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*SNEAK PEEK* CHAW2014 Pivot Card Dies for Elizabeth Craft Designs

Happy New Year's Eve!

No, I didn't fall off the earth - I went to Minnesota, you betcha!

My apologies for not finishing the last 5 days of the Christmas Clues - I had good intentions to do them up at Mom's house, but it was just too busy with fun and stuff. Non-Texas fun like trying not to freeze to death.


I was also hard at work on samples and videos for the CHA release!


Yesterday Els sneaked the first video preview for some of the new dies. You can LIKE and SHARE the sneak peek post on the Elizabeth Craft Designs Facebook Page to possibly win one of the new Pivot Card dies.


Here are some photos of the cards from the video.

For this card I actually started from the Square Pop 'n Cuts Base. So worry not, Pop 'n Cuts enthusiasts - these new dies are going to coordinate wonderfully with the dies you already own.


Below is the Heart Pivot card we'll make in the CHA class. The original class sold out in minutes (whew!) so we added additional seats and there was still a waiting list, so here's the good news - we added a second session! As of the last e-mail I got from CHA, there are about 10 seats left in the new Tuesday class. The class costs $35 and you'll take home one of the new dies. Here's the link: NEW Interactive Card Dies by Karen Burniston (CHA is a trade show, so only retailers and industry professionals can attend)

The edges for this class card are another new Pop it Ups die - the Agatha Edges. The die set comes with two edge choices and then it also has a flourish that will fit either edge. This is the smooth wavy edge on this card and then when you read further and see the Katie Label Pivot card below, that's the pointy Agatha Edge. 


The other two cards that we'll make in class will be shown in the other Sneak Peeks which will go up tomorrow and another at the end of the week.

Let's look at the other two Pivot Card die choices. Speaking of how you can incorporate your Pop 'n Cuts dies with the new Elizabeth Craft Designs dies, the Butterfly Pivot Card here will coordinate nicely with my earlier release Butterfly dies of similar shape. For this card I used a border punch to make the edges. Remember that YOU choose the card shape and size for all the new Pop it Ups dies, so no more being limited to my choices.


The third Pivot Card design is the Katie Label. This is going to be a great generic label shape for any theme. I'm especially loving how the new Pop it Ups dies can be used with Elizabeth Craft Designs Peel-off stickers, like the birds shown on this card. 


I also must give a HUGE thank you to the staff and customers of Scrapp'n Savvy, who helped me cut the vast majority of the pieces for the CHA class kits yesterday in a marathon work day at the store. Karrie Allen, the owner of Scrapp'n Savvy, is a dear friend, who, when she heard I would be scrambling to get the kits cut after the trip, rallied my regular students to come help me out. I feel like I might be missing some names here, because I'm going from memory, but a huge thank you to Karrie, Rachel, Terri, Neptune (it was her birthday!), Barb, Brenda, Sharon, Trudi, Robin, Leslie, Debra, Shannon, Vicki, Debbie, Becky, Jenn, Mary, Susan and Jared. I appreciate you all SO MUCH!


Happy New Year's Eve! I'm getting a cold (eek!) and need to shoot the intro for the final Sneak Peek video today while I still have a voice. See you next year! (never . . . gets . . . old!)


2013 Countdown to Christmas - Day 19-20!




EMMA: "Christmas is giving, Christmas is truth, Christmas is sharing (except for the juice)" (grins) MOM!

She immediately went toward the kitchen.

KARL: (following) the juice?

EMMA: Oh, yeah. You probably haven't seen my post-it notes yet.

(she opened the refrigerator)


Two things about this photo. 

  1. She took a full apple juice out of the pantry and added it next to the 2/3 full one to claim them both. Tis the season.
  2. Her handwriting is, indeed, this atrocious when she's writing fast. 

Seriously, though, on the handwriting. At the end of last year we got a notice that she had failed her Texas standardized test in writing and had to retake it over the summer. The scores were attached and she had received a ZERO in an entire section.

US: Emma, this is really surprising. You're a great writer. Did you finish the test?

EMMA: Yes, I finished it.

ME: Was it legible? Do you think they couldn't read it?

EMMA: Well . . . they did say that you could lose points if they couldn't read it. And I wrote really small to fit it in.

US: sigh.

She has two methods of writing - big, fast and sloppy, or neat and "grab your magnifying glass" small.

On the day of the district-wide retest, I picked her up after.

ME: How was the test? Were there a lot of kids there?

EMMA: A ton.

ME: Anyone you knew?

EMMA: Yeah, a kid I know from band was there. He said "What are YOU doing here?" when he saw me. 

