Friday, February 25, 2011

My Little Shoebox Goodies!!!

Kaine says NUM NUM NUUUUM!
Materials: My Little Shoebox paper and alphas, Magic Mesh- blue, red/white twine, Maya Road heart pins,
SC Mister Huey mist- sunshine, cream, Ranger's Glossy Accents, Pop dots.
February 2 Peas MLS Challenge winner!
Pencil Lines sketch 225 by Anthea Peterson
Being part of the Paper Issues design team is SO AMAZING! I have wonderful friends I can share my scrap madness with (since my husband's eyes start to roll into his head the second I utter "scrap"). I learn new things every day and once in a while someone on the team has scrap goodies they are willing to share.
I was lucky to receive a huge box of My Little Shoebox papers, alphas and journaling squares from Gretchen who's website you need to visit and follow immediately as girlfriend is fabulous.
That Smile. This wass my first good photo of Lola's smile- I LOVE this photo!!
Materials: MLS alphas, papers, magic mesh, Glossy Accents & Martha Stewart fancy loops punch
Pencil Lines sketch 226 by Lexi Bridges
Gretchen selflessly offered up some free stash when she found out I had not heard of this brand before.  I now realize that claim was blatantly FALSE! I obsessively buy their mini alpha stickers as they come in fabulously bright colors and actually stick to the paper.  I also have some of their paper I just don't use it because I am "saving it for a better project idea" which never comes!

Frankly I like the first project more- it seems more my style. I think I didn't get creative enough with the second page and relied on the paper to shine- great but when you get a gander at what others are creating (click here) PENCIL LINES you'll see why I'm conflicted!

MuChOs SmOoChEs!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


Brooklyn Bridge Park. Nov. 2010 You may have seen this before. But lately it's been getting lots of positive feedback on forums- weird how that works right?
So I wanted to share the dramz in my life as of late. My family knows every single detail and is quite sick of hearing about it but I will repeat it here for your amusement.
First let me say we were taken to court for the commencement of eviction proceedings.
Before you hyperventilate (MOM) know this- the suit failed.
Here's why. We actually pay our rent.
I know!
We pay our rent in money orders and get those money orders personally stamped by the building owner's assistant JUST IN CASE.
In case of what?

We were taken to housing court because our building owner insisted we owed them 6 THOUSAND dollars. THOUSAND!  W. T. EFFER????

Meanwhile Dave (who does NOT get paid if he takes a day off) has been running around sending certified letters with proof of payment and meeting with building managers to settle the claim and what did that get him? BUPKIS! NADA! Nothing.

The heat goes off for 3 days (in zero degree weather), the hallway lights don't function for 2 months, the intercom system goes offline for 8 months, rats raise entire generations in the garbage cans out front because the super doesn't clean every day... WHO CARES?!  IGNORED. We were actually told the building owner did not "have time" to handle these daily "minor upkeep" tasks on our brand new building which now looks run down in a neighborhood where everyone else owns and keeps their buildings in tip-top shape. WE organize the garbage. WE sweep the floors in the halls. WE trap those YUCKOLA rats (Well not ME- the neighbor on the first floor does that. I don't believe in glue traps even thought I don't like rats).
The lawyers actually uttered the words "They have 1,000 units to look after"
Say WHAT?? If you can't look after your properties STOP BUYING!!

Here's the thing- New York State has some wonderfully protective tenant laws. Tenants OWN this city. Every single one of those violations is reason for a month's rent credit. The lawyer knows this so he's pulling a slick willie to see if we scare easily. He shows up with a very well organized list of missed rent payments with blank spaces where check numbers should be. That's when I LOST IT and yelled that he needed to stop wasting time and that we wanted to go before the judge. Why? Because Dave met with building management on January 8th and they NEVER SHOWED US THAT LIST. In fact they LET US SIGN A NEW 2 YEAR LEASE!!! So I played "bad cop" (ok yelling, wild eyed, incoherent cop) to Dave's Salvadorian Columbo.

Dave went into chambers and was all: "Hmmm I don't understand.. Can you please explain this?" all the while listening and pretending he doesn't know what's going on. He then proceeded to wipe the floor with that fancy lawyer. I stood there in utter awe- my husband is a GENIUS under pressure!!!

