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September 2011
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November 2011

Part One: Office Remodel

It was exactly one week ago that Gretchen made me call an electrician to add outlets to my office (Calling an electrician was the nagging first step to completing an office install that has been on my to-do list for the entire 15 months that I've lived here!)

It moved at lightning speed from there! 

One thing that helped is that I designed the room a year ago, using IKEA cabinets, which are in stock. I knew exactly what I needed.

I ordered the cabinets on Saturday.

They delivered them on Monday.

Tuesday and Wednesday the cabinet installers were hard at work.

And in less than a week, this room that was for over a year a jumble of card tables and cardboard boxes, underwent an amazing transformation:

Nice, huh?

So it's going to be a few days before I can photograph it all loaded up. Gretchen helped me yesterday and we made this progress:


These are all the boxes of stuff that used to litter the floor of that room. Everything has been neatly stored into the cabinets and drawers.

But I still have this embarrassing scene in the hallway:

And a similar pile in the dining room.

I'm shooting for having it all put away by the end of the weekend, with the card tables and plastic drawers moved permanently to the storage room! (Good riddance!)

It's so great to have friends like Gretchen to give you a royal kick in the pants! Thanks, G!

And now, back to organizing!

(Honestly, who am I? Have I EVER said that before?)


Pop-up Spotted: Donna & Wendee


You're going to love the projects I'm spotting today!

First up, Donna Gibson and her amazing Halloween Pop-up Album! You've got to see this masterpiece! Click the teaser photo below:

Donna has used a ton of Pop-up Dies in her album!

Next up, Wendee Deal has a new pop-up class and you'll love her creative idea with the Snowman die!

Keep those links coming! I love to "spot" people who are crafting with the Sizzix pop-up dies! Also, if you don't hear back from me within a day or two, please re-send your e-mail. I cannot claim to have the most organized in-box! (eep)

Fresh Vintage Blog Hop: ScoreBoard Suitcase

It's Blog Hop day again! Today's die is the Scoreboard Suitcase, by Eileen Hull.

I had a busy weekend that included a long day of ordering cabinets at IKEA on Saturday, (they made an error and there was a lot of standing-in-line to fix it) followed by an all-day crop on Sunday for the Texas Fiskateers. (I am number three million, or something) I decided to use my crop time to create my blog hop project, which was a good choice because I was in a scrapbook store, with access to all sorts of fun new products, including the new Teresa Collins World Traveler collection, which was perfect for my project.


To put paper on the outside of the suitcase I first sprayed the backs of two 6x6 pieces with spray adhesive and laid the paper down on the die, sticky-side-up. Then I pressed a piece of matboard to the sticky side of the paper and ran the die through the Big Shot. Not only did I guarantee that my paper would be positioned correctly, but the pressure of the Big Shot reinforced a tight hold with the spray adhesive. (A tip from Eileen Hull! Happy Birthday, Eileen!)

I found a cool clasp in my stash and used a leathery paper (also from my stash) to make the strap that holds the box closed. I added a book ring through the handle and then attached a metal charm using a jump ring. I decorated the metal charm with another chipboard piece from the collection.

To put paper inside the suitcase I used the die to cut the general shapes and then trimmed them down to fit. I used the Scalloped Circle Pop-up Die inside the suitcase and decorated it with chipboard pieces from the collection.

I thought this could be a fun gift for someone about to take a trip. Throw a gift card or some foreign money in the box and you have a delightful little present!

Supplies Used:

Not Pictured (stash items): brads, leather paper, buckle, charm, jump ring, book ring

To check out other projects using this die, visit Eileen Hull's Blog Post Here.

Curvature of the earth...

To understand this post you really have to read the one from earlier today first. Go ahead and scroll down or just use this handy link: Flat Earth Confession

So this morning I posted the Flat Earth blog post, picked up the phone, and this ensued:

ELECTRICIAN: May I help you?

ME:    Yes, I would like to make an appointment to get two outlets added to my home office. Does your company do small jobs like that?

ELEC: Yes, ma'am. Tell me a little more about it.

