Thursday, August 25, 2011

A story- How I got started

Lift from a painting on Etsy. Used paint sample chips and tissue paper.
I'm still away having fun in Salt Lake City but I refuse to leave ya'll hanging for 2 weeks. Please feel free to leave love as I am still reading my email.
Below- a story.

I was watching "Shaun The Sheep" today for like the 80th time this week- if you have some time and a Netflix account you need to check it out- it's so clever!!

Anyway, so I was watching this show and something triggered my memory on how I got started scraping. I have a heart rending story about Lola's troubled first nine months and how I needed a distraction from the emotional turmoil- it's a great story- but it's not the WHOLE story.
Botanical Garden- sweaty but having fun
I got started scrapbooking because I was bored and I couldn't draw to save my life. I wish I had a photo of my first DIY project for Lola's room. It was supposed to be a flying bird but it wasn't remotely recognizable. That's when I started looking for "help".
Favorite strawberry outfit
Lola is named after a bird- a Puerto Rican bird- or so I was told by my Mom who insisted an "Alondra" was the national bird of Puerto Rico and a very brave, strong and resourceful bird at that.
It's not- on all points.

An Alondra is a Meadow Lark and they are common to North and South America. There are many varieties within the genus but mostly it's a brown bird with hints of yellow. They are not known for anything specific but the National Audobon society has recorded the call of the North American Meadow Lark which is actually rather beautiful. Maybe this is why Lola can wail for hours on end?
Honking at Geese
She could have been Isabel but it's too common in NYC. If you yell out "ISABEL! WHAT ARE YOU DOING???" 30 little girls will suddenly freeze, turn and give you THE LOOK. I could have named her Diana (after the Goddess), Aurora as she is my new beginning or even Malia (you KNOW why!!!) but I chose Alondra because it RANG in my head. Frankly, my Mom had already ran through about 2000 names and was frustrated that I hadn't picked one of "her names". I was obviously mentally deficient. Everyone KNOWS Abuela gets to name the child.

So this is why Lola's room is full of birds- some made by me (sad SAD things) and some made by what appears to be American Craft's Silhouette or Provo Craft's Cricut- both which can apparently cut adhesive vinyl. I don't have either machine as both cost at least a leg and take up the exact same amount of room.
Second painting lift- I used paint chips and Target dollar bin embellies on this.
I also have some early paper piecing "lifts" from Etsy paintings I felt I could not "afford". Looking at how much money I've spent the last 2 years on scrap crap I should have gone ahead and sprung for those original paintings. Who knew I would embark on a journey and enjoy it so much?

I've always wanted to "be a writer"- here I am writing! I always wanted to use my photo degree- here I am learning new photo techniques every day and going places just to get a great photo- this didn't happen when I was single and "had more time". How grateful I am to Lola- to Miss Alondra- for allowing me to be her Mom but also develop as an "artist". It's been a great ride and when I see her smile- I know I'm in for loads more fun.
Sunset from K-Mart parking lot in Queens.

MuChoS SmOoChEs!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Punky Scraps Team Choice Challenge

The nefarious minds in Punky Scraps' Team A have conspired and come up with this list of items:
Tamara - Use Paint
Kat - Use sequins
Cheryl - Use a transparency (branded or homemade)
Kerry - white space
Marie - something you found in your bag
Jolanda - Use something orange

Can I work it? What do you think?
Altitude Adjustment
MATERIALS- Crate Paper woodgrain paper and buttons, Studio Calico stickers and Fab Rip, Pink Paislee Mistables ribbon, Making Memories Paper Reverie butterflies and glitter alphas, Cosmo Cricket black chipboard flowers, Divine twine from Reasonable, Smashbook pocket, frame tranny from Hambly Studios, Ranger Glossy Accents

Left-over Euro and a card from the church where Letty got married go in the Smash pocket.
I finished this page in about two hours and felt really proud of myself- don't I rock? Yeah- no. I forgot that I was supposed to leave lots of negative space. This works perfect as a journal page though so I don't feel too bad about it.

