Sunday, December 30, 2007

Have a Positively Happy 2008!

Can you believe it's been another year? Not having kids, it's sometimes harder to gauge time going by other than by looking at my nieces and nephews or my friends' kids. One year just morphs into the next.

My goal this year!? To be a positive force for myself. Be a "glass is half full" thinker in everything I do. I can very much be positive in many things, but not in everything. I'm also a bit of a procrastinator, so I'm going to try and do something about that.

It was a good weekend of being with friends, but it ended with a cold. But, let's be positive...it is just a cold-it could have been worse. (How'm I doing so far!?)

I know that in many respects that I am a very lucky person. I know that it's part what you do, but it's also part being at the right place and at the right time.

My other thought is that with my blog, I want to just keep sharing what I'm up to and educate when I can. I peruse the "smack" blogs from time to time and I just shake my head. There's one thing to give an opinion, but it's another thing to anonymously say a bunch of crap. It's not good for anyone, for the crafts industry...right!? This is for me my "business", but it's also because of my love for the art and creativity. That's the bottom line. In the end, I don't care if anyone likes what I do-if it's something I'm enjoying creating and I'm happy with the results, anyone else wanting to look at what I make as a starting point for something they create, that's just a bonus.

I love looking up quotes. They abound on the Internet. Here's a few that are penned with the New Year in mind:
  • New Year's Day: Now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual. ~Mark Twain
  • Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let each new year find you a better man. ~Benjamin Franklin
  • Year's end is neither an end nor a beginning but a going on, with all the wisdom that experience can instill in us. ~Hal Borland
  • One resolution I have made, and try always to keep, is this: To rise above the little things. ~John Burroughs
  • We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year's Day. ~Edith Lovejoy Pierce

I wish you all the best of days in 2008!


Wednesday, December 26, 2007

See you in the Funny Papers...!

Well, another year of all the prep and then it just blows by. It was great to have the four days to visit family and friends! Cookie Chaos 2007, last minute shopping with Brian, visiting our friends at the diner, having fun with my nieces on Christmas Eve and my nephew on Christmas, you can't go wrong!

Before Christmas, in making the push for the presents for my nieces and nephews, my sister told me what game Ryan wanted. I of course forgot what it was. So did she. So, a follow-up inquiry to my nephew garnered the answer: Nintendo Pokemon Diamond DS. Brian went above and beyond and fought the crowds at Wal-mart (major points, Brian!)...he called me to surprise me with what he did, reading, "Nintendo Pokemon Pearl DS"..."Oh, $*%&#@." They pulled the correct one from the cabinet, but in the pile that was there (you can't touch the game until you've bought it!), they pulled the wrong one and he didn't notice. Well, needless to say, Saturday evening I went back (thank goodness it wasn't as crowded) and got Diamond, returning Pearl.

The irony of this whole story was the Sunday Foxtrot comic. I tried to cut and paste it into the blog, but no go. Click over, though-trust me, it's worth it. My mom was telling my dad the story and he remembered the comic and she cut it out for Brian. I love the comics...my dad and I always would comment on them. My dad loves to cut them out, especially when he wants to make a point about something. He always compared me to the trials and tribulations of "Cathy". I miss Calvin and Hobbes and always loved Bloom County!

I was also surprised to be bestowed with an award by the wonderfully talented Jean Yates:

Thanks so much, Miss Jean.

Well, it's going to be a nice, short work week and then "pow!" it'll be full-force CHA push. Always an adventure. For all those that do the CHA dance, you know what I'm talking about!

Enjoy the day, everyone.


Monday, December 24, 2007

Some Treats for your Christmas Stocking!

Well, like every year, it's rush, rush, rush to get ready and in a flash...it's over. It's been a nice weekend, and there's still today and tomorrow to go! This afternoon I'm headed to my sister Stephanie's for a Christmas Eve gift exchange and get together. Can't wait!

I wanted to show you my favorite of the projects we worked on at Tim's Holiday Hideaway. One of my favorites was a Christmas Tree Shadowbox. We painted the outside with Dimensional Pearls, giving it a pearly look, plus some wonderful Grungeboard(tm) Accents. I painted the inside in Denim, Stream and Wild Plum, the outside with Espresso and Mushroom. The front window was edged with Crystal Frost 800, which creates the look of frost on glass...this stuff is neat-it's what was used on the Clear Book.

