Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Why gifts are sometimes hard in the ASD world

Yesterday was tough.  It was a hard day in the Autism vs. Me world.  I shared it here, and I will share it here as well. 

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Some days Autism really sucks. I have a love/hate relationship with it. Today, it was the latter. Today, it broke my heart and my daughter's.

My little girl isn't girly, and pink has been a four letter word in my house for quite a few years. Gone were the days when she wanted pink socks, a pink backpack and pink bows in her hair. Pink rain boots, pink sheets and pink notebooks. Pink tights, pink plates, and even pink undies. These days, nothing can be pink.   Absolutely nothing.

A few months ago my daughter asked if she could have a pink hoodie. Specifically, a pink camo hoodie. I was thrilled. I asked friends, family and even clients where I could find such a thing. I wanted to go to an actual store, to touch it and feel it. To make sure it not only fit, but that it was the right texture. That the tags wouldn't be too scratchy or the seams too tight, for the one of two sensory driven children of mine.

So I found a store that had this magical thing that she wanted. Wanted it so much she practically asked for one every day for months. I drove 56 miles one way to Cabela's. I walked around the giant camo clothing section a multitude of times to find it. I spent close to an hour searching. The little kid ones were too small, and the adult ones were too big. It was like Goldilocks and the 3 bears. I finally found a rack on the outskirts in the sea of clothing, an oasis of pink camo fleeces.

Lo and behold, there was one in her size. It was camo printed, and it was pink. Only one problem.

It had no hood.

Typically you'd think, it's not a big deal. Yeah, that's what I thought too. That was my mistake and I should know better.

I should know, because Autism doesn't know any better. It doesn't know that 9 out of 10 isn't good enough, or that even 99 out of 100 isn't good enough. A solid "A". It only knows that it is or it isn't. It's up or it's down, right or wrong, black or white. Period. End of story.

Autism doesn't know the excitement this mom knew was going to be in her daughter's eyes. It doesn't know the hour I drove each way just to get this special thing for her. It doesn't care.

It only knows inflexibility, rigidity and boundaries set in stone. It only knows that 9 out of 10 isn't good enough, and that expectations must be met. They must be met, or everything falls apart.

Do you know what happens when a pb&j is expected to be cut in squares, not triangles? Or if a piece of paper is folded that was not supposed to be? A blue marker instead of purple? When Mom and Dad have had a long day and bed time is at 8:59 pm, not 9 pm? When you run out of goldfish crackers and get pretzels in your lunch instead?

When you get a pink camo fleece jacket without a hood?

You get tears and stomping feet. You get screams and a temper tantrum. You get heartache and vicious disappointment. It doesn't matter that it's only about a hoodie and that your 9 years old. The world ends and the sky is falling. Autism doesn't care.

But I do.

I say love/hate because I cannot have one without the other. I can't have my children without Autism. I can't. It is part of who they are and how they were fashioned. How they were built and how their brains were wired.

I sat here tonight to type out my feelings on this subject with disappointment and sorrow weighing heavily in my heart. I had no room for anything else, and it consumed me.

But I am not going to let Autism win today. I am going to fight back, because I care. I too want that 10 out of 10, that 100%, an A+. Sometimes it does, and sometimes it doesn't. But my sky isn't falling and my world is not ending.

And tomorrow I will go in search of a pink camo fleece with a hood. Next time I will cut squares in the pb&j first, or make a paper airplane out of that folded paper. I will have a blue marker in one hand and a purple one in the other. And I will buy a pallet of goldfish crackers, or maybe 2 pallets...

Just in case.
 
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So that was yesterday, and after a flood of Facebook support and suggestions from friends, I am on the hunt again.  I found them online at Kohl's and Wal-mart, and hopefully they will have them in the store as well.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Fall retreat cards

I spent the weekend at a scrapbooking retreat in lovely Fort Flagler State Park the first weekend in November, and made cards for a few days.  I have had the pleasure of going there for the last 6 or 7 years with 30-40 ladies twice a year, and just love it.  Usually I make pages, but decided to do these instead because my stash of cards is dangerously low!  Plus I wanted to get out *all* of my inks and stamps and just play.  Just about all of these are lifts from Pinterest or other ones I have seen on the Hero Arts blog or Jennifer McGuire's website (love her!).  She is probably single handedly responsible for my love of Distress Inks.  She had an incredible video tutorial collection a year or two ago that has some amazing techniques on how to use them.  There are 27 videos but trust me, it will not be a waste of your time!!

