A site for my handmade cards, accompanied by my photos and written meanderings which are occasionally witty, often tongue-in-cheek, and rarely profound. Beginning in June 2013, you'll also see lots of NBUS, which is an acronym I coined for Never-Before-Used-Schtuff. Note: my Privacy Policy can be found at a tab below and you can find my NBUS Challenge online. I hope you'll join in the fun there! Thanks for coming by! Have a beverage and enjoy!

December 29, 2013

Happy New Year Again! CASOS #24; CASology; CFC#124; NBUS #85; PPA #185; Pixie's #105

How's it going?
I'm back with another Happy New Year's card.  I'm making them during this one week while I can before I move on to the next special heartiday.  (To answer your question, I usually send them to people I forgot to send Christmas cards, too.)
For today's card, I used this sketch by the talented Nicole Watt over at Pals Paper Arts:
 Here's my card:
I'm not sure why, but my celery green paper looks all trendy neon.  Either way, it looks pretty with the black and white.  I randomly stamped the clock image on the white panel.  The clock is from a NBUS Hero Arts set.  I drew on the hands at midnight. That's not to say it was midnight when I drew on the hands.  The champagne flutes are heat embossed in white onto a NBUS label die from My Favorite Things.

Besides PPA, I'm playing in these challenges again:
A lot of these challenges run several more days so I hope you will get a chance to play along!  Please click the links for all the details on rules, sponsors, and prizes.

Some of you are posting a few favorites of your 2013 cards and I'm really enjoying your selections!  I'm too indecisive to attempt that, but I do have a show-and-tell photo of the holiday cards I recieved from you! 
It's not that sharp in the late afternoon sun with my camera failing, sorry.  And after I took the photo and scooped them up, I found a couple that had been left out, sorry.  Thank you for sending me cards of yours that are even more gorgeous in real life than what I see on the monitor!  I will treasure them!

If anyone else would like to be a card pen pal with me, just email me your address and I'll email you mine.  After all, cards is what we do and there is nothing like happy handmade mail!
My PhotoIn our New Friends Corner today, I'm pleased for you to meet Dawn Francis of Dawn's Stamping Garden.  Dawn has been stamping and making cards since 1998, but she only started blogging in April of this year.  She has lovely cards and scrapbook layouts to share with you when you click over for a visit!
Welcome, Dawn, and thank you so much for joining us!!
HELP!  I need blogging help.  I am getting an irritating popup error message from Blogger every time I open or view my blog.  (Plus, some of you have said you have been having problems viewing or commenting on my blog.  Grrr!)  Here is the error message I am getting:

ERROR: Possible problem with your *.gwt.xml module file. The compile time user.agent value (ie9) does not match the runtime user.agent value (ie10).  Expect more errors.
We use Internet Explorer 11 and we have not done any recent upgrading.  If anyone has a clue about what this means, or if I should be doing anything, or how to get it to go away and stay away (other than switching to Chrome or Firefox), I would appreciate it! 
I asked Mr. Google and he said this problem was resolved back in 2009 (NOT!) and I also sent Feedback via the Blogger.help people, who promptly sent me a reply which said, basically,
"Thank you.  There is no possible way we can answer you, but we thank you for your feedback."
Nice, huh?  Imagine if we could all just cop that attitude with everything in life.  I especially think it might be helpful to recite that line to your children when they are tugging on your hip pocket or to your husband when he wants to know why the car is parked up on the lawn.
Enjoy your day!  No, seriously, enjoy.  LITS!* 
As always, thank you for coming by to visit the Playhouse and special thanks to you if you take the time to leave a comment and/or join as a follower!  Please let me know you came by, so I can be sure and return the flavor! 
*Life Is Too Short!

