Curt's Best Shots Slideshow

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


Hey All! Happy Hump Day!!! Hope all is well in your bloggin' worlds! I've got lots to get to, so on with the blog. . . I want to start by telling you all about a company that I have to sing praises to! The company is Artful Inkables! I have never dealt with a company that is so customer service oriented! Their designs are fabulous, the stamps are super high quality, and I can't say enough good things about them. If you haven't heard of them or seen their products, click on the link and go drool! Kristin Soboloski is the owner and my good blogging buddy, Jenn Muraoka is part of their design team. So, there ya go! I don't endorse many companies, but this one is terrific.

Today my post contains one of those surprises I mentioned in my last post. But before I get to that, I thought you should see my latest project. Here it is. . .

(Don't forget to click on the pictures) This is a set of note cards that I made using my new stamps from Artful Inakables. All of these are done in some type of metallic. Either metallic embossing powder or metallic paper, or metallic ribbon, or a combination of all 3. I LOVE this set from Artful. It is one of their mini sets called "Hummingbird Set" and contains the images above. They have an Art Deco feel to them. The top one is done on cs called Blue Blazer and matted with gold cs. The image is embossed with gold ep. and then finished off with metallic ribbon. The second (my personal favorite) is done on copper metallic cs matted with jet black cs, and finished with copper metallic floss. The image is embossed with fine black ep. The third one is done on jet black cs, matted on silver cs, and finished off with metallic silver cord ribbon. The image is embossed with silver ep. All are mounted on A2 size, high quality water color cs. All have been embellished with metallic brads. I left room at the bottom below the images to stamp a sentiment for any occasion, but they can stand alone as note cards. I love how these turned out. Very simple but elegant. Here is a close up of the image:

I also decorated a box to coordinate with the set. See below:

I used 3 pieces of narrow two-sided tape on top of the box (the kind with the red side that you pull off). I covered each strip of tape (one at a time) with metallic ep and embossed each to come up with this effect. Looks like there are ribbons running across, but it is permanent. Here is a picture of the whole set:

OK, now for the surprise. . .(drum roll please). . . I'm giving this note card set away to one of you! When I made it, I didn't have anyone in mind, and so I thought this would be fun to give to someone, so I thought of all of you! I wish I could give each of you a set, but there are only so many hours in the day! So you will have to settle to try and win it! Here's what you have to do:

If you have been coming by my blog any time at all, you know I like to do things a little differently. I'm not going to make you jump through hoops, but I would like for you to leave a comment on this post and tell me your favorite tip for card making. I will then put every one's name on, and the person who comes out lucky #13 on the list will win my note card set. I will accept posts until 6:00 PM Eastern Time on Saturday, August 2, 2008. I'll announce the winner on Sunday, August 3, 2008. Good luck to all!

One final thing before I go. I was honored by a couple of people with another award. Both Adrienne of Scrappin' with Adrienne and Judy of Designs by Nanny gave me the BFF Gold Visa Card Award. It is proudly displayed up there under awards! Thanks so much! You both are very sweet to think of me!

That's it for now! As always I thank you so much for visiting me. These little things that I do are just my way of saying how much I appreciate you and I'm trying to keep my blog fun and fresh! You are all the best! I'll be seeing you on your blogs! Don't forget the picture of the week below! More stuff coming soon!


Curt O'Brien
"God help me be the person my dog thinks I am."

Monday, July 28, 2008

Having a RUFF Day?

Hey All! Hope your weekend was a good one and your week is starting off in a great way! Before I start blathering on, make sure you stop back by in the next several days, because I have some fun new projects to share as well as a fun idea I'm going to launch, and a surprise or two. Now, on to the card for today!