This first set uses a flower stamp and a text background stamp, both from Hero Arts.  I stamped the text first after blotting the image a bit so it wasn't solid, then stamped the flower.  I sprayed the stamp with water first to make it watercolor-ish, and all of the inks on these ones are from Tim Holtz.  I used my ink blending tool to color the card base with the same color that I stamped the flower in, and around the edges of the white cardstock, then mounted it.  Add a sentiment with a punch from various stamp sets, some half pearls, and voila!

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These ones are super simple, a single layer, and I love how they turned out.  Inspired by this.  I stamped the flowers in various Memento colors using a Gina K set, and various sentiments.  Done!

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Here is another single layer card, easy peasy.  Inspired from here.  This is another butterfly stamp I use a lot, and Memento inks.  Then I fussy cut around the open edge with scissors.

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This one turned out just like I wanted, and was so pleased.  Inspired by this.  I masked off the white cardstock with two pieces of black paper, stamped the text and rubbed 2-3 colors of Tim Holtz Distress Inks over that with the blending tool.  Once the black paper masks were removed, it left that nice crisp design down the card.  I believe the leaf is a Close to My Heart one, I borrowed it from my friend so am not positive.  I used brown cardstock to mount it, and added more pearls.

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I kept seeing these triple stamped cards, and wanted to try it.  Inspired by this.  You can find a tutorial here.  I colored the images with Copic markers and mounted it on black cardstock.  Make sure you use the right ink for your images when coloring with these markers, or it will smear.  Memento Tuxedo Black is what I used.

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I thought this donut stamp was just too freakin' cute.  These were a combination of 3 or 4 coffee/tea stamp sets I have.  I dry embossed the red background with my Cuttlebug, cut the scallop and circles with my Cricut, and then colored and fussy-cut the images. 

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This butterfly stamp is one of my favorites, and I use it a LOT.  The background was done with a swirly stamp in grey ink, then the butterfly.  I inked the butterfly with the main color of Distress Ink and then just brushed the edges with another color and sprayed with water before stamping.  This is on watercolor paper.

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This one is pretty simple too, and looks so nice.  I punched the base with a border punch from Fiskars, then inked with Distress Inks.  Then the same color was used on the flower, with green on the stem.  I also sprayed the stamp with water first.

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I purchased this large background stamp on the way to my retreat, and was so excited to use it.  It is such a funny thing, but I see it on a lot of cards and I am more of a flower stamp girl, but really wanted this one, and after seeing it used several times I could see how versatile it was!  I stamped the text first after blotting it, then the background with Distress Ink and water.  I softened the edges and colored the greeting strip with the ink blending tool and more Distress Ink.  The butterfly was stamped, cut, colored with Copics, then covered with Crystal Effects.

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This one turned out so puuuurty..  Inspired by this.  I punched a circle out of white cardstock, 1 3/8" I believe, and then used it as a reverse mask.  I inked over it with Wild Honey, one of my favorite Distress Inks, then removed it.  The dandelion is from the same Gina K set as the cards a few pictures up, and sentiments from PTI.

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Ahhh, this picture just makes me happy.  I remember my first time using a Tim Holtz Distress Ink pad, and I was sooooo disappointed.  Now I just LOVE them.  I tried to use it the traditional way, and was super unsatisfied at how the images turned out.  I wanted them crisp and clean, and that is just not what these inks are about.  After watching tons of videos  and techniques, I use them all the time, for so many things!  Inspired by this.

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I used this large background stamp and heat embossed it with clear powder. I inked over the image with the blending tool, and then wiped it off to remove any from the embossed area. It was mounted on black cardstock, add some twine and a sentiment.

