Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Spray Painting in the Cold

I'll let you in on a secret. Sometimes I don't wait to spray paint until it's warm. It was above freezing this past weekend and I had a little stack of stuff that needed to be spray painted I went for it. The trick is to paint things on a board and then bring them inside somewhere above 50 degrees and let them try. This way you aren't breathing paint spray & fumes and you get things painted!

There was no way I wasn't going to paint this little stand I picked up at the ReStore soon. In fact I was sorting flowers and getting the ones that still had full packages together before it was even dry.

This brass frame needed some paint too! I added some gold with a dry brush and then some splatters and sprays of copper. I am hoping the color isn't too intense for the lady I painted it for. If it is, good thing I have more paint!

Really do love it myself. Maybe she'll not want it after all. ;-)

I'll show you the lion hangers soon. They need to be installed, but first things first....where?

Happy Hump Day!

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Merry Christmas @ CMOG with Close to My Heart

These days most of the photos are taken on a cell phone. I love my big black camera for taking photos of layouts, but I certainly wouldn't be lugging it around with me at a museum if I could just use my cell. So, here's my tip for you. Mine your cell phone for your photos once in a while and you just might find you have a few special ones you forgot to make into a scrap layout!

The mining of my phone resulted in me figuring out that I had a enough cool photos from visiting the Corning Musuem of Glass open house that I could make a nice little layout. I opted to make a photo mosaic so I could use the cool photo of the glass flameworked mouse (it's standing on it's head) and the second photo I had of the flameworker. Of course Lexi knew her, so it's a nice memory. As the page was pretty plain, even with that big 5 by 7 mosaic, I cut up a bunch of scraps to use under the photo give it a base. I was super pleased getting rid of a bunch of little pieces too!

On that same note, left over stickers usually have odd combinations so it was pretty easy for me to find ones to augment my glitter title and spell out CMOG. Really loving this paper too, it's from Close to My Heart. I had some left over and decided to make my first Christmas card.

Used up a few more scraps on this and that awesome poinsettia! LOVE it!

Well, that's a wrap for me. All my Christmas pages are done! It's a good thing too, as we're heading into spring!

Monday, February 26, 2018

Smile Happy Heart Art from my Erosion Bundle

Goodness, what a fun bunch of crumply tissue paper, inked up doily, and stained burlap I found right after Christmas in my erosion bundle! I have been dreaming up a project since and since Valentine's Day is right around the corner, I ran with this wood heart frame. I had a little turquoise tissue paper hanging around so I added it to the frame with some modge podge and a little grungy shimmer spray.

I was excited about making flowers this past weekend so I used the crumpled and dyed tissue paper in a Tim Holtz Tattered Flower die. I added a gem brad to the center. The little age spots are part of what hanging out in the weather does to paper. Super cool.

Since my frame was so small, I could only use one of the large tissue paper flowers and some vintage roses I made, so I have plenty of tissue flowers left over to play with later. The envelope and that paper with the gold M all came out of the bundle and had a nice faded pink and green color. I had added dyed seam binding so I am guessing those colors migrated.

Really love that butterfly and that gold lattice. The gold lattice came from a piece of paper I used behind something I spray painted, so it's upcycled like most everything else on this piece!

I've made this piece as part of an Erosion bundle collaboration! If you would like to check out some other art work using the same stuff, check them out here:

I am really enjoying this piece! It was hard to wait all summer, fall, and part of the winner to see what I "got" but then at the end I really loved the age spots and the subtleties of the ink that ran. Next time I'm trying metal to get some rust! Fun times!

Happy Monday! 

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Adventure is out there Layout featuring Duncan

Duncan has an uncanny ability to stand still sometimes just when you need a good photo. Perhaps he's contemplating what the heck his silly human is doing with their phone...or he's just gotten bored and is just hanging. Regardless, I can't say he was much help with the snowman. His main talent is using his nose as a snow plow which results in a lot of snorting.

My favorite embellishment on this page was this awesome felt snowman that we had hanging at work as a decoration. It came home with me and hung out on my desk for a while until Lexi took this awesome photo a couple of weekends ago. Hence, a scrapbook page was inspired.

One of the best parts of this page was using up some extra cardstock. I went looking through my pile and found a lot that was the same color. I cut a quick extra large circle out of a sheet of white and used that to cover up the edges of the scraps.

The title was also extra. It was the lone item on the sticker sheet so I got to use that up too! I pop dotted the black center part. I was mainly joking a little. I mean, there isn't much adventure to be found in the side yard, but it looks cute!