ME:    OK. Well I want to add cabinets and countertops to my office, so I want to add an outlet above counter height and then another one for my under-cab lighting. I've got a spot where you can come straight up from an existing outlet without having to drill through any studs. 

ELEC:    No problem. I have a truck in your area and he can be there in an hour.

ME:     Gulp. An hour from now?! Meaning 60 minutes? Not, say, Monday morning, which gives me all weekend to uncover the wall and clear a path to it?

ELEC:    Ho ho. You're so funny. No, seriously, we'll be there in an hour.

ME:    OK. Take your time. See you then . . .

The phone was barely hung up before I was dialing again:

GRETCHEN:    Hello?

ME:    What are you doing? Are you ready to leave the house? How soon can you get here? HELP ME!!

GRETCHEN:    Slow down, Tiger. What's up?

ME:    The electrician! I called the electrician to make an appointment for "next week" like you suggested, and (sweat, gulp, panic, hyperventilate) he's coming in AN HOUR!!! I haven't even showered and you can't see the wall or navigate anywhere near it without a bulldozer.

GRETCHEN:    OK. I'm on it. You go jump in the shower and leave the kitchen door unlocked. I'll be there in ten minutes to start clearing the room.

It took the electrician 90 minutes to get here, which helped. Gretchen and I just picked up entire tables full of crap and deposited them in the hall, making the rest of the house look like an episode of "Hoarders, Scrapbooking Edition", but we cleared a path before he arrived, and shortly thereafter . . . 

New outlets
Now I know what a lot of you are thinking. You're thinking "Dude! Why didn't you just do that yourself?" Because, my dear friends, we are not DIY'ers. The biggest electrical job I've ever taken on is installing a ceiling fan. I don't "do" electrical jobs because, frankly, the whole possiblity of electrocuting myself or burning my house down is not, shall we say, a pleasant thought!

John likes to say "We're hirers" and then he goes on to explain that the Burniston family crest is one hand handing a dollar to another.

So judge me if you will, but the point of all of this is . . . I did it! I called the electrician and the outlets are in! Gretchen and I celebrated by going out to lunch and planning our trip to IKEA to order the cabinetry.


Yep - I'm doing it.

Soon this wall will look something like this:

I wouldn't say I can see light at the end of the tunnel. I won't go that far just yet, but somehow the earth does seem to have a little bit more curvature . . .

Heading in the direction of round . . .

Stay tuned!


Flat Earth Confession

You know how sometimes the world seems flat? And you know this because you fell off the edge of it for a few weeks?

October has been one deadline after another, with a blog hop, trip to Kansas City, retailer event in Houston, die designs due, and volunteer work for my daughter's band. I always have good intentions of keeping up with my blog, FB and Twitter during these times of crushing deadlines, but, alas, good intentions don't feed the social media. (It's a phrase)

During times of high stress it becomes evident in my dreams. I never dream about the actual stressful activity, though. It's always something else, like my kids being lost and I can't find them, or getting to the airport for an international flight without my passport, or wandering around a house that is clearly haunted but I can't find the way out . . . . you know... stuff that makes you wake up happy that the only "real" stressor in your life is that you have three days to die cut 500 items for class kits.

This morning I wandered into the bathroom bleary-eyed and had this conversation with John:

ME:    Hey! You were being pretty flirty with another woman in my dream last night!

JOHN:    Let me guess . . . this is somehow my fault?

ME:    I'm just sayin' that I'm watching you, buster! (This is where I did the Meet-the-Parents fingers toward my own eyes and then toward his)

Later, he came out ready for work and sporting a dapper corduroy jacket in honor of the glorious Fall weather we've been enjoying this week.

ME:    Wow! You look great! 

JOHN:    Well, you know . . . gotta impress the ladies!

Sixteen years of marriage and he still manages to make me LOL most days.

Another morning we had this conversation:

ME:    Ewww. I came out this morning and found a big bug drowned in Lucy's water bowl!

JOHN:    Are you sure it drowned?

ME:    Well it was dead! 

JOHN:    But how do you know it didn't just have a heart attack and fall into the bowl afterward?

ME:    Good point. I guess we'll just have to wait on the autopsy.

JOHN:    Exactly.

What's the secret to staying together?