Oh- second reveal- those orange sequins are TOTALY digi! I only had 1 so I just copy pasted the others using Photo Shop- aren't I clever? No, please don't answer that.
Go on and try your own Punky page now- time is awasting!

MuChos SmOoChEs!


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Westward HOOOOO!

Dear cousin Evelyn (and hubby Sandy) have just offered to let us ride along in their 3 day road trip to Salt Lake City!! YAAY! This was SO last minute! Four days till THE BIG DAY when the moving company called to say they couldn't find a driver who was willing to go that far BUT for a mere 300 hundred dollars extra they would GUARANTEE one. Can you believe it?? The nerve!!!!

So they asked for their money back. The moving company said they would loose their deposit, Evelyn, a true Brooklynite, promised legal bloody murder. They got their money back. Since we are literally hitching a ride and staying with family this is going to be a very affordable adventure.  All we have to do is try to keep Lola from screaming us silly and and we should be ok.

Needless to say, the grandmothers are very VERY annoyed and think we are "crazy". This is our reasoning: We're bored. We don't have jobs for the first time since we were both 16. We have paid the rent. We have a camera and several new babies in SLC we both REALLY want to see. So I know it's irresponsible but heck with it- we are OFF. Plus Jet Blue had SLC to NYC flights for 150 bucks!!! You can't pass that up!!!

Totally unrelated but remember how I threatened a totally embarrassing layout? I would say "Poor kid" but I know she's gonna run me ragged so I have no regrets!

MATERIALS: Sassafras Lass Sunshine Broadcast paper and mustard alphas, My Little Shoebox mini alphas, Crate Paper Emma's Box stickers, Mister Huey in Schoolhouse Red and Sunshine, Pink Paislee Mistables ribbon, Crate Paper woodgrain paper.
I won't be able to blog while on the road- we don't have smart phones but maybe the motels will have wi-fi? Yeah, I didn't think so either. So if you have any business or want to second my Mom who wants to kill me or want to enable me with reasonable arguments for undertaking road trips with toddlers in tow please leave a comment below. Au Revoir!!!!

PS- don't forget to join the Punky Scraps challenge this saturday- it's gonna be AWESOME!!!!
The idea for today is: have the adventure NOW. Tomorrow may never come.

MuChOs SmOoChEs!

Sunday, August 14, 2011


Summer is quickly waning and I already miss it. August is usually a slow month in the crafting world- families are taking long planned vacations or preparing for back to school. Almost everyone is too busy to skulk boards and troll blogs so thank you for visiting this lonely corner of the blogosphere- I truly appreciate each and every one of you.
MATERIALS: Woodgrain embossed paper, white acrylic paint, fabric doily, Crate paper button, Pink Paisley journaling tags, silver circle tag and punchinella from GAUCHE ALCHEMY, Jillibean Soup corrugated clouds, Maya Road heart and acrylic pins,  Happy word Pin from Joann's, silver mini clip from Staples.
I was saving this page for publication submissions but I finally decided it should go to Paper Issues for their current link party: "Let's Ride". Lola is the embodiment of "Let's Ride". She has zero tolerance for waiting once she hears the words "out" or "park". The words can be uttered as part of an unrelated subject like this: "Dave we need to take the shoes out the front hallway". OOOPS! Then it's "LET'S GO!" "GO, GO, GOOOOO!" and very insistent finger pointing at the door.
AAA! Love that face!!!!
I remember when I was young and single (read- clueless), I would look at parents with pity in my eyes. They were dealing with fit throwing, punching, kicking, screaming, table cloth pulling little monsters and I would think them FOOLS for letting their children run wild. Well guess who gets the pity looks now? Miss Lola is fairly well behaved. I would never allow running, screaming or table wrecking but she does insist on sitting on Daddy's lap the entire time we are at a restaurant. Considering how hard the wood seats are for the high chairs we let her have her way- it's a small price to pay for peace and David has gotten very good at eating with one arm. We still get the pity looks, especially when I have to cut David's entree for him and Lola snatches up all the best pieces for herself but I always answer those with a knowing smile that says you'll see soon enough.

