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October 2011
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December 2011

90-second videos: Pop-up Heart, Bat, Santa, Beach Chair, Cake, Snowman

I got my Christmas present early - a new video camera with HD quality! Yay!

In honor of the new studio and the new camera, I'm trying a new format to my videos as well. Here are the major changes:

  • Music! I scoured through a ton of selections at JewelBeat looking for just the right uptempo "theme music" to use at the beginning and ends of my videos. My family can often be heard singing a "na-na-na" version of it around the house. The official name of the track is "Source of Inspiration", which seemed like a good omen.
  • My face! OK, so those of you who have watched my video tutorials know that I don't show my face. It's always just my hands/arms and a voiceover. I have several reasons, which range from "no suitable backdrop", to "hair/makeup optional", to "what if someone leaves an unkind comment about my appearance and I dwell on it until it eats me up inside?" (OK, so maybe mostly that last one) However, I have been told repeatedly by people who are much more savvy at marketing than I am, that there needs to be a face with my brand, so I'm giving it a try. These videos have a short face intro and then back to the puppet hands and voiceover.
  • 90 seconds(ish)! I had already figured out that my earliest videos were way too long. Who wants to slog through 5 parts to learn how to put one die together? What can I say? I was thorough! So I have already been trying to get the full tutorial videos down one part, 5-8 minutes in length. But I'd also like to start adding in some of these "taste of" or "alternate use for this die" videos and am attempting to keep them around a minute and a half. These videos will assume that you're somewhat familiar with the die and/or willing to watch a longer video to learn all the assembly steps in greater detail. Keeping the length so short forces me to hit only the most important parts and it also means I can shoot and edit them in less time. It should make for more frequent videos. I would LOVE some feedback on this.

Ado over.

Here are six 90-second(ish) video tutorials. I've started a gallery at to make it easier to link supplies. Instead of linking them all on my blog, I will include a direct link to the gallery upload at, where I've used their (very easy!) supply finder to link up all the supplies. 


Us Time card


Ornament Card WM


Santa Card


Penguin Card


Santa Chair

For this last one, I filmed the creation of the birthday card I made for Gretchen to celebrate her 40th. 


Gretchen Bday

So what do you think? Do you get enough instruction with these super-quick tutorials? I am flexible. I could change to a 2-minute format for future videos and add in an extra step or two. Thoughts?

Thankful! (and not)

I am thankful that John took some time off this week and suggested a fun family outing to the Aquarium on Wednesday.

I am not thankful that we all let ourselves get too hungry and after wandering the downtown tunnels we settled for some foodcourt food that, even as I was wolfing it down, tasted dangerous.

I am thankful that after our first plans to visit John's cousin for Thanksgiving fell through because said cousin got deployed, that some friends here in town invited us to come to their house.

I am not thankful that I woke up Thursday morning with the telltale signs of food poisoning. 

(YOU shoud be thankful that I won't go into detail!)

I am thankful that my family was able to depart without me for a Thanksgiving full of good food, good friends, fun, frivolity and parlor games.

I am not thankful that I, by contrast, was balled up on the couch watching a bad movie on Netflix (after watching as much of The Muppet Christmas Carol as I could stomach on my bad stomach) and feeling sorry for myself.

I am thankful that my sister called and kept me company for an hour.

I am not thankful that by the time I was feeling recovered enough to eat, that there was nothing even remotely Thanksgiving-like in my fridge.

I am thankful that I heard our van pull up much earlier than expected, and I briefly thought that my family couldn't stand the thought of celebrating without me.

I am not thankful that the true reason of their early return was clearly evident on Karl's face, which was sporting a bloody butterfly bandage across his nose. John thought he might need a stitch or some glue, and since it was a dog bite, we were going to err on the safe side.

I am thankful for the internet, which told me in seconds which ER was the closest to us.

I am not thankful that I needed to look that up!

I am thankful that we apparently beat the rush of people who had sliced themselves instead of the turkey, and/or got a wishbone in the eye, because the wait wasn't too terrible. Karl entertained us by reading entries from his "Damn You Autocorrect" app.

Image 1
I am thankful for all the staff at the ER, who worked on Thankgiving.

I am thankful for Walgreens, where the pharmacy is open 24-hours, including holidays.

