Friday, 20 January 2017

2 stamps = love | #tgifc91


I mixed two stamps.

And then the clouds parted and the angels sang.

This is the Succulents sentiments stamp and a Love You Lots hostess stamp.

one stamp + another stamp = love.
Yes indeed.

Perfect for Valentines or Anniversary. And that's exactly this week's TGIF Challenge blog challenge.  Love.


Valentines is just around the corner.  Get a head start on your projects and upload to the TGIF Challenge blog.  I can't wait to be inspired by you.

Cathy

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Sealed With Love mini album | Stampin' Up! Artisan Design Team Blog Hop


Hi.
It's me.
Cathy.
Cathy Caines.

Sometimes I talk too much and other days I talk too little.
Sometimes I eat breakfast and other days I do not.
My husband snores.
My daughter climbs up the handle on my fridge and flips backwards.
My son doesn't like his toys in the toy box.
The dog takes up way too much room on my pillow.
A great day is when we all sit and eat supper together that I actually cooked on the stove.
That's life in my world.
And I can't wait to share it with you.



Today is special.
It's the first Stampin' Up! Artisan Blog Hop for 2017 and you'll be meeting some of my new friends from around the world who will be sharing crazy amazing projects with you.

If you didn't know, in the Stampin' Up! world, being an Artisan is a big deal.  
There. I said it.

To hear the story of my 2017 Artisan phone call and receiving my award, you'll have to check out these to blog posts: The Phone Call + The Secret.

Photo Credit: Stephanie Linthorne
With Valentines Day, just around the corner I thought I'd use the Sending Love Suite in order to create a small mini album.  I never let mini albums take a great deal of time...  

I am a "Wam. Bam. Thank You Ma'am kind of gal."
It's time that you did the same. 
Here's how:

Step 1: I cut out several banners from Sending Love Designer Series Paper (DSP) using the Banner Framelits.   I almost always have at least one transparency in my albums.  This time, I incorporated the Fabulous Foil Acetate because the Sending Love glassine sheets were a little too thin.

Step 2: Print photos from your phone to your home printer.  I use the Canon Selphy C910 to have access to my photos whenever I want.  With my iPhone, I use the Pic Collage app to select the photos I want in the desired size. I save the layout and then hit "Send to Printer" from my Camera Roll.  Ta-dah!  I use Pic Monkey when I am on my computer.

Step 3: Put your album together.  Don't over think it.  Alternate between a a light piece of paper and  a dark piece of paper. Secure your papers with a ring or ribbons.

Step 4: Decide which photos are going where.  Use a glue dot to temporarily hold them in place in case you change your mind. No need to commit just yet...

Step 5: Die cut a bunch of stuff.  Pick out 3 or 4 other supporting items like wood veneers and pearls.

Step 6: Give yourself 3 or 4 minutes to embellish each page then move on to the next.  You can always come back to it if you like.  Don't go over your time limit because you'll just be running in your wheelie with your hamster.

Step 7:  Add dimension. To do by adding an extra strip of paper or anything else that floats your boat. Think tickets or felt or die cuts.

Step 8:  Add texture. Add ribbon or tassels... I added some wooden veneers through the ring.

Step 9: Add journalling.  With music playing or in the quiet, write down your story.  What is it that you want to say? Don't over think. Just write.  

Step 10: You are done. Have a sandwich. Ham preferably. Hold the mustard.



Oh... you noticed the tassels, did you?  

They are very trendy right now.  They took 2 minutes to create and definitely helped pull this album together.  How?... oh... how do you do tassels?... You'll have to ask Google.  However, I will tell you that I secured my ends with a hot glue gun.


I added the little envelopes with "The Reasons Why I Love You" on the back side of some pages.  I hand wrote them even though I didn't like my handwriting that day.... they always like things handwritten.

But seriously, who can resist those teeny tiny envelopes from the Love Notes Framelits?


Those faces.  So sweet.

What else is sweet?  Those little 5 cent "tickets" - cut them out of the Sending Love Designer Series Paper.  Adhere them with a mini paper clip.

Photo Credit to Sage Photography
Use ribbon to create a "pull tag".  Use a regular stapler to adhere it.  That metallic ribbon is a sale-a-oration item... ahem. You need it. Just saying.

