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September 2009

Stampin' Up! O Christmas Tree - it ain't just for Christmas!

Here's another card using the Stampin' Up! exclusive O Christmas Tree die. If you didn't see the first three samples, check out the Photo Album called "02 Stampin' Up! Pop-up Projects" in the left sidebar, or this post from last week. 

Now I'm still learning about Stampin' Up! It is apparently an enormously huge company with about a million demonstrators and groups and apparently my friend and demonstrator, Holle , is not a member of all of them. Go figure!

So if you are a SU! demonstrator, and you would like the PDF files for how to make this sample as well as files for the other three tree samples in that previous post, just e-mail me (left sidebar has a link). And then, so I am not answering a ton of e-mails, which is not my greatest skill if I'm being honest, please pass those files along to other demonstrators by posting them to your demonstrator-only Yahoo! groups and e-mail lists.

I mentioned before that this tree is really just an evergreen tree, making it very versatile for other themes. Trees are popular right now, for all-around decor, so this sample illustrates how you might use the pop-up tree as a pretty element on an elegant Thank You card.

This sample also illustrates the elegance of embossing the cardstock tree pieces using a Textured Impressions folder before assembling the tree.

Click to make it bigger. All supplies are Stampin' Up!

SU Thank You Button Tree 

If you're just here to read about my abysmal fashion sense - scroll down.

Garanimals for Grownups?

Last Friday, Saturday and Sunday I traveled to all the Colorado Archivers stores to run Make n' Takes for Creative Cafe weekend. I had known about this weekend for several months and yet, true to form, I hadn't done any of my laundry. Consequently, I could not find my white lacy-at-the-bottom tank top to wear under my teal sweater. Looking decent for three days in a row is extremely challenging for me, as I am more of a "work-in-my-pajamas" type of person. (And, as Holle can attest, I am occasionally a "meet Holle at Marshall's to pick up some samples in my sweat pants that I wore as pajamas because who's going to see me anyway?" type of person)

However, PJ's weren't going to work at Archivers, so in a moment that was half "happy accident" and half "wardrobe desperation" I tried a purplish blue tank top under the teal sweater . . . and loved it! The colors wouldn't normally be paired, but somehow they worked. I was pretty darn proud of myself.

So proud, in fact, that patting myself on the back wasn't quite enough adoration and as John walked into the bathroom I stopped doing fashion poses in front of the mirror long enough to say:

ME: How do you like my outfit?

And he said . . . nothing. He actually assumed that "art critic" pose where your arms are crossed and one hand comes up to cup your chin in a "C". He even closed one eye and stuck his thumb out toward me like he was trying to fix the perspective on a troublesome painting of a hilly landscape.

JOHN: I'm not sure. The colors aren't really the same . . .

And here he trailed off, unable to find the right word. I think he was searching for a color-related word, like hue, or tone, or saturation, but the man has never used Photoshop.

ME: But . . . but . . . I like these colors together. I think they go. I would SCRAPBOOK with these colors together!

I really emphasized the word SCRAPBOOK, to show that I was very seriously confident. I don't joke about scrapbooking. (Actually, I do.)

JOHN: Well, it either looks like you know what you're doing . . . or you don't.


I decided that I knew what I was doing and gave him a "Bah" while waving him off.

In my next choice of fashion forward excellence, I used a flat iron to flip the ends of my hair OUT instead of IN. Bold.

Bouncing down the stairs, feeling like a fashion model, I greeted my daughter:

ME: Good morning, Emma!

EMMA: Good morn- whoa! Mom. Your hair is all messed up.

ME: Messed up? No . . . I did this on purpose. I flipped it OUT instead of IN. It's bold.

EMMA: It's poofy.

ME: Bold and poofy.

EMMA: It doesn't match your outfit.

Yes, my daughter told me that my HAIR didn't match my OUTFIT! Geez.

ME: (ignoring the hair comment) Speaking of my outfit . . . what do you think?

EMMA: Tell me again how purple and turquoise go together?


I slunk back upstairs and changed into a white sweater.

And I felt pretty peeved about it. Because I was 100% confident that those colors looked great together. But see . . . I had the same confidence in the pleather parachute pants that I wore on the first day of high school. And those, I do recall, went over like a turd in the punch bowl.