I am especially thankful that his injuries weren't worse and that, despite looking like he went 10-rounds the next morning:

that he really is fine, and will heal up as good as new. A tooth puncture inside his lip is what caused the swelling. It stayed swollen all day yesterday, but is looking almost normal today. He'll be on antibiotics for 10 days because of the dog germs.

"Black Friday" ended up being "Burniston Lump Friday" for us. Everyone lazed around in PJ's the entire day. We played a few rounds of Pit, I ate some delicious leftovers that our friends were kind enough to send home for me, and Emma and I watched old Agatha Christie episodes, interspersed with Crazy 8's and Nurtz. I am thankful to be fully recovered.

I did buy two Christmas gifts online, but even the websites were crowded - I had to keep submitting my order for an hour before it went through! 

I am thankful that I got up early this morning and took Lucy out for an adventure walk. I had a new route planned, but seeing the ominous black clouds in the distance, I opted to stay closer to home. 

I am thankful that we are being absolutely soaked with an impressive rainstorm at the moment. We need it!

While I would have preferred a less eventful holiday, it certainly made memories, and reminded us that we have plenty to be thankful for!

Plus . . . Christmas ought to be tame in comparison!


It was Lucy, in the Foyer, with her Teeth!

Lucy good and evil
Lucy has a toy box. (toy basket, if I'm being precise) My CHILDREN don't have a toy box anymore, but my dog does. We have a simple rule - if it's in the basket, you can chew it to shreds. Unfortunately, Lucy doesn't play by the rules.

Lucy has her own set of rules.

One rule, actually.

"If I can reach it . . . it's mine!"

Which is why all of our shoes have chunks missing.

And three pairs of my scissors (including the blue Sizzix pair) have met a grisly demise.

Last week Gretchen came over and, quite recklessly, deposited her purse on the foyer floor.

Rookie move, G!

Lucy chewed up her comb. 

I was both horrified and triumphant.

Because Gretchen coddles my dog. She comes over and Lucy plays it up for all it's worth - wagging her tail and whimpering like she's oh-so-neglected - while Gretchen pets her and says things like "Mommy's here now!" and "There's my angel!" and "You want to come live at my house, don't you?" and "Did they lock my wookums in a closet again?" etc., etc.

I try to explain that "Lucy" is short for "Lucy-fer" and that she is, in fact, an evildoer, but Gretchen will have none of it.

Well how about NOW, Gretchen? Also, your hair is a little tangled in the back . . .


OK, so this brings me to the second part of my story, wherein John and I went to the movies on Saturday to see "In Time" with Justin Timberlake and where, with blogworthy irony, we expressed similar opinions as the credits rolled:

ME:    Speaking of time  . . . that's two hours of my life that I won't get back.

JOHN:    Ditto.

The movie theater is in the mall.

JOHN:    Hey, since we're at the mall, I want to get a couple of shirts for work. Do you need to shop for anything?

ME:    Just a comb for Gretchen. Lucy chewed hers up.

JOHN:    You're not going to find a comb at the mall.

ME:    Well I thought maybe one of the novelty stores might have one. It would be funny to find her a silly one.

JOHN:    Like in the '80's when you wore them in your back pocket?

ME:    Yep. We used to buy them from a giant bin at K-Mart and they had funny sayings on the handles. I had a big green one that said "If you can read this, you're too close!" - still not sure why my mother thought that was acceptable . . .

JOHN:    Ha.

ME:    Oh look - a Hello Kitty store - wouldn't that be perfect?! I'll catch up.

So I walked into the Hello Kitty store and it was overflowing with kitty-emblazoned trinkets and I really couldn't even focus on all the stuff so I finally just asked one of the salespeople.

ME:    Excuse me, do you have any hair combs here?

SL:    Hairbrushes? Yes - right over here.

And she walked with purpose over to a hook of hairbrushes, grabbed one and handed it to me, and started back toward the register like it was a done deal.

ME:    Oh, sorry. Not a brush - it has to be a comb.

SL:    (taking the hairbrush out of my hand and returning it, with Pretty Woman snobbery, to the hook) Oh we don't have anything like that here . . . maybe try Target?

Now I know I should have just said "Thanks anyway" and walked out, but that last little comment about Target sort of irked me. Plus, did I not clearly say "comb" when I inquired? Are "brushes" and "combs" the same thing now? I say Nay!