Anyhow, hope your Hump Day is awesome! Just a little downhill slide from here into the weekend!

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Yappy Birthday to You Card for THE CUTTING CAFE

Oh goodness it was fun putting together a wee care package for my Gram! Her birthday is coming up and I thought she'd like this card I made. I used a printable from The Cutting Cafe called Animal Friends.

Due to the fact I've never invested in the fancy markers, I was stuck coloring him in with water color pencils which was made a little more difficult due to printing on photo paper. Regardless, I kept at it and was pleased with the look.

Really love this card! I had fun stamping a little leaf stamp lightly in the background and adding some simple splatters and some flowers! I can't wait to send it off!

Hope your Tuesday is pawsome!

Monday, February 19, 2018

Twofer Valentine's Day Cards

Lately I've been noticing the older generation more. I can't say why. Perhaps it's because at work I'm working on a grant that assists low income peeps over sixty. Or that my Build Crew at work are certainly older gentleman although one would be remiss to call them old. Gary is 74 and still climbed into the dumpster after the trash can last week. For the record, I didn't ask him to. I would have left it in there.

This past Friday I met an older lady on our front porch at work. She was hanging out on one of our outdoor benches we had for sale. As she was carrying portable oxygen and was measuring her blood oxygen with a device that fit over her finger, I felt inclined to ask if she was OK. She said that she was just getting out of breath. The side affect of having your oxygen drop was the feeling of having to pee. She said it was a real pisser to try to not pee and also breath. I did see her point.

We managed to get her into the store eventually and into the potty. It was then the same slow trip back to the car as she had to stop a couple of times to get the oxygen levels back up. She was on her way to the hospital after that. We did have a very nice conversation about some of our favorite Habitat volunteers and turns out she too loves Candy Bar Dude Doug. Currently Doug is nursing a bum knee so I've had to do all my own painting lately. I miss him for the chocolate, his cheerfulness, and his painting!!!

This past Monday I sent my Gram who's in the nursing home and hanging with the fairies like my Dad likes to say two cards. See, one was FOR Valentine's Day. The other (written on the envelope) was a card to give to Gram when she was grumpy. She's on the 4th floor which means she's living with the other grumpy people. It's totally gotta suck to be in your brain but not know who the heck is visiting. Soon she's having a birthday so more cards and also cake...but no clue who these guys are showing up & singing....she does really like sweets and cards, so I imagine she'll have an awesome time.

Hugs & Kisses Gram! And don't hit any of the other little old ladies and men.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

BABUSHKA: Story by Bruce Mero for Story Telling Sunday

This was originally published on 3/3/2013 and I'm republishing this for Valentine's Day which also happens to be my 20th Annivesary of wedded bliss with THE MAN.

This story accompanies a page I made recently. The photo reminded my Dad that he had not ever written this story. Since it pertains to my very existence...I'm thinking it will do nicely for Sian's Precious Theme over at Story Telling Sunday. Not exactly Irish, but maybe Russian and for sure Peruvian.....

        The 8AM class was invented to separate the lazy from the committed in college. Since it was my first semester at the College of Forestry at Syracuse University, I'd convinced myself to be committed and signed up for Professor William's Principles of Land Use course. Actually, the course was required for graduation, so I really had little choice but to take it. Since it was only offered 8AM, that too presented little choice.

          Making it to class on time meant that I needed to drag myself out of bed before 5 o'clock, shower and eat, drive an hour to Syracuse (I'd decided to live at home this semester and commute to school), find a place to park my car (always a huge challenge) then walk as much as a half-mile to Marshall Hall to get to class. I had transferred to Syracuse mid-year from a Civil Engineering program at a local Community College. It was early January, so negotiating winter roads added time to my drive. Given all of that, I'd made it to my first class a few minutes early and settled into a seat near the back. Quickly the room filled. By the time Professor Williams entered the class, all seats were occupied, except the one next to where I was sitting. Professor Williams had just introduced himself when the classroom door opened and an out-of-breath young woman entered. She apologized for disrupting the class, scanned the space and located the unoccupied chair next to mine. 

           She was a vision. I was stunned. She wore a long, red woolen coat, her long brown hair emerged from beneath a cream-colored Russian babushka and streamed halfway down her back. I watched her, open mouth, make her way to the seat next to mine. From that very moment I was hopelessly in love.

