the house.

EMMA: Mom, toss me the sheets from the dryer for the guest room bed.

We toss laundry up to the balcony. For more about this charming ritual you can read Clue 15 from the 2011 Countdown to Christmas hunt.

I tossed her the sheets and she went to make the bed and then returned to the balcony.

EMMA: Mom, there's only one pillow cover.

I looked around and saw that I had dropped one by the laundry room door.

ME: I found it. I'll toss it up. You know they're called pillowcases, right?

EMMA: What?

ME: You called it a "pillow cover" but they have a real name - they're called pillowcases.

EMMA: (shrugs) OK, whatever they're called.

It's amazing how you can discover something new about your teenagers, like appalling lapses in vocabulary.

Back to the hunt -

EMMA: Karl, can you think of anything soft and fluffy that has a case?

KARL: A pillow?

(Atta boy!)

EMMA: Oh! It's Gram's pillow! Come on!

2014_4_Clue2Read

EMMA: "Glittery orbs with twinkling lights, Mom tried something new, So much silver, So much white, Wait . . . is that one blue?" Karl, it's the Christmas tree.

The ran down the stairs.

KARL: How do you know it's the tree?

EMMA: Because Mom only put silver and white ornaments on this year. There must be a blue one somewhere on the tree.

2014_4_Clue2Find

EMMA: Got it! It's back here and it's a Tardis! WOW! This is a cool ornament - where'd it come from?

KARL: Stay focused.

EMMA: Right.

Both the kids are Dr. Who fans so I thought this would be a great new ornament for us. I had the clue attached to the bottom.

2014_4_Clue3Read

KARL: "My first word is a room in Clue, But which one? That's the goal, Perhaps if you knew the second word? OK . . . it's el arbol." What's that?

EMMA: Come on, Karl - you're taking Spanish right now!

KARL: You already took two years!

EMMA: I guess this is a job for Google Translate.

KARL: The word is tree? That's not a room.

EMMA: Oh wait - I think that's just the second word. Hmmm.... Oh! Hall Tree!

KARL: But "Hall" isn't a room in Clue.

EMMA: Yes it is!

2014_4_Clue3Find

The hall tree was sufficiently piled with stuff to make the hunt take a while. Finally they opened the big drawer and found two tins inside. They opened their tins to discover Monopoly money and another clue.

2014_4_Clue4Auction

KARL: Meet me in the Breakfast Room, Bring your money, wits and wile, The first inaugural Christmas Eve . . . AUCTION! (Survivor style!)

He shouted the word "Auction" by the way. He's a very literal reader.

2014_4_Auction

John took on the role of Jeff Probst, the host of the show Survivor, and used the wrapped box top (it had no bottom) to hide the items up for Auction. Just like on Survivor the kids were warned that the auction would end without warning. 

They were surprisingly polite about things, making deals and not bidding each other up. I expect that they may be more ruthless next year, now that they know the quality of goods available. Karl ended up with the box of mixed M&M's but Emma got the giant cupcake, so they were pleased with the split.

2014_4_AuctionVictory

Everyone agreed it was a fun way to end the Countdown.

John was talking to his mother afterward.

JOHN: Did you hear the catastrophe that almost happened with the dogs? When Karen yelled?

GRAM: Oh, you mean the SH*T! SH*T! SH*T!? Yeah, I heard that.

Ah, Christmas!

Have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!


Karen Burniston Pop it Ups Designer Challenge - Pop it Ups for every month!

I'm on the Elizabeth Craft Designs Blog today with the December Designer Challenge, which was to provide a year's worth of inspiration using Pop it Ups dies. 

Animated gif

My month was August, and I chose to provide birthday inspiration in honor of my twins' birthday. I wanted to create a new twist to an old classic - the Explosion Card. This video tutorial will show how to fold explosion sides for a card while still leaving room in the middle for a pop-up card. It will also teach how to fold the Happy Birthday pop-up die.

 

I posted additional photos and information on this card on the ECD Blog Post, so make sure you head over there so you won't miss all the amazing samples by the team and our guest designer.