Photo Credit to Stephanie Linthorne
On the back of the album, I stamped the "Happy Valentines Day" image on the back.


If you made it this far, you've done well.

Thanks so much for dropping by.  Make sure to follow me on Facebook and on Instagram.  I do Facebook Live Events every Thursday night at 8pm Eastern Time (Today!) and post to Instagram regularly.

PS. It's so great to meet you. :)

You are off to see Dani Dziama now.   She will blow your mind.  I've followed her for a long time and she knows her stuff.


Supplies: Sealed With Love Stamp Set, Sending Love Designer Series Paper Stack, Mini Paper Clips, Sending Love Embellishments, Whisper White and Real red cardstock, Sending Love Ribbon Combo Pack, Basic Pearls, Metallic Ribbon Combo Pack (SAB), Love Notes Framelits, Fabulous Foil Designer Acetate, Banner Framelits




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Friday, 13 January 2017

golden dragonflies | #tgifc90


It's a sketch challenge with the TGIF Challenge Blog this week.
Everybody loves a sketch.
Well.
Most.
I don't usually because I feel like I am stuck in a box.  I feel like I need to always get my Big Shot out and run die cuts.


But this time, the card came so easily.  I saw the sketch and immediately thought about the new lace doilies from the Stampin' Up! Occasions catalog. These days I am using up my ribbons by using them in lieu of strips of paper.  The gold ribbon you see behind the dragonfly is a Sale-a-Bration product.  It's quite awesome.

I am not ready to talk about the dragonfly as they have a different meaning for me.  I have many of the dragonflies pre-cut so I just grabbed one from my pile.

The 'happy birthday' sentiment comes from the Fairy Celebration stamp set. And yes. You need that too.

That was fun.  
See you again next week!
Cathy

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

I kept the secret + OnStage | 2017 Stampin' Up! Artisan Design Team

I got the call and now I was to keep the secret.  
I tell my story about the call in a different blog post.  You can find it here: blog post

Here's the thing.  Between the heat, the whining and the itchiness on that phone call they had asked me whether I would be attending an OnStage Stampin' Up! Regional Event where I could receive my award.  I knew events were happening on Saturday, November 5th in several locations.  I also knew that I would be with my family on a Florida vacation until November 4th.  Without thinking much, I replied "I can make that work."

.... Ummm.. what? I can't make that work.

Without spilling the beans, I needed to figure out how I would attend when the closest event is a 3 hour plane ride to Ottawa, Canada only IF I could get a direct flight from St. John's, Newfoundland. Not to mention the fact that I won't be in Newfoundland until 3am on that day. I figured I'd get home at 3am then potentially turn around and go on another plane leaving at 5am to arrive in Ottawa around 9am.

WHAT?
No.

Well, that's it.  I can't force my husband to travel with two kids alone.  I can't extend the trip and fly quickly to Houston or Atlanta - it was too pricy. I won't go.  Not the end of the world.

Oh contraire, my French friends.

I SHALL force my husband to travel alone with two kids.  However, only one leg.  From Toronto to St. John's.  The kids are 6 and 3 - they practically take care of themselves! Drop me off in Toronto Husband!  I'll get a plane to Ottawa from there.

And so I did.
My in-laws thought I was nuts.  
But I kept this ridiculous secret.

I had friends.  Yes.  Colleen and Paula would be waiting for me at the Ottawa airport with a rent-a-car and coffee.  I need to hang out with these girls more.  They are my style.

It was Friday and the On Stage Event would be early on Saturday.  We were staying at the Novotel in downtown Ottawa. We set out to find a restaurant in Byward market for a late supper. We found a mediocre restaurant called Kinki.  And kinky it was when the poster of two bikini-clad women dropped their tops at 10pm.

Paula and Colleen didn't know my secret.
Because THEY as in Stampin' Up! said not to tell anyone except my husband.
How annoying that I couldn't tell them.

I wasn't nervous.  I wanted it over with. Time to tell the world, I say.

It took a couple tries but we found coffee.  No the Starbucks Christmas cups were not out but... only a couple more days to go.