We also got to paint and embellish faux tin type ceiling tiles that was cut to the size of the back of the box. I can't tell you now many people thought it was real. I painted it with Dimensional Pearls and added Star Dust Stickles(tm)...it gave just the extra glitz needed for the holiday theme of the box. We then slathered the insides of the box with glue and glass glitter. Any bit of light will just make it sparkle.
The best were the decorations. Tim provided us with a bottle brush tree that we decorated with vintage Mercury Glass ornaments that we glued on. That was a little tricky, but a little patience did the trick.

To be honest, the most frustrating part of the project, but the part that I loved the most, was the garland. These were Thicker Cardstock stickers from American Craft that I just fell in love with. Initially we had covered them with Platinum Stickles(tm), but Tim (love ya!) put a piece of paper on mine by accident, so I decided to go with plain white! The trick was to "sew" wire through the chipboard to string the letters. Yikes! I have since learned, though from my buddy at Beadalon, Wyatt, told me about Sbeady(tm) wire needles. I would definitely try that the next time, because I really, really liked the look but at the end wanted to scream when stringing them on the wire.

Some of the attendees were able to insert a small light to the box, but because of the size of my tree, it was too much to add. The top of the box included many vintage bits and bobs. The most wonderful thing was that it made it from AZ to NJ intact!

As an added treat, here's the Beady Links of the week (since it's a long weekend, I'm taking advantage of it as my excuse for not posting them yesterday!)

About.com Jewelry Making Still in need of some last minute jewelry gifts? Earrings are the way to go, and Tammy has some super easy projects to help you out.

Art Bead Scene Elaine wraps up the Art Bead Scene 12 days of Christmas with a joyous rendition of a classic holiday tune, updated with our favorite beading goodies! Come sing along!

Jewelry & Beading It's not too late to make a super-easy sparkly pin for Christmas!

Katie's Beading Blog Visit Katie's blog this week for links to a fun podcast interview, last-minute bracelet idea and the final (for now) installment of Ornament Thursday.

PearlEsq. Track Robin's travels to the traffic-laden trickiness of NYC and the tasty trinkets she turned up at Tinsel Trading!

Savvy Crafter Scurry over to Candie's blog if you've got gifts to wrap in a hurry! This idea puts the pedal to the metal in more ways than one when it comes to wrapping gifts!

Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done! Jean shows a new necklace for her chain maille gallery for her book, Links: all the great beads are made by Cathy Lybarger!

The Impatient Blogger It's the final installment of Ornament Thursday and Margot pulls out all the stops with four fabulous ornament ideas! Check out what this week's roster of talented crafters has in store for you!

I wish all of you the most wonderful of times with your family and friends. I also wanted to thank you for letting me share some of my creative ideas, thoughts and life with you.
Holiday Hugs, Robin

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Christmas Cookie Fun!

Hello and Happy Holidays, everybody! I'm sure everyone has been busy as can be, as I have, spending time with friends and family. Sorry I've not posted lately-but I've got a lot of fun to share today. Yesterday I had the pleasure of taking part in Miss Margot's 1st Annual Cookie Chaos! I got to spend the afternoon with "Beady" as she is monikered, as well as "Inky", the wonderful Rebecca Peck; I'm "Knotty", which, yeah, yeah, I know has a so "naughty" connotation..hee hee! Also in attendance was the wonderful jewelry product designer Wyatt, who I'd not seen since Margot's Luau birthday party, so it was really a blast. Of course I also hung out with Margot's husband, Drew and their wonderful daughter and Inky's kids, as I know them in Webkinz World, Doggie and Crystal...!

I used to always make cookies with my family and I made them to give away, but they were always the spoon and plop kind or the
Peanut Butter Blossoms with the Hershey's Kisses on them. Not the cookie cutter kind. My cookie cutters are all for Melt Art(r)! So it was fun to decorate some cookies with all the appropriate accoutrement.

The first big of decorting was of the kids themselves; fun, faux "pearl" earrings and anything else that could be glued with icing to the kids' faces ala Wyatt's decorating acumen. Here's some of the fun cookies that we decorated. The few that I took home, well they found a new home in my tummy, they were GOOD!

Everyone enjoy their long weekend. Sweet and sugary hugs, Robin

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Tinsel-tastic Tuesday!