ME: Well it is a little surprising. Why did he fail the test?

EMMA: He said he was hung over.

ME: (shocked) Uh. . .not . . . cool. Moving on . . . did you write legibly?

EMMA: Yes.

When her retest scores came she scored a 98 or something like that. A vast improvement.

OK, back to the clues. As you can see, I taped Clue #20 to the apple juice. As they were removing it, Emma was reinforcing her claim to the juice.

EMMA: See these notes, Karl? Hands off! The apple juice is mine.

KARL: You bought it?

EMMA: No, but I claimed it.

KARL: You can't "claim" it. It's not land. You didn't conquer it. (in a mocking tone) "Oh, I am ON this land mass. Therefore I CLAIM this land mass. I OWN this land mass!"

EMMA: (grinning) Hey, you usually drink it all. It was worth a try! What's the clue say? 





OK, this was a bit of a gimme. Two engineers decorating and you're going to find little areas of matching items, like a sofa table with all the snowman decorations grouped together.

They went straight to it.



KARL: The money is in this box, Emma. Geez, Mom. A box? You hid the money in a box? 

ME: I was pressed for time.

EMMA: (examining the origami dollars) These are cute!

ME: They're rats.



We had to leave right after the clue hunts to get to appointments for the kids. In the car -

KARL: Dad, you have Siri on your phone, right?

JOHN: Yes, why?

KARL: Ask Siri "What does the fox say?"

JOHN: (presses Siri button) What does the fox say?

SIRI: We will never know. It's an ancient mystery.

Everyone laughs.

KARL: So that was worth update 7.0.2 or whatever.

JOHN: Ha! Exactly!

We entertained ourselves by asking Siri other questions, like "Why did the chicken cross the road?" and "Who stole the cookie from the cookie jar?"

Good times!

2013 Countdown to Christmas - Day 18!

We all survived Finals Week! Whoot! It was time to get caught up on clues.



Now my original plan for the butterflies was to hide them in the toaster. We have a four-slot toaster and I had a rhyme in my mind like "I have two dials so you can choose, crispy 5's or mushy 2's" 

But I never got around to getting the clue typed, printed, set in an envelope and sealed with wax, so each day I've been fishing the butterflies out of the toaster before the kids come down for breakfast, just in case they choose waffles. That would be a disaster because they would most likely ignite the dollars in the process, since they wouldn't think to check the toaster for money first.

This morning Emma came around the corner just as I was fishing them out of the toaster, for a third day, and although I'm not sure she saw me, I decided to change the clue anyway.

I figured they would look cool flying among the twigs in this orange vase by the front door.






KARL: I folded dollar butterflies, and hid them in plain view. You'll have to be observant, because ORANGE is your only clue.

EMMA: Do you think she means AN orange or just something orange?

KARL: Probably something orange.

They wandered through the living room looking for orange items. Notice in this photo below Katie sleeping on the couch. Lucy was trained not to be on the furniture, but when we got Katie, she had a mind of her own. Her persistence paid off and we finally gave up keeping them off the couch, but when I bought the bird chair, I said NO DOGS. No people either, as it turns out, because there is always a set of coasters or a box of Kleenex on the chair to keep the dogs off. *sigh*


As I followed the kids into the room I saw Lucy on the arm of the bird chair.

ME: Hey! Lucy! Get off that chair!!!

KARL: I don't think they care about your "Precious" Mom. 

Clearly not.

"Precious"!? Sheesh.

Maybe if they were more observant they would have noticed that the chair is orange. But they didn't. Eventually they found the dollars in the twigs.

EMMA: What are they?

ME: Butterflies.

KARL: They look more like moths.

ME: You try it.

KARL: Touche.


We also hunted Clues #19 and #20 today, and that write-up will be later. Both kids have appointments.


2013 Countdown to Christmas - Days 16-17!

So much for my promise to keep up with the clues daily, huh?

Hunting clues with teenagers during Final Exams is certainly tricky, but one good thing about doing two days at once is that I could combine the dollars from both days into one glorious origami wreath!


I had them start with Clue #16:

2013_16_clue 2013_16_read


EMMA: Wow! Look at this fancy paper, Karl. It's so shiny!

After reading the clue:

KARL: I think it must be referring to wrapping Christmas presents.

EMMA: Why do you say that?

KARL: Because that's when you call for a finger, you know, to help you tie the bow.

EMMA: But what does that have to do with singing?

KARL: (reads the clue again) I think she's probably just saying that you'll want to sing. Like Christmas Spirit or whatever.

Yeah, or whatever.