Project Details
PaperPTI white, black; SU certainly celery
Stamps    Creative Images (champagne flutes); Hero Arts "Keeping Time" LP020
 InkVersafine onyx black; Imprintz embossing powder; Copic multiliner
AccessoriesDie: MFT "Well-Worn Greetings"; Pop-Dots


December 27, 2013

PARTY! CASOS #24; CASology; CFC #124; LIM #151; Pixie's #103/#104

Well, hello there!

My friends, we have whooshed all the way around to the very last Friday of 2013!  I've not been kidding about how life is too short!  I hope you and I are able to take a few more deep-and-in-the-moment breaths to help 2014 pass more slowly and delishushly.
To close out 2013, a lot of my favorite challenges are celebrating Happy New Year's by partaying for all it's worth!  Even though we have had the twins since Christmas Day, I couldn't miss the party!  I slipped off to the Playhouse last night after they went to bed and made a card.
First, the challenges:
A lot of these challenges run several more days so I hope you will get a chance to play along!  Please click the links for all the details on rules, sponsors, and prizes.
My card: 
Poor old bull frog looks like he is only half-heartedly into partaying, but it's just a fa├žade.  Up inside his head he is dancing to The Swim!  Doesn't he remind you of Uncle Sims who would sit in the corner, in his favorite chair, holding a drink, but otherwise not moving, like an old bull frog?  But up inside his head, Uncle Dear was twisting and shouting.  Just like in life, it takes all kinda folk to make a party!
I photographed my card outside in the morning light and you'll have to pardon that gray circular splotch which has suddenly started to appear.  For some reason it doesn't appear in my indoor photos.  I think my cheapo point-and-shoot camera has seen better days.  Look out after-Christmas sales, here I come! 
My PhotoIn spite of the rush of the holiday season, I'm delighted to introduce you to a new friend!
Please meet Jasleen of Happily Ever Crafter! ~ another fantastic blog name!  Jasleen's whole blog is fanstastic!  She has only been blogging since August, but she is very passionate about her crafty talents and she has much to share with you about all her creative endeavors.  As always, I would love it if you dropped in and left Jasleen some encouragement!
Thank you, Jasleen!  We are so happy you joined the Playhouse partay!
I must dash.  Fun awaits in the form of gangling arms and legs and giggles! 
I will leave you with a wee bit of family fun which you so generously allow me to share.
Lots of remote-control presents were under the tree.  Besides these rock crawlers, they received helicopters and things I'm not sure what the names are.  I just wish I was Ms. Eve Ready or Ms. Dura Cell or Mrs. Ray O. Vac, or Mrs. N. R. Gizer! 
Which twin made which gummy bear army formation?

Enjoy your day!  No, seriously, enjoy.  LITS!* 
As always, thank you for coming by to visit the Playhouse and special thanks to you if you take the time to leave a comment and/or join as a follower!  Please let me know you came by, so I can be sure and return the flavor! 
*Life Is Too Short!

Project Details
PaperSU tempting turquoise; Stampland glossy; unknown PP from stash
Stamps    Mostly Animals "Party Frog"; unmarked sediment stamp
 InkVersifine onyx black; SU markers; Wink of Stella pens
AccessoriesCuttlebug EF; Corner Chomper

December 25, 2013

Happy Holly Kissmas!!

To all of you wonderful friends who have joined my blog as followers and/or subscribers and who faithfully encourage me to keep on creating cards and blogging through your wonderful comments, I am so thankful for you!
To all of you wonderful friends who read me faithfully but may not have the technology to leave comments, I am so thankful for you and your behind-the-scenes support!  Some of you have emailed me instead, so I know who you are, and I love to hear from you!
To each of you,
I wish you the happiest of holidays,
in whatever way you celebrate!
Just remember to enjoy the day!
Merry Kissmas Mwah!!
*Life Is Too Short!   

December 23, 2013

Birds Boost Sales / Pine Cone Greetings ~ FUSION; LIM #151; MM; NBUS #84; PIXIE'S #103/#104

Hello Dearies!  I hope the fresh wonder of a brand-new week, Christmas week no less, has you skipping around happily doing elfish things!