What a busy, crazy day! I had the pleasure of visiting the most wonderful business in NYC today, Tinsel Trading. I've been to this store over the years, but only one time since it's been remodeled and totally organized. With the power of the internet, I discovered that they are now teaching classes there with Ranger product. A very talented artist and designer, Terri Ventura, and I got to talking and I wanted to "see" what they had so that I could make some recommendations on how their existing product would work together with Ranger's stuff. As an aside, I also discussed the possibility of teaching some classes. I did a bit of shopping...! I could have done a lot more damage, but one thing at a time. If you're looking for something special, unique, vintage, different...check it out!
Above are some of the cabochons and buttons that I got. They're initially going to make some awesome molds, and then they'll be incorporated into necklaces! I also got some great vintage sequins that I'd never seen before that I will be working into some of my jewelry...can't wait!

I also found an unbelievable metal stamping that I'm dying to Alcohol Ink and make into something. Just something else to add to my list of things to do!

When I finally got home, I also had a wonderful surprise in my mailbox, from my friend Aleida Taddei-Thomas. I got to know her from Ranger U and she is extremely talented woman from TX. She was so taken by the Bandanna Technique that she made some stamps from actual bandanna designs that she sells on her website. She also has some great samples on her blog. She is super talented and will travel to teach in your store. She's also a wonderful person and friend! I received a "bandanna box" and Christmas Card, bandanna style with a surprise of her upper and lower case Bandanna Alphabets. I can't wait to try them out. They'll be so much fun on soldered monograms, don't you think?
Well, I'm totally done for the day, hitting the pillow hard. Enjoy my findings from today!
Tinsel Hugs, Robin

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Sunday Slang and Beady Links

Remember my contest? Well, winner Rachel Greig finally got her stamps...and she did not hesitate to use 'em! She couldn't wait to get her hands on the "speedo" guy, or as they apparently say in Australia, the "Dicksticker" guy (if you think that this could not be a common word, just "Google" it, and boy, is it ever common verbiage "Down Under"! You've got to check out her sample-she's also going to share the stamps and have a "Round Robin" where stampers will get to create and pass on some of the stamps and will also get to keep some...I love to share the fun of these older stamps that I can't use!

This is a fun picture that I recently found and scanned in from my pile of family photos. This is probably at Ocean Grove, NJ beach in the late 1800's. No bikinis or "dickstickers" here! The second woman in line is actually my maternal grandfather's mother, Marcella Dale; my middle name is the same as hers; my grandfather's sister, Margie's middle name was also Dale. The name derived from Marcella's mother, whose last name was Dale. No one knows what happened to my great-great Grandmother's husband...my grandfather was never told, so I guess we'll never know! One of those "family mysteries"!

What is not a mystery is the fabulousness of the week's beady links! Enjoy!

  • About.com Jewelry Making Tammy at About.com's Jewelry Making site has a long list of ideas for jewelry makers to give and get this holiday season.
  • Art Bead Scene As a thank you to our loyal readers, the editors of Art Bead Scene present 12 Days of Christmas: 12 free projects using art beads, running over the next two weeks. These projects are quick and easy gift ideas, perfect for the holidays!
  • Jewelry & Beading Stunning jewelry and other artwork are featured in an interview with Penny Purdie, one of Cyndi's favorite artists in the Swarovski Design Contest!
  • PearlEsq. Check out the travels of Robin at Tim Holtz' Holiday Hideaway!
  • Savvy Crafter Candie takes a walk down Candy Cane Memory Lane.... See two different versions of beaded candy cane ornaments on her blog. Yum!
  • Snap out of it, Jean! There's beadng to be done! Jean displays a little parallel chain style chain maille and borosilicate bracelet for her chain maille gallery on her site: Margot Potter has the perfect name for it!
  • The Impatient Blogger It's week three of Ornament Thursday! Margot offers a simply lovely and quick idea in this week's post, plus links to the amazing ideas of the rest of our talented participants!

Beady Hugs, Robin

Friday, December 14, 2007

It's Clearly Christmas!

I can't believe Christmas is around the corner, and for us in the industry, that just gets us closer to the CHA Show in Anaheim. Another of the projects that we made at the Holiday Hideaway was a clear book...I've been so wanting to make one of those, so I was psyched!

Tim made covers out of the largest Fragments from Tim's Idea-ology(tm) line. You have to drill the covers; a Cropadile will give you "real" fragments! Tim had shown us this neat spray that when it dried, looked just like frost on a window. I had the brainstorm if the fragment covers could be sprayed...and they could! They looked just like frost and were able to take rub ons.

The pages were from Hambly's Studio; I love their new Clearly Heavy Overlays and the regular printed overlays. They were all cut to size and we rounded all the corners with Tonic's Boot Punch. I had never used their punch, but I liked how it worked...my hands were not cramped up after all those corners!