EMMA: (doubtful) I guess. Let's check the wrapping paper in Mom & Dad's room.



Emma spied the clue taped to the top of one of the paper rolls.

EMMA: Karl, it's another clue.

KARL: (looking at both clues) Yeah, see, she did December 16th and then this is December 17th.

EMMA: We missed a day?

KARL: Yeah.

Observant, my children.



KARL: "Access is needed for various 'business', Especially soon after dining, A drill and a saw plus some screws and Voila! No more scratching and whining." It's the dog door. Come on.

EMMA: (impressed) Wow! How did you get that so fast?

KARL: Because I helped them. Plus, they had all those tools out - the drill and the saw and stuff.

Technically he is correct. He helped us hang the door at the end. We were probably up to the task without him, but I mentioned to John that a benefit to feeding half a ton of food to a teenage boy every day was that he was strapping enough to help us lift heavy stuff. You know, fringe benefits!

Karl was momentarily puzzled when he didn't see the cash. He even reached through the door to feel around between the flaps even though they are transparent and it was clear that the money was not in there.


KARL: Huh. I don't see it. Check the part that slides in to lock it.

They checked that piece and didn't find it. Finally he thought to open the door and check the other side, where I had taped the wreath.


EMMA: (examining the wreath) Check that out! What fancy folding.

KARL: (unimpressed) Well she's pretty much a professional by now.

Yes, son, all it takes is 17 days of folding dollars and you become a professional origamist. Don't tell Japan. Heh.




By the way, it was Ugly Sweater day at school, so Emma wore the one from our 2011 Christmas card. Karl tried his sweater on but it was wool and he had no interest in scratching all day, so he abstained.

As for the dog door, since installing it on Sunday both dogs have figured it out. We had one in our house in Colorado for Lucy and she must have remembered the concept. She had no trouble from the get-go. Katie, however, took a little coaxing to get through the door. Luckily Katie is extremely food-motivated. Yesterday morning she came through the door on Lucy's back because she couldn't wait her turn. Not when breakfast was on the other side!



A week until Christmas! Lots left to do! Fa-la-la-la-later!

2013 Countdown to Christmas - Days 10-15!

It's 10 days until Christmas. 


Last week was just crazy. The kids had activities and homework and appointments and sleepovers. The dogs had a vet appointment. I had a class to prepare (my final class for Sizzix) and a preview video to shoot for some of the new dies for Elizabeth Craft Designs (sneak peeks coming soon) and photo cards to send (no letters or personal notes, sorry guys) and baking for two school holiday parties. 

Whew! It was a brutal week. The two things that did not happen were daily clues and housework.

Today was the day to get caught up. Well, caught up on clues anyway. The housework . . . still too busy!

ME: Hey kids, let's get caught up on the clues. Oh, you're still in your PJs? Showers first then. I picked out some clothes for you that will look nice in the photos. The outfits are on your beds.

EMMA: (rolling eyes) We don't need you to pick out our clothes!

ME: I know, but humor me, it's for the blog.

It wasn't for the blog. 

More on that later.

Once they came down, wet hair and all, it was time to start the hunt. Clue #10 was hidden five days ago, I might add.

ME: Start with Clue #10. Hey - neither of you accidentally found the money, right? It's been hidden for five days.


Of course they didn't. Don't even know why I asked that.



EMMA: Do you think it could be a laundry basket?

KARL: But they don't have lids.

EMMA: The one in our bathroom does! Come on!

They took off toward the stairs.

KARL: But what about the "gravity" part?

EMMA: Because we drop our clothes on the floor instead of putting them in the hamper!

ME: Well aren't you smart, Sherlock!

EMMA: I'm not a psychopath. I'm a high functioning sociopath. Do your research.

ME: Huh?

EMMA: It's a quote from Sherlock.

By then they had made it to their bathroom, where they trampled across the carpeting of dirty clothes on the floor and over to the hamper, where the dollars had been sitting right on top and undetected for five days.



ME: Step out here and close the door. That's a decent backdrop. It's going to be challenging to take photos today with the house being messy like it is.

KARL: That's what Photoshop is for.

ME: Yeah, but I don't think I can Photoshop a mound of laundry!

KARL: (superiorly) It's called the Clone tool.

ME: Yes, yes, you're very smart. Smile!


Looks like the hearts held up pretty well for being in that hamper almost a week!


We headed downstairs for the next clue. I was looking at the photo on my camera. Emma has always been my challenging kid for photos. She has a hard time smiling naturally on cue.

ME: Looks like Emma is actually smiling!