On Saturday, we barely made it in time.  In fact, there were no tables with three seats.  We were so late that they offered to give us a seat at one of the tables for those that are hearing impaired. Done... Let me just say that we were technically not late.  Everyone else was EXTREMELY early.

... and with coffee in hand, might I add.

Welcome. Let the games begin.

The room was dark and filled with tables.  There was a stage and a couple large screens where they would play some taped content from another event. #notafan. In the corner, there was an oversized air balloon.  It would have been a perfect photo backdrop had there been any light in the area. The centre pieces were darling as they were mini air balloons.  So cute.

Paula Taylor, Colleen Petten, Kay Smith and myself on the right

A group of Kay Smith's downline, the Strawberry Stampers.  I am her 4th downline thus technically not a Strawberry.
We were handed a canvas bag filled with some goodies including the new Succulents stamp set and a cool planner.  We created some make and takes when they started some Awards.  The agenda said there was some Awards in the morning and some Awards in the afternoon session.

OnStage Attendees were given this planner #bigfan
My stomach was tight waiting for my turn.
It never came.

Lunch came.  It was terrible.  A wrap with a bag of chips and a MacIntosh Apple.  They ran out of lunches in fact.  People were waiting in line for well over 30 minutes for theirs.  There was no coffee or snack kiosk in the place. We should have gone and got some treats.  We will know for next time.

Colleen and Paula won the same Prize Patrol: Beautiful You!
Paula and Cathy hanging out after lunch by the display boards... soon to go to the washroom.
The agenda said that there was a make and take following lunch and then more Awards. As they called people back from lunch, knowing the agenda I wasn't in a hurry - I was deciding whether or not to go to the washroom.  Paula had already made the decision and high tailed it into the stalls. Colleen was lost in the hustle and bustle. I made my way to the washroom... and then I heard it...

Next we will give recognition to the Artisan Design Team winners...

Blah blah... list of names... Blah Blah.

... Do I have time to get back to my table?
... No.
... "Cathy Caines"...

ACK!!!! 

I went up on the stage from the right.  I shook the hand of Russ. Gosh, I don't even know who this guy is.  It's not Russ. Next we were supposed to go to the front of the stage like I was prancing around in my pageant dress at the Miss America event.  There was no one to take my picture. Because I bloody well never told anyone this was happening. And this wasn't supposed to happen for at least another hour.  Paula was in the bathroom!! Colleen was somewhere.  Probably trying to find her phone to take a picture. She's good like that but that's a big purse.  Eventually, Martha Inchley came on stage with me. I probably stole some of her paparazzi.


Then I turned around.  We were supposed to get our Artisan Team Present. And we did but it might as well have been like someone was throwing the remote control at me.

And that was it. 

It is entirely questionable whether this trip was worth it for that exact moment.

But you know its not about that moment, don't you?

It was so awkward.  I couldn't wait to talk to Martha.  You see, I had memories of winning in 2013. hundreds of people were in Salt Lake City in the evenings best.  All 10 winners were on stage together and we were "laid" with a fresh flower necklace.  Now that was worth the trip.  But things change, and I am OK with that. I wished Martha had the same experience.

Did I mention it was awkward?

Oh. Who's Martha? Well. She's my new friend. She's on the 2017 Artisan Design Team with me and now we will be friends forever. :) 





I opened my box when I got back to the table. And that's when it happened. My hands fumbled trying to slide the baker's twine off.  The box was wooden.  It wasn't just a flimsy cardboard box.  This would be a box I keep forever. Inside was a note saying Congratulations.  There was an engraved Tiffany bracelet along with a personalized stamp.  

I had forgotten what it had felt like.  To feel special. To feel chosen. To feel proud of myself. Not my children.  Of me.  Way to go ME.  I couldn't wait to tell the world but I still had to wait.  Bloody time zones.

But it was flushing back.  The emotion. It was magical.

...................................................................................................................................

By 2pm, there was still no coffee.  And no matter how many white wooden boxes full of Tiffany teal mini boxes or personalized stamps were going to keep me alive. Where in the world are the windows in this place?