I love how today's card turned out, but I'm telling you, boy did it take me forever to get it right! I know that when you first look at it you're going to think "Looks like an easy card to me. . ." But I'll explain. Here is the card:

Isn't he the cutest?!? There en lies my problem! I've got a close up of him below:

This is NOT what the original stamped image is supposed to look like. I wanted the image to look more like my Giant Schnauzers, and not like what the stamp was supposed to look like (I'll explain in a minute). The set is from Inkadinkado and is adorable. The sentiment is from the same set. You will see in the photo below, some of the stamp set. You see, the dogs in the set have "designs" on them which are cute, but I did not want them on this one. Also, the dog in the stamp set didn't look anything like a Giant Schnauzer, but was close enough so I thought I could do some "snippin" and some creative stamping to achieve what I wanted. Well, I got exactly what I wanted, but boy was it time consuming! Here is what the original dog looks like in the set:

(It's the one sitting above the word "woof". As you can see, he has spots, a long tail, big ear laying down, and a collar! Talk about a surgical makeover! I cut the tail off and then into two pieces. I also cut of the original ear which was not used. As you can see from the picture above, the top half of the tail I used for his new ear, and the bottom half of the tail was turned around, and stamped on the other side of him to give him the classic Schnauzer nubby tail. I then used a brush to "paint" in the dots and create a full neck without a collar (you can't see it because it is behind the bow). I then went around his cute new body with my brush to make him look fuzzy. I tied the bow around his neck, matted him on a Nestie scalloped circle that I stippled with the same brush and ink, then paper pierced the scallops, then matted that on top of a larger black Nestie scalloped circle. I matted that on top of a piece of red cs that I had stamped those cute bones on and then embossed them with clear embossing powder. I matted that onto white card and stippled the white edge with the same brush and ink. Finally, I stamped the sentiment on white cs, embossed it with clear ep, stippled it as well, cut it out and stuck it on the card with foam squares. The dog and white circle were also attached with foam squares for depth. And there you have it! It wouldn't take me long now to recreate it, but "performing surgery" on that stamp and figuring out how to reuse the pieces was certainly a puzzle. But I think the card was worth the effort!

Thanks for stopping by! I love it when you do! And please don't be a "drive by". Leave a comment just to say hi! I love to hear from you!

Don't forget the pic of the week below! I know that I recently posted a pic of a dragonfly, but this one is a little different, and he/she actually turned and faced me as I was focusing to take its picture. This gave a whole new shot I wasn't expecting! Enjoy!


Curt O'Brien
"God help me be the person my dog thinks I am."

Saturday, July 26, 2008


Hey All! Happy Weekend!!! Hope everyone had a fabulous week! Where did it go? I can't believe it has taken me so long to post something new. . .sorry about that! I know I'll do better this coming week because I'm almost finished with some new projects that I can't wait to share! Until then, here is my newest card:

I finally got the Swiss Dots embossing folder! I have looked for it forever in all the retail stores around here and could never find it. So, I ordered it from my good friend Jen Young in Hawaii and I got it this week. You will also see that I used my new set of Nestabilities. That is a long story, but short story is . . . remember when I told you all about getting the set of Nestabilities from the person from Ebay that I THOUGHT was a gift? Well, it was a mistake on her part and I ended up sending them back to her. I was so disappointed. So I ordered two sets and also finally got them this week after fighting with Spellbinders. I will NOT order directly from them again EVER! They have great products, but their business systems that they have in place are horrible, and even their own VP said that they can't even trust their own information! I'll just order from other companies that carry their products who have better customer service. Below is a close up of the stamped part:

I love these stamps. They are by Inkadinkado and they have 3 or 4 different circles with stuff you can stamp inside the circle. I love the designs. I just love my Nesties! I got the circle scallops and the rectangle scallops. So, more projects to come!

Just as a side note to share, below is a picture of a live floral arrangement I made for a dinner we had here at the house for some friends:

The lilies are from our yard and the wildflowers are from a field close to us. A little dramatic for the table, but hey you can't have too many flowers I say!

Thanks for stopping by. You know how much I love you coming by to say hello! Don't forget to look at the Picture of the Week below. I'll have a couple of new posts this week! Until then, you all take good care!


Curt O'Brien
"God help me be the person my dog thinks I am."

Monday, July 21, 2008


Hey All! Hope everyone had a good weekend and you're off to a good start to your week! Today's post is an example, I think, of what we all go through from time to time, and also an example of what we all do to help each other out. I'm talking loss of Mojo! That's what today's card is all about! My very good and talented blogging buddy Jennifer Muroaka had lost the old Mojo and was having a hard time. It was breaking my heart to read her posts! She truly is one of the most talented people I know, and one of the most beautiful spirits I've met. So, I knew I had to do something! So I made and sent her the card below:

Are they not the cutest fish? These are from Stampin Up (Fishy Friends set), and they are the stamp set that I won on Ebay. I wanted to do something fun and whimsical to cheer her up and I thought these cuties would do the trick. I then got the idea to name them Moe & Joe. . .LOL. And here is what the inside said:

I found this cute "bubbles" stamp at Michael's on clearance for $5 and knew it would be perfect to use with these fish stamps. So I just kept stamping the bubbles until the inside card was covered.

