Thursday 28 February 2013

Three Things

Three things that are making me smile this week:

Red tulips on the kitchen counter. They smell beautiful and are a lovely hint of spring on these dull, cold February days.
The growing pile of blocked and seamed rectangles (for my Garden Patch Granny Afghan) sitting on the chair in the living room.
Another crochet project that after a rough start (some serious gauge issues) is coming together quite nicely and may even be done by Easter like I had planned.
What has made you smile this week?

Wednesday 27 February 2013

I'm on a Design Team!

I am so incredibly excited to announce that I have been selected to be a part of The Memory Nest Design Team.

It has always been a goal of mine to be on a scrapbooking design team and I am so happy to have been chosen to lend my creativity to The Memory Nest.

I want to thank Leslie (owner of The Memory Nest) for this wonderful opportunity.

I am excited to play with new papers and embellishments and get down to business designing some fun and pretty layouts.


Monday 25 February 2013

Card of the Week: Live, Love, Laugh

Similar to last week, this weeks card features flowers.
Card Base: Recollections; Patterned Paper: my paper stash; Cardstock: Bazzill; Sentiment Stamp: purchased at Michael's; Circle Punch: Fiskars; Circle Stamp: Gel-A-Tins; Adhesive: Scrapbook Adhesive, 3D Foam Squares

After layering the papers on this card, I wanted to add some sort of embellishment but quickly found that I had nothing in my stash that coordinated. To solve this problem, I simply cut one of the orange flowers out of a small scrap of the same floral paper used on the card. I then punched a circle out of the floral paper on my card, stamped and heat embossed another circle inside my punched circle, and attached my orange flower with a foam square to give it some dimension. I had created the perfect embellishment.

I often do this - cut things out of patterned paper and use them as embellishments - even when I am working on scrapbook layouts. Yes, it is a little time consuming, but it saves the pennies in that I can get a perfectly coordinated embellishment without paying any extra for it.

Is this something any of you do? It is a really handy little trick, that I highly recommend.

Thursday 21 February 2013

Pink & White Blanket (for a sweet little girl)

I made this blanket for my youngest daughter Claire.
Did you know it is very hard to photograph a blanket when it is all laid out? Balancing on a stool with a camera held above my head trying to get a decent picture....not at all a simple feat.
I purchased the yarn used for this blanket a few summers ago at a huge sale. Both colors - the white and the pink/white twist - were factory mill ends stuffed into bags and priced at a mere $3.00 per bag.

I followed this pattern which is the same one I used to make a blanket for my nephew a little over a year ago. I really do enjoy this pattern, there is something incredibly soothing about the repeating stitches back and forth across the rows.

One thing I did change a bit from the original pattern was the edging. I found a coordinating solid pink in my yarn stash and then did one row of single crochet in white, pink, and then white around the blanket. I finished off with a picot edge in solid pink. I am very happy with how the edging turned out. The solid colors really frame the blanket and the picot edging makes it look a little more fancy.
Now this blanket is in the room of this girl where is gets lots of love, giggles, and cuddles.
She is the sweetest and most adorable little girl.

Tuesday 19 February 2013

One Year Blog Anniversary - A Giveaway

One year ago today I started this little blog of mine.

Happy 1st Birthday Crafty Cucumber!

I am insanely proud of my work here. Blogging has been such an incredible creative outlet for me and I can’t imagine not doing it. I really do love it, a lot more than I thought I would to be perfectly honest with you.

My goal when I started Crafty Cucumber was to carve out a little space for myself on the big old internet where I could share my craft projects, tell of my crafting adventures, and discuss my creative process. I love looking at the last years worth of posts and seeing the sheer number of projects that I have completed, the work that I have done, and what I have accomplished. It is truly satisfying to see my creativity displayed in this space. That is the thing about a craft blog – you have a running tally sheet of what you have done, daring you to complain about the list of unfinished tasks. 

Through this year of blogging, I have rediscovered my love of writing. It had been years since I really wrote anything of substance, and with this blog I have had the wonderful opportunity to do purposeful writing each week. It has been incredibly satisfying to stretch my writing muscles, and as the year has gone by I feel like I have gotten more comfortable in my writing style, more confident in making my own voice heard as I share my projects, and more willing to put things out there for the world to read.

I have also loved sharing my work. Because what fun is crafting of any sort if you keep it all to yourself - none at all.  Working away at a project, knowing that I will be photographing it and sharing it on the blog is so incredibly motivating and it is so much fun to know that like minded people, fellow crafters like myself, are going to look at it. I love the sharing part of blogging, that is for sure.