To make this very long story short- we don't owe jack. We never owed jack but now we have court papers that show we don't and the building owner is now forced to fix the lights, the intercom and find a new home for those rats by March 1st.

Out in front- sans rats.
MuChOs SmOoChEs!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Blown Away

I wanted to share a page I did about a week ago with a Pencil Lines sketch. This is a classic example of a sketch I didn't think was "my style" and papers I loved but would normally leave untouched.
MATERIALS: American Crafts Huckleberry Finn paper, Martha Stewart scallop dot border punch, MS lace corner punch,  American Crafts subway glitter alphas- turquoise and pink,  My Mind's Eye turquoise polka dot mat, Crate paper doilies, pop dots,  Crate Rainbow exclusive paper, Pink Paisley Sweetness collection cut-out roses, Prima flower centers, Liquid Pearls- pink, MLS and Cosmo Cricket mini alphas- pink, turquoise and yellow. Buttons and rhinestone from salvation Army, American Crafts Mementos frame.
Pencil Lines DT sketch
I sat down. I got up. I sat down. I got up. That happened for about 2 days until I dropped paint on it. I then had to hide the paint or incorporate into the layout. But something wonderful happened- I stopped caring. I let go. Out went my preconceptions of what my "current style" was and I just added and added till I was able to feel "finished". That was a great feeling. I was wading out into unfamiliar waters. I was using a sketch to think outside the box. I was working through my block and finding out I had more creativity than previously thought. Effing COOL!

So this week's lesson is: Keep calm and scrap on. Now I just need to get the Maya Road stamp that says so.

Amor, salud y dinero!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

How ART and Photo saved my life

Art and Photo saved my life! STUDIO CALICO Twitter Use Your SC Retail stash Challenge 2/15/11
MATERIALS: SC Window Seat paper, Elementary collection paper scraps, Blue camera rub-ons,
Anthology & Elementary stickers,  Home Front Odds & Ends paper, MS Monarch butterfly and 3 in 1
butterfly punches, Mister Hueys- white, red and yellow. UniBall gel pen
I wasn't in a gang risking my neck or trying out illegal drugs (once you meet my Mom you'll know why) but I was one shiftless, bored and lazy-assed teen! I cut school to stay home and watch "The Monkees" and eat Blimpy sammies. I skulked the school library to avoid teachers I owed homework to. I slept (or read an unrelated book!) in class. Avoided gym. Hung out in the stained glass art room all through Math 3 (Algebra), Chemistry and Physics....
That itty bitty clothes pin is THE BEEZ KNEEZ!!!

That's me 20 years ago...

Oh SC how do I LOVE THEE. Lemme count the ways...
But my English and History teachers LOVED me. I read the textbooks ahead of time and got into arguments on how devoid of meaning uncomfortable topics like slavery or "Indian relocation" were taught. I handed in long essays on feminism and English literature (late). I stayed behind and shared books I found (in the library... while skulking) with the teacher who would suggest them in class the next day. Schizoid teacher's pet!
I think this would make a really cool postcard...
But I NEVER missed a day of my after-school internship at The Educational Video Center. If you know a high school aged kid in NYC who is floundering in school or just REALLY loves media and film production- send 'em over. They will produce award winning documentaries and earn credits for their high school diploma. If they really get into it, they will leave with a job and a writer's portfolio in hand. Art and Photo saved my life- from being boring, shiftless and totally shallow.
Here's a larger view without interference from blinkies and stuff- TFL!

One last note- Stuff 2 Scrap is giving away some of really wonderful laser-cut chipboard to one lucky follower- click on the link above!! I stopped by their blog and lingered for quite a while- they have some kick ass DT talent there! And just LOOK at all that gorgeous chip goodness!!! WANT WANT WAAANT!

That's the word.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Scrapper Block!

Untitled Coney Island Page 2/14/2011
MATERIALS: Core'Dinations paper- mustard, London Tierney buttons- Etsy, punchinella, seahorse and twine from  Gauche Alchemy on, Claudine Hellmuth Studio Classic Teal acrylic paint, My Mind's Eye scallop ribbon
We've all been through it once- the awful feeling- you want to scrap or you have an assignment due for a team or manufacturer but you have ZERO ideas- zero motivation- zero MOJO. OOOOOHHHHH NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!
Detail 1- pop dot fish. Can't figure out why
photos are so out of focus- LOOK MA- no facial details!
Glued twine- hard to do but FUN
I'm battling a nasty case of Mojo No Go right now. I never get writer's block as there's always something to complain about or ruminate- just look at the world news report! But this time I'm having problems with everything from design, to titles, to putting some danged products together. I'm blaming the crapola weather and my scrap space "organization".