ME:    Yes, well I know I can buy a comb at Target, but I wanted one that was ridiculous.

SL:    (frosty look)

ME:    Uh . . I mean . . . not that all of this (gesture like a flight attendant) is ridiculous . . .

SL:    (icily) I understand.

ME:    I was . . uh . . . just trying to make her laugh . . . and . . . uh . . . inside joke

And then I bolted. 

I found John and gloomily told of my Hello Kitty experience.

JOHN: You SAID that?!

ME:    It just came out. Plus, what did she think? That I needed to comb my hair and my first thought was to check the Hello Kitty store? Because THAT'S where people go when their hair is tangled? (muttering) Stupid superior stupid-head.

JOHN:    She's right, though. You're going to have to go to Target.

ME:    No, let's walk back to the car on the other side of the mall. Maybe there will be some sort of novelty store that will have one.

JOHN:    Oh look . . . Combs R Us!

ME:    Funny.

JOHN:    "Comb and Get it" - that's it! We can open a shop. It's a totally untapped market.

ME:    Enjoying yourself?

JOHN:    "Comb by You" - even better! They can customize their combs. Bedazzle them!

ME:    That sounds a little bit like "Kumbaya"

JOHN:    That's the joke! comb-by-YOU. comb-BY-you. COMB-by-yooooou. 

He spent the next few minutes practicing different ways to say it, obviously pleased with his little joke.

CombIn the end we had to go to Target. Well, actually, we went to Wal-Mart, because it was right next to the mall. I found a rainbow-colored handle-less comb.

ME:    (yawning) This actually looks a lot like her comb.

JOHN:    Yeah, that will work. It's not funny, though. Why don't you get a second comb and decorate it up for her? Here's a plain black one. Can you Bedazzle this with gems or something?

ME:    (brightening) Yeah! I could do that. Good idea.

JOHN:    (clutching comb suspiciously) But do you have enough to do the ENTIRE handle?

ME:    Of course. Do you even KNOW me?


I used my Imaginisce iRock tool, which made the process easy and fun. It did use up all the silver gems from the multi-pack, though, so I had to finish with a slightly different silver gem. I added a "g" to personalize it:

Bedazzled comb

I showed it to John yesterday morning:

ME:    Ta da!

JOHN:    Very nice! I like the addition of the "g". 

And then, after turning it over:

JOHN:    Hmmm. Didn't do the back?

ME:    I didn't have enough gems.





It's better than a sharp stick in the eye!

My father is a very punny guy. He loves puns, catch phrases and any sort of groan-inducing humor. 

One "Dad-ism" that I remember from my childhood is "It's better than a sharp stick in the eye!" which Dad would roll out whenever some minor annoyance was verbalized. "Dad, I dropped my ice cream cone!" "It's better than a sharp stick in the eye!" "I forgot to study for a test!" "It's better than a sharp stick in the eye!" "The Dukes of Hazzard is a rerun!" "It's better than a sharp stick in the eye!"

You get the picture.

And honestly, there were times when I would grumble under my breath that perhaps, just perhaps, a sharp stick in the eye would be preferred over, say, striking out in the bottom of the seventh when the guy I wanted to impress was in the stands.

However, I can now say, with complete assurance, that ANYTHING is better than a sharp stick in the eye!

Because, in a very freak occurence, the other day, while cleaning (cleaning is obviously a dangerous activity that should be outlawed) I leaned in to straighten a box of tissues and one of the sticks from the reed diffuser air freshener jabbed me right in the eye!

No joke!

It hurt!

Hurt like H-E-Double Hockey Sticks!

Luckily it seemed to have hit me in the white part and there wasn't any blood, but the pain lasted all day and I wasn't able to wear my contact lens.

It should be noted that the reed diffuser sticks are not sharp. They are blunt. And scented like vanilla frosting, but that's beside the point. The point is, that based on the pain of a DULL stick in the eye, I am even more in accord with my father, who would (naturally) say that it was better than a SHARP stick in the eye.

Touche, Dad!

And now for something completely different.

I went searching for a blog post this morning. I wanted to share the blog post where I got my iPod signed by my favorite Americal Idol contestant of all time, Elliott Yamin.


Now the Elliott autograph is four years old, and since he signed right across the scroll wheel, it didn't take long to turn into this:


In the last four years Emma and Karl have been upgraded from Nano's to iPod Touches. Karl is on his second Touch after an expensive iPod-in-the-wash incident. John lost an iPod on a plane and broke another while gardening. Now he has an iPhone.