ExplosionBirthdayCard

If you're interested in making your own Explosion Birthday Pop-up Card you can check your local stores for the supplies or use the shopping links below:

Other supplies: thin patterned paper (mine is Bazzill Miss Teagen Sue, but it's older and retired), cream cardstock
 
NOVEMBER SECRET WORD GIVEAWAY WINNERS:
 
Are you a member of my mailing list? Join to receive one e-mail a month usually on Designer Challenge day, but sometimes a day later. Within the e-mail will be the Secret Word to incorporate into your comment on the ECD DC Blog Post for that month. The winner is chosen by random draw and wins two Pop it Ups dies. For November's SWG the secret word was to tell me your favorite color in your comment.
 
Because I missed sending a newsletter in October, I chose two November winners. 
 
Dorothy G. wrote:
"How I love your dies! Who knew I could become so addicted to card making – I started by going to a class with a friend. Then to a local store and I was hooked. Now I spend way too many hours on the Internet looking for “new” ideas. Trust your site to always have more than I can do. My favorite color to use with my cards is red!
 
Rosemary P. wrote:
"I feel so inadequate!!!!!!! These are really great cards. Blue is my favorite color, all of my clothes are some shade of blue. Stampin’ Up! has a new shade of card stock called Lost Lagoon and I want to use that lovely color of blue/green on Karen’s Katie Label/Poppy card.
 
Dorothy & Rosemary each got to choose a Pivot Card die and a Character Die as their prize. 
  Nov_giveaway
 You can join the mailing list (just one e-mail a month) by clicking the blue button below:
 
 
  Join my mailing list  
   
 

 

For Email Newsletters you can trust
 
By the way, the monthly mailing list is with Constant Contact and is not the same thing as subscribing to this blog's feed and/or subscribing to this blog so you get the blog posts by e-mail. I did just switch to a different feed manager to try to get the videos to show up in the e-mails, so this will be the first test. Fingers crossed!
 

Christmas Shaker Card

Today I decided just to make a card front, but since I love interactive cards I added a shaker element to it.

This is definitely a scrap stash project. The paper was in my scrap bin and the snowflakes and baubles were in my embellishment bins. 

I used the Ring Accordion die to make the circle cut-out in the patterned paper and then the stitching die that comes in the set to add stitch lines to the transparency window. The ornament top was cut from silver Shimmer Sheetz, rounded and put on with a pop-dot. I tied a piece of ribbon through the top.

OrnamentShaker1

After adding decorator trees cut with the Evergreen Pivot Card die to the background behind the window, I went diving into my embellishment bins to find beads and baubles in blues, greens and silvers to fill the shaker. I also added some snowflake buttons.

OrnamentShaker1

The Reindeer stamp is one called "Dasher" from Stampin' Up! I stamped it in silver ink onto dark brown cardstock and then embossed with clear powder. Then I went over it with a silver paint pen to add more silver to the piece. I used a craft knife to fussy cut the reindeer, purposely cutting a little jagged in places to maintain a rough cut look. I also roughed up the sides of the paper before gluing onto my white card.

OrnamentShaker3

I was inspired by a card by Karen Aicken to use the wreath from the Holiday House die over the reindeer's neck. I cut the wreath from white cardstock with double-sided adhesive on it and then glittered with Soft Green Silk Microfine Glitter. I cut the wreath to weave it around the reindeer's neck so I didn't have to try and get the antlers through it.

ECD supplies are listed below. 

Today is the LAST DAY for the 25% Discount on all Silk Microfine Glitter and Elizabeth Craft Designs Double Sided Adhesive using coupon code SPEC25. (Offer ends December 12th) 


2014 Countdown to Christmas Week 2 - Chocolates of the World

My apologies for not getting this up last night. We hunted the clues late because Emma had a hair appointment with Tina to get her hair rePixied. (What? It's a word.)

I was at the salon earlier this week getting my hair deGrayed, (What? It's a word.) and Tina and I were talking about Christmas decorations. I am woefully behind getting my tree and decorations up and have only managed to do most, but not all, of a new white/silver mantle decor. I also ordered three gorgeous poinsettias from Emma's band.

Tina is unable to have real poinsettias at home because she has cats. She also mentioned that she hadn't done much to decorate the salon for Christmas. Armed with those two pieces of information, I felt that the perfect Christmas gift for Tina would be either a fake poinsettia plant for home OR a piece of decor for the salon.