KARL: If you want to make her smile for photos there's a device you can get that's an electro shock for facial muscles. It'll make you smile for 5 minutes straight!

EMMA: Rude.

Karl took Clue #11 out of the box.

EMMA: Karl, give it to me - it's my turn to read it.

I knew they loved these clues!



KARL: What's a looking glass?

EMMA: It's a mirror. It says it has space behind it.

KARL: Do you think she means literal space or outer space?

EMMA: Probably literal space.

KARL: OK, let's be systematic and check every mirror in the house. (opens the door to our room) Mom has a mirror in her closet but she wouldn't want to take a photo in there.

ME: (running to close the door) Gasp! Never! It's not there!!!!

Remember the episode of Friends where Monica has a closet that's untidy? One word . . . amateur!

They tried a couple of other mirrors and then went into the powder room.


KARL: Emma, it's not the money - it's another clue!

EMMA: What does it say?


KARL: "I'm big and loud and purple, You'll find me with any luck, Although I am not broken, People say I suck." It's the vacuum cleaner.

We have two vacuum cleaners - one for the downstairs and one for the upstairs. I had actually put the clue on the upstairs one, but they spotted the downstairs vacuum where I had left it out in the foyer (did I mention the deplorable condition of my house?) Even worse, the other day I was wearing my ugly pink bathrobe because I was cold, and I had taken it off and draped it over the vacuum in the foyer! 

KARL: (pulling bathrobe off the vacuum) Oh THAT'S why this robe was there, to hide the money!

No, Son. The bathrobe was there because the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.


They were examining the wrong vacuum cleaner, and my Photoshop skills were not up to the challenge of erasing the damage the dogs did to the front door when they scratch at it barking at dogs walking by outside. And I also couldn't Photoshop in the door to my office being closed, so there's a little dose of reality, those of you who watch my videos! Heh heh heh.

I reminded them of the second vacuum and they went upstairs to the guest room closet and found Clue #13.


ME: Wait! Read it here in the guest room - I can take a photo in here!


EMMA: Well if it's a shelf used only by Mom it's got to be in her office.

KARL: I think she has a Brother printer.

Oh wow! I DO have a Brother printer. That kid is smart! And observant about technology. (But only about technology)

He also happened to be wrong about the hiding place.


They stood staring at the wall of shelves for a while and then finally spotted it.



EMMA: "We pick it out, we write the year, With a Sharpie (this can be tricky) This year we ended up with two, One's an owl and one's named Mickey." Karl, it's the ornaments.

She was right. We get one family ornament a year that documents something we did that year. Emma and I picked out the Mickey ornament at Disneyworld when we were there for her band trip at Spring Break. But then John pointed out that he and Karl didn't go on the trip so we should get a second ornament. We picked out an owl when we were shopping as a family on Small Business Saturday a few weeks ago.


They found the final clue behind the Mickey ornament and turned to read it.



KARL: "Searching high and searching low, It's fun . . . you shouldn't knock it. But if you want to find the cash, Reach deep into your pockets!" 

He just stood there puzzled.

EMMA: What pockets? Of the jeans we have on?! How-

KARL: (sudden realization) Emma, she picked out our outfits!

Emma started checking her pockets.


 EMMA: NO WAY! Karl, check your tiny little pocket.

Karl dove into his pocket and pulled out the money.


EMMA: (looking at the origami bills) What are they?

ME: They started as houses, but I had to fold them extra to make them fit in the pockets.



KARL: (unfolding them all) Oh I see - they're fives because it was multiple clues.



As they went to put their money in the envelopes I asked Emma if she was impressed.

ME: That was pretty funny, huh? You guys were going all over the house looking for the money and it was in your pockets the whole time!

EMMA: (grinning) Good job, Mom. (she clapped)

ME: Hey, that looked like sarcastic clapping!

EMMA: No, THIS is sarcastic clapping. 

She demonstrated a much slower clap.

ME: Ah. 

Well in any case, I was super impressed with myself for pulling that off. When Emma came down after her shower her hands were in her pockets! Good thing I chose to use those tiny little jeans pockets that nobody uses unless they need to hide some money.

I will try to stay on track next week with daily clues. 

See you tomorrow for Clue #16!

2013 Countdown to Christmas - Day 9!


Not wanting a repeat of the day before's grump-fest, I felt that I should casually drop some hints on our way to school.

ME: Dad ordered some special harnesses for the dogs and the tracking number says they were delivered yesterday, but they weren't. Poor guy. He hasn't had the best of luck with ordering online recently. Remember the rice cooker?

EMMA: Yeah, what happened with that?

