Tuesday, December 30, 2014

What's black and white and red all over?

That was a popular riddle when I was a young girl.  The answer was either an embarrassed zebra or a newspaper (read all over).  I took a card I found on Pinterest that was black and white with some red accents and made a bunch of anniversary and birthday cards this evening.  Thus, the riddle came to mind :-) 

These are Anniversary cards. I stamped a sentiment inside - Happy Anniversary and many more!  The designer series paper is Basic Black and Very Vanilla.  I added some red glitter paper and Cherry Cobbler seam binding.   I love the color combination.

These cards are very similar to the other except using different DSP.  The card on the right has Very Vanilla seam binding. 

And these stars are for birthday cards.   I layered a red glitter star on the basic black large star,  

We have also added a new family member - Shadow

He is 4 months old. My daughter picked him out at the Humane Society.  He is a very frisky but lovable kitten.  

Friday, December 26, 2014

Snow Buddies cards

Running short on birthday and anniversary cards since I have not been spending much time in the 'craft room'.  It is also serving as my home office so I am spending lots of time in the room, just not crafting.

These cards use the Snow Buddies set from several years ago.  Still one of my favorites.

Aren't the snowmen cute with the birthday balloons?  They are ready to party!!! We haven't had any snow but that doesn't mean I can't build some snowmen.  I prefer these anyway - can stay inside, warm and dry and they don't melt.

These fine couples are ready to celebrate some anniversaries. I am always running out of anniversary cards.

We still have one Christmas party - we are hosting my family tomorrow.  My siblings, their childrena and grandchildren. One of the highlights will be the annual Christmas ornament.  My sisters and I (sometimes we include a niece or two) make ornaments for everyone each year.  This tradition started in 1977 and we treasure the ornaments as well as the time we spend together planning and creating.   I can't post photos yet - don't want anyone to see them before tomorrow - but this year's are very special.  You'll just have to check in after tomorrow to see them :-)

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

12 Days of Charity - Day 12

This post will be for two charities - but they are very similar.  They are very dear to my heart.  Quilts for Older Children and Adults and Love Quilts.   I started stitching squares for Love Quilts in 2005. I loved picking designs and stitching them for a child who was critically ill.  It was hard to limit which children I stitched for so I stitched for all I could.  One year I stitched over 100 squares for charity quilts.  A similar group was started by my friend, Jeneen.  Quilts for Older Children and Adults donates quilts to children and adults who would be too old for Love Quilts.  What a blessing to be able to share my love for counted cross-stitch with other stitchers in such a worthy cause.

I orchestrated a few quilts through a Yahoo group for a few years.  Those were some of the most rewarding ones.  One was for a friend's granddaughter. 

One was for a child that I learned of through our church missionaries and we also made one for her sister.  I actually sewed the quilt for the sister. (Not a professional job but I'm sure she loved it none the less.)

And another for my sister who was battling breast cancer. 

I am so proud of each quilt I have been a part of and have prayed over the recipient while stitching, rejoiced when pictures were posted of the recipient smiling with their quilt and grieved when news was received that a recipient had died.  

For the last few years I have not been cross-stitching much because my left hand cramps up when holding the fabric.   Recently I started again.  I just can't do it for long intervals but still am able to meet the deadlines.  Here are the squares I have done this year. 

Love Quilts - for Junior T - Dalmatian

Quilts for Older Children and Adults - Disney theme - Lion King

And a card for today -

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

12 Days of Charity - Day 11

I just learned about Midtown Moms this month.  One of the moms was a volunteer at Affordable Christmas and she was telling me all about their ministry.   You can check them out on Facebook - Midtown Moms.

Just this past weekend they posted an emergency request from a mom who could not afford Christmas presents for her children.   Midtown Moms posted the request and immediately 2 followers had offered to help her out.  It's good to see such generosity.

Not only do they distribute toys at Christmas, they also do birthdays for the children.  They provide a gift and cake/cupcakes.  It's sad to think that someone cannot afford a cake for their child's birthday.

The card today is another of the shoebox cards.  This was designed by my niece. It is an interesting way to use the hexagon punch.  I love the embossed dots in the background.  Looks like snow falling.

Monday, December 22, 2014

12 Days of Charity - Day 10

Our church has packed shoeboxes for Samaritan's Purse for several  years now.   Members donate supplies and the children 'shop' to fill the shoeboxes.  It is great to see the kids thinking of someone else during the holidays.