While on my break, I wandered outside to the Display Boards. The Display Boards are boards where selected Stampin' Up! demonstrators created projects with new products from the 2017 Occasions catalog.  There is a long list of the names but you don't know who created what.  Here was some of my favourites.  If anyone knows who created these, I'd love to put their names there to give them credit.



The day finished up and I never did get coffee but we were off to supper at a place called Play.  And I was ready for breakfast, lunch and dinner with a side of snacks. (We had gotten so skinny from the lacklustre lunch and absence of snacks) Well, this place hit the spot.  It was a celebration.  Every bite was like a party in my mouth.



You should go here next time you are in Ottawa.

After too much wine and of course, too much food we wandered up to the Parliament building.  There were big laughs. And a couple falls. And most definitely lots of pictures.  


The next morning was a little rougher.  We ate at the breakfast in the Novotel Hotel called the Albion Rooms.  The decor was amazing.  The food was local and delicious. Like seriously... check this out.


Today was the day that we go shopping.  We headed to Ikea first.  Ikea for me is hit or miss.  We don't have Ikea at home in Newfoundland.  To ship to our remote island is ludicrous. And unless I intend to ship these items back myself, its usually not worth it... But once the seal was broken... it was darn well broken.


Colleen.  Well. She went overboard.

The sad part is that I really wish I bought more picture frames.  I hate it when that happens.

We knew before we even left there that we were going to need some more luggage.  I didn't even have any with me.  I sent all my luggage back to Newfoundland with my family.  Never fear, my friends... we went to Bentley and got some soft duffle bags for like $30 bucks.

We spent the rest of the day at the new Premium outlets in Kanata. I bought two pairs of sunglasses.  I don't know why I have spent this much of my life without red sunglasses. Right?


This was fast becoming a food vacation because I have to tell you about the Smoque Shack.  There was nobody else there but it was SOOOO good.  If I was a University Student, I would only eat here. It is for everybody but you get lots of food for good value - perfect for a starving student.



And then it was time to pack.  I really should have taken a picture of that little car with so much luggage.  So much.  The soft duffle bags were filled.  But we jammed it into that car like it was our job.  

Earlier I asked if it was worth it.  

It was.  It was... once again, it was not how I planned my "moment". But I wouldn't change a thing. Heck.  Things seem to never go as planned in my world.  And its pretty funny.  How awkward it was. I am still enjoying the laughter of this trip.

Ironically today is the day you register for the OnStage event in April.  I bought my plane tickets yesterday and will register today.  I can't wait to walk across the stage to celebrate my 5 years with Stampin' Up! This time, I'll have my friends ready to take my picture.


This trip wouldn't be complete without talking about Paula's hat.  It was a must buy.  A forever item.  But it wasn't getting smoothed in those duffle bags.  On the ol' noggin for the flights.  Let's get out of here.


West Jet. I am not a fan.  It said there was WIFI but there wasn't.  There was no in-flight entertainment system.  So much for a movie. Ba hum bug. 


But where there's lemons, there's lemonade, right?  I used the Adobe Premiere Clip app and just like that my family's Florida memories were captured in time forever.  Here's why you need this app.


If you made it through this post, you've done well my little grasshopper. You deserve a hot coffee. Not a cold one.

Have a beautiful Tuesday,
Cathy

Monday, 2 January 2017

Getting in Focus | Creative Scrapbooker Magazine


Are you busy making New Year's resolutions and trying to get yourself organized after the hustle and bustle of the holidays.

Me too.

A reset.

I am always resetting - but its good.  Perspective, reflection and new focus is a win-win.

Make sure to check out my post at Creative Scrapbooking Magazine on how I am using the Stampin' Up! My Paper Pumpkin December 2016 kit in order to help get myself back into focus.

I got the Artisan call. | 2017 Stampin' Up Artisan Design Team


"Are you happy crying Mommy? Or are you sad crying?"
"Oh Jane, Mommy is happy crying.  I won an award.  But it's our little secret."

Sometimes you get lucky once.
Then there's a handful of humans that get lucky twice.
And that's me.

I am so blessed to be joining 19 other crafters from around the world as part of the 2017 Stampin' Up! Artisan Design Team.  

Gulp.  I am so excited.

What does this mean?  Well, it means that the design team are given product to play with in order to showcase Stampin' Up!'s amazing products.