I colored these little guys with markers, cut them out, and attached them with foam sticky squares. The background was done using my Cuttlebug embossing folder and then going over it with a turquoise ink pad to give it definition. I then randomly put glitter on some of the circles (can't see it very well in the photo) and I put a little glitter on their backs. The sentiment was computer generated. I just got an email from her this evening telling me how much it made her laugh. Hopefully it helped!

So, there you have it! We have so much power to help one another. One simple card can bring so much to someone. We do good work, don't we? Thanks again for visiting! I'll be seeing all of you on your blogs! Don't forget to see the Picture of the Week below! I took this one over the weekend. It's pose was so majestic! Enjoy!


Curt O'Brien
"God help me be the person my dog thinks I am."

Friday, July 18, 2008


Hey All! I've been so excited to do this post today because I get to announce my first winner of my first blog candy give away! Try not to cheat and scroll down to look. Savor the moment! I've posted a new card today as well as a new picture of the week! Today's card is a thank you card that I did in black and silver. Here it is. . .

This was my second use of my Cuttlebug. I did the butterfly with it, and I love how it turned out! The stamped image is from Stampendous, and it has three flower heads. To get this image, I simply stamped the image 3 times at different angles. I used Versamark embossing ink and then used silver embossing powder on the stamped image and the sentiment. You can see a close up below:

The Cuttlebug cutting die set consists of a die to cut the butterfly, and then 4 embossing sleeves to emboss the cut out. I chose the scrolly one, but the others are beautiful and I have card ideas to use them on for later. I then put a few bling crystals on the butterfly and tied the bow. The ribbon is actually silver and black (doesn't show that well in the photo below).

There you have it! I'm going to give it to a local artist here in Carmel. She has a shop on the main street, and when she closes her shop at night, she leaves two bowls of water out in front of her shop along with a jar full of dog treats for all of us who walk our dogs past her shop in the evening. She is so cool!

OK! OK! OK! Here is the winner of my first blog candy give away! Remember, I entered all the people who left comments on that post onto Random.Org (by the way, thanks so much for the supportive, sweet, kind words that you all left! Hugs to all of you!) and then hit the randomize button. The winner was the person who actually came out last on the list. And the winner is . . . . .Deb Neerman! Congrats Deb! Please send me your snail mail address so that I can get you your prize! The list is below showing where everyone fell:

Jen\'s Place in Space
Monika Reeck
Stampin Cats
Julie (Canada)
Jan Scholl

Jennifer Muraoka
Bunny B
The Rubber Maid
Sue at Stampndaly
Gina Wrona
Jane Scossie
Jacy\'s Mom
Deb Neerman

Thanks again everyone! I wish I could give everybody something. However, I plan on having more of these, and I have lots of fun ideas to do it too, so keep checking back!

Well that's it for this post! Don't forget the pic of the week below. I took this a couple of mornings ago while walking the boys in a local park. Isn't he/she adorable?

Take care all! Thanks again very much!


Curt O'Brien
"God help me be the person my dog thinks I am."

Saturday, July 12, 2008


Hey All! Well as I said in the last couple of posts, when my counter hits 2,000 I will give some blog candy. Well it hit 2,000 sometime after Noon today. So blog candy will be given away. Details to follow in this post on how to win!

Here is my card for this post. It is a first in a couple of ways. One, it is my first attempt to color using colored pencils and blending them. Second is I just got a new Cuddlebug and I have used the first embossing folder I bought! I love the Cuddlebug!!! Anyway, on to my card:

I love this stamp, and actually, I love any type of floral or weed or leaf kind of stamp. You'll see me doing a lot with them, especially when Fall gets closer (my favorite time of year!) I stamped this image twice, colored them identically, then cut one set of flowers out and attached them over the first stamped image with foam squares for a 3D look. See below:

The corner brackets are also stamped and then cut out and place on the card. Simple card, however it took me forever to do with the coloring. Using the Cuttlebug for the first time made it a lot more fun!