Today I have a couple of creations, New Friends Corner, and weekend photos to share. 
First of all, I wanted to let you know that the fun critter theme has been extended over at the Merry Monday all-Christmas-all-year-long challenge until January 5th!  It is a very popular theme and I'm so glad you have more time to play along!
Current Challenge
I made another critter card for the challenge, using owl critters like in the photo inspiration.  Recently I got an advertisement from a major department store about an incredible sale.  You know the one about early birds and night owls?  I've been keeping it on my desk ever since to make a card with it.   I cut out the significant words and made this:
(Um, in case you think it looks like my early bird sneezed a boog out of his nose, I should tell you that it is a little worm I drew there.  You know, early bird gets the worm and all that?)
This is a perfect Christmas card for a friend who is a marathon shopper!  Both the adorable night owl and early bird are NBUS stamps from purple onion designs.  Add a couple three googley eyeballs, a stitched rectangle die from Lil' Inker Designs attached to a black card and Bob's your burger.
I'm entering this in the holiday Pick-a-Challenge happening over at another one of my favorite challenges, Less Is More.  My card fits two of the past challenges:  No. 101 from January 5th, which was "colour black - white, plus a touch of ?" and No. 147 from November 23rd which was "theme Christmas - use a bird."  Merry Christmas, Chrissie and Jen!!
We'd love you to display our banner
I used a snippet of black around my ad focus pocus, so I'm going to run this over to the playground at Pixie's.  Di is leaving the gates open through Christmas to accommodate our celebrations, both on-campus and off!  Thank you, Di!  I hope the new year brings you all kinds of good things, expeshally freedom from that achey-breakey back pain!
I also wanted to show you a Christmas card that I made to send which just happens to fit the resurrected Fusion Card Challenge.  Here is the photo / sketch inspiration for this month-long/Design Team Call challenge:
And here is my card:
I went with the photo which (except for that mod tree) seems warm and country cozy to me, so I made my card in that style.  The card base is Kraft, the mat is actually cut from a Christmas sack, and the image is stamped on PTI white.  The pine cone is by All Night Media.  The holly is part of a stamped image by Great Impressions, which I fussy-cut, colored, and glossed to within a pinch of its life.  The sediment is by CTMH.
In our New Friend's Corner, I am sooper-dooper becited to introduce you to these three card artists:
Debbie Nutt of Life Refreshed.  Debbie started blogging a few posts this year.  I think her cards are fantastic and I know she would really love some encouragement from you as the new year begins!
Pleased to see you all!
Angela Radford of Felix the Crafty Cat.  Angela is also new to blogging this year, starting in June with a bang!  She is amazingly productive and has the most spectacular layered works of art waiting to inspire you!
My Photo
Sheila Harper of lalacrafts.  Sheila started blogging in April 2012 and has a lot of sweet card art on display at her site!
Thank you so much, ladies, for joining in the frolicks at the Playhouse!  I appreciate that you joined us during this busy season of the year!
We had a lovely birthday celebration for Adam and Henry and I've created a collage for you, rather than overtwinking this post with individual photos.  (Brenda B, one of the pics is just for you!)  The outdoor shots were taken at a cool park where they let the kids (and even the parents) hammer and saw and paint, ride zip lines, and roll down hills in barrels!  What more could you want?
The center photo with the wee birthday hats has become a birthday tradition.  We first plunked those hats on them at their first birthday party:

Adam only cried about having it on his head that first year!  They are good sports to keep doing it year-after-year!  

Enjoy your day!  No, seriously, enjoy.  LITS!* 
Thank you for coming by to visit the Playhouse and special thanks to you if you take the time to leave a comment and/or join as a follower! 

I wish you all Happy Holidays!! 
*Life Is Too Short!


December 21, 2013

Inspiration Crew New Year's Card; CFC #124; CTS #58; NBUS #83; SSWC, and My New Baking Blog

Happy Saturday! 