          I tried to concentrate on the professor's lecture, but found myself continually glancing at the goddess sitting at my side. Consequently most of the hour's lesson was lost to me. During the last ten minutes of the class, in my head I practiced how to introduce myself to her. However as soon as class ended, she stood up and quickly disappeared from the room. I followed her outside but only caught a glance of the babushka and the long, red coat as it rounded the adjacent building. She was gone.

          I wasn't completely sure, but I think I saw the babushka the next day across the huge auditorium in the Science building where I was taking Introductory Geology, with 450 other students. It may have been my hopeful imagination. I know I couldn't get her out of my mind.

          Wednesday, the previous sequence of events at Professor William's class repeated. She apologetically entered the class late and found the only empty seat, though this time it was nowhere near where I was sitting. I stared at her long hair the entire lecture. When class was over, she was gone in a flash. I had absolutely no idea of what that hour's lecture was about.

          That afternoon I'd scheduled Geology lab. It was a three hour session and she was there. My shyness kept me from approaching her while graduate students gave the demonstration. As soon as they dismissed the group, she vanished.

          Friday, I dutifully attended Professor William's 8 o'clock. This time I draped my coat on the seat next to mine and when she came in, I quickly retrieved my coat. She noticed the empty the seat and sat there. Again, my attention was not with the lecture. I was swooning inside and kept checking that I was not visibly drooling, smitten as I was. At the end of class I stabbed my hand toward her to introduce myself, hoping we'd shake hands. She ignored my outstretched hand, uttered a barely audible "hello" and left the room.

          I thought about her all weekend, the sight of the babushka and her long hair streaming down the back of that long, red coat were etched in my mind.

          I successfully replicated my "empty seat" ploy again at Monday's class. She sat next to me. I promised myself that I would listen to the lecture this time. Good thing. At the end of the class, she asked me a question about something Professor Williams had said and I knew the answer. She thanked me and turned to leave. Stifling a back-flip of excitement, I asked if I could walk her to her next class. She agreed, telling me that I'd need to walk fast. She had another class in ten minutes. Quickly we walked across campus together, formally introducing ourselves and chatting a little. I was totally intimidated by her presence, I'd put her on a pedestal since our first encounter. I tried to contain my exuberance though I'm sure I babbled more that I should have. My boots barely touched the sidewalk as I sprinted back across campus, late for my next class, after leaving her at the rear entrance to the Hall of Languages building.

          I saw the babushka across the room at Tuesday's Introduction to Geology lecture, but was unable to find her after class. I did the seat saving exercise at Professor William's class on Wednesday and she sat next to me. Again I walked her across campus and sprinted back, late for my next class. That afternoon, in Geology lab, she was saving me a seat when I got there. I could hardly contain myself, checking for drool again during the class. I knew that I must have had a noticeable, stupid-ass smile on my face the entire time. Near the end of the lab, the instructor suggested that we form two-person teams for the remainder of the semester. She asked if I would be her lab partner, stating that she'd seen that I could do the complex Math the next labs required (yea, engineering school) and that she was terrible with numbers. Of course, I agreed, trying to contain my giddiness.

          We began a friendship. Gretchen was her name. One morning, mid-semester, I arrived in Syracuse early and began my quest to find place to park my car. Slowly trolling for an vacant parking spot on the street, I saw my new friend walking to class. She recognized me and motioned to a driveway next to a two story house and to the empty garage beyond. She lived in an apartment on the second floor of this house and the garage was part of her rent. Neither she or her roommate had a car so the garage was unused. She was certain it would be OK for me to park there. What a find for me. By this time I had accumulated more than a dozen parking tickets from the City of Syracuse for illegally putting my car where the city could profit from where it was parked.  So far I owed Syracuse $75. Having a free, off-street place to park was a huge benefit, aside from the fact that it belonged to the lady I was terribly smitten with. I parked in her garage for the rest of the semester and Gretchen and I walked to class together every day. She walked. I floated.

          Winter turned to spring and the long, red coat and babushka were put away in moth balls for the year. We parted the last day of classes in May as good pals, she to Lake George to work for the summer, me back home to a summer job. I was in love. She, I'm not so sure. I thought about her all summer, really thought about her. I couldn't get her and the long, red coat and the Russian babushka out of my mind. We had no contact all summer.

          It was the last day of August or the first or second day in September. I had the day off from my job and gave in to the uncontrollable urge to drive to Syracuse late in the afternoon. My instinct was to drive the street near her apartment to look to see if she had returned for the fall semester. No luck. She was not there. I was leaving the area when I passed a decrepit, gray Valiant coming up University Avenue and I recognized Gretchen as the driver. She hadn't seen me. I turned my car around and followed her to the driveway at her apartment.  After an awkward moment and a totally half-assed explanation as to why I was in Syracuse, she asked me to help unload her car. It took multiple trips to her second floor apartment before the car was unloaded and the unpacking started.