MuChoS SmOoChEs!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Punky Scraps Get Picky Challenge

The Punky Scraps Challenge this week is AMAZING! A beautiful sketch by fellow punk scrapper Marie  Misson means you have a great chance to create something truly unique- see?

This sketch can be taken into all sorts of directions. I took a quick peek at fellow Punky Scrapper Elin's page and it's GORGEOUS!!! She used lots of misting and paint. I wish I were more brave on that front.  I wanted to take advantage of the negative space and wanted to use two simple photos with stitching all around the border but then I realized there was just one photo I wanted to use right away- this one:

 My Mom laughs and cracks jokes left and right but rarely smiles for the camera. She actually grimaces as if the camera really was going to steal her soul. She was ready to throttle me during our trip because I kept reshooting group shots hoping her "Lets get this over with" look would go away. It never did except for this photo.
Happiness is... Anticipation.
MATERIALS: Sassafras Lass Sunshine Broadcast paper and circle stickers, Crate Paper and Studio Calico border stickers,  American Crafts alphas, Maya Road calendar transparancies, Elle's Studio circle journaling tag and 2011 banner, & Gypsies ticket
Here's the set up. We were on our way to Letty's wedding ceremony. There is a boat involved and the waves are cresting so naturally Mom's FREAKING OUT. Mom hates boats. Mom hates new places. Mom hates having all the people she loves traveling through water in the same small boat in a foreign country. Yet somehow I captured the smile. Insert grateful prayer here.

The journaling is an allusion to the days she has left before she retires. The number is totally wrong since I have the memory of a punch drunk fruit bat but I wanted to capture something she said to me recently which really affected me. She came over during her lunch break to visit Lola and declared: "I sat down today and made numbers. I am happy to say I only have-insert actual number here- left of work!"
"WOOO HOOO!" I said. All the while worrying- will she reach her retirement dream of buying a house in Puerto Rico? Will she finally be happy and at peace there? Will she be lonely or have problems driving in the twisty country roads? How will I know she's safe? I was looking forward and getting anxious instead of being happy for her right now.

The future- as Shakespeare said- is the undiscovered country. Well, perhaps he meant death. But as death awaits us all it is the future we worry over and the future we should leave be.
Been meaning to join favorite scrapper Margrethe (Papirdiva) on this challenge.
Since I'm late to the party I will start today on the prompt for day 12 and keep going
 until September 11th- a day where I could use the prompt to focus on "something fun".
MuChoS SmOoChEs!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Aussie chipboard ROOOOCKS!

Ok so you know when you try to design by the seat of your pants (that's me- ALWAYS) and the page totally turns on you? That's what happened here. I kept trying to drive but my lizard-like hind brain insisted on taking the wheel. It said: "MUST do an 80's looking page! DOOOO EEEET!"

What it didn't supply was key ideas like:
use black and white checker board!
imitate the Miami Vice font!
Those only occured to me AFTER I saw the finished page and realized- This is like totally 80's dude!! RAAAD!
MATERIALS: Such Sweet Tierney on Etsy buttons,  American Crafts Sunrise alphas (FAAAVES!), Glitz Teeny block alphas (FAAAVES!!!), American Crafts card stock, Crate stickers, DCWV rub on stitches, SMASH polka dot tape. OMG I'm SO SORRY I forgot to include my Stuff 2 Scrap chippies!!! It just accured to me NOW- like right NOW!
This is for the Stuff 2 Scrap challenge. Thanks for urging me on Chantal!!
Let me just tell you I LOVE Australian scrapbook design. What is UP with all the fantastic chipboard from down under??? And WHY hasn't any major American outlet picked up on how FABULOUS they are and started importing it?

Here are some of my faves:

Go ahead and SALIVATE!!! All of these brands are hard to get. Mostly because shipping charges are so expensive but if you are a paper freak like me you SUCK IT UP and get the stuff through Ebay, Etsy or directly from the website- shipping prices BE DAMNED!