We then played with Hambly's Christmas Decor Rub ons...they work awesome as well and we also were able to "bling 'em up" with Heidi Swapp's Bling Accents. They worked great in conjunction with the rub on Christmas Trees and ornaments.

The book was finished up by punching out holes and adding binder rings and ribbon! Today I actually printed out a punch of small pictures of my tree and from the retreat and added them throughout the book, double facing the photos on either side of the page so there was no blank spot. I'll probably add in some journaling here and there...but I will definitely be making more.

I also had fun today decorating my Mini Mister(tm) holder that Kim DeRonde made us. I painted it black with a few coats of the Adirondack(r) Acrylic Paint Dabber in Pitch Black and then took my bazillion different Bandanna Backgrounds that I had finished and made tiles with the Fragments, gluing on the paper with Glossy Accents(tm). I then glued them on, one side at a time. I'm so psyched how it turned out! I'll be all ready to go with all of my Mini Mister/Perfect Pearl(tm)/Distress Ink(tm) reinker combinations...

I'm really enjoying decorating the living room with my Holiday Hideaway decorations! I hope you're enjoying them, too!
Enjoy the weekend!


Thursday, December 13, 2007

Packin' Up Our Suitcase...with a Mini Book

I hope everyone on the East Coast is keeping warm and dry. We're getting whatever everyone else had earlier in the week and we're supposed to be getting a "Nor-east'r" this weekend...a perfect time to make samples and play (and do laundry...oh well)!

We made a fun, fun project on the first full day of our retreat. Clever Tim, trouble maker extraordinaire, was able to finagle this cute as anything mini suitcase so everyone had it in the Christmas red and green. Some things you don't ask, just appreciate it! The insides were the fun part...this was an easy mini book that can be recreated in tons of different sizes!

Tim used the Wonderland papers from Cosmo Cricket. We folded them to create little pockets for the mini-folders and with the mixture of Distress reinkers, water and Perfect Pearls in the Mini Mister(tm), you're ready to go! As an aside, we were given the MOST WONDERFUL block of wood from Kim DeRonde with 30 holes drilled in, perfect for the Mini Misters! I can't wait to decorate mine so that everyone know that it's mine and not to touch it.

We distressed all the pages with Tim's Paper Distresser and edged with Distress Ink(tm) and the Ink Blending Tool. Just a little ink on the paper creates dimension...love to use this. Remember, you can use either the Ink Blending Tool or the Alcohol Ink Applicator handle for the Ink Blending Foam...it will stick to both! We punched holes on each page and added some vintage binder rings and ribbon from American Craft-love their embellishments! Don't you also love the foofy ric rac? Crazy Kate brought it and was kind enough to share!

Don't forget to distress the suitcase. A few scrapes with sandpaper and more inking and pounding the hardware with Tim's Texture Hammer. I almost got out of hand with the hammering...the snaps almost stopped working...!

I'm going to go through a bunch of photos that I have of my mom and my uncle and add them to the book! It's a great gift for someone and a wonderful gift I made for myself!

Keep toasty, everyone!


Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Creativity Abounding in AZ

I've still got one suitcase filled to the brim with "stuff" that I'll be emptying out little by little. It was such a blast...now onto the creativity! Karen Morikawa, or as she is known, Keychain (she's so petite she could go onto a keychain...a definite Tim"ism"!) put together a wonderful swap. Almost everyone created 38 copies or versions of a recipe card. You could make one and copy it or make 38 of 'em. I kind of did a mix. I printed out the recipe (Peanut Butter Blossom Cookies), but then had to embellish accordingly. I had to do some sort of a Bandanna Technique of course. The background paper is from Basic Grey's Figgy Pudding, then layered with "pearlized" Wrinkle Free Distress on watercolor paper, then the recipe. I added a swipe of Vintage Photo Distress Crackle Paint(tm) and liked a crazy woman hand stamped out the word "cookies" with the awesome Magnetic Poetry stamps in the Typewriter Font with Jet Black Archival(tm) Ink. I then "Bandanna'd" it with the white pen. Everyone did a wonderful and outstanding job.
For our first project, we made a book to hold our recipe cards, using Grungeboard(tm) and the Bind-it-all, which I had not used before. I wanted the book to have a Christmas-ey feel to it, but not too much. Thus, placed the Grungeboard covers through the Cuttlebug(tm) with the Snowflakes border...boy, does it emboss great...since the covers had a harlequin pattern to it to begin with, it creates a "double" embossed effect! I coated the outside covers with a combination of Adirondack(r) Acrylic Paint Dabber colors: Silver, Cloudy Blue and some Snow Cap White... I then added on the numbers "07" and bookplate coated with Pitch Black and edged with Silver paint. I then bound it together with the Bind-it-All!

