Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Doghouse Mini-Book

Brandy made the adorable mini-book for a co-worker.  Although it has been a little while (I actually swiped this pictures on my camera while meeting her for lunch one day), I just couldn't resist sharing them with you.

This dog was cut using the Cricut Nursery Rhymes cart. 

The patterned paper came from a 6 x 6 paper pack from Js.  These dog bones were cut using the Cricut Disney Mickey and Friends cart.  "Woof" was cut using the Cricut Animal Kingdom cart.

The bookmark was cut from Animal Kingdom

  These puppy dogs were cut from the Cricut Animal Kingdom cart.  Notice how Brandy cut squares from another page of the patterned paper and layered them using foam squares. 

I just love how Brandy created this fold out stack to increase the surfaces for adhering pictures.  Notice all the tags that can be pulled out for more picture layers. 

I think we can all agree this gift was made with much care and consideration.  The mini book was given to a dog lover who has rescued dogs and works with a charity that saves and cares for dogs.  Yeah, Brandy.  Fine job and one worth the sharing on this blog!

Brandy (through Andie)

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Bubble Guppies!

My good friend, Keri, recently made a request.  Could the Cricut cut out 2 inch circles?  She meant lots of them.  Having replied in the affirmative, I found out the neat idea she had found online.  Her son, Axl, was turning 2 years old.  He loves the Bubble Guppies and so the theme of the party would include bubbles.  Keri found this idea on a blog while searching the internet to find theme based party favors.  The decoration is made by stringing 2 inch circles on fishing line to create the illusion of bubbles.  This is the final product:

 I decided to mess with the contrast of one of the pictures to see if I could enhance the attachment method for you.  This is my attempt...  Four different colors of vellum were used to cut the circles, light, mid and dark blue (all with a sheen to the vellum).  Additionally, a shiny white vellum was used.  The circles were then adhered to the fishing line with glue dots.  Can you see the glue dot on the white circle on the left or the two lighter circles at the top of the right string of circles?  Finally, Happy Birthday bubbles from a free printout at were hand cut and adhered to the bottom of each string.  Silly Keri, Cricut could have cut that too!  What a quick and simple decoration, but with a result that is very satisfying!?!  In my effort to display the bubblicious decorations, I didn't include in the picture the buffet spread which was situated on the island counter top below the bubbles.  

I did get Keri's permission to share some of the other fabulous party details.  I thank her for her willingness to let me into her creativity.  She is one of the people who really inspires me and motivates me to pursue my own creativity (one of the key reasons for this blog).  Here's a quick run through of the other party activities/decorations.

The cake and cake pops were really one of the best decorations to be had.  Keri had a secret local baker who made a delicious pink lemonade cake and vanilla and chocolate cake pops. 

I sat enjoying watching the kids ask for their favorite character to be sliced on their piece of cake.  Always so tricky when partying with toddlers!

Could these cake pops be any cuter?  I have a closer picture of the pops I was bestowed with to take home which I have included below.  Way cool!

Of course, no toddler party is complete without activities to keep them busy.  Here in Chandler, Arizona the weather was quite warm for a June birthday party- I think it was nearly in the 100s.  No problem since we also have well manicured lawns and plenty of grass to play water games on.  There were bubbles to blow.

Even the gigantic hula hoop sized kinds of bubbles.  What was really entertaining was to watch the kids play in the pool filled with bubble water instead of trying to make hula hoop sized bubbles.    Several other play areas were set up with more kiddy pools filled with just water (ostensibly to wash off with?).

I, unfortunately, didn't snap a picture of the lovely party favors for the kids.  Smaller sized plastic buckets were overflowing with candy, small Bubble Guppies plastic toys and other assorted great gifts.  A McCleary party is not complete without the extra special parting gifts!  Even us adults got to take home some of the party favors.  There is  a chocolate bar wrapped with my three favorite guppies, a piece of the yummy pink lemonade cake (husband Dan thoroughly enjoyed eating the parts I left behind), and two cake pops.