I wouldn't wait for Dusty Attic to get back to you. I'm still waiting for a reply to an email I sent LAST SUMMER regarding a large order I wanted to place. Oh well.

Stuff2Scrap, Mandy or Leann (she's got an Etsy shop as well) love you so go to them and buy, Buy, BUY! hee hee hee.
Because being my daughter is just not embarrassing enough... I must PUSH THE ENVELOPE!!!
Yes that is reading material in her hand. LOOOOL!
MuChOs SmOoChEs!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

A page, Sassafras's Sunshine Broadcast

I gave up my search for a publication or challenge to submit this page to and just posted it on Facebook. Does anyone know how people get their pages to show on a specific manufacturer page? Been trying to do so for weeks now but I am missing a step because all I can do is get the brand name to change color on my photo caption- I don't see the project appear on the manufacturer's FB page. Oh well. I will work on my assignments tonight since Miss Lola went to bed early (yay!)
Kite (one of my favorite U2 songs!)
MATERIALS: Sassafras Lass Sunshine Broadcast paper, whimsies and alphas, My Mind's Eye twine, Dusty Attic chicken wire chipboard (SOOO fabulous!!) and Tim Holtz pins
First let me just say I LOVE Sassafras Lass. I love everything designed for them by Michelle Clement and I LOVE this latest line most of all. The colors, the whimsical nature of the design- it's really perfect. l'm glad I picked up multiples of  the paper whimsies and the stickers- those will be on top of my scrap pile till I finish them off (and cry).

With the news of the world being so incredibly awful I now have more time in my evenings since I never want to turn the tv on anymore. I think I know now how my Mom and Dad felt in the 70's when the food prices jumped 50% over night. My Mom was unemployed then too and very scared for her new family. This "recession" is cyclical and NO, things will not be improving any time soon, regardless what you hear from politicians (of all stripes) trying to cover their fat booties.

Anyway enough politics- I just hate to let such huge events go by unnoticed- this blog is all about happy but for me happy is also aware.

Keep it real and hopeful people- and hug your family- times are tough but we'll get through it.

Muchos abrasos- hugs mi gente!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Putting a page "on hold"

This weekend I set out to be productive and complete my DT assignments ahead of time but it wasn't meant to be. Between watching "Mad Men" season 4 and "Shawn The Sheep" on Netflix (we are cramming in shows now that we've decided to drop our subscription on August 31 in protest of the new fees) and trying to keep Lola from jumping on the sofa, I barely have time to  think.

I really just want to follow my own ideas and make pages for myself right now. Trying to stick to a color scheme or a specific theme is really messing with my mojo. That being said.... (smile- I even break my own rules!)) I will be joining Stuff To Scraps' August color challenge because Chantal specifically asked me to and because the colors chosen are FABULOUS! Go check it out here:
The colors are

Nice right? I thought so! 
So I will get started on that page right away because frankly, I can't ignore 2 very polite and complimentary requests to join the fun. 
So today I want to share this:
A Good Day
Materials- Studio Calico paper,  Ki Memories script title, Maya Road leaf pins, Hambly Studio washi tape, Cosmo Cricket black chipboard

 I took these while Lola was walking and was amazed by how she looked like she was dancing. You can also tell my printer has run out of ink. I would reprint but at 30 bucks a pop printer cartridges have just turned into a luxury and I would rather save my money for something else.

MuChoS SmOoChEs!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Make a SPLASH!

The gals over at Paper Issues are throwing a new link party and this one is all about MAKING A SPLASH!
What does that mean? I don't know! You show us!
Here's my interpretation:
Day 3
Materials: Me and My Big Ideas paper, Studio Calico alphas and tag, Elle's Studio notes and Enjoy the day tags, corrugated elements from Maya Road, handmade paper and seas glass from Italy (smile).
I had a hard time with this page. It went through 6 phases before I got to this design and it's still lacking. I used Glossy Accents on some some sea glass pebbles, stuck them any old where and called it a day. Is it just me, or do you also find that finishing a project gets you pumped and actually makes the next project better? That's exactly what happened here- the next page is much better- swing by tomorrow and see for yourself.