If you would like to donate a shoebox, you can pack your own and send it or you can pack one online.  How neat is that!  You choose the gender, age range and then pick some essentials (paper, pencils, etc) and one large toy, 2 medium toys and 3 small toys.  All for $25.00.

The card for today is another one from our shoebox club  - this one designed by my sister (enabler). Stampin Up has many coordinated stamp sets and punches that make it quick and easy to make an impressive card.  

Notice the tree stamped on the envelope.   The little touches make a big difference in a handmade card. 

Sunday, December 21, 2014

12 Days of Charity - Day 9

My daughter's love for crochet and heart for the homeless brought me to my 5th charity.  She has made several crocheted scarves and wanted to donate them somewhere so after searching the internet for charities that could use them, I found several but nothing that was local.  Many of them also had strict requirements on type of yarn, colors and dimensions which did not match what she had available.  So, I decided to do my own search - on Facebook.  I posted the question "Where can we donate crocheted scarves?" and got 2 responses almost immediately.  One was from a friend who works in a local bank and they collect coats for children every year and would gladly take scarves, hats and gloves/mittens too.   The other was from a friend whose church has a homeless ministry and they would hand them out.  My daughter chose the church ministry among the homeless and as it turns out is it the same church her aunt and uncle attend.  So she has a means to get them to the church as well.
She has these scarves to donate

and I had one hat I made that was too large to donate for a newborn that we are putting in the box with the scarves.   My daughter plans to continue making scarves throughout the year and donating them in the fall.

The card for today features my wish for all the homeless - a warm home in the cold and snow.

The snow on the sentiment is a new technique I found a couple months ago.  The house is from a sheet of retired DSP that had 16 different design on that sheet. Cute, isn't it?  I think before I use this card I will take a glitter pen and highlight the snow on the roof of the house.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

12 Days of Charity - Day 8

Affordable Christmas has got to be my favorite volunteer opportunity of the year.  Trailhead Church has been supporting this ministry for several years.  Last year they asked about using our educational wing since they had outgrown their other resources.

Families are screened and given appts to come shop for Christmas presents for their children.  Gifts are priced to be about 10 cents on the dollar.  Donations of money and/or gifts make this all possible.  And they don't just provide Christmas gifts -

there is makeup and hair for the women, little ones too.  Each family has a photo shoot and gets an 8 x 10 to take home with them at the end of their shopping.

 There are lots of frames to choose from. All hand made - and beautifully done!

While mom and dad are shopping (or working as a volunteer) - the children spend time with crafts, Bible stories and breakfast foods.

There are so many things to choose from in the shopping area.  Tables and tables and tables full of new toys,

 games, (love the penguin!)

and sports equipment.  

After the parents make their purchases, the gifts are all wrapped and bagged up for them to take home.

While the gifts are being wrapped, the parents are treated to a breakfast/brunch.  This year a local restaurant owner provided a French toast bar.  The French toast was amazing - especially with the orange marmalade sauce (the volunteers are fed well too).  

This is one of the most rewarding things I have ever done.   I am so proud to be a part of this ministry and pray to be able to continue to help out for many years to come.  

My card for today -

starburst of Joy.  The Cherry Cobbler and Garden Green again - but this time with Very Vanilla.  The starburst is done using a 'mask'.  

Friday, December 19, 2014

12 Days of Charity - Day 7

Glen Ed Food Pantry provides many services - much more than just providing food for those in need.  In August, I volunteered at their event to distribute school supplies to family's needing assistance.  Families registered their school age children in advance and the required school supplies were sorted and bagged for each child.   Hundreds of bookbags were displayed on tables so each child could choose theirs.  A new pair of shoes was also provided for each child.

The pantry receives most of their food donations through the annual Boy Scouts of America food drive.  One year I volunteered to help sort through all the food collected.  Boxes full of the Boy Scout bags were dropped off at the end of a long row of tables (there were about 20 rows of tables) we went through the bags and sorted the canned goods into boxes - corn in one, beans in another, etc.  It was overwhelming seeing the amount of food.  However, the food does not necessarily fulfill the needs throughout the whole year.  The food pantry needs donations all year long.

Our church has a large box where donations can be dropped off all year long.  Once there are several items in the box, one of the deacons will take the donations to the pantry.