I chose to make a little hybrid of those two ideas - using fake silver poinsettias, frosted twigs of white glittered berries and silver balls to decorate a styrofoam tree.

SilverTree

I really haven't made very many trees over the years, so I was a little unsure if it would come together, but in the end I liked it how it turned out, although it did create a huge mess and I burned through about 5 hot glue sticks getting everything on there. 

SilverTreeMess

 

Here's where Tina chose to put the tree in the salon. Looks great there!

SilverTreeTina

Once we got home I quickly hid the clues and the loot, but the light was gone and the photos aren't great. (You'll just have to use your imagination while I bring the scene to life with my words) Heh.

2014_2_Clue1Read

KARL: "First word: 'It was the best of blank. Not down, but blank' With pantomimes!" Huh?

EMMA: I think it must have something to do with that game we were playing the other night.

KARL: It was the best of what? Friends?

ME: Dad is an acceptable reference.

2014_2_Clue1Dad

JOHN: It's from A Tale of Two Cities "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times"

EMMA: OK, so that first blank is "times". Not down, but "up".

KARL: Time's up!

2014_2_Clue1Find

The game was sitting on the sofa table, along with Emma's library books, one of the pretty poinsettias, Karl's $5 Explosion Box gift (exchange is today) and some rolled up white paper that I was using as a backdrop for photographing some CHA samples.

Did I mention that the light was fading fast? No time for tidying.

They found the next clue inside the box. This one went so fast that I didn't even get a chance to photograph them reading it.

2014_2_Clue2ReadFind
EMMA: (opening the clue) Oh there's a photo in here. "Are you observant? I couldn't say - " OH! It's that picture in the breakfast room.

She dropped the clue and went straight to the picture. 

ME: Hey! That was too fast. Find it again!

She reenacted, ever so naturally, finding the clue atop this little art piece of New Orleans that was given to me by my Barriere Construction coworkers when we moved from New Orleans to Colorado fourteen years ago. I've always loved this little framed piece of New Orleans, but I wasn't sure if the kids ever really noticed it.

Apparently at least Emma has.

JOHN: What just happened?

2014_2_Clue2Karl

KARL: I'll tell you what happened. We hadn't even finished READING the clue and Emma ran right over here to this picture and found it.

JOHN: Well what was the second line of the clue?

KARL: "Are you observant about stuff you see each day?" or something like that.

ME: But rhyming, of course.

KARL: (shrug)

ME: BUT RHYMING, OF COURSE! My clues always RHYME!

 Sheesh.

2014_2_Clue3Read

EMMA: "The candy's close, so be astute. You load this, but it doesn't shoot." Hmmm. That's interesting. What's something that you load but doesn't shoot?

KARL: (thinking) The washing machine? The dishwasher?

EMMA: (impressed) Wow! I bet you're right. You check the dishwasher and I'll check the washing machine.

Now it probably should have clued them both in which one was right, since I followed Karl into the kitchen.

2014_2_Clue3Look

The candy is under that colander, but he didn't see it. He closed up the dishwasher.

EMMA: (returning from laundry room) Wasn't in the washing machine. How about the dishwasher?

KARL: Nope.

Uh oh. This presented a problem. 

ME: Well a second set of eyes is always good. How about you switch and Karl checks the washing machine and Emma checks the dishwasher?

EMMA: (puzzled) Uh, OK.

Again, I feel that since I stayed put in the kitchen they should have known which place was right, but I don't think they did. Karl went off to the laundry room.

2014_2_Clue3Find

Emma was a much more thorough sleuth. She found the candy.

I had purchased various chocolates from around the world - chocolate twigs, sardines, umbrellas and Kinder Santas.

2014_2_Victory

JOHN: Wait - THOSE were in the dishwasher? How did Karl miss that?

EMMA: I know, right?

KARL: (with dignity) They were hidden under a colander.

We are planning an all-out blitz of decorating on Saturday, so next week's hunt should have more festive backdrops. (Plus new potential hiding spots! Whoot!)

See you next week!


Candy Sleigh Explosion Box

Karl has a $5 gift exchange at school this week and thanks to a candy sale at CVS I was able to stay within budget to make a candy sleigh.