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Here's that gorgeous butterfly stamp again!  I stamped the image on a Post-It note and cut it out very carefully around the edges to create a mask.  The center one was stamped first, and then I positioned the mask over the image exactly, and stamped the butterflies to each side.  Once the mask is removed, the images are all nicely stamped with no overlap.  Color with Copics, add the sentiment, background stamp and some Rock Candy Stickles, done!

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I get so much mileage out of this stamp!  I stamped, colored and cut them all out to use on these next few cards.  The background papers are from a 6x6 pad, but I dont remember what one, I think it was Basic Grey.  The white background is cut with a Nestabilities die in the Cuttlebug and stamped with a ledger stamp and the edges inked. 

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Thanks for taking the time to look!

Stay calm and craft on...

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Hand rolled cardstock flower tutorial and some pretty tags

I was at a fun scrapbooking retreat a few weeks ago, and decided to take a break from making pages, and try something new.  Do you ever have one of those ideas in your head, and sometimes they turn out and sometimes they don't?  Fortunately, this one turned out just like the idea in my head, and I was so pleased!  I used a combination of ideas from Jennifer McGuire and Tim Holtz to make these tags and flowers, and love them.

First, I started with some DCWV white core cardstock, although I am not sure what the color purple is called.  I tore some random sized spiral shapes from the cardstock, one for each flower.  Some had thinner or thicker spirals, and some had more laps around the circle, if that makes sense.  That way all the flowers I made were varying in width, thickness and density. 

I spritzed each spiral with a mixture of Perfect Pearls powder and water like this, on a craft sheet.  They now make the spray already combined, but I just do it the old fashioned way by mixing the powder and water in a spray mister I already had.

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And then I crumpled them up while they were wet, and then flattened them out to dry.  I used my heat tool, but you can also just let them air dry.

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Once they were dry, I used a Quilling tool to roll the flowers up.  I always thought you were supposed to start rolling on the inside, but after watching a few how-to videos, I started on the outside like they did.

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Once the layers are all rolled up, not too tightly, it looks like this.  This is the time to do any adjusting, to get it looking how you want.  I gave it a slight backwards twist just to loosen the center a bit, but don't over think it.  They are all going to look differently, and that's ok.

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Once it is arranged how you like, slide it off of the tool, and flip it over while keepig a good grip so it won't unravel.  Now you can see why it is a good idea to start on the outside, because when you get to the end, you are left with a little flap that was the center of the spiral.  Place a glue dot right on it, and then cover the base of your flower.

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Voila!  Now there is a nice neat base for your flower to sit on :)  It is still a little loose, so handle it carefully. 

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Once the flower is complete, I used Glossy Accents as another adhesive.  Place the nozzle down in the center and give a little squeeze, and maybe a few small squirts inside any of the other loose petals.  It doesn't take long to dry, and once they are all finished they will be nice and stable.

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For the purple flowers I didn't put anything in the centers.  They looked just fine how they were.  For other ones I put jewels, half pearls, or white flower stamens that I found at Michael's.

These tags started as plain white, but were super easy to decorate.  I started by dabbing colors of Tim Holtz Distress Inks on my craft sheet and adding a few spritzes of the pearlized water.  For each tag I used a few different shades of the same color for some variation.  I rubbed the tag around in the ink and then set it aside to dry, or use the heat tool again.  Once it was dry, I rubbed the edges with one of the same color of inks, using the foam ink blending tool.  Lastly, I inked up a large background stamp with another of the same shades, and lightly pressed it on the tag. 

For all of these tags, I cut some leaf shapes out of the Stretch Your Imagination Cricut cartridge in varying sizes, from white cardstock.  My favorite is Neenah, it is great for stamping, inking, and Copics, all of that.  Using the same technique, I inked and sprayed them and added a few pearls and ribbons.  All done :)

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Sunday, December 4, 2011

"Twilight" inspired altered cigar box

My first post in soooooooo long!  I have been out of the crafty groove for a while, and am happy to get back in the saddle again  :)

I went to Joann's the other day and bought the Immortal Love DCWV stacks, and decided to do something with them and these cigar boxes I had lying around...