I'm going with "banter". Heh.

OK, so back to my flat earth confession.

"Karen Burniston" is a company of one person, and you're looking at her. (Actually, that's a figure of speech - you better not be looking at me because my hair is crazy and I have a zit on my chin) (Also, it is completely unfair that, at my advanced age, I have a zit on my chin)

But I digress . . .

My point is, I can't seem to keep up with all the things that a good business person should do. Like social media, and sending out newsletters, and making new YouTube videos, and creating new projects, and checking to make sure that Karl is asleep at a decent hour so I don't get another e-mail from his History teacher saying that he fell asleep in class. You know . . . business stuff.

And because I always feel perpetually behind, I put off stuff that seems "optional" - like getting cabinets installed in my office. 

Which is why my office looks like the vault in Ocean's 11 after the bomb went off.

Which is why my mess has spilled out into the foyer and the dining room.

Which is why I panic when the doorbell rings fearing that a friend or neighbor is stopping by.

Which is why I rejoice when it's just FedEx dropping off another box.

Or two.

Or ten.

Which adds to the chaos in the front half of my house.

Which is why I really need to get the cabinets put in.

If you give a mouse a cookie . . .

If you give Karen another box . . .

I'm pretty sure that Gretchen has started a pool, or a non-profit, or a cause of some sort to try to get me to get my office done. Here's a text convo we had yesterday:

GRETCHEN: S'up? Workout done. Grabbing shower. I need another hoodie. (Because I am all about being random today)

ME:    Working on band signs for fall dinner tonight. John working from home and I am going with him to PT cuz I have to learn how to apply kinesiology tape. (Talk about random!)

GRETCHEN: You know what else I think you should do?

ME:    Do tell?

GRETCHEN: Since you accomplished something major (die designs turned in) I think you should call an electrician to set up a time for him to come next week.

You see? You see how different we are? She works out! She showers! Plus, she has this warped "round earth" view of the world wherein you reward yourself for crossing something off your to-do list by crossing SOMETHING ELSE off your to-do list!

It's madness!

But I made a promise, and so I shall keep it.

I'm ending this blog post and calling an electrician.

The time has come.

The time is now.

Messy K. Office will you please go now!



ONE DAY ONLY! Pop-up dies on sale at!

It's Designer Days at and to kick things off, for TODAY ONLY (October 12, 2011) Sizzix is offering a 25% discount on all of the pop-up dies! What a great chance to jump into the pop-up fun! Use the Promo Code: SZKB25 to get the discount. (Fine print: not valid on Outlet items and cannot be combined with any other offers or discounts)

Click the graphic below to go directly to the shopping page:


Pop-up Spotted: Tiffany Johnson for Lawn Fawn


When I have an e-mail with the subject line of LOOK!!!!, I am eager to click! Gretchen sent me a link this morning to Tiffany Johnson's amazing pop-up card using Lawn Fawn stamps and the Pop-up Christmas Tree die:


  Tiffany Johnson Christmas Tree

Thanks for using the Christmas Tree die, Tiffany! I love your card!

Edited to Add: I didn't realize until after I posted this that Gretchen has a pop-up card on the Sizzix blog today. Check out Gretchen's Bat card!

Fresh Vintage Blog Hop: You're a Unicorn

It's Blog Hop day again! Today's die is Flower Layers #9, by Eileen Hull. On Tuesday, after posting my spooky moth project, I spoke to Eileen on the phone.

EILEEN: What did you do to my butterfly?!

ME: I know, right? But I really had Halloween on the brain. 

EILEEN: Well it is that time of the year. Your butterfly was, uh, cool. Scary.

ME: I have been a little macabre on my first two projects, huh? First the black flowers of death and then the spooky butterflies (but really, they were moths). 

EILEEN: Yeah, you have been a little on the dark side.

ME: Well, don't you worry. Thursday's project is going to be all puppies and unicorns and rainbows.

EILEEN: Yeah, sure! Bwaaa! Ha ha ha ha ha ha haha hhhhhaaaaaaaa!

Why does nobody ever believe me?