ME: UPS was supposed to deliver it, but they gave it over to USPS instead and then when he tracked it it showed delivered but it wasn't. Finally it showed up in the mailbox, but not before Dad texted me while I was in North Carolina, all concerned that it was showing delivered when it wasn't.

KARL: I've heard that sometimes the employees will scan a barcode on a package but not hit the "next" button before scanning again. It will end up with 150 tracking numbers being associated with one package and the other 149 having no data. I don't think they pay those workers very much. They don't seem well-trained if they can make errors like that. This one time-

Sorry kid, but the ride wasn't that long!

ME: Right. So anyway, good thing that rice cooker showed up, huh? I mean, it really does cook good rice. Have a great day. Karl, I'll pick you up by the bench for your appointent. Don't forget.

KARL: I'll probably forget.

ME: Exactly. Which is why I am telling you, right now, to commit that bench to memory - look at it. Feel it. BE the bench!

He just grinned and got out of the van.

OK the clue seed had been planted. I figured by the time school was over they would have forgotten our little conversation, but maybe it would subconsciously steer them in the right direction.

(With apologies for the lousy photos - wrong camera settings)



KARL: We used to use the microwave, but it was inconsistent, "There's got to be a better way!" said Dad. (he was insistent).

EMMA: It's the rice cooker, definitely. But do you think it's the new one or the old one?

They headed toward the kitchen, where Emma suggested that Karl check the new rice cooker while she checked the microwave rice cooker.



KARL: Found them! (hands two origami dollars to Emma)

EMMA: What are they?

KARL: I have no idea. (he was holding them like boats)

ME: They're cardinals.

EMMA: Cardinals? Like the Catholic official?

ME: No. Cardinals like the bird.



EMMA: (doubtful) If you say so.

Everyone's an origami critic!



Karl appointment (he remembered to wait at the bench!) was for the orthodontist. They get reward points for various things, one of which is wearing their "got braces?" tee shirt to the appointments. Emma is wearing a shirt from her favorite show, Supernatural. 

She was actually repeating her outfit from Sunday afternoon, when we had our photo shoot for the Christmas card. The Burnistons love TV!



Clue #10 will be posted tonight.

2013 Countdown to Christmas - Day 8!


We had spent some time yesterday putting up the Christmas decorations and trimming the tree:


As we were decorating I mentioned to Emma that she should be committing the ornaments to memory, since I sometimes wrote clues around them. (Hint #1)

Now I've been a crafter since my first popsicle stick napkin holder, and through the years I've gone through different phases, including a brief love affair with plastic canvas:


When I saw this ornament in the box I knew it would be a perfect clue. I got both kids' attention.

ME: Hey, check this out, Karl and Emma. I made this years ago from plastic canvas and yarn. The flag goes up and down and the door opens!

KARL: (politely) Oh . . . uh . . . cool.

This was Hint #2.

This morning I had to figure out some origami that would fold small enough to fit in the mailbox. I ended up making these tiny canoes:


Now when I pick hiding spots and write clues I usually envision how they might solve it. In my head, this clue's hunt would go something like this:

EMMA: Would you like to read it, dear brother?

KARL: After you, sweet sister!

EMMA: "Gloom of night won't stay the courier"? Hmmm, what a curious phrase. Let's see what Google says.

After discovering that these words were from the US Postal Creed, and then with the additional hints about the little green flag and red/white color scheme, they would immediately recall my heartwarming story about crafting a plastic canvas mailbox ornament.

Next, they would join hands, skip to the tree, and find the money.

KARL: What are these exquisite origami figurines? Why, they are miniature canoes! How charming!

EMMA: You have outdone yourself, mother dearest.

And then we would all spontaneously burst into song. Hark the herald angels sing . . . 

Oh yes, this was going to be fabulous!

Here's what really happened:


EMMA: Karl, eww. Your breath smells like Cheerios!

KARL: (snatching clue) Let me see that. "I have a flag, it's small and green, Red and white are also seen, Worry not if you're a worrier, Gloom of night won't stay the courier" 

EMMA: Well I have no idea.

KARL: "Gloom of night won't stay the courier" - that means it's something that's visible during the day.

EMMA: Everything is visible during the day.

Karl glared at her.

JOHN: Emma, that's not very helpful.

Emma grunted.

Uh oh. This was not going well. 

I suggested that they use Google or their dad for research.

KARL: (crossly) Dad won't know it.

JOHN: (with dignity) I might.


They decided to look up "small green flag" and "red and white". 

Huh. Didn't see that coming.