What do YOU do when you want to scrap but you hate everything before you?
The kitchen table- cleanest it's been in MONTHS!
Here's what I did in exact order:

  • Complain to husband who volunteered I should probably clean the kitchen (AKA scrap) table
  • Eat sushi- take out revenge for being told to clean
  • Write to scrap bestie and complain (but she's going through the SAME THING!)
  • Surf the scrap blogs for ideas
  • First FREAK OUT- general freakyness
  • Buy more paper and Hambly Studio trannies
  • Sit down and MAKE MYSELF put a page together (result: lots of cut up paper)
  • Visit favorite artist blogs and wallow in envy and self pity
  • Second FREAK OUT! Why can't I whip something together like all these other fabulous women?
  • Eat ice cream
  • Organize supplies:

Everything in it's own place- now where did I leave my BRAIN????

  • Third FREAK OUT- organizing actually made the situation worst. Now I have to remember where I put everything!
  • Visit my gallery and reminisce about when I used to have ideas.
  • Go to local art journal exhibit and check out some FUNKY journal projects
  • Watch TV 
  • Sit down and force myself to add whatever onto a page- actual page results.
Total time spent: 72 hours

Notice I never said take care of Miss Thing- that happens the entire time naturally.
MuChOs SmOoChEs!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

On contemplating the end

My grandmother is 79 years old and has terminal lung cancer. The tumor is inoperable. Over the weekend I flew to PR to go see her and have her meet Lola. It was one of the hardest things I've ever done. Seeing someone you love in pain and facing their own end makes you question your priorities. It makes you take measure. It makes you incredibly angry, sad and confused.
My favorite recent photo.
My grandmother and grandfather met when she was 16 and he 19. He spotted her in the school yard and they started talking and fell in love. Her family did not approve so he carried her off and they got married in secret. He told my mom many years ago: "Me lleve la negrita" or I stole the black girl. That my grandfather told me this story is precious as he is suffering from memory loss. We are not sure why since he has not been diagnosed with Alzheimer's but my Dad suspects it's because he's not able to deal with loss. Abuelo has lost many people in his life and now he faces the loss of his precious life partner. When I think about how they will be separated I just can't stop crying- I just CAN'T!!! I can deal with their going together. I can deal with him leaving first. I just can't deal with her going and he being alone. And I can't STAND that she's sad and in pain.
Alone at home.
My grandmother is a truly beautiful woman. She was beautiful when I visited her 4 years ago- her clear green eyes shining... her cafe-con-leche skin wrinkled in that very special way only people who take good care of themselves and live in sunny places can... Her hair always in curlers so she got the curl without the frizz... Her beauty radiates now through the hair loss, the oxygen mask and the sadness- oh the sadness in those eyes!
Excuse me I'm crying..
One photo was all I thought to get.
My grandmother did not smoke, she ate her fiber and fresh fruit right off the tree. She reduced fried foods to almost never years ago. She watched her weight and ran herself ragged taking care of her husband, her grown children, her grandchildren, her neighbors, her friends- EVERYBODY. But she didn't forget herself- she bought her face cream, strictly watched her salt and sugar intake, took her blood pressure meds and regularly visited the doctor. But she did not get a peaceful end- she has to struggle. Unfair! Unfair! It's so hugely unfair!
crying again...

Seeing her in a hospital room hooked up to an IV and looking sad because she can't get up to hug me or hold Lola just kills me. We are all praying for a miracle- that the chemo will work- that she will recover- that she will return to her true love of 62 years- that she will return to her sewing and scolding and gardening and gossiping and cooking and cleaning and loving all those around her.
Together 2007- Guelo y Guilla
Seeing my grandmother fold a napkin over and over because she needs to keep her hands busy is maddening. Hearing my aunt tell me they gave away her prize orchids because "No one can take care of them like she can" made me want to HURT somebody. But who am I to judge? My aunt has to see her Mom die slowly in pain and in sadness. She has to stay by her side as I get on a plane and return to New York. And one day it will be my turn. I will have to do the same for my Mom- another woman I practically worship and that scares me to the very very core.