Of course, hand in hand with sharing, is my love of feedback. I am so happy when readers leave comments on my projects.  Oh dear, if you could have seen me the day I got my first comment, you would have thought I had gone right mad.  All of the feedback I have received this year has been positive and encouraging and I thank everyone who has ever commented on my posts for your kind words.  

To continue the sharing, and to thank you all for reading what this crafty girl has to say every week I would like to celebrate the first anniversary of Crafty Cucumber with a giveaway. 

What is up for grabs you ask? Well after a year of 'Card of the Week' posts I have amassed a giant collection of handmade greeting cards and I would like to offer the following five cards to one lucky reader.

Two birthday cards:
Two thank you cards:
And one blank card:
Wouldn't you love to have these handmade cards on hand? Of course you would.

There are two ways to enter. Of course, if you do both you will have two chances to win, so why not?
  1. Publicly follow this blog by clicking on the "Join this Site" button on the sidebar. If you are already a follower (thank you), you are already entered.  
  2. Leave me a comment on this post with your contact information so that I can get in touch with you if you are the winner.
The deadline for entries is February 28th at 12:00 pm EST . I will randomly select a winner on March 1st and announce it then.

I have truly enjoyed sharing my work, my thoughts, and my life with you over the past year. Thank you so very much for reading.

Monday 18 February 2013

Card of the Week: Spring Flower Birthday Card

This week, while a blizzard raged outside my window, I played with this patterned paper that is just blooming with spring colors and flowers. The result of my playing was this card:
Card Base: Recollections; Patterned Paper: American Crafts; Cardstock: Bazzill; Border Punch: Fiskars; Sentiment Rub-On: Bazzill; Adhesive: Scrapbook Adhesives

Honestly, spring can not come soon enough - which is how I feel around mid February every year. Tired of the snow and the cold, I long for the days when the world is green rather than white, when flowers are blooming in the garden, and when my feet are finally warm.

Of course I know the change in seasons is still a bit off, so until then I am putting on my sweater and an extra pair of socks, and playing with some pretty flower paper.....making cards....not a bad compromise, if you ask me.

Friday 15 February 2013

Show Time & 60 Years

I finished up two scrapbook layouts this week, and true to my word I would like to share them with you.

This first layout is of my youngest daughter Claire watching her first movie in the theater - Finding Nemo in 3D. I saved the movie ticket stub and tucked it in the bottom left corner of this layout as a 'souvenir' of the occasion.
Patterned Paper: American Crafts; Cardstock: Bazzill; Movie Reels: purchased from the Silhouette Online Store, cut with Silhouette; Title: cut with Silhouette; Adhesive: Scrapbook Adhesives

In July my grandparents celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary. I took this photo of them holding their wedding picture at their party and I absolutely love it. I kept my layout very clean and simple to keep the focus on the picture and the journalling.
Patterned Paper: Basic Grey; Cardstock: Bazzill; Border Punch: Fiskars; Corner Rounder: EK Success; Flowers: Prima; Buttons: American Crafts, Crate Paper; Title: cut with Silhouette; Ink: Ranger Inks; Adhesive: Scrapbook Adhesives, Glue Dots

I have a few more pages in the works and look forward to sharing them once they are done.

Happy Scrapbooking!

Wednesday 13 February 2013

The Garden Patch Granny Afghan: Glad to Be Back at It

This is how my afghan project looked for the last two, maybe three months.
Nothing got done and it sat in the corner of my bedroom in this basket. The reason: I got distracted, in a good way, by other smaller projects - a tote bag, a witch, and some hearts. And then there was Christmas.

But within the last week or so, I have gotten back at it. All the crocheting of squares is done. I have seven rectangles sewn together, and two rectangles are blocked and waiting to be seamed.

There is still a lot of blocking and seaming to do, which is not my favorite at all, but the end is in site.

I have also been thinking about what type of edging to put on this blanket. The pattern calls for just two rounds of single crochet, but I don't think that will be substantial enough.  Hmm....something to think about as I sew squares together.

It feels good to be working on this project again. I am feeling quite determined to get it done, to resist the lure of starting something new, to finish up this colorful masterpiece and lay it across my sofa. I am glad to be back at it.

(To read all posts about this project, click the Garden Patch Granny Afghan box on the sidebar)

Monday 11 February 2013

Card of the Week: Valentine's Note Cards

I made these note cards after Valentine's Day last year using a piece of patterned paper that I found in the discount bin at Michael's.
Patterned Paper: Michael's; Cardstock: Bazzill; Adhesive: Scrapbook Adhesives

I simply cut the individual pictures out, matted them with cardstock, and attached them to the front of the light pink note cards that I also made with cardstock. 

Very simple indeed.

The best thing: this year I have a handful of handmade Valentine's to write messages in and give to the people I love most.