JOHN: Let's see - a courier is someone who delivers things. What would they deliver it to.

EMMA: A mailbox?

KARL: Are we supposed to walk down to the mailbox? I'm in my pajamas.

ME: No, I don't want to chase you down there with a camera.

I was floored that they did not remember a conversation from 12 hours prior. They actually wandered around the house looking for mailboxes.

For reals!

JOHN: You know, Mom gave you a hint during our family activity yesterday.

EMMA: What family activity? Oh, decorating the tree?

They walked toward the tree.

KARL: (frustrated) There are a lot of ornaments on the tree and most of them are red and white.

JOHN: But they don't all have a small green flag on them.

FINALLY they figured it out. Karl opened the mailbox ornament and started pulling out the canoes.


EMMA: What's in there, Karl?

KARL: Something that's been folded a lot. 

EMMA: What are they?

ME: They're canoes.

KARL: (crossly) They look more like kayaks.

ME: Man! You are a grump! Can you just pose for a nice photo and we'll call it a day?



Needless to say, there was no spontaneous caroling.

See you tomorrow for Clue #9.

2013 Countdown to Christmas - Day 6 and 7!

For Day #6 I wanted to write a clue that Emma would get before Karl. He's been solving most of them, so I decided to stack the deck in her favor.

First things first, I needed some origami dollars. Behold, one disheveled anteater:


These little buggers (pun intended) were DIFFICULT! My folding was pretty inconsistent - a couple looked like anteaters (if you squinted) but the others just looked like aardvarks. Heh.

I was more than happy to attach them unceremoniously to an empty soda bottle using a rubber band:


Emma brought the bottle home from school this week and excitedly told me that this is the soda they drink in a web comic she likes but it's only sold up north and one of her friends had gifted her this bottle. (Sans soda, but still a nice gesture!

She set it right here on the bar next to these candles. As though it were decor. But then, she also knows her father, so the next day, in a panic, she said:

EMMA: Wait, where's my Faygo bottle?

ME: Right where you left it.

EMMA: Whew! Don't let Dad recycle it.

ME: Maybe you should move it for safe keeping.

It's still on the bar.

But when I spied it there Thursday night I knew I could write a clue for it, and that would give Emma an edge. I didn't know anything about this soda but my good friend G. Oogle sent me right to the Faygo website for research.


Emma texted me toward the end of school to see if she could go straight to Erin's house. It was a Friday and a really cold one, so it seemed unreasonable to ask her to walk home first just to solve the clue. My plan instead was to have them solve two clues on Saturday.

I woke Karl up this morning to get him to his 4-hour Saturday detention on time. It started as a simple 1 hour detention for missing a class. He does not pick up on social cues, including, in this case, an entire cafeteria of kids filing out to their next class. The janitor found him listening to music, alone, in the cafeteria and asked if he was supposed to be in class.

Yep, that happened.

His case worker later told me it was just a series of unfortunate miscommunications because they were in meetings and the teacher had no idea he was at school that day, so nobody knew to look for him. He missed an entire period and was disciplined with a one hour after-school detention.

Nobody told me.

When he failed to report to the one hour detention (because Mom did not text him to remind him, because Mom did not know anything about it) he was slapped with a two hour after-school detention.

Nobody told me.

When he failed to report to the two hour detention he was slapped with a three hour after-school detention.

Nobody told me.

You're getting the picture, right? Finally I got a voicemail from the Assistant Principal telling me that he would have to serve a 4-hour Saturday detention for failure to appear to any of the three previous detentions.

I called his case worker first, asking why she hadn't told me about the earlier detentions. She was as surprised as I was, because nobody had told her, either.

Then I called the Assistant Principal back.

ME: I will have Karl there for his Saturday detention, but why wasn't I told of the earlier detentions?

AP: We don't normally inform the parents unless they ask us to. We send a slip home with the child.

ME: It is well documented in Karl's IEP that he cannot be the only source of communication between the school and the parents. We must have back-up notification. His case worker wasn't informed either.

AP: (puzzled) Well I asked Karl to show you the papers. 

ME: I'm sure you did.

Really? I mean really? I have to tell her to let his case worker know about disciplinary stuff? This is news to her? Really? *sigh*

At least this gave me time to get the dollars folded and the Saturday clue written, since he wouldn't be home until noon.



The George Washington face shirts were really easy to fold. The ones with the ties were harder.

It was about 11:30 when Emma came to find me.

EMMA: Uh, Mom? I accidentally found the money today.

ME: You did? 

EMMA: Yeah, I'm making pizza rolls for lunch.