          She offered me dinner. Her choices were hotdogs or liver. I was so happy to be with her again that my response to her choice was:

          "Whatever you would like to make."

          I really didn't care what she made for dinner. I had the incredible luck to be with her again. We had reestablished a connection and there was no way I was going to screw it up, hopefully. Dinner was liver. I hate liver. Couldn't eat a bite. Thought I'd screwed it up. Fortunately she was not offended. She laughed. In fact, we both laughed. I spent the night.

          We have been together since then. It has been a superbly incredible trip. I love this lady. The babushka is gone, as is the long, red coat. We can't remember where the coat went, but recall that the babushka was left at the Catholic priest's place when we were preparing to get married, never to be seen again.

          We tied the knot after finishing college and have been blissfully married for forty years.
          Fast forward. We were in Cusco, Peru this past September. The tour we were on stopped at a Llama farm and we walked among and fed the llamas, alpacas and vicunas. Attached to the farm was a state-of-the art retail store with a huge number of items made from the wool of the animals we'd just seen. 

          We were wondering through the store separately. I hate to shop. I was in a remote corner of the place when I heard Gretchen bellow...."Bruce"!  

          "Yes dear,"  my automatic response.

photo by Luke

          "Come here," the reply.

          I found her on the lower level, surrounded by several of our tour companions, modeling a vicuna fur hat. It was an uncanny replica of the Russian babushka that was her signature so many years ago. I shivered and had an instant recall of seeing her for the first time in Professor William's class. I fell in love with her all over again. Of course she bought that new hat and got a pretty good deal on the price, as well.

          Gretchen wore that babushka on the mini-bus for the next leg of our trip, a huge smile lit her face...a smile reminiscent of the one I imagine that I had on my face the first time she sat next to me in that 8 o'clock class. 

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Cheer Layout from Crafternooning

I didn't make a lot of pages from Christmas this past year. Just two so far, with this one being the third. I have a few more photos to scrap, but in general it seems I take a lot more during the summer! Thank goodness we had a little crafternoon here this past Saturday and Jean MADE me make this page! She always comes with everything cut & ready to assemble! Fun times!

It's a fairly simple page with the glitter making a big presence. I added the flowers and the velvet pine branch to give the page a little splash of color and some dimension.

I think the burgandy really brings out the color in the photo. We had this photo taken at the Civil Air Patrol Christmas party and I love it! Generally we aren't all dressed up or even in the same place at the same time!

Now that I'm in the mood for pages....I'll have to wrap up a couple more!

I'll be back on Valentine's Day with a story from my Dad!

Thursday, February 8, 2018

A Handful of Hearts

Lexi has been hard at work at learning flame working at the Museum. She pretty much has herself scheduled every Sunday to head down. The following Monday she generally has a couple of pretties to show for her effort. Lately she's been making glass hearts for fun & to see how the properties of certain glasses work together.

Believe it or not, but the clear glass ones were supposed to be red. She's still trying to figure out how that happened. Regardless they are cool and I'll be sharing them next week with some peeps.

My favorite thing she has been playing around with are fish. She's getting really good at the pretty little fins. All this work is for her portfolio as she's been uploading photos to her digital account to share in hopes for a summer intern down at CMOG. Wish her the best of luck! I'd say it's going swimmingly!

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Vintage LOVE U Shaped Cards for The Cutting Cafe

Goodness, I really cannot get enough of this holiday! I love love love Valentine's Day! It's also my anniversary so I lucked out with a romantic wedding! Aren't these little cards the cutest? I really enjoyed making layers with this LOVE word shaped set from THE CUTTING CAFE! I started with one sheet of cardstock per card that looked like water color and cut the entire card all at once. The color variation comes from the water color paper. Some of the hearts I mixed and matched for more contrast.

It's really easy to create a lot of dimension with this cutting file. I always choose to mount mine on cardstock and use all the layers to make the card pop with pop dots. LOVE layers too!

I really enjoyed decorating these with white heart doilies and pretty little flowers. Adding glitter glue on the edges was fun too.

These are heading off to our Habitat Volunteer Recognition Event this coming Thursday where they will brighten a volunteer's day!