My 13-year-old Katie "called" the guppy headed one, does that surprise you?  All in all, this was one happy birthday party.  Axl is a charmer, so you have to know that I think he deserved every bit of his special day, and more.

Happy Birthday Axl!


Saturday, June 23, 2012

Huge Belly Laughs That Must Be Shared

I was trolling around Etsy this morning.  I am considering selling some stuff there and it is the kind of place that once you visit for one reason, you stay for other reasons.  Well, I stumbled upon a little shop called Sapling Press and more specifically their Dear Blank series of cards.  I can honestly tell you that I cried after reading the John Jacob Jingle Heimer Schmidt card, but that might have also had something to do with having read the Noah card and Twilight cards first.  Oh, don't miss the Dear Diet Coke one either.  O.k.  Check them all out!  I have made a vow to not purchase greeting cards.  My stash is too large and so I feel like I have no excuse to buy cards when I can make them.  However, genius such as this cannot go unrewarded.  I placed my order (multiple card orders reduce your shipping fees!), wanna join me?


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Flowers and Butterflies

A quick post to display one of Brandy's beautiful cards.  You can quickly see that Brandy's style is much more intricate, layered and carefully crafted than my cards.  I think it is what makes her works such an inspiration to me. 

The butterflies are glittered using green glitter and layered to pop right off the card.  The flowers are Prima flowers and the brads come from a Basic Grey collection.  Such a beautiful card, I couldn't keep it off the blog.

Brandy (through Andie)

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day

This card was made with scraps from the stash.  The scraps come from an old Basic Grey collection, Wisteria.  The card idea was scrap lifted from a Webster's Pages post with Father's Day card ideas. I really like how the colors play together to create a different, but satisfying look.

As my children are growing and becoming more and more independent, I find myself considering Father's Day in a new way. I am so glad for the fathers in my life. It is my great joy that my paternal grandfather is still with us. He is a source of conditional love in the best way. He expects from me. His expectations, though not short or small, are so good! I love my grandfather and, at least on Father's Day, I'm his baby (an old family joke!).

Then, there is my own father. He is a constant, even keel in my life. This lends itself to taking him for granted. However, his constancy evened out my inconstancy in the years before he handed off to Dan, my husband. I love my father and I am grateful for the time he has spent with me and the kids teaching them that same evenness.

I could go on and on, talking about my father-in-law (a real leader of the family), Dale (a good friend who we've watched give away his daughters to their husbands in love and confidence), and those gentlemen who help to guide my daughter though softball, band and more. But, I will stop with a short tribute to Dan, my husband. We've spent 19 married years together, fifteen of which he has spent being the best dad I know (and I have high standards). Dan stayed home and spent the most time raising the kids. This didn't result in a weak or submissive man. Nor did he shrink into passivity which can often happen. Dan has grown to be a strong leader who guides and teaches my kids in ways I couldn't imagine doing. He is able to joyfully tease and cajole both kids making them humble without breaking their spirits. I am so grateful to God for the gift of Dan as a dad. 

Happy Father's Day!


Friday, June 15, 2012

Out and About in the Moxie Fab World

Cath over at the Moxie Fab World is usually out and about checking out all of our blogs.  The Friday post where she shares the best of what she's seen is one of my favorites.  Since Cath had shoulder surgery which is causing her to rest and recover, she's assigned us to go out and about and report back. 

Like the dutiful little rule follower I am, I've been out and about in the Moxie Fab World using a random number generator to look at and view some very cute creations! As Cath would say, check it:

Love this card most for the layered patterned paper.

Simple is one of my favorites and this little number is simply fabulous.

Honeycombs are all the rage and combined with the Distress Ink Spring set, this card is simply gorgeous!

Man cards are always hard and I haven't posted my creations for this year.  Check out this manly inspiration.