Friday 8 February 2013

Valentine's Day Heart Garland

Ahh, the season of love is upon us. And nothing says love like a bunch of hearts.

I got to crocheting these hearts last week. They are so quick and fun to do and are really quite addictive.
When I had seven hearts done, I strung them together to make a Valentine's Day Heart Garland.

The pattern for the hearts and the garland is not my own, but can be found here. I used Lily cotton yarn for this project and a 3.5 mm hook.

Deciding where to hang my garland was the next step. Where in my house needed a little prettying up? The kitchen - lovely as it is. The living room - already overrun with pretty floral pillows, candles and the like. Hmm, I know - the laundry room.

I hung my garland across my laundry room window (I made the valance for this window using this tutorial).
Now when I go into the laundry room, this string of lovely hearts catches my eye and makes me smile. I love it. And my girls think it is "so beautiful".

I know that a Heart Garland is a Valentine's Day decoration, but would it be so bad if I left it up there once the day has passed? Maybe for the rest of the winter until I make a Spring Garland to replace it with?

Are you crocheting anything for Valentine's Day?

Wednesday 6 February 2013

Scrapbooking: I Need to Show You More Layouts

It recently occurred to me that while I have told you all that I love to scrapbook, I have shown you very few of my layouts.

I would like to change that.

I am currently working on my 2012 Family Scrapbook and am happy to say that I am not terribly behind. It is a goal of mine to be working on layouts from less than six months ago, and I am well within that time frame as I happily plod along recording our family memories from last year. I find that if I get too far behind with my layouts that it is really hard for me to write meaningful and detailed journalling on the page because I forget the details. For me, telling a great story about the event shown on the page is what makes scrapbooking so special and so priceless in terms of preserving memories; I don't want to forget the precious details, so I really make an effort to stay on top of things.

Today I would like to show you two double layouts that I did using pictures from a family trip we took to African Lion Safari in August.
Patterned Paper: my paper stash; Cardstock: Bazzill; Die Cuts: Jillibean Soup; Butterflies: Studio Calico; Border Punch: Fiskars; Title: cut with Silhouette; Ink: Ranger Inks; Adhesive: Scrapbook Adhesives, Glue Dots
Patterned Paper: my paper stash; Cardstock: Bazzill; Border Punch: Fiskars; Flower: Jillibean Soup; Buttons: American Crafts; Title: cut with Silhouette; Adhesive: Scrapbook Adhesives, Glue Dots

What do you think?

I put these layouts together at a crop at my local scrapbook store a few weeks ago. Being surrounded by all the pretty paper and embellishments, plus a crowd of ladies so enthusiastic about scrapbooking, really got me motivated and excited about finishing up my 2012 album. I also had a chance to do some shopping at the store, meaning I am well stocked for some serious scrapbooking at home. I look forward to showing you my layouts as I finish them up.

What layouts are you working on?

Monday 4 February 2013

Card of the Week: Happy 60th Birthday

Last weekend we hosted a surprise 60th birthday party for my Mom. To say she was surprised would be a bit of an understatement - she was shocked. And I was so happy that we had pulled the whole thing together without her having the slightest inkling that anything was going on.

Of course I made her a birthday card to celebrate this milestone occasion - my first 60th birthday card.
Card Base: Recollections; Patterned Paper: Pebbles Inc.; Cardstock: Bazzill; Sentiment Rub-On: Bazzill; Flowers: Making Memories; Button: my craft stash; Scalloped Circle, Circle, "60": cut with Silhouette; Adhesive: Scrapbook Adhesives, 3D Foam Squares

I really stressed out about making this card. I was anxious about the fact that this was a milestone birthday, a very special occasion, and I felt that the card needed to be just perfect.

I often get this way when I am making cards for momentous occasions - milestone birthdays, weddings, anniversaries - like the significance of the occasion calls for a card that is truly out-of-this-world, like a card that I would ordinarily make will not do, that I need to really take things to the next level so that my card is 'good enough' for the occasion in question. It is unnecessarily stressful, but happens each time I am called upon to make a card for a very special occasion. I am a bit of a perfectionist and times like this really bring that out in me.

In the case of this card, I kept adding and removing things like flowers and buttons, fidgeting with the placement of the '60' and the 'happy birthday' sentiment, and completely second guessing everything I was doing. To be honest, I drove myself a little nuts.

In the end, with the party only a few hours away, I took a deep breath, tried to relax, stuck with my 'simple is best' philosophy, and managed to deliver a beautiful card to my Mom on her very special day.

But I have to ask, am I alone in feeling a little anxious when making a card, or anything else for that matter, to give to someone on a very special occasion? Does anyone else feel this need to make it perfect in order to meet the significance of the time? Please share. Let me know that I am not alone in my self-induced stress.