ME: OK, well I guess you can just sit out today's clue and let Karl solve it on his own.

EMMA: He'll solve it.

ME: You don't even know what it says!

EMMA: Yeah, but he's really good at solving them.

Aw. Poor girl. I was happier than ever that the first clue was something only she would know.

ME: What did you think of the origami today?

EMMA: What are they? Shirts?

ME: (offended) Yes! Of course they're shirts. Two of them even have ties!

EMMA: (shrugs) I like the animals better.

I take back the "poor girl" stuff. Sheesh!


KARL: Hmmm. 50 flavors. It could be ice cream, but this doesn't seem like a real flavor.

EMMA: I'm sure it probably is a real flavor, but I've never heard of it.

They checked the freezer.

Next they went to the breakfast room table, where Emma had her laptop.


EMMA: OK, how do you spell the name, Karl?

KARL: (looking at clue) F-E-I-G (looks up) No, it's E-N, not O-N, then S-O-N.

EMMA: Hey! I have no internet. Karl, are you sucking all the bandwidth?

KARL: (getting up) I'll go check my settings.

EMMA: (puzzled) But while you were gone we turned off your computer.

ME: Yeah, we had to. Whatever you were doing was causing none of us to have internet.

KARL: I turned the computer back on when I got home, and I have it set to always give me the bandwidth before Emma.

EMMA: Rude.

KARL: I usually have a restricter on at 75% though. (heads upstairs)

Emma and I just looked at each other and shook our heads. Karl is frighteningly good at computer stuff. 

Karl returned and sat back down.

KARL: Try it now. I had it set to 100%.

EMMA: So you were taking ALL the bandwidth?

KARL: All of it.

EMMA: Rude.

Emma peformed her search and then jumped up.

EMMA: Karl, it's Faygo! I have a Faygo bottle!

KARL: Wha...?

But she was already to the bottle.


KARL: What is that?

EMMA: It's the soda they drink in Homestuck.

ME: What is it? Home Suck?


ME: Got it.

I told them to grab their anteaters and pose for a victory shot.

ME: OK, ready? Smile and look right here at the camera. It's the big black thing in front of my face. Just look right here. Right at me. Ready?



Karl was up next for Clue #7. 


KARL: "A sleuthing tip from me to you, Solve each part of every clue! Today the first is black and chrome, Inside it gets quite hot, The second's used in baseball games, So line drives can be caught." Hmm. Black and chrome . . .

He walked to the kitchen and examined the oven, then looked at the clue again.

KARL: "line drives" - I don't know what those are. Hey Emma, I need you to Google something for me.

EMMA: Already on it. (reads from the screenIn baseball, a line drive is a type of batted ball, sharply hit, and on (or slightly above) a level trajectory.

KARL: (wanders back toward the oven while talking) OK, so this allows a line drive to be caught, so it must be some sort of baseball glove. I'm guessing she's referring to an oven mitt.




 Smart kid!

KARL: (on his way to the envelopes) Do I get to keep all four dollars or do I have to split them with Emma?

ME: You have to split them.

KARL: Aww.

Tune in tomorrow for Clue #8. We're putting up Christmas decorations today, so that will make for some new festive hiding spots!

2013 Countdown to Christmas - Day 5!

Well Karl was right. Apparently I will look for any excuse to fold stuff, because this morning, while getting out the dollars for today's clue, they just looked so blah without being folded into something, so I went with Cranes.

2013_5_Crane_and_seal Gretchen and I hit Hobby Lobby yesterday before her birthday lunch so I could pick up some fresh wax for the seals. I'd been using leftover nubs from years past up until now and the seals were pretty sloppy. Day 2's clue was momentarily on fire, so it was definitely time to get new wax. 


I was looking forward to the kids getting home from school because I really like this clue. I figured they would solve it, but I wasn't sure how long it would take. 

I put my iPad on the table behind the couch, propped up open on the stand, and tucked all four origami cranes into the case.

Karl got home from school first.

ME: Karl! It's really cold - I thought you were going to call for a ride!

KARL: Nah. It was a nice walk. The cold actually puts me in the mood for winter and Christmas.

Oooh! That's what I like to hear!

Emma had stayed after for psychology tutorials, so I went back to work while Karl went to make a snack.

It didn't take 15 minutes in my office to realize my mistake. I jumped up and ran out into the living room to make sure Karl didn't grab my iPad.

The iPad was no longer on the table!

But the four origami cranes were!


He had his headphones on, sitting at the table, laughing at a YouTube video on my iPad and polishing off a bag of chips I just bought yesterday. (Boys!) I quickly scooped up the cranes while he wasn't looking, hoping that somehow he had grabbed the iPad and not noticed the dollars falling out of it.