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, February 5, 2018

Trevi Layout for Another Freaking Scrappy (Rome, Italy)

Goodness, I've started back on the Italy album for Lexi. It's likely about half done and I ran out of steam this past summer due to camping and then there was Christmas....thankfully Another Freaking Scrappy has a challenge up to scrap about:  "what makes you feel loved?", or "how you make others feel loved" and I thought I'd show you. I like to make people feel loved by scrapping memories. In the case of this album, they are Lexi's memories as I was just a bystander watching as cool photos got posted on Facebook. Love that she had this opportunity! 

It's hard to take outdoor photos this time a year, but you really need that outdoor light to see things like the gold shimmer embossing in this paper. It's really quite pretty. Disregard the black plastic mat I used to keep the page dry. Check out the edge too. I used the really pretty floral paper under the embossed and let it peek out a little. So pretty!

I really wanted to show case a lot of paper here, but didn't want the floral one to overwhelm my photo so I added a sheet of velum over it in the circle I cut. The little strips & that cool turquoise straw create a spot to ground the photo of all the kids that went to Italy. They were tossing a coin over their shoulder into the Trevi Fountain for good luck when they were in Rome so they can ensure they will return!

The last photo is just for fun. There was a light dusting of snow on the sidewalk and the birds have wandered all over. In fact, I even spotted some very tiny hoof prints which means a deer came to check out what the birds have been up to. At the very top of my layout in the snow you can see some little hoppy bird prints.

Happy Monday!

Saturday, February 3, 2018

The Magic of Good

The other day I was having a discussion about pets with the guy that sits behind me. He maintained that dogs and cats didn't produce anything useful say like milk and eggs, therefore he was unable to see how they contributed to a household. He's a young fellow, so no doubt after a few more years of life experiences he'll figure it out. There wasn't much point in arguing although I did point out that the day before when I was awake at 3:30 with a brain that wouldn't quit, the third shift cat that prowls around our house and I had a nice cuddle. A few minutes of reading and petting soft kitty fur I was ready to go back to bed and actually sleep. It would be nice if Eragon brought home a paycheck or could make pancakes, but I'll take a nice cuddle in the wee hours.

My brain was busy at 3:30 am because I am idealistic. I think that if I'm working very hard on someones Habitat House that they should want to be there too. Potential homeowners need to be able to financially afford one of our houses (regardless of what the house & taxes assess for, the homeowner will pay what they can afford which is 30% of their income), be willing to partner with us on working on it (a set amount of sweat equity hours are required) and be ready to own their house.

We just wrapped up a really hard rehab the other day.  When we started, the house was smelly with a lime green kitchen. After the foreclosure and before we started tearing into things, we had to get rid of bedbugs and fleas as well as two dumpsters full of possessions in the house and one we filled up from the yard. Later down the road we figured out the house had termites from a leaky water pipe that never gotten taken care of. We tore into the plaster and started rebuilding large portions of walls. Four months later it's rebuilt and is a happy shiny new house with cherry colored kitchen cabinets and a beautiful burgundy stained glass door. I'm pretty proud of what it looks like today, but it wasn't an easy task getting here.

The potential new homeowner is difficult. Difficult like one of those balls of fishing twine you find on the bank of a river that is looped through itself and basically can't be unraveled. The dude has had many years of fighting for everything and he can't stop fighting. I only wish he'd put that energy into working on his house. It was his mouth that got him in trouble with me around 8:15 on a Build Club Day. I was waiting in my car for our big Habitat van to defrost when he approached my window and started in. Having had the appropriate amount of coffee and nothing better to do, I got on my soup box and engaged.

I have had enough life lessons to know better than to argue with a five year old who is having a tantrum so thankfully I came to my senses about ten minutes into a pointless heated discussion and left with a bitter taste in my mouth. The good news is that there is a bit of magic associated with the doing of good things. If you are patient, things have a way of working themselves out. Karma of the universe if you will. It might not make sense now, but in a bit it will.

Thankfully there were other better things to cheer me up this week. We also wrapped up a roof on house for a lady who is nearly twice as old as me. She was grateful and awesome. Her house was warm and inviting. The side porch that was in bad shape from a bad roof is now much safer. Onward and upward, I say!

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Stack of Vintage Valentine's

It's a good thing these cards won't be mailed because I piled on the pretties! I'm in production mode for our upcoming Valentine's DayVolunteer Recognition Event at work next week.

I had a stack of seam binding that was well aged from my Erosion Bundle so I started tying that in pretty little bows that I hot glued on with some flowers. I really like how these turned out.

I'll be back with my layout for Another Freaking Scrappy soon as the 1st of the Month has rolled around again! Goodness! Happy Almost Friday!