Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Oh Baby! Banner

I wanted to make a little banner for a guy at work who is expecting their first baby.  Okay, that doesn't sound right but you know what I mean.  I'm going to tell you how to make it but I'll save you from making all the mistakes I made.  Normally when I make a banner, I use Martha Stewart's alphabet, which you can find here under birthday templates.  But I really wanted to use pink and blue letters and hers are all black.  So I used MS Word and picked a font from my collection (Elephant font at 140) and used Word Art/Outline to change the outline to pink/blue and colored them in with colored pencils (Prismacolor my favorite!).  I know - a lot of work.  For some reason, when I printed the pink from my printer, the color was off no matter how much I worked with the RGB percentages.  After wasting an evening with the printer, I was determined to do it my way! I also looked at stamping or embossing but I didn't have the right stamps so this was the final solution.
I printed the letters on white cardstock and punched them out with a scallop punch using the Mega size Marvy scalloped punch (its pink).  They have several sizes and you can do two layers, if you're ambitious.  My ambition got waylayed by all the "issues".
I made the rosettes by hand.  I know, please don't lecture me about silhouettes or cameos or other machines that can do 10 at a time in twenty seconds... I have a Cricut from Black Friday four years ago - it's been used twice.  I'm not buying another machine that doesn't pass the three month rule.  I cut strips of pink and blue paper one and a quarter inch wide, 8.5 inches long.  I used my Scor Pal board, and scored two at a time.  With two strips of paper I attached both ends at a peak/valley (the end of the strip) with red line tape. Now I made a mistake with the adhesive, YOU should use a hot glue gun when making the rosettes.  Cut a circle out of chipboard (I save it from all kinds of packaging) and you can add patterned paper to make it look nice.  But use the glue gun, seriously.  It takes a bit of practice getting the rosette to lay flat but just keep working with it.  Its also optional to add a chipboard circle on the front, underneath your letter for stability.  For the rosette to take shape, I set it inside my redline tape roll to get a consistent shape of the rosette.
I used white ribbon and attached it with the tiny attacher (stapler). Not the best option - it was a pain getting it to catch the ribbon.  It would be much smarter attaching it to the cardboard circle on the back side with the hot glue gun!  
And because I had trouble attaching the already assembled rosettes, I had to improvise with the ribbon and add some baby boy/baby girl ribbon at the ends and I threw on a plastic diaper pin to boot!  So, there you have it. 
On a side note, I am looking at getting a rosette die - either the Memory Box or Tim Holtz, after I read this article.  I want one that I can adjust in size.  I hope the article covers that!
And by the way, I haven't had a chance to look at Cathe Holden's new book, Rosette Art but I am sure it is fabulous. 
Let me know if you have suggestions on improvements - I'm open.

Tuesday, March 05, 2013


Last week I took a trip to the other side of the earth:  Perth, Australia.  It was amazing.  But that's a post for another day.  The day after I arrived, I got a phone call at 3 am from my brother, telling me my little dog, Killer, a 13 year old perfectly healthy dachshund was hunched up.  He got better during the day and we decided to wait til Monday for a visit to our regular vet.  The diagnosis was discopondolitis or arthritis - I can't remember exactly.  Meds were involved and Killer improved and was his old self until Wednesday when he had another "attack" - hunching up and not moving, plus lack of appetite.  Another trip to the vet resulted in more steroids and pain killers. 
My business trip involved several presentations and getting to know my co-workers that I support in our Perth office.  I also planned to stop in Sydney for four days of R&R and fly home on Tuesday.  I had booked a nice apartment through Home Away - on top of the Swissotel. Qantas has a route from Dallas (which is 45 minute flight from Houston) to Sydney (16 hours) and 5 hours to Perth.  Throw in a couple hours of downtime and its basically 24 hours.  I decided to cancel the Sydney leg and return home on Saturday. 
Anyway, those are just details.  At home (waking in Perth at 3 am and arriving in Houston at 5 pm  the same day!) I found a doggie that was like a stranger - more interested in sniffing my bags than saying hello.  Sunday morning he was his usual self and my heart lept.  But there was a seizure on Sunday and Monday morning, I knew it was time.  We sat in the special room at the vet for  a while - they were super busy so Killer and I  spent some time, first on the table, then walking around then finally he curled up in my lap on a towel and just rested.  This dog was the kindest and fiercest protector but so gentle with kids. He started life with my husband but quickly became "my dog". He loved to swim. Some folks claimed he was a humper. He loved to sleep right up next to you and many nights he pushed me to the edge of the bed.  He was stubborn.  And I still can't believe he's gone. The house feels empty and void of his presence. It's shocking. He was such a protector - even at 11 pounds, he thought he was the killer dog. He wasn't afraid of the Akita next door. I am so glad he had a good life with me and I could hold him when he left. And I cannot wait to see him again on the other side of the Rainbow Bridge.