It seems like every community has a food pantry.  If you are not already actively donating or volunteering at your local food pantry, why don't you start today?

My card today is one made recently when our family stampers (plus one) held a shoebox party.  Each person designed a card and brought the supplies for the others to make their card.  We had a great time and went home with 7 different cards.   This card was designed by Debbie (the plus one) - she is not a relative but sure feels like part of the family.  I love the striped paper in the background. 

Thursday, December 18, 2014

12 Days of Charity - Day 6

Every year we have attended Center Grove church we have participated in the Angel Tree for Mission Gate Prison Ministry.  We take 2 of the 'tags' on the tree the have a gender and age written on them and shop for that child.  Gifts fall in the $20 - $25 range.  I usually choose little girls or boys as always have a hard time shopping for a pre-teen or teen. Sometimes it is hard since you don't know the child or their interests but I usually try to pick a couple gifts so hopefully something is a real hit with the child.

There are numerous groups that have similar programs with Christmas trees that you can choose a child and buy them a gift.  I know one year our local Walmart had a tree with the tags and they had specific gift suggestions which made it a little easier.   I even saw one in Starbucks today for Animal Rescue and it had ornament shaped tags with pictures and names of the animals in shelters with suggestions on the back for gifts.

There are also programs that have families you can adopt for Christmas and purchase gifts for the whole family.  How rewarding would that be!   There are options on the Mission Gate site for churches, workplaces, families or individuals can contribute to the Christmas Angel Mission.  One of the items on my 'bucket list' is to be able to attend one of their Christmas parties and volunteer my time in addition to the gifts.

A card for today -

it would have to be an angel :-)  Some more Cherry Cobbler and Crumb Cake but this time it is Lucky Limeade for the green.   The angel is heat embossed using pewter embossing powder.  This was our family card one year - embossing over 100 angels :-)

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

12 Days of Charity - Day 5

Blood donations are needed all year long but especially during the holidays when accidents and injuries increase and donations decrease.   I would give blood whenever I could at the hospital and got my gallon pin.  Then in November 2013,  I got sick after donating and it was not a pretty sight.  Not sure why I got sick but I have been hesitant to give again.

When making my lists of charities I decided I need to start donating blood again.  The Central Illinois Community Blood Center (CICBC) makes it easy to donate.  You can go to their website and see where there are drives near you and then make an appointment for the drive of your choice.  I am scheduling my donation for January 2015. 
You also can sign up for a program where you earn points for each donation and can purchase items from them using those points.   They do everything they can to encourage people to donate.

And a card for today -

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

12 Days of Charity - Day 4

We have supported Mosaic Pregnancy & Health Centers for many years. We participate in their baby bottle campaign every year through our church.  It is a fun way to raise money.  Each family takes home an empty baby bottle and fills it with loose change to donate to Mosaic.   Last May, I was on a work trip near home.  The man I was working with pulled out a baby bottle from his backpack and put his loose change in it after paying for his lunch.   He started to explain and I just smiled and said "We do that too."  He was collecting for another pregnancy center but it seems to be a common fundraising campaign.
I also like to knit or crochet hats for infants with my scrap yarn throughout the year and donate to Mosaic.  If I have larger amounts of yarn, I make baby blankets.  They are always grateful for any ot these items that I drop off.

These are the hats I am donating this week.  I used up a lot of scraps and cleaned out some of my excess yarn. 

Five baby blankets are also going to Mosaic this week.  I experimented with some new patterns. Some I will use again - and some I was glad to only being doing a small baby blanket :-) 

This is some fleece that I bought on sale at Joann's specifically to make this blanket to donate to Mosaic.  Some mom or dad will just love this for their little one.

If you knit or crochet, this is a good way to use up extra yarn or to even practice a pattern to see if you would like it for a bigger project.  There are lots of free patterns  (all levels of expertise) at sites like Lion Brand Yarn.

My card to share today is one of my favorites -

I love the color combination of Garden Green, Cherry Cobbler and Crumb Cake.  The double ribbon (Very Vanilla and Cherry Cobbler seam binding) turned out really cute and the decorative punch on just the one corner gives it some character.  

Monday, December 15, 2014

12 Days of Charity - Day 3

Sending and receiving Christmas cards is one of the joys of the season.  I also love designing and making our Christmas cards every year.   We both come from large families and we also give cards to all the families at church so this year I made about 140 cards.