01 Card Closed

OK, so this actually might be a pretty cool card, like, for a young niece or granddaughter who really loves pretty, pretty ponies. In that case, a princess or crown on the front would be far more indicated than a random wiener dog, but I promised Eileen a puppy and gosh darn it - I was going to deliver! On the front of my 6x6 card I added an eClips dog with a cute twine collar and some googly eyes. (Nothing sprinkles sunshine on a card more than a set of googly eyes!)

02 Side View

The Flower Layers #9 die was cut from SEI patterned papers and then spritzed with Luminarte paints. Then I crumpled and layered the flowers. The center is a glittered metal flower from my stash.

03 Pink Flower Closeup

As the card is opened the rest of my prophecy is revealed . . .

04 Card Partial Open

Up pops a Unicorn! And a Rainbow! And another sparkly flower! (fairy dust, fairy dust

05 Card Open

The unicorn is made from the Pop-up Snowman die. I hand-cut a snout, body and legs to convert it into a unicorn. The eye is from a Basic Grey deer die. The mane is twine from The Twinery with some beads sprinkled in. The rainbow was made using circle Framelits dies.

06 Unicorn

The inside layered flower is made the same way as the pink one, with die cut patterned paper, Luminarte sprays, crumpling, and layering. I added a couple of clear "arms" attached to the unicorn to lift up the flower and rainbow as the card is opened.

07 Purple Flower

Supplies Used:

Other supplies: Luminarte paints (Creative Imaginations), Glitter Paper (DCWV), Metal flowers, beads (stash)

So you have by now figured out that this card is mostly tongue-in-cheek, but along the way it does illustrate that the Pop-up Snowman die can be turned into anything, and it also shows that the Flower Layers #9 die has the versatility to look great anywhere, even in fairyland surrounded by sprinkly sparklies!

BTW, does anyone know what the "You're a unicorn" greeting is borrowed from?

To check out other projects made with this die, visit Eileen Hull's Blog Post here.

Fresh Vintage Blog Hop: Happy Haunting Card

It's Blog Hop day! Today's die is the Scoreboard Butterfly, by Eileen Hull and, as everyone knows, no holiday is better represented by a butterfly than  . . . Halloween! Heh.

(On my card, I prefer to think of them as moths, which are very spooky!)


My friend Janet Hopkins offers some amazing digi printable kits on her blog. For this card, I used her Happy Haunting kit. The front of the card features one of the pieces from the kit. I stamped the raven in the skeleton's outstretched hand and then layered the piece over patterned paper and a piece of sheer ribbon.

01 Card Closed

The MOTH is cut from matboard which was first covered with torn scraps of patterned paper. After cutting out the MOTH, I covered the whole piece with Glossy Accents and then sprinkled seed beads into the wet gloss.

02 Butterfly Closeup

Here's a side view of the moth.

03 Butterfly Side View

As the card is opened, all sorts of things start moving around. The centerpiece starts to spin and raise, a spiderweb expands, and the banner greeting falls into place.

04 Card Partially Closed

I used two Pop-up Dies for this card - the Spinning Platform and the Spider & Spiderweb dies. Attached to the spinning platform is another card from the digi kit. Attached to the bottom of the card is another butterfly, er, moth.

05 Card Open

To suspend my "happy" banner, I first shrunk down the digi pieces and printed them. Using a needle and baker's twine from The Twinery, I stitched the title together and then attached one end of the twine behind the pop-up and the other behind the card. 

06 Happy Banner

My inside moth is also cut from matboard that was first covered with an image from the digi kit. I added Glossy Accents all over the piece and then sprinkled orange glitter into the gloss while it was wet. The moth is attached below the skeleton.

07 Glitterfly Closeup

For an added bit of pop-up fun I also added the Spider & Spiderweb die. The web is cut from clear die packaging and the spider from a piece from the digi kit. Glossy Accents were added to the spider.

08 Spider Closeup

Supplies Used:

Other Supplies (not pictured): stash items - raven stamp, ink, beads, Glossy Accents

Want to see some other ideas for using this die? Visit this post on Eileen's blog to find links to all the other projects.  Also make sure you check out the Oh My Crafts blog, where you can enter to win a Flower Layers #9 die! (between the dates of September 27-November 3, 2011)