Welcome to a prolix post.  (Great Scrabble word.)

I was asked some time ago to be a guest today of the esteemed group, The Inspiration Crew, for their scheduled New Year's Eve inspiration post!   
Welcome to the New Year’s Celebration Event brought to you by "The Inspiration Crew."  We’re just a group of crafty friends who love being creative. This time we're doing a one-day event to provide you with tons of inspiration to ring in the New Year!

Here is my Happy New Year's card:
I used SU! gold mirror and sparkly silver card.  The NBUS die is from Papertrey Ink.  The stickers are from Mrs. Grossman and the little festive photographic stars are from Kristie Goulet.  To make my scrumdidlyicious drink even more inviting, I traced the sticker onto scratch paper, cut it out, and then traced it with a Versamark pen onto acetate.  I then heat embossed it using SU! Hologram Highlights for lots of frosty blingy goodness.  Cheers!!
I am entering my card in the following challenges:
CAS(E) This Sketch.  Thank you, N@Ali for a wonderful sketch!
CAS-ual Fridays, where the theme is "Happy New Year!"  CFC is teaming up with 10-Minute Craft Dash, so you get a double chance at winning a prize if you can make your creation in less than ten minutes!  My card was quick and easy, but the acetate glass I made took me just over the limit.
Simon Says Stamp Wednesday Challenge, where the theme is "Bling It On!"  It is a two-week challenge because of Christmas.
 Simon Wednesday Challenge Blog
I hope you get a chance to join in these fun challenges!  The links will provide the details about rules, sponsors, and prizes.
I'd like to take a minute to thank ALL the owners and Design Team members of the many, many delightful challenges that provide us with endless jumping-off suggestions for theme, color, and sketch, and then provide us with a multitude of creative inspiration!  I'd also like to thank the website Paper Playful for providing us with an updated and comprehensive list of weekly challenges and winners. 
Back to New Year's inspiration, I also made a wine bottle tag using a NBUS Avery Elle "Cheers" Die:
It was QACAS using that die.  The die set includes the label and the words "uncork" (which I love, no ambiguity there), "celebration," and "cheers!"  The papers used are unknown from my obscene collection.  I don't mean I have a collection of obscene papers, I mean I have an obscene quantity of pretty papers. 


Okay, so that's my New Year's inspiration for you for today.  Please do click over to the other very talented members of the Inspiration Crew who are participating in the hop!  Some of them are offering prizes!  Cheers!!

That's the end of card talk if you want to jump to the end to kindly leave a comment.  Thank you for coming by!

My New Baking Blog

Okay, so I have to share with you my hysterical baking day on Thursday.  But before I do, I have to show you a photo of the cookies my sister Diana made last week. 
Yikes!  My sisters Donna and Doris also had disasters, but I don't have any photos to share.  This just wasn't our year for Christmas baking!