And I was equally confident in the denim vest that I wore over the floral-printed skort during Anne's bachelorette weekend when we were all getting dressed to go out to a club called Florabama (named such because it was directly on the border between Florida and Alabama) and the rest of the girls had to perform a fashion intervention wherein I was required to change before we could leave.

OK, so those two instances involved me being young, buying everything on clearance, and having no taste. Now I'm older, still buy everything on clearance (old habits, old habits), and apparently . . . still have no taste.

Because several years ago, when I was a fiend for "What not to Wear" on TLC, I would actually take notes! I was putting little dots of white eye shadow in my tear ducts to brighten them (thank you Carmandy) and I was making sure that my pants fit the widest part of me and then went straight down, with no taper, to elongate my body and make me appear slimmer, and I was paying attention to the length of my skirts, so they would hit right above my knee, making my tree-trunk legs look more like saplings.

And with great confidence, because I had 100% ripped off this exact outfit from a "reveal" segment on What not to Wear, I taught at CKU in a black top, denim skirt (hit right above the knee) and sleek tall black boots that I paid (I might add) full price for!!!

After the event, while reading the reviews on a scrapbooking message board, I read this (I burned the words to memory):

REVIEWER: I loved Karen Burniston's class. She was funny and energetic and taught a lot of great techniques.

All good. All good. Not bragging here, though. Wait for it . . .

REVIEWER CONTINUES: And she taught the whole class in knee-high black boots!


Yeah, the student thought my boots were part of a costume, or something. Or maybe she was just surprised that I wore them for the whole class versus shedding them mid-way through and saying "Just kidding! Here are my real shoes!"

It is probably a very good thing that I'm not a famous person. Or a very bad thing, if you're the one who compiles the "Worst Dressed" lists, or the authors of Go Fug Yourself. Somehow I think I would be their schnitzel with noodles.

RKQOTD (Karl to his grandmother: You know, Mimi - you have a very fashionable hair style for an old person.)

Stampin' Up! O Christmas Tree die projects

In the new Stampin' Up! Holiday Mini catalog, there is a new pop-up tree die which will be available September 1st, I believe. This particular tree is an exclusive design and available only from Stampin' Up! The "O Christmas Tree" design differs from the other pop-up tree die by including an extra layer of pieces for added volume and it also has a more traditional evergreen shape, making it very versatile for non-Christmas themes (camping, outdoors, other holidays, etc.)

One thing that I want to clarify is that I am not a Stampin' Up! demonstrator. I am a licensed artist with Sizzix who designs the pop-up dies. Some of those dies (Cake, Ball, O Christmas Tree) are sold in the Stampin' Up! catalog, and since I love SU! products, it is fun for me to create SU! projects and post them here as inspiration for demonstrators and SU! customers. All of the pop-up die projects that I post on my blog are fair game to use in demos, workshops, for samples, etc. as long as the ultimate goal in using these ideas is to promote and sell pop-up dies.

In fact, I've made PDF handouts for the following three projects that are available free to SU! demonstrators. My friend and SU! demonstrator Holle Wiktorek has graciously offered to post the PDF files on her SU! Yahoo! groups, so if you're a demonstrator, check your groups for the files.

Here are a couple of ideas for the tree. As always, click the images to make them bigger. They are also in the SU! photo album on the left sidebar. 

HALLOWEEN TREE CARD: (All supplies, except plastic spiders/confetti, are Stampin' Up!)SU Halloween Tree 

SNOW SWIRLED BEAD TREE CARD: (All supplies are Stampin' Up!)SU Gray Bead Tree

MERRY AND BRIGHT TREE CARD: (All supplies except red floss are Stampin' Up!)SU Merry and Bright Tree

RKQOTD (Karl: I wish a meteorite would hit the earth and turn me into a person with a better work ethic!)

If I could just remember to buy one of those memory improvement games . . .