This year I am adding a new family to my Christmas card list.  Addie is a 6 year old little girl who is not expected to live for another Christmas.  Her family's request is for her to receive a 'lifetime of Christmas cards'.   Addie especially loves handmade cards or artwork by other children.

You can read her story here - today.com
or visit her Facebook page

I'll be sending Addie a card  - won't you consider joining me?  The card does not have to be handmade.  The family appreciates anything they receive.

The Christmas card I will be sending Addie and her family -

This is a stamp set I bought many years ago.  I love the calico angel and letters.  The ruffle is made by using the scallop punch on a long strip or paper and then crimping it with the crimping tool. The crimping makes it more flexible to glue around the back of the oval.  

The card has a surprise - a pop-up trio of calico hearts.   I will put some tabs on it so they know how to pull it to make the hearts pop up.  I love making the pop-ups but always wonder if the recipient figures it out :-)   I hope this will bring a smile to Addie's face as well as her mom and sisters.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

12 Days of Charity - Day 2

The Salvation Army is not a new charity for me.  Every year while shopping I would drop some change in their familiar red kettle and wish the volunteer bell ringer a 'Merry Christmas'.
Occasionally when I clean out closets or de-clutter the house, I throw the items in a box and arrange to have the Salvation Army pick up the box(es).

This year I had a new experience with the Salvation Army.  I was a volunteer bell ringer!  Our church arranged to ring the bells over several hours and asked for volunteers for 30 minute intervals.   My daughter and I took one of the slots.

First, we are thankful that it was a warm day - we didn't even need our coats.  We greeted everyone we saw with "Merry Christmas" and got lots of smiles, thank yous and Christmas greetings in return.  A large percentage of the people coming and going stopped to add to the kettle.  Some with a few coins and some with $5 bills.  At one time we even had 4 people standing in line to add to the kettle.  What a great thing to see with the economic hardships we hear of every day.

It was especially heartwarming to see children putting in a few coins.  Kudos to the parents who are bringing them up to give to others.  Charity does begin at home.

I was curious as to how the red kettles came about and found this article describing the founder.

And as promised - here is another Christmas card design.

This card was based on an original designed by my niece, Jamie.  Using the Gorgeous Grunge "splatter" I made a tree of Old Olive.  I added some Cherry Cobbler stars and the sentiment.  This is mounted on some Cherry Cobbler DSP and then the Old Olive card base.   A fun card and no two would be exactly the same.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

12 Days of Charity

I've decided to highlight 12 different charities each day until Christmas  - hence the 12 Days of Charity.   The first charity is one that is new to me.   This is the House of Hope which is a soup kitchen for the Community Hope Center.  My friend Natalie and her family volunteer there regularly.   Each week they provide meals on Mon, Tue, and Wed.  Next week (12-15 through 12-17) they will be serving a full Christmas dinner from 10 am to 1 pm.   Wednesday is also a toy gift drive so they are expecting a large group that day. If you live in the area and want to help them out, let me know and I can connect you to Natalie.

They can use help with prep/serving/clean up from 9-2 on Wednesday and can still use food donations.  I will be working so can't help out with the work but did make some cookies to send with my daughter who is going to volunteer on Wednesday.

I made some Christmas Krinkles.  This is a recipe I have had for years but they were called Whippersnappers.  The recipe -
1 box of cake mix (dry)
2 cups non-dairy whipped topping (like Cool-Whip)
1 egg
powdered sugar

I found this Christmas cake mix at Aldi's.  Since the box held two 1/2 cake mixes (one red and one green) I bought 2 and make 2 batches of the cookies.

Bekah and I worked together and made approximately 8 dozen cookies to send to House of Hope on Wednesday.  It certainly made the task easier and more fun having someone to help in the kitchen. 

We also have 2 dozen cookies to take to the church for the fellowship time after the choir's cantata on Sunday evening.   Aren't these pretty cookies?

And since some of you are interested in card making, and someone (Steph) has noticed I haven't posted any cards lately, I will post a Christmas card design with each of the 12 charities.

This card uses some retired Christmas DSP but could be made with any designs you have.  The DSP is mounted on a single piece of Old Olive and a piece of Cherry Cobbler.  I had some gold ribbon from some other project that I used to give it a little accent.   I like the sentiment with opposite corners rounded.

Come back tomorrow for another charity.