CandySleighBoxConstruct

If ever there were a time for an explosion box, right? I cut lightweight chipboard into the panels I would need for a 7" x 4.5" x 4.5" box. The lid is 7.25" x 4.75" x 1". I attached ribbon to the box lid, hiding the ends inside the lid underneath the interior paper panel. The bow is hot glued to the top.

CandySleighBoxDone

When you lift the lid . . .  

CandySleighBoxOpen

Here's a 5-second video of the box in action:

 

A video posted by Karen Burniston (@karenburniston) on Dec 12, 2014 at 12:30pm PST

Later this evening we'll be hunting our weekly clues for the Countdown to Christmas, so keep an eye out for that.

 


Video Tutorial: Seamless Backing Cards for Pivot Cards

Earlier this week I posted a Christmas Cookies Evergreen Pivot Card with a seamless backing card and promised a video tutorial for how to do it.

The video will show three different ways to achieve seamless backing cards for Pivot Card dies. You can use these techniques with any of the Pivot Card dies and to prove it, I used three different Pivot Card dies for the video samples.

 

The first card in the video is the Congratulations card featuring the "full panel" seamless backing card technique.

TravelCard2

When I need to make a card quickly I choose patterned paper. It's a great space-filler and there are so many beautiful designs out there. This card uses paper from a 6x6 Teresa Collins Far and Away pack. (Shopping Links below each card)

TravelCard2

Since Congratulations cards are often related to some sort of new "journey" - graduation, new job, engagement, promotion, etc. - travel related papers are a great base for Congrats cards.

I had a lovely older script stamp in my stash that read "All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware" and fit the theme perfectly. 

TravelCard2

The decorator dies from the Katie Label Pivot Card do not duplicate the decorator dies in the Katie Label Accordion die set but they are designed to perfectly coordinate. I used the largest solid KLA decorator die plus the KLA stitching die, plus two labels from the KLPC. 

Stitching dies are becoming very popular now. Did you know that most of my stitching dies are on their own die so you can use them independently? Notice how I used just the stitching die to add interest to the bottom portion of the card. On one side I added the Congrats peel-off sticker and on the other side I will write my personal message.

You can find these items at your local independent craft stores or by following these shopping links: 

 
The next card in the video is the Evergreen Pivot Card, using the "outside border" seamless backing card technique.
EvergreenPivotCard1
 
This card, once again, relies heavily on the patterned paper. I simply die cut the decorator trees from the patterned paper, inked the edges with brown ink, then pounced them with Versamark Ink and embossed with Ultra Thick Embossing Enamel. A bit of twine on the trunks and my decorator trees were done.
EvergreenPivotCard1
 
I also used some glitter lines for sparkle and a Season's Greetings peel-off sticker. This card would be easy to reproduce in multiples and would work with many different patterned papers.

EvergreenPivotCard1
 
You can find these items at your local independent craft stores or by following these shopping links:
 
The final card/technique in the video is the House Pivot Card using the "inside border" seamless backing card technique.
  HouseCard1
 
The House Pivot Card comes with all the decorator pieces you need to make the cute little embossed-brick house with the windows, flower boxes, door, chimney, etc. There is a video tutorial for how to use the House pivot card posted on my blog.

HouseCard1
 
I used the grass border die from the Outdoor Edges to add grass pieces to the pop-up. I've also been getting a lot of use out of my Modeling Paste/Embossing Folder backgrounds, in this case, to make a picture frame for the Home Sweet Home greeting. I stamped a "Home Sweet Texas" stamp by Deadbeat Designs twice and cut out the words to reconstruct a Home Sweet Home greeting.

HouseCard1
 
 You can find these items at your local independent craft stores or by following these shopping links:
 
 
So there you have it! Three techniques for making seamless backing cards for Pivot Cards. Which is your favorite technique?
 
By the way, I always love to see what you create from my videos so feel free to send me an e-mail (link in the sidebar) or a private message on the Facebook Page with a photo and/or link to your creations.
 
Happy Crafting!
 
SeamlessBackingCardsPivotCards
 

Inspired by Shelly - Evergreen Christmas Ornament

Are you following along with Shelly Hickox's 12 Days of Ornaments? She is posting a new ornament tutorial every day for the first 12 days of December.