So I just had a birthday a couple of weeks ago. It was right before the CHA trade show, and I had bought a couple of new outfits and shoes for the trip, so I told John not to get me anything for my birthday except for one thing . . . a Snuggie. I knew that it would be an act of love if he would actually buy it for me. He has a problem with Snuggies on principle . . . he thinks they're stupid. In fact, when I announced that I wanted one, his response was "NO! I'm not buying one of those things!" and then he handed me his Blackberry and told me to watch this video:

Snuggie  (warning - not for kids)

John snuggieAnd actually, he didn't buy it for me until just last weekend, when we were coming home from a hike and I drove into the Walgreens parking lot and kicked him and the kids out of the van and said "Don't come back without my present!" I snapped a picture of him while driving home:

Now you might be wondering why I would need a Snuggie in the middle of summer when the temperature is 90 degrees every day, but here's the thing - winter will come again! And when it does, and I'm on the couch watching a million TV shows as I always do, I will not have to choose between warmth and a bowl of Cheeto's. Happy Birthday to me, suckers!

And all of this has nothing to do with the subject of my blog post, which is sort of the point.

Because with every passing year, I seem to be getting more and more absent-minded. Or at least I think I am . . . I may have been absent-minded ten years ago but I simply can't remember. (see what I did there?)

Case in point: I was sitting here at the kitchen island doing some work when an e-mail came in from John. We are going to squeeze in a last-minute family summer vacation at a cabin in the woods and he needed me to send a check to the owner of the cabin.

Now I write very few checks anymore. I love the convenience and security of online banking, so that's how I pay all my bills. However, I was rather proud of myself that I knew exactly where to find some forever stamps, return-address labels, and the checkbook. The envelope to mail the check required a trip to the basement, though, so I got up from the kitchen island and walked five feet over to the basement stairs. The staircase is not a long or winding staircase - it is straight, with a normal amount of steps, and offers a clear view of my objective - the cabinet at the bottom of the stairs where the envelopes are stored. This really should have been a straightforward task.

But somehow over the course of 14 steps, my focus shifted to a bottle of Zip Dry that was sitting on the floor near the kids' computer. I frowned. Zip Dry is liquid gold as far as I'm concerned. I knew how it got there - Emma thought she could repair a flip-flop - one of a long string of destroyed flip-flops- that has been chewed apart by our particularly disobedient dog. Even Zip Dry is no match for Lucy,  though, which Emma quickly discovered and the flip-flops ended up in the trash. Still, she did not return the glue and thus I was frowning.

Envelope promptly forgotten, I grabbed the bottle of glue and headed to my office. Once there, I glanced around at the chaos and tried to decide if I could compact the mess enough to make a project without having to clean first. I decided that I probably could, and was at the point of pulling my stool over when I realized that I wasn't supposed to be crafting - I was supposed to be doing . . . something else.

So I came back up the stairs and had a brainstorm . . . diet coke! That was it! This morning I had noticed that I was out of cold cokes in the fridge and needed to replenish before lunch. I went to the garage and got a handful, proud that I would not have to ice my coke come lunchtime.

Putting the cokes in the fridge put me face-to-face with leftover birthday cake from my kids' birthday yesterday. Mmmm. Mid-morning cake sound good! I pulled out the cake, got a plate from the dishwasher, told myself that after cake I would unload the dishwasher, cut myself a small reasonable piece, put the cake away, ate my small reasonable piece, got the cake back out, cut myself a much larger less reasonable but infinitely more satisfying piece, wolfed that down, put the cake away, put the plate in the sink, forgot about the dishwasher, and sat down at my computer.

Oh crud. I forgot the envelope!

Lather, rinse, repeat.

RKQOTD (as reported by Tara when she and her dog Sunny were visiting Bonnie and Karl was over there for a sleepover with Bonnie's son Karl: Is Sunny a shy dog? Tara: No, Karl, she's just tired from jogging. Karl: How far do you jog? Tara: This morning I jogged three miles and Sunny went with me. I'm thinking of taking it to four. Karl: It's good that you jog. Coronary heart disease is the failure of the coronary circulation to supply adequate circulation to cardiac muscle and the surrounding tissue. It's the most common form of disease affecting the heart and one of the leading causes of premature death for women in the United States. Tara: Well I have heard about that. Karl: But nothing can save you if someone riding in a car throws a poisoned-tipped dart out of the window and it hits you in the eye. You're pretty much dead at that point. Tara: I'll keep that in mind.)