OK, this isn't a paper craft (though Mei Ann has some posts with paper crafts in them).  I just couldn't resist a little Mint Cafe Mocha or the stunning photography.  I tagged this as the most inspirational of the bunch.

The Clean and Simple card style is very appealing to me, but one that I struggle to use effectively.  This colorful (in a clean and simple way) card set is inspirational.

This cute card reminds me of my good friend Keri.  She'll understand even if no one else does (maybe- I'm a nut!).

Black and white are always stunning, but this card is particularly beautiful.  Love the textures. 

Keeping in the Cath inspired vernacular- Have a moxie fab weekend,


Monday, June 11, 2012

Alcohol Ink Graduation Cards

I made these two graduation cards for a couple of close friend's children who graduated this year. Cards made for boys are difficult for me. I am not a CAS designer, per se. As such, keeping it simple and useful for male subjects can be troublesome. I turned to my handy, dandy Creative Chemistry 101 class and created these alcohol agates as backgrounds. From there I simply used my Archival Ink and clear emboss powder to enhance the stamped images, making them pop off the page, but not in a showy or flashy way. I ended up using the left over alcohol ink on my blending tool to lightly change the color of the edge of these cream cardstock cards.  Some did bleed through, so I might not do that next time, but the effect was lovely.  These cards are extremely difficult to photograph (at least for me) in a way that accurately displays the final look. Even so, I like the final result. I hope the recipients do too (though I suspect they enjoy the gift inside to greater effect, don't you?).


Thursday, June 7, 2012

Angry Birds Softball

As I mentioned last week, our daughter Katie's recreation softball came to an end.  Each season we celebrate with some mementos for coaches and players alike.  One such tradition is the coaches picture framed and signed by the team members.  It is real fun to look back over the seasons (we're going on, like, seven years now) and see how the girls have grown, the wonderful players we've had the privilege to play with, and the kind and caring coaches who have trained our daughter and her friends.  I can tell you that each of these fine young ladies is a pleasure to know.  It is my great fortune to be able to create crafty things to celebrate their seasons.  This might just be the only acceptable, public outpouring of crafty affection allowed now that my daughter is thirteen.

One such crafty outpouring is the photo albums that I create each year.  They start with a cheapo plastic 4 x 6 photo album that has pockets to let me slide in my own cover art.  I've even been know to buy the kind that has the cover sealed in and cut them open to slide my own art in.  Nonetheless, I typically print an image that I create using Word because time is of the essence (though I have been know to pull out the Cricut a time or two).

Each girl has a unique nickname although some are growing out of them.  I try to personalize the albums and make them special to each girl.  Some team members join us for just one season and others have been around for years.  I am the photographer for a large quantity of the photos- it is what lets me be in the dugout and working the bench.  I find that I need to take 8-15 photos to get just the right one for the album.  There's not a lot of finesse to my strategy, but it works!

 Each album has one or two of my favorite photos.  I am sure that half the girls roll their eyes at me when I ask them to find my favorite photo in their album.  However, I truly do always have that one shot where I capture the essence of who that child is to me and why they are so dear.  My number 3 (daughter Katie) coming into second base as the second baseman misses the throw- this is a close second to my favorite this season.  I've taken the strategy to not publish head shots of the children here on the blog and my favorite photo is a fully identifiable view of Katie laughing hysterically at a teammate's joke in between innings.  A close third is the group photos where I can catch the girls cheering each other on.

All these things are the reasons why crafting is so important to me.  Crafting gives me a way to increase the beauty that exists between me and those around me.  Crafting gives me an outlet for my stress and opportunities to express my creativity that is not on a schedule.  Crafting ultimately gives me an opportunity to express love and appreciation and trust me, these girls are a very deserving and ultimately rewarding place to heap both onto.

By the way, the team chose Angry Birds as a tongue-in-cheek name.  It has stuck even though there is nothing particularly bird-like or angry about the way they play ball.  This year they took 4th place, honorable and noteworthy even if they didn't earn a trophy.

Wishing you happy crafting for all reasons you do it,