As usual, I came up with an idea that I wasn't sure if it would work, but still wanted to see if it could! I'm famous for that and sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. At least it's good to try, right? I took two of the longer Grungeboard Hinges and painted them black and edged with Silver and attached hinge "end" with brads to the back covers. I then wanted to somehow create something so that they would "snap" in place and close. I cut out two small circles from the Grungeboard, again using the Cuttlebug, followed by die cut snowflakes. I poked holes through these and on the front cover edges, attached them to the covers with a brad, but made sure that the brad had space so it stuck out and was NOT flush to the die cut shapes. The decorative end of the hinges had a center hole...perfect to use to "attach" and create a closure...pretty cool...BUT-next time, I'm going to reinforce that hole on the decorative edge of the hinge with an eyelet...someone was a little rough with checking out the closure and one of them ripped. That's okay, though! It still closes and you get the idea.

The finishing touch was adding ribbon to the binder...It's really fun and I'm so glad that there's something I can look at to remember the attendees by!

There's 5 more projects that we created, so keep tuned in!

Inky Hugs, Robin

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Holiday Hideaway Hangover!

Hello, Everyone! I'm back from my flurry of art, friends and fun in AZ! I took today off to get my bearings back. I feel like I'm hungover from all the travel and fun. I've got lots to share. Every bit of it was memorable and just such a blast. If Tim didn't think I was stalking him, I could see myself living in Prescott. I think it's my 4th trip there and I just love its small town coziness, antique stores, neat galleries and the art. Weather wise, we had everything-sun, snow, hail and rain. All we needed was some lightning and thunder and we would have been complete.

I feel so lucky and blessed when I am at an event such as this. I'm lucky in that I get to work and spend time with Tim through the year. What an event such as this does for me is to get a chance to catch up with so many others that I've not seen in a while. Many of the attendees I first met through Club Scrap-demoing and teaching at the first 4+ years of their retreats I've become friends with so many people from around the country. There's also the many store owners that I've met through Tim and Ranger that I've become friendly with. Boy did we laugh this weekend. No matter what happens in your life, the ability to spend time with people like this is what makes it all worth while.

I thought I'd "report" on my trip in a few posts, but the first one is all about friends. I made some new ones and got to reconnect. We were all assigned to a table, and we had fun! I was lucky to spend the weekend with my roomies, Dawn and Nadine, here we are together... as well as the crazy and wonderfully talented Kate and new friends Kathy and Michelle.

Don't tell Brian, but I have a new "boyfriend"; Michelle's son, Kelvin and her husband brought Michelle to the retreat. It turns out Kelvin, who is 5, loves Webkinz, too! Every time he came into the room I would holler out in my shy way, "Hi, Kelvin!" He didn't know what to do at first and would whisper answers to his mom. After we got into our Webkinz discussions, though, that was a different story. Now I have a new Webkinz buddy! Near the end of the weekend Kelvin asked for my snail mail info and number and I gave it to him, but said not to tell my boyfriend. He was so cute because he said, "why not?" Brian thought it was a riot...here's my new Webkinz buddy. Isn't he cute?

There's so many pictures people took and I've already ordered Sharon's photos! Thanks, Sharon! My buddy Terri, or Zwick or Zwickie. She mentioned before the retreat that you know those friends that you've not seen in a while, but when you do see them, it was like yesterday that you last saw them!? That's Zwickie. Super-talented designer for Club Scrap and all around funny-as-hell gal. She and I tend to get into trouble. Of course, in a good way. Then there's Lia, Keychain, Cindy, Monica, and on and on. And of course-Tim. What can I say about a friend and co-worker like Tim? Thanks. Also, to Sharon, Michelle and the incomparable Mario for the prepping, organizing and cooking...Yikes! I was almost scared to step on the scale today. But it was so worth it.
I've got lots more to share, but I wanted to start out with what I treasure so much-my friends. Not just the ones that I got to catch up with at the Hideaway, but for all the rest of you...you know who you are!
It's good to be home! Enjoy the day! Holly Hugs, Robin