So.  I finally finished off the last of my cards on Wednesday and with other holiday obligations, I left myself only one day to do any baking for neighbors, the Mister, the office, the Mister, friends, etc.
For the first gift idea, I decided to make one of those recipes-in-a-jar. You know where you put all the dry ingredients in a jar and attach a recipe tag?  I got the idea from an old Craft N Things magazine which I cut out in April 2008.  The recipe is for Lemon Coconut Cookies.    I can't find the recipe on the Craft N Things website, but the above link is the exact same recipe.  Well, I didn't want to just put the ingredients in the jar, type up the recipe, and give it away without actually trying the recipe myself to see if it stunk.
So I did.  I swear I followed the recipe prezackly.  Well, except for that part about placing the balls two inches apart on the cookie sheet.  Whoever does that?  I don't have all day!  It's never been a problem before, but for this recipe, your balls should be placed THREE inches apart or you get this new and space age ~ scientific even ~ dessert:
I called for the Mister to see.  He became quite delirious, knowing that by some magic this lot would become his, all his!  Also, being a science guy, he was very intrigued by the quadra, phrandal, hexa, whatever shape he called it.  I called it something else that I can't print here.  No question, these lemon cookies definitely gave me lemonade!
I was raised in Iowa.  In Iowa they wear boots for the snow and for slopping hogs.  They have a saying:  When things go bad, pull yourself up by your bootstraps and move on.
I pulled up my bootstraps and moved on to brownies.  No one ever, in the history of brownies, has screwed them up.  Clever me to become famous for doing such a thing, but there you have it.
The recipe perpetration was without event.  I had even prepared my cake pan and preheated the oven.  Just as the last stirring was happening, I had a brain storm and remembered that I had these awesome silicon brownie BITE pans!  This would be even better for taking to the office!  Little brownie bites covered in powdered sugar that no one had to cut or bite into!  There would be no trails of chocolate crumbs down shirt fronts or hallways!  Brilliant!
I brought out the pans and found that if I used my fancy-smancy cookie scoop, it was just perfect for filling the bite holes without batter plops all over the place.  They cooked up smashingly, like little baby muffins.  Adorable.  I was haaa-pee as I powdered their little muffin tops with sugar.
Then I went to pop them out of their little silicon hidey-holes.  Um, no, not happening.  What happened instead was the little adorable muffin-top-like tops popped right off!  Hell-O.  They left their little cakey brownie bottoms firmly stuck to the hoity-toity silicon pans. 
I waited hours in between trying to remove them, hoping with time they might let go; that's why there are three missing.  But, yeah, no.
People, seriously, I thought the whole point of the flippin silicon material was that whatever you cooked just popped out without any need for greasing the skids.  Wrong!  So this is a public service announcement.  If you have a silicon bundt pan, or muffin pan, or brownie bite pan, or tart pan sitting in your board of cups that has never been used, ALWAYS grease it before you bake with it.  Always.
Did I throw them out?  Oh, slap yourself, no, I did not.  You know how I said I am now famous for screwing up brownies?  Well!  I am also going to become famous for the person who invented Brownie Tops.  They are a treat, lemme tell you! 
So the next time you go to the mall and you see a kiosk selling Brownie Tops, you make sure and let me know so I can get the royalties or sue for patent fringes or whatever one does. 
Look how cute they are:
They look kinda big in this photo, but they are just perfectly bite-sized. 
And the stuck brownie bottoms?  I scraped them out, one by one, into one big cakey blob, added a little chocolate syrup to moisten, and made Brownie Bottom Balls rolled in powdered sugar!  Squee!  They rock! 
(Shall I franchise these ideas?  I wish.  I'm sure Brownie Tops and Bottoms have prolly been invented before only I just never heard of them.)
At the end of my, ah, interesting baking day, Mister took me out to dinner.  I mean, it was the least he could do after I made him the world's largest sculptural lemon coconut cookie!
Sorry this is so long when you are so busy, but I just had to share!  I sincerely hope your holiday baking went off without a hitch.  Hitches are on wagons and back in Iowa ... oh, never mind!  I'll save that for another post!
Enjoy your day!  No, seriously, enjoy.  LITS!* 
As always, thank you for coming by to visit the Playhouse and special thanks to you if you take the time to leave a comment and/or join as a follower!  Please let me know you came by, so I can be sure and return the flavor!  Here's a picture of my card, which I'm sure you've forgotten that I made!
Displaying Darnell Signature.png 

*Life Is Too Short!

December 20, 2013

Happy Birthday, Boys!

Hello there!
We've whooshed around to the last Friday before Christmas and I'm popping in with a quick post to wish our very special twin grandsons a happy birthday and to introduce you to some new friends.