Her Day 2 Ornament featured Poppy the Owl looking extremely cute as a stitched/stuffed ornament.

I also fell in love with her Day 3 Ornament featuring a faux galvanized metal Noel ornament made with letter dies. I really wanted to give that technique a try, so I created a triple evergreen tree ornament using the decorator dies from the Evergreen Pivot Card die.

Evergreen_Ornament

 

I followed Shelly's instructions, with the exception of the sides, which I painted with a silver leafing pen and then Viva Ferro Special Effect Paste in black. The emboss feature is built-in to the dies themselves and since I had used thick foil-covered cardstock with ECD Double-Sided Adhesive on the back, the pressure from cutting the dies also embossed them.

I used a wire hanger instead of jute. To give it the spiral effect I wrapped it around a pencil and then slid it off the end, stretched it into an arch and twisted it onto the wire loops.

Shelly has an excellent supply list and shopping links on her 12 Days of Ornaments Day 3 post for all the paints and foil and chipboard and such. I only added these items:


2014 Countdown to Christmas Week 1 - Candy Sleighs

In case you missed yesterday's post, I explained that my twins *thought* they outgrew this tradition of the Christmas Clues. They voted not to continue and I had to bribe them to do once-a-week clues for sweets this year.

Today was the start and then we'll do the next 3 Wednesdays ending on Christmas Eve.

For the inaugural day I conconcted candy sleighs and then realized that I will have to come up with bigger hiding spots this year. Luckily I'm chaining the clues, though, so mostly I'll be hiding little wax-sealed envelopes.

For all of their nonchalance about the tradition Emma pounced on the clue as soon as she walked in the door. 

EMMA: Hey Karl! Let's do the clue!

KARL: Are you reading it?

EMMA: Yeah, but you can read tomorrow's clue.

ME: Ahem? Don't you mean next Wednesday's clue?

EMMA: Oh yeah, right.

2014_1_Clue1

EMMA: "Measuring, cutting, sanding - such fuss! It takes stringers and struts, but mostly a ______!" OK, this definitely has something to do with my bridge project.

KARL: Is that missing word supposed to rhyme with "fuss"?

EMMA: Not necessarily.

ME: Hey! Don't my clues always rhyme?

KARL: I wouldn't say they're perfect rhymes, but they do have a lyrical quality to them.

LYRICAL QUALITY?! Chocolate-covered-brussel-sprouts for you next week, kid!

I should have reminded him of last year's rhyme of the word eucalyptus!

My clues always rhyme. 

But I digress . . . 2014_1_Clue1Find

KARL: I guess it has to be somewhere around this bridge -

EMMA: Yaughergh! (or something like that) Be careful!!!!!

Emma's Physics group slaved over those trusses all day on Sunday. The books were on top to keep them from warping while the glue was drying. They plan to complete construction tomorrow.

After carefully extracting the clue from under a book it was Karl's turn to read.

2014_1_Clue2

KARL: "My first is a dozen, then seven times three, next three, then a quarter, what can it be?" OK, so the numbers are 12, 21, 3 and 0.25.

ME: Point Two Five?

KARL: Yeah, a quarter. If you're being accurate.

They puzzled over this one for quite some time. Emma asked if they could have a secondary hint.

ME: It's a cipher.

They debated what that meant for a while and then Karl had an epiphany.

KARL: Maybe it's an alphabet cipher, Emma. These could be letters of the alphabet.

EMMA: OK, let's check. A-B-C-D-E-F-G-H-I-J-K-L - the first one would be L. 

She counted up on her fingers.

EMMA: Second letter U.

KARL: The third one would be C. What's the 25th letter of the alphabet?

EMMA: X. Could it be Lunch?

KARL: Lucx - does it mean Luck?

ME: Are you joking? How many letters are in the alphabet?

KARL: 26.

EMMA: Oh! The 25th letter would be Y, Karl. It's LUCY!

2014_1_Clue2Find

By the way, while they were puzzling over this clue I had heard Lucy go through the dog door and run around outside for a while. When she came in the clue was no longer on her collar so I had to go search the yard. Emma had followed me out and asked what I was doing.

ME: Never you mind.