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The first thing I did was paint the box black with acrylic craft paint, then Mod Podged the papers onto all sides, using the matte finish and a sponge brush.  I didn't take pics of these steps, sorry..  The next thing I did was applied some Martha Stewart Fine Crackle Medium to the top of the box over the Mod Podge, and rubbed a bit of Barn Door Distress Ink and pearl glaze in the cracks and wiped it off. Then I attached some PTI black twill ribbon to the outside of the spine for stability with Glossy Accents.

I purchased a few flowers for this project, but they weren't fitting the idea I had in my head, so I decided to create my own!  I used individual flowers in white and red from the Michael's Recollections brand.  Here is the first flower, plain white.

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Then I inked it up with Tim Holtz Black Soot Distress Ink, using the inking tool and a blending sponge.

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The next step was to use a hot glue gun and folded the first flower in half, and then in half again, to make the samllest center 'bud'.  Once it was folded, I rolled the base between my fingers while it was still a little warm to mold it.

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Then I used the glue gun and added the next layer, also rolling the base to mold it to the smaller center.


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Then I added the third flowwer, and repeated the same steps.

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One it was all glued together, I fluffed and shaped it to how I wanted, and snipped the pointy base off of the bottom so it would be able to sit a bit more flat.  I also inked it a bit more, so none of the white was showing where the flower had been folded over and the back of the petals showed.

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Next I sprayed the whole thing with a mixture of Perfect Pearls powder and water.

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Once it was dry, I adhered a American Crafts pearl brad to the center.  I snipped the prongs off of the back side and used hot glue.

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I repeated the same steps for a red flower.  Here they are, pre-inked.

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I used the same ink, the Black Soot...

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Folded and rolled the center...

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The second layer...

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And the completed flower.  This one had a few more layers since I used the sheer flowers too, but was made the same way.

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I also sprayed it with the pearlized water, and adhered a half pearl for the center.

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Here is everything attached to the box!  I used my two assembled flowers, some black sheer ribbon tyed into a bow, and a heart stick pin from the sewing department of Joann's. I used a jump ring to hold a heart charm by Tim Holtz on the pin, and some tiny roses (sprayed with the pearlized water) and a rhinestone flourish, both from the Recollections brand as well. I attached it all with hot glue.  The feet of the box are by Tim Holtz too and I used Glossy Accents to attach these.

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I used Mod Podge and the same papers for the inside of the box as well.

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This turned out so wonderfully, and one of my closest friends is purchasing it for her 14 year old daughter for Christmas!  She is a Twilight fanatic, and is going to be so excited :)  I have a few more of these in the works, and hopefully will list them in my Etsy Shop soon!  It's empty right now since I haven't been crafting in a while, but hope to change that real quick.

Thanks for stopping by, and happy crafting!!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

School swap stuff...

Two swaps in a row?  It has been ages since I did a swap, and forgot how fun they are ;)  This one was a school theme, and we could make anything.  A tag, a journal block, an embellishment, whatever.  I dug deep for this one!  I decided to make a journaling card, and a library tag seemed like the perfect fit.

I used these two $1 stamp sets, I believe they both came from Michael's awhile back.  I used the stars in yellow, the A+ in the scallop circle in red, and the 'good work' inside the circles in black.

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And these inks..

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I cut the pockets and tags using the Coluzzle system.  It came with the template to cut both pocket and tag, as well as the cling stamp for the tag.  I bought it years ago, probably 8 or 9, and it was still in the package!  Of course I HAD to have it back then ;)   It's nice when you can go shopping in your stash!

The pocket is plain black carstock, and I cut pieces to line it from the DCWV Grade School stack.  The tags are plain white cardstock, and so is the decorative strip on the front.  I used an EK Success punch for the edge, Binding Edge.


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I am really pleased with how these came out!  I usually have a tough time coming up with an idea, but these came together fairly quicly.  Love it when that happens ;)