Its a great gig.  I highly recommend it.

This is Catherine Stockley and I in 2013 in Salt Lake City after I found out I was selected as a winner.  She was just as excited as I was and I was incredibly grateful to have her there with me.

Stampin' Up! Artisan.

This happened twice. The first time I was selected for this team was in 2013. Things were a little different back then. There was 20 stampers from North America selected as finalists.  You then went to Salt Lake City and found out live who the 10 Artisan Winners were.  When I received the news I was a finalist, I was on the phone with my friend Catherine on the way to Costco.  She had mentioned that the blog world was exploding as the finalist calls were made.  She had no idea I applied and I kept that information tight lipped. After hanging up with her I called my husband and asked him if anyone had called.... and somehow he said 'well, there's a message for you from Stampin' Up!'.  I knew what that meant. I bawled.  And I mean I really bawled. I felt a whoosh of pride.  I was astounded.  I couldn't believe it.  And well, the rest is history...

That moment changed my direction. It changed my focus.

It changed me.


Moving forward to the Now.

You see, I remember that moment in 2013.
And I wanted it to happen again.
It did but it didn't.
Not perfectly anyhow.

I could feel it in my bones this year. When I received the call from my friend Becky, I was at the swimming pool watching my two children swim... ahem.. my six year old was swimming but my bloody 3 year old was flailing around negotiating with the instructor about why he cannot float on his back. Its sweltering on that pool deck and I am allergic to something on the floor but you are not allowed to wear shoes.  To say I am currently in a state of frustration is an understatement. And my feet were ON FIRE.

Becky was on the 2013 Artisan Design Team with me and we've shared some close moments.  She now works at Stampin' Up! as a Creative Artist.  I love her to death and I can picture her excitement to have gotten to make this call to me.

I am certain I disappointed her on that front.

I'd like to get that call again. A redo, perhaps?

Ack.

I saw the call coming in from Stampin' Up!  on my cell phone.  I remember staring at it.  Thinking that its either A) Compliance or B) The Call.  I actually considered not taking the call because I was in such a state of disarray that I couldn't possibly handle it right now.  I had so much on the go and I needed some good news, although I can't remember why now.

I took the call.

"Hi Cathy. This is Becky. Are you alone?"

$%&*. 
"Yes. No. I can be."
YES YESYEYEYSEYEYSYEYYESYES. 
$%^&^ S*T 
Yahooooooooooo.
*lots of curse words* 

I am cursing under my breathe as I move into a corner so that the instructors can't hear me. Why now?? My kids are in private lessons so we pretty much have the whole pool to ourselves until the next families come in.  But I am now stepping on the ITCHY pool deck.  I am wearing way TOO much clothes for this bloody hot facility.  Jack, my 3 year old, is now starting to whine and cry for his Mommy. My face is so hot and I am giddy and annoyed all at the same time... Not now Jack, not now.  I ignored him.

I am a cool, calm, and most certainly collected hopefully soon to be Stampin' Up! Artisan.
I have everything together.
Yup.
No.
No. I do not.

This call was NOT like my first.  I couldn't say the words. I couldn't hear.  I knew what they were saying but I couldn't articulate.  They went into the expectations and I didn't listen. I already knew anyhow.  I wanted to say thank you and you are all awesome. And let's hang out. I just wanted to chat. But I didn't have time. I hung up and texted my husband.  "I have some news."

But now I am back to swimming mode.  Lessons were over and I had to get these hooligans dressed. ARGH. I brought leggings for Jane (6).  I can NEVER get them pulled up over her legs.  I wanted to call my husband to tell him the news.  The only one I could tell. And I started to cry.

Then she said it.

"Are you happy crying Mommy? Or are you sad crying?"
"Oh Jane, Mommy is happy crying.  I won an award.  But its our little secret."

And with that, I took a few moments to enjoy those whooshing feelings of pride.  Those feelings of being lucky and being blessed and thoughts of 'what did I do to deserve this'?

I'll remember that moment. She was proud of me and that made the moment even sweeter.

The story hasn't ended because now I need to keep this secret for weeks before receiving my award.  A tricky feat indeed.

Stay tuned,
Cathy