I managed to get the clue back onto her collar before the clue was solved. After they figured out the clue Emma said "Oh, NOW I know why you were outside looking for Lucy!"

2014_1_Clue3

Karl, the most staunch of the "anti-Christmas Clues gang" certainly changed his tune, huh? He read the third clue.

KARL: "The move from Colorado was long; a two-day drive. We brought lots and lots of items and these are still alive."

I thought this clue might take them a while. I figured they would think it was the dogs, although we only brought one dog from Colorado (Lucy) and acquired one in Texas (Katie). So I was shocked when only a couple of seconds passed.

EMMA: I suppose it must be those plants in the dining room.

2014_1_Clue3Find

To quote The Princess Bride: "Mostly dead is slightly alive" 

It is true that these plants have seen more glorious days of long tendrils (coinciding, I believe, with regular water) but they hold on despite my black thumb.

2014_1_Prize

VICTORY!

2014_1_Victory

The Oboes section in Emma's band had tee-shirts made. They say "Reed it and weep" with a dolphin with a double-reed as a nose. 

You know, band puns.

See you next week!

 


Sweet Christmas Evergreen Pivot Card & Christmas Clues Update

Well it's December 2nd and I'm sure a lot of you are wondering if we will be doing our annual Christmas Clues Countdown to Christmas tradition this year.

I started this tradition back in Colorado where the kids solve a rhyming clue each day from December 1st through Christmas to find prizes. When they were younger it was Dollar Store trinkets. In Texas we changed to money - at least half of the money has to go to charity and I will match the amount on Christmas day. Emma usually donates all of her money. Karl pretty much sticks with half. 

The kids are now 16 and Juniors in High School. It's a busy time for them with school and finals and we haven't made it to the end of the clues the last couple of years. On Thanksgiving we discussed whether the tradition would continue and the kids voted . . . 

NO!

What?! Hazzuh? Did they mispronounce "We love this tradition, darling mother!"?

I asked whether it would be OK to just reduce the number of clues and Karl was sticking firmly to "no" but I swayed Emma with a plan to hunt clues only once a week, with 3-5 chained clues, and they'd be hunting for sweets. (Emma has a serious sweet tooth!)

The answer turned to:

YES! (for Emma)

and

I guess. (for Karl)

I'LL TAKE IT!

We settled on the 4 Wednesdays in December, hunting after school, so the clues will start tomorrow. At some point I'll figure out how to introduce some origami-folded charity money into the hunt.

In honor of our change to hunting for sugary sweets and snacks, I made this card featuring the Evergreen Pivot Card decorated like frosted cookies:

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I am working on a new video, by the way, for how to make seamless backing cards for the Pivot Card dies. Expect that to go up by the end of the week.

For this card I used green cardstock as the Evergreen Pivot Card base and then cut the pivot card again into silver foil. I trimmed out just the pivoting trees section from the foil and attached it to the green one to look like a cookie sheet underneath the cookies.

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Modeling paste made excellent frosting. I tinted my four colors using acrylic paint and used a popsicle stick as a frosting spreader. For the little lines and dots I put the modeling paste into a plastic baggie, snipped a hole in the corner and squeezed it out, decorator style.

Decorating cookies is not a special skill of mine. These fake cookies look pretty much the same as real ones when I'm in charge of the frosting. Notice the splotchy uneven blobs on tree #2 - I thought about fixing them, but then thought - nope! These look like "real" cookies in how imperfect they are.

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I found a small little wooden spatula in my stash. I have no idea where it came from, but it worked perfectly on the card.

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I knew I wanted the title to be "Have a Sweet Christmas" but I didn't have any stamps with that greeting so I made the greeting on the computer, printed it onto white cardstock and then die cut with a label from the Fancy Accordion set. The Holly Border die was cut from the same "cookie colored" cardstock and then the holly leaves "frosted" to match the cookies.

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This side view will show how I layered a couple die cuts together to make them thicker and more cookie-like. I added Double-Sided Adhesive behind the cardstock before die cutting the decorator trees, making them easy to attach to each other and to the cookie sheet.

Want to make your own cookie card? You can find these products at your local independent craft stores or by following these shopping links.

See you tomorrow for the start of the Christmas Countdown!