Come visit with us at Paper Issues and check out what other paper lovers have created- spread the love and show us your splashy pages.

MuChos SmOoChEs!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Getting to know.. Me

Imagine my surprized scream when I opened up my email while sitting in the hotel lobby in Italy and finding out my all time FAVORITE ARTIST (Keandra of Kreatorville Krafts) had just given me this award:

Let's just say it was LOUD. Fabio, the 20 year old cutie patootie front desk attendant in a wonderfully well fitted suit and skinny tie, immediately came over to ask if everything was ok with the signorina- OOOOPS!  He had already designated me the hotel fruit cake as I had gotten stuck in the elevator the previous morning and started screaming and crying like a maniac till a staff member came and opened the door.
No actual pages yet so more vacation pix for you all.
I'm sorry but stuck in a 4 by 5 foot space with Lola, 7 floors above God's beautiful green earth is NOT my idea of a good time. I scared the crap outta Miss Thang and though Dave was there too, he might as well have been invisible. Sorry Dave but reason and logic will NOT work on me during a perceived dire emergency- consider yourself "on notice". I pounded on the doors and made a general ass of myself as all I COULD THINK ABOUT was plunging 7 floors and dying a long horrible tin canned death.

Positano, Italy
Anyway if you have a thing for young men in figure hugging suits you should visit the Amalfi Coast. There they reign, strutting around on their Vespas and aviator glasses, eye balling everyone who passes by and smirking when you look back. They know perfectly well the figure they cut. I don't know when I became a grandma who saw babies in diapers when I looked their way but Dave took the blinders off by pointing out- "If I were a 13 year old girl I would NEVER leave the Hotel Lobby!"- he's ever the realist. I really wish American boys would STOP the baggy clothes madness and start wearing well fitted clothes- it's been over 15 years already- give it a rest!
Vesuvius climb- best glute work-out EVER!
I any case, I now have to tell you 7 things about myself so here goes:

1. I love cherries. I could eat 4 pounds of them in one sitting- no joke- but now they just make my lips and eyes puffy and my throat itch. I think it's the new insecticides. It's a HUGE loss- cherries were my most favorite fruit.

2. I collect papier-mache and wood masks. I have 10 so far from Costa Rica, Puerto Rico, Ecuador, Mexico and Thailand- I would LOVE to get my hands on some Native American and Inuit masks but those are HUGE and very expensive.

3. I enjoy shopping for paper more than using it- but that should be no surprize if you saw my hot mess of a scrap corner. The anxiety caused by using my fave stuff is the main reason- I want to do the materials justice and when you start with perfection in mind you often get stymied.

4. I don't make friends easily. I like people and LOVE listening to their stories but I tend to annoy the heck outta them with my strong opinions and constant talking.

5. Fave spot in NYC? Brooklyn Bridge Park. Fave restaurant? Lanam on 14th street. Not because it's high culinary art but because it's cheap and cheerful and easy to get to.

6. I saw a bicycle rider dead on the street yesterday... I saw myself on the road- that's why the bike has been collecting dust for 2 years now- Lola needs her Momma.

7. I am easily overwhelmed and a fantastic procrastinator. Guess what I should be doing on now? A page for Punky Scraps! What am I doing now? Writing this. Off to the scrap desk to get those assignments in on time!

So there you have it! Me in 30 minutes or less. Thanks to Keandra for this fun post. :)

MuChOs SmOoChEs!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Daily math

I have a very strange affection for long strings of sums and mathematical equations. I loved all the transparent boards with rows and rows of figures in a "A Beautiful Mind"- that was a beautifully art directed film.