First, the celebration is on for Adam and Henry who turn nine today!! 
Adam, loves the color blue.  I CASEd myself and remade this card for him.
Henry, lover of yellow and anything with happy faces on it, gets this happy little number.  I was so excited when I found this scrap of paper a few weeks back.
We are having a family celebration tomorrow with an all-day outing and lunch at their favorite seafood restaurant.  December birthdays, especially so close to Christmas, are easy to overlook, but this year we are dedicating a day just to them!
Thank you for letting me share.

In our New Friends Corner, I'd like you to meet three incredible card artists:
My Photo
Krisha of Krisha's Keepsakes.  Krisha has been blogging since 2010 and is a fun read in addition to her wonderful card inspiration.
My Photo
Alycia of Happy Chick Designs.  Alycia has also been blogging since 2010, but what with young'uns and all, it's only this last year that she has really taken off with humor and with wonderful cart art to share with you.
My Photo
Sylvia Blum of {Sylvia's Stamping Place}.  Sylvia has been blogging since 2011.  She is very productive and extremely creative so she has really exceptional works of card art on display.
Thank you, ladies, for joining in the fun at the Playhouse!


Okay, I'm keeping this short.  I have an office Christmas party to attend, my very last one as I'm retiring on the 31st after 20 years with this firm.  I'll be back tomorrow with a scheduled post and to share some wonderful recipes from my baking on Thursday.  Cough.

Enjoy your day!  No, seriously, enjoy.  LITS!* 
As always, thank you for coming by to visit the Playhouse and special thanks to you if you take the time to leave a comment and/or join as a follower!  Please let me know you came by, so I can be sure and return the flavor! 

Image Credit
 Displaying Darnell Signature.png
*Life Is Too Short!

December 17, 2013


Happy Hectic-One-Week-Before-Christmas Wednesday!

I'm not sure if Julia, whomsoever we all love dearly, is posting a What's On Your Workdesk? Wednesday (WOYWW) on Christmas Day, but I won't be able to play in that one if she does, so I'm taking this opportunity to thank her for all she does to keep this showboat afloat and my hamster and I want to wish Julia and her family and all of my WOYWWer friends and their families a very Merry Christmas!!
That, crafters and craftees, is a picture of a card-maker gone 'round the Christmas bend in a Playhouse that has exploded with Christmas cheer, both in the glass and on every surface, including the floor. 
BTW, in the interest of honest journalcism, the hamster on the sign is actually a mouse.  I couldn't find a Christmas hamster, but if I were to take a picture of the hamster in my head, he would look eerily simpattycake with the wee mouse.  Whaddya mean?  What's wrong with my nose?
And I'd love to share our family Christmas photo card, which you may have already seen in an earlier post. 
It's sweet, right? 
Since you might overlook the names, or may have missed the names in my earlier post, here, I'll enlarge it for you:
Ho Ho Ho!

Mister is a good sport.  He got the wet knees kneeling to set up the tripod on the lawn in the early morning dew.  It's our personal Christmas miracle that we got that picture in one shot, considering it includes two boys who will turn nine on Friday and who love nothing more than making faces!
And now you might want to cross your legs as I give you our best 2013 Christmas photo taken by Rachel of granddog Duke all dressed up for the howlidays:
Ho Ho Ho!
Duke is a good sport!  This tickles me no end.  I've seen other dogs in this get-up, but the way Duke has planted his front paws gives his Santa such attitude!  Yes, sir, we will have a Merry Christmas, thank you, sir!!  And no, sir, we don't have a problem with the outfit!
Enjoy your holidays, WOYWWers!  No, seriously, enjoy.  LITS!*  For those of you who visit me other than just for WOYWW, I'll be back with scheduled posts on both Saturday and Monday, at least.
As always, thank you for coming by to visit the Playhouse and special thanks to you if you take the time to leave a comment and/or join as a follower!  Please let me know you came by, so I can be sure and return the flavor! 

Displaying Darnell Signature.png 
*Life Is Too Short!

(Reminder:  If I have to be a Google + member in order
to leave you a comment, then I'm sorry, it won't let me in. 
I didn't want you to think I'm ignoring you.)