If you have ever met Karl you will know that this was not an unheard-of possibility.

ME: Uh, you need to ask to use my iPad.

KARL: Oh. Sorry, I forgot. 

Hmmm. He didn't smile, or look guilty, or volunteer anything . . . maybe he really didn't see the dollars!

ME: (casually) Where did you find my iPad?

KARL: (pointing) On that table over there.

Oh! This is awesome! He didn't notice the dol-

KARL: (matter-of-factly) It had these little origami things in it. I left them on the table.

My heart sank. But wait! He said "things" - maybe he didn't realize they were the dollars!

ME: Little origami things?

KARL: (not even looking up) You know - the dollars for the clue.

AURGH! So he DID know. And yet, he wasn't acting like he'd spoiled anything. Perhaps there was still a chance . . . 

ME: Oh, I hoped you hadn't seen those. 

KARL: You mean you hadn't hid them yet?

ME: No, but now you know the shape of the dollars. Don't tell Emma.

KARL: (puzzled) Why would I?

I had to decide if I should just exclude him from the day's Clue or risk that he wouldn't make the immediate connection based on what he saw.

I decided to gamble!


EMMA: Wow! Nice seal today, Mom!

She noticed!

They read the clue together, and there was no reason to chase them around the house because they just stood there pondering.


KARL: "Next time won't you sing with me" - Emma, it's the alphabet. Those numbers are letters of the alphabet!

EMMA: (impressed) Wow!

KARL: (keeping track with his fingers) A-B-C-D-E-F-G-H-I the first letter is I. (repeats the process) Next is P. (looks at the clue) #1 would be A and then #4, which is D. It's I-P-A-D. It's an iPad!

Right then I saw the realization flit across his face. He grinned.

EMMA: Well which one? (looking around)

KARL: Dad has his at work. It must be Mom's.

He took off to the dining room where I had moved the iPad for safe keeping. 


KARL: (handing over two dollars to Emma) See? Here they are.

EMMA: Cool! What are these? Cranes?

ME: Yep.

I guess a new tradition has been started! Origami dollars each day! Whoot!


I also wanted to share another conversation with Karl when he got home from school today:

ME: Hey, Boo! How was your Spanish test?

I actually don't remember what made us start calling Karl "Boo" or "Boo-Boo". It was when he was a baby, so a long time ago. So far he still doesn't mind, although I try not to call him "Boo" in public. (But I sometimes forget. It's a habit!)

KARL: OK, I guess. I think I knew most of them. I actually did the right thing and gave back the first test she handed out because it had all the answers on it.

ME: You did?! Karl, I'm so proud of you! What did the teacher say?

KARL: She just gasped (here he demonstrated a loud dramatic gasp with a chest clutch) and grabbed it and said "I told the last class not to write on the actual test!!!!"

ME: Did she praise you for giving it back?

KARL: No. She just snatched it and gave me a blank one.

ME: Well sometimes you have to do the right thing just to do the right thing, you know? Whether anyone notices or not.

KARL: Yeah.

That's a lesson that I, too, have been tested on this year. It's hard to do the right thing sometimes, especially when it is not acknowledged. Sometimes you just have to let those actions be their own reward, although it can be very, very hard to do. I'm so glad that Karl was able to make a great choice today.

See you tomorrow for Clue #6.

Formerly Unlisted Video now available - Snowflake Chain Card

I originally created this project as a guest designer for a UStamp with Dawn and Friends event. You can read the original post here: Snowflake Chain Card

I keep the videos for these paid events unlisted for the first couple of months and then make them public once the video has "leaked out" via public Pinterest links.

As it turns out, this is a great day to share this video as it is another example of making a Pop 'n Cuts Window Card, which is the subject of today's *NEW* tutorial for how to create windows on the front of Pop 'n Cuts cards that will perfectly line up with the pop-up. I used the same technique for this Snowflake Chain card as with the new Coffee Card, minus the removable tape, which was an idea I thought of later. (To see the video for the Coffee Window Card, either scroll down to the post below this one or follow this handy link: December Designer Challenge - Anything Goes!)

For this card, there's another technique showcased as well, which is constructing a chain of items that will be visible through the window in the closed position, but then expand into a chain as the card is opened.

You could use this same technique with any image - think about hearts, or butterflies, or gingerbread men, or ???.


 Here is the video tutorial:


And one more photo from a side view:


 For this project I used these three Karen Burniston Pop 'n Cuts for Stampin' Up! dies: