Friday 29 November 2013

Three Things

Three things that are making me smile today:

A bowl of pompoms. After finding my pompom makers in the drawer, I set out to make just a few and ended up with a whole bowl full. The girls found these incredibly exciting.
Warm, fuzzy socks. It is getting really cold and these socks always do the trick to keep my feet warm. Plus, they are really fun.
My craft corner. It is not pretty, and it is a total disaster right now, but I am so happy to have a place where I can pursue my hobbies. I would be such a wreck if I did not have this spot to be creative and recharge.
What is making you smile today?

Wednesday 27 November 2013

Crochet Christmas Star Garland

Last year I bought some Bernat Handicrafter Cotton in Red Sparkle for next to nothing from a Christmas clearance bin. What to make with sparkly red yarn, I thought. Well, after perusing my usual sources of inspiration - blogs, Pinterest, pattern books - I decided to make stars and then string them together to make a garland.

Over the past year I have been crocheting these stars - a few here and there in between other projects. I even spent some time in the car while we were on vacation making them.
The star pattern I used can be found here.

When I had a good bunch made I simply crocheted a long chain and attached the stars.
I am going to see how this garland looks strung on the Christmas tree or I may hang it on my barn board wall art in the living room. I'll have to see where it looks best.

I have wanted to add a little crochet goodness to my holiday decorations and this garland is a great start.

What do you think?

Monday 25 November 2013

Card of the Week: Christmas Cards (1)

I have a few Christmas cards to show you today. I used the 6x6 paper pad from Simple Stories and the coordinating chipboard stickers to make these cards.
Making these cards has really put me in the mood for Christmas. I am really looking forward to the holidays this year - the gatherings, the food, the gifts, the decorating. Can't wait to enjoy this magical time of year with my family.

I'll have a few more cards to show you next week, and every week until Christmas. I've got a lot of pretty paper to work with which is providing me with lots of inspiration.

Thanks for stopping in and I hope all your holiday preparations are going well.

Wednesday 20 November 2013

A Lesson Learned....

I have learned a very valuable lesson....the hard way, but isn't that how it goes?

Last week I mentioned that I had gone to a scrapbooking garage sale - referring to it as 'the happiest place on earth' - and eluded to all the fantastic deals I had scored.

Sadly that was not the case when I looked, or in this case, smelled closer.

Over the weekend I went to unpack my sale purchases, looking forward to sorting through all the pretty paper and embellishments while smugly noting how cheap I had got this product for and how much money I had saved.

Unfortunately when I opened the first bag of paper I was overcome by the horrific smell of cigarette smoke. Yuck! If there is one smell that I can not stand it is cigarette smoke. I instantly got a headache. Frantically I ripped open the other bags of paper and bag after bag the smell was there. Some smoker, with fantastic taste in scrapbooking paper and supplies, had brought their wares to the sale and I must have bought it all. After smelling each piece of paper and embellishment package, I ended up with a big pile of pretty but smelly product that I needed to throw in the garbage.

I was in tears, what I had thought was such an incredible deal was a total waste - of time and money. I was not happy.

What was worse, was that I had bought a lot of Christmas product at the sale with the intention of making cards, and now I was back to square one with no Christmas papers to work with.

I hated throwing out all this product, but there was no way I could possibly use it in my own albums or for cards to sell in my shop. Crafty Cucumber cards are not smelly.

It was then and there that I declared that I would steer clear of scrapbooking garage sales in the future. It is not a deal if I have to throw more than half of what I bought in the garbage. And the risk of buying something smelly is not worth the cheap price either. Buyer beware I guess...and a valuable lesson learned by me.

But there is a happy ending to this story. While I was at work on the weekend, Steve and the girls went to one of the local scrapbook stores and bought me two whole lines of Christmas paper to replace what I had to toss. And at the same time I popped out to another local scrapbook store on my lunch hour and bought two other Christmas lines (luckily we both bought different stuff). Needless to say, I now have lots of Christmas paper - new, not smelly, and ready for some card making.
My new Christmas paper! I am so excited to start working with you.

With all this going on, plus regular life stuff, I did not get any cards made just yet. But my supplies are stocked and as I said last week, Let the Christmas Card Making Begin.... ...

Monday 18 November 2013

Three Thankful Cards

Today is another Make It Monday over at The Memory Nest. What a great way to start off the week.

There are three parts to the challenge this time around - a thankful theme, using triangles, and using this color combination.
Here are the three cards that I made. The paper and embellishments are from the Happy Harvest line by Doodlebug Designs.
Just a note on this first card: I left the journalling block on the front of this card blank so that when I actually use it, I can write a specific message on the front. Nothing is better than a detailed and personalized thank you so why not put it front and center.
I love the bold patterns and the bright colors. Finding ways to include triangles on all three cards was actually a little easier than I thought it would be - for the first two cards I just put them in to fill in some empty space and add a little detail, and for the third card I went with a full out triangle design that was a little tricky to cut but looks so sharp.

Think you're up for this thankful, triangle, color challenge? Head on over to The Memory Nest and link up your creations. 

Thank you for stopping by. Happy Monday.

Thursday 14 November 2013

Best Afternoon Ever

As I have been looking back through my 2013 pictures and deciding which ones to scrap, I have tried to include pictures from both big events/holidays and from everyday life. When I came across the picture on this layout - of my girls crafting at the dining room table with me - I knew it was one of those 'everyday moments' that I needed to include in my album. This rings especially true now that both girls are in school full time and afternoons like this one happen less often.
There is a lot going on in the photo - lots of colors, the cluttered table - so I was happy to find the patterned paper with all the colorful triangles on it. This paper is from Pebbles Inc. and I think it works perfectly with the picture. To keep the pattern from overpowering the page, I used a small amount. The green hounds tooth patterned paper is simply the back side of the triangle paper - a strange combo if you ask me, but hey, it worked well on this page. 

All the embellishments are from my stash - again, lots of rummaging around while I was working on this page.
I am so glad to have this page to add to my album. It captures a memory that I will treasure always - a normal afternoon crafting with my girls, the best afternoon ever.

What about you - are you a big events scrapper, or do you include 'everyday moments' in your albums?

Monday 11 November 2013

Card of the Week: Let the Christmas Card Making Begin

Well the time has come, the time to start making Christmas cards. I am really looking forward to getting at it this year.

I have two cards to show you today:
Card Base: Recollections; Patterned Paper: Echo Park; Cardstock: Bazzill; Border Punch: Fiskars; Snowflake: purchased from and cut with Silhouette; Adhesive: Scrapbook Adhesives, Glue Dots, 3D Foam Squares

My Christmas stash was really sparse after all the Christmas layouts that I have done lately, but lucky for me I was at a Scrapbooking Garage Sale (otherwise known as "The Happiest Place on Earth") this weekend and scored some incredible deals on Christmas products.

Let the Christmas card making begin....

Friday 8 November 2013

Cherish the Moments

On a warm, sunny day in May we visited a local nature park. This park is not too far from our house and there is a nice path that winds through a field and forest that is perfect for an afternoon walk. On this particular walk, I snapped two incredible pictures of my girls.

Using these pictures, and some leftover paper from the Basic Grey Paper Cottage Collection, I put together this clean and simple layout.
I wanted the focus of this layout to be on the pictures, so I chose this paper for its subdued and muted colors. I also kept the embellishments to a minimum.

Such cherished moments. I love the profile of Claire's face - her sweet chubby cheek as she blows the dandelion:
And I absolutely adore pictures taken from behind of my girls holding hands:
Thanks for stopping in. Have a wonderful day.

Wednesday 6 November 2013

The Calm of Crochet

Last week was busy - too busy. I felt as if I was running on a hamster wheel everyday, with not a second to spare, no time to stop for if I did something would not get done on time or at all. It was not fun. I do not like frantic busy like that....occupied yes, but run off my feet from morning to night is not my idea of a good time.

I woke up on Saturday with the same panicked feeling I had in my stomach all week, like there was something I needed to rush off and do. But instead of running to the next task, I simply sat for a few minutes with a coffee and my crocheting. I crocheted for 15 minutes while I sipped my coffee. And it did wonders. I could not believe how quickly and noticeably a sense of peace and calm came over me. Of course I have experienced this before, but not as pronounced as I did in this moment.

The rest of my day went so much better, tasks got finished and I felt so much more at peace.
I've read before that a good hobby is cheaper than therapy...and as I sat and worked away, feeling calmer with each stitch, I experienced that to be true. Thank you crochet for the calm you bring to my days.

On a somewhat related note, I was rummaging through my yarn stash this past weekend and was quite taken aback by how small it is becoming. All the blankets and toys I have been making lately has really made a significant dent. Maybe I should have gone to the local yarn sale this past summer....oh well, less justification will be needed for extravagant purchases next year.

Have a happy Wednesday.

Monday 4 November 2013

Featuring Me

Today I am showing you a layout I did for this round of Make It Monday over at The Memory Nest.
The challenge this week was a sketch challenge with a twist, the twist being to use a selfie for the layout.

I used a picture of me that was taken at the beach this past summer. All the paper is from Simple Stories' Vintage Bliss Line.
This is the very first layout that I have ever done about myself. Sure I am in the pictures on other layouts, but a layout completely about me is something new to add to my album. There always seems to be layouts to do about my girls, family events, and holidays, that despite my greatest intentions I have never gotten around to doing a layout all about me - that is until this challenge forced me to. I love that about layout challenges; so often they push me outside my comfort zone, encouraging me to do something that I may never have done otherwise.

And you know what, it was a lot of fun to focus on me on this page. I kept the journalling biographical, simply stating facts about myself from this one point in my life.

My journalling reads: I am a wife. I am a mother. I write a little blog called Crafty Cucumber. I love to make cards, scrapbook, crochet, and sew. I love coffee. I eat too much ice cream – it is my go-to treat. I love to bake – my trademark is my banana chocolate chip muffins. I am trying to be more active, but it is really hard to stay motivated…maybe I just need to find an exercise that I love and cannot live without. I love to bargain-shop. I like to read. My favorite season is autumn, but I love spending time at the beach. I wear glasses, especially when I am driving at night. I have a lot of grey hair which makes me feel frumpy and old, so I dye it. I love strawberry wine. I am a little bit of a homebody/hermit – I love spending time at home. I am 33 years old and these are some random facts about me right now.

You can see the layouts created by the other members of The Memory Nest Design Team here. Beautiful photos of all these ladies, and beautiful layouts.