That is the human state- endings. But also beginnings. Can you face endings in full? Can you celebrate the life already lived and not focus on the end? Can you move on and try to make things better for yourself and those you love? Yes Yes YES!
That is what my Abuelita wants. She wants me to be happy, to be successful, to be healthy and to be kind to myself.
Sight seeing at La Parguerra during our brief visit.
I couldn't take photos- I came back with 30 pictures because I just could not focus. I came back with regrets and guilt and fear- for Lola, for Dave, for Mom, for Dad, for my brothers and sisters- for me. I faced the prospect of a prolonged and painful death and now I have to focus on a life with no promises- a life I have to make happy NOW because tomorrow is an idea and may never come.

Hug your loved ones- do those dishes later!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Scrappy good news all around!

Defy Expectations
Coming to Scrapbook News and Reviews  on 2/13! YAAAY!

Been getting lots of GREAT news on the scrap front lately:
My Often Cranky page won the January challenge over at Punky Scraps! YAAAAY!

My Studio Calico page has been published over on Scrapstreet!

And 3 pieces are scheduled to go live over at on February 13th!

Keep rollin rollin rollin.
Move 'em out!

MuChOs SmOoChEs!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Make some sun

I got to see my first ice storm today- everything is coated in an inch of glass- it's beautiful! And hideous.
This is another project to chase the clouds and the 5 state large storm away:

Be You
Materials: American Crafts cloud paper, Sassafras Lass Entwined Blooms- Turkish 
Turquoise Bloom,  Jillibean Soup corrugated alphas- green, Mister Huey- sunshine, 
Bee cut out from Nikki Sivils paper, Green bird from  
One Bright Shiny Rainbow Collage Altered Art Kit- Paper Issues on Etsy, 
Wood block Faux Kiss on Etsy, Elmer's glitter glue- yellow,  
K and Co ephemera die cuts- bird.
Valentine's Day is a week and a half away- what are YOU doing for your nearest and dearest? Mine is getting some.... Sushi.  Aaahahahahahaha! Made you look!
Paper Issues is hosting a wonderful Valentine's theme challenge- all paper projects welcome! The piece above gives you a hint on the next challenge- cogitate on THAT then go on and get BUSY!
Abuela Gille. We are coming to see you.
Please get well soon.
MuChOs SmOoChEs!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Summer- MISS IT SO MUCH!!!

Lots of bad news from around the world these days. There's much to worry over. Here in New York the snow is making me miss summer very badly so I decided to scrap a page about a good day in July.
July Memories- Studio Calico Kit challenge page 1/24/11
Materials: Sassafras/Studio Calico exclusive paper, Crate Paper- slipcover (flowers and red border)
Cosmo Cricket mini alphas- yellow, Uniball gel pen- black, pop dots
Poor Miss Lola has had RSV for 7 days now so we've been stuck inside. She's got a huge case of cabin fever that I broke last night by going to Michael's. I bought 10 new 12x12 cases- it's organization and purging time! But let's tell the truth- there will be VERY LITTLE purging going on. I got Miss Lola a new ball and some crayons she promptly chomped- oh well.

This page is a 360 change from what I was making a few days ago but the truth is that the grungy/moody style has very few admirers- at least the way I do it. It's good to change things up and try to look at the bright side of life- especially when you have a sick baby and 6 feet of ice encrusted snow to deal with.
Quick peek at the layering of flowers.
I did 5 hours of fussy cutting for this page. It was so WORTH it! I love looking at this page up on the wall. Crate Paper is KILLING ME with their new collections by the way- cannot WAIT for those to hit the stores! The boy centered toy collection is calling my name!
February's True XOXO Girls challenge page! click here to go there.
I have some FUN news! Ty's page was mentioned on Practical This page will be up for lifting on TRUE XOXO GIRLS starting February 6th. Please go to the site and add your page to the current January challenge- a great box of goodies awaits the winner.
We spent a lot of time hunched over to help Miss Thing walk back in July 2010-
 good thing she picked it up quickly.

MuChOs SmOoChEs!