I can't add fractions... or subtract, divide or add them for that matter. I DREAD the day Lola comes to me with her 4th grade math homework. I can literally feel my brain click off when the subject is broached- is it laziness or some kind of learning disorder? I don't know, but numbers and the signs that accompany them in algebra or trigonometry certainly look beautiful and they make me wish I could understand them beyond the surface.
Here's a page I did for a Studio Calico challenge right before I left for vacation:
Happy Homefront
MATERIALS: Studio Calico Homefront paper, Kaiser Craft kraft mini stickers, Sassafras Lass woodgrain alphas, Pink Paislee  Hometown Summer border, Maya Road corrugated board house, Smashbook date stamp and mini note.
This page is me talking to myself and telling that inner part of me that likes to FREAK OUT that everything will be ok- the financials will work out. Daily Math- ignore the actual numbers and work on the changing the equation.
Times may be dark but we must give ourselves gift of optimism. We can make it better- we have before and we can again. For me the true meaning of the "American Dream" is simple- it's not a bigger house or a newer car or a larger bank account but HOPE- an idea- a value- it's not exclusive to American citizens but it's priceless, unique and should be protected.
CHIN UP and strap those boots on people- the going is hard and the decisions tough but we WILL get though this.
A view off the Coast in Sorrento.

MuChoS SmOoChEs!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Trip pix and wonderful scrappy news!!!

It's great to be back home!! Here are some "Best Of" shots from the trip. No scrappy work to post as I didn't have the attention span or alone time needed for it. 

I got word that I made the Gauche Alchemy writing team while I was away! YAAY! Please add this to your blog reading list: 
I promise to be very entertaining and insightful and all that. Check out their ArtFire store- there is lots of really fun non traditional scrappy stuff there. :)
3 large temples on site a Museum and restaurants across the street and plenty of room to roam- this is the best bet for great photos  if you have  limited time and want to avoid crowds.
Leticia and Roberto on the balcony- ahh smell the romance!
We survived our shock at the lack of sidewalks. On the left of David a loudly honking 10am bus to Amalfi. On the right a 300 foot sheer drop into the ocean with only a rusty railing as protection.

Waiting for the bus to Ravello.
Changing cabanas in the beaches of Sorrento- we ate Calamari salad and watched the cruise boats dock. Sorrento is PERFECT!! GORGEOUS, safe and has lots of budget restaurant and hotel choices- we will be staying here in out next trip.
Our 4 hour tour barely scratched the surface of this wonderful site. Skip the tours, be brave and use public transport. It will be a whole day trip- bring your own lunch and diner as local eats are expensive. DO NOT skip the Limoncello ice cream or the Granitas- those always rock. The cruise crowds make this place awful in the morning and in mid afternoon. Every single interior space was crowded with culturally insensitive tourists who insisted on taking flash photos of the frescos and freaking out over the "Red Light District". YUCK. But beautiful- so just do it!
Is the perfect town for budget tourists who don't like to eat McDonald's when they visit other countries. The food is good, the locals are wonderful, the place is safe and the pricing is fair. You pay 5 euro for a chair and a umbrella on the beach- which is VERY rocky so bring your water shoes if you are a tenderfoot like me. :)
And the reason for the whole trip- Leticia and Roberto's wedding in Minori.
One of the most romantic things I have every witnessed. Letyy arrived BY BOAT and Roberto waited for her on the dock- locals crowded around and watched them approach the church- it was amazing.
Since I was a witness for the ceremony, I don't have a lot of photos but Letty hired 3 photographers so there will be many many photos in the next couple weeks. Here they are just after tying the knot. YAAY!
I have so many stories to tell! Here's the first- apparently ALONDRA means "in London" in Italian so when locals asked me her name I would confuse the heck out of them by replying Alondra- it was a total "Who's On First" scenario. So after a few days of getting these HUH looks when ever we spoke her name we switched to Lola. I love how Italians say Lola! They stretch the O sound and make it positively mellifluous. Now Lola says "Ciao!" and "Mama!" just like italian babies! LOVE IT!

That's it for now- I took 3 hours to write this- time for breakfast!
The some ipod Hipstamatic app filters simply cannot handle high contrast light situations. Here we have a great photo but the deep darkness in the eyes is really creepy.
MuChoS SmOoChEs!