But through my family's iPod upgrades and misfortunes, I have been content to use my first generation Nano. Sure, the battery life isn't great anymore, and no, it doesn't play video, and no, there aren't any apps on it, but it plays, you know, MUSIC, which is why, you know, I BOUGHT IT.

The e-mail came last night:

Dear iPod nano owner,

Apple has determined that, in very rare cases, the battery in the iPod nano (1st generation)may overheat and pose a safety risk. Affected iPod nanos were sold between September 2005 and December 2006...

To find out if my Nano was part of the recall I had to enter the serial number into the website and, sure enough, my iPod is recalled.

They're sending a box for it.

ME:    John, guess what? They've recalled my iPod. I have to send it in and they give me a replacement. You think I'll get a newer model or just a refurbished old one?

JOHN:    Bingo. They'll send you a refurbished one. But maybe they'll throw in an abacus!

ME:    Don't be a hater. My Nano is a FIRST GENERATION! It's a collector's item. Plus, it has most of Elliott Yamin's autograph still on it.

JOHN:    So keep it.

ME:    But the battery life isn't good. I can't get through even a short plane ride anymore. *sigh* What to do?

In June I will upgrade to an iPhone, and then I won't really need my Nano anymore. So do I keep it for nostalgia?

You may be wondering why there is a candle in the photo.

It's not just any candle.

It's a white candle.

So that clears things up.

What? Need more? Oh ok - if I have to spell it out...

Yesterday was 11/11/11, and there was an article in our local paper that, numerologically speaking, the day held some sort of mystical luck powers and it was recommended to light a white candle and write down a goal.

So hey - I tried it! I wrote down a goal regarding my upcoming release of new dies at the CHA-W show in late January. I'll let you know how it works out.

And since the white candle was still sitting on the table, I figured it wouldn't hurt to light it again to see if it brought any clarity to my iPod decision.

So far, no clarity.

But it is 11/12/11, so that's probably why.

Anyone want to weigh in? Keep the iPod? Send it in and see what I get back in the Nano lottery?

Wrestling with this decision is hard . . .

. . . but it's better than a sharp stick in the eye!


Bonnie's Flower Tutorial

As long as I've known Bonnie she has amazed me with her eye for vintage style. Her home is absolutely gorgeous, decorated throughout with interesting pieces that she has upcycled.

I was excited when she decided to take the plunge and rent booth space at American Classics Marketplace in Colorado Springs. Her booth is named BonneNoel and it is a beauty! Bonnie has crafted everything in it, from the tables, to the display cases, to the chandeliers! She upcycles jewelry, furniture and small gift items. If you're ever in Colorado, you should check it out!

In the meantime, click on the picture below to go to Bonnie's blog. She has a great tutorial on how to make these vintage flowers: 



Fresh Vintage Blog Hop: ScoreBoard Caddy

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

You may have been reading about my office makeover that I started about 10 days ago. I went with a black and white theme for the office, so I knew that I wanted my little tool caddy to match. I chose black/white papers from Teresa Collins and My Mind's Eye.

I used spray adhesive to add the paper to the matboard before running it through my Big Shot machine. Assembly was a breeze using tacky tape. I finished it off with a little metallic trim. Quick, easy, functional!

Want to see how awesome my new Black & White Caddy looks in my new Black & White Office?

Caddy in Office

And might I just say - while everyone who has participated in this hop is awesome and talented, and I have no particular favorite, Jonathan Fong is my favorite! Heh

Make sure you watch the video when you get around to his Finger Puppet Theatre, which makes my simple little caddy look like dog doo-doo.

Edited to Add: Wait! That totally came out wrong. I wasn't intending to say anything bad about the caddy die itself, which is superb! And easy to assemble! And superb! The doo-doo comment was just my attempt at being funny. To subtly illustrate the difference between: "Wow! Karen, you made the caddy die into a caddy!" versus "Wow! Jonathan, you made the caddy die into a puppet theater with working lights and an inlaid wood floor!" That's all I meant.

Here's the direct link: Finger Puppet Theatre

Now that the hop is over, you can find direct links to all the projects using this die (and others) on Eileen Hull's blog here: Blog Hops