One exciting thing before blog candy time. I bid on a set of Stampin' Up stamps called "Fishy Friends" (retired set) on Ebay and won them! My first win on Ebay! Got 'em for a great price too! Anyway I received them in today's mail, and to my astonishment also included in the package was a complete new set of Nestabilities large scalloped squares, and another brand new die from the same company that you can make 4 or 5 different flowers with. I am so excited!!! The reviews for this seller said she included an extra scrap booking item with each order, but who knew it would be such an expensive item. The Nestabilities are about $25 a set. What a gift!! The cool thing is that they work in my Cuttlebug! LOVE IT! OK, OK here are the details for the blog candy!!!!

Here is what you could win:

1 set of brass snowflake stencils which includes 3 brass charms
1 package of foam stickers (snow globe/winter theme)
2 spools of ribbon
3 sets of Studio G mini stamp sets
1 wood mounted stamp with a sun face by Rubber Stampede
1 clear stamp set of leaves (I don't know who by). This set has never been used.

I hope you feel it's worth leaving a message for, because that's all you have to do. Post a comment to this blog entry. You will have until this Thursday, July 17Th at Midnight Eastern Standard Time. I will select a winner randomly using Random.Org. The twist is when I do a random list of everybody who posts, the winner will not be the first on the list but the last person on the list! It never fails, whenever I post for blog candy and they publish the list, I'm either last on the list or right near the last on the list. So, for all of you like me, now it will pay off to be last on the list! I will announce the winner on Friday, July 18Th and at that time will publish the list as it was generated on Random.Org. Good Luck!
Last but not least, thanks so much for your kind words, inspiration, and friendship. I have met some truly wonderful people doing this blogging thing. I'm a very lucky guy! Don't forget the pic of the week below!
Curt O'Brien
"God help me be the person my dog thinks I am."

Thursday, July 10, 2008

This One Bugged Me!!

Hey All! We are almost there! As of this post, my blog has had 1,923 hits! I am going to bet that in the next couple of days and by my next post it will be BLOG CANDY time!!!! Check back in a couple of days, or subscribe so you know when it is happening!

Now on to the card for today's post. As the title of this blog entry suggests, this card drove me absolutely out of my mind! I'm OK with how it turned out, but I'm not sure I'm going to go to this length again for a get well card! If I do, I'm afraid I'd need a get well card for me! Here it is. . .

I was at the grocery store the other day waiting in line, and a couple of women in front of me were talking about a friend of theirs who was sick and "had caught a nasty bug". That phrase made me think about the stamp I had bought but hadn't used yet. So, I got it out and came up with the above. Inspiration comes from everywhere, doesn't it? This one took me forever! I stamped the main image (the jar) on white cs and then I stamped just the lid of the jar on silver metallic cs and cut it out. Then, using an Exacto knife, I cut out the center of the jar. I had a piece of acetate and I pasted it behind the cut out to give the jar a "glass" look. Of course you can't see it from the photo! errrrrr! I used another set of stamps that had several other types of bugs and stamped the background in a slightly darker shade of green (see pic below).
I then picked the caterpillar to be the main bug in the jar, colored him with markers and cut him out. I poked "air holes" in the lid with a paper piercing tool and then poked a hole on each side for the raffia ribbon for the bow.
Remember, you can click on all the pictures for a larger view. As I was putting it all together, the plain, white card stock just didn't look right. . .it needed something. So I got a lime green marker out and started dotting the cs. I had to keep cleaning the acetate to get the finger prints off. I also raised the jar section with foam squares so that it gave it more of a 3-D effect. The sentiment I created on my computer and printed off on cs.
There you have it! Honestly, it took me over an hour to make this card! That stupid paper raffia that I used for the bow kept ripping every time I would poke it through or try to tie it. That took me 5 tries and about 3 feet of raffia! LOL Oh well, somebody has to be really sick to get this one!
Thanks for stopping by! Next post will have the details for BLOG CANDY! So let your blogging friends know! See ya next post! Thanks again for all of your wonderful comments! I'm also having a blast visiting all of your blogs!
Curt O'Brien
"God help me be the person my dog thinks I am."

Tuesday, July 8, 2008


Hey All! Today is kind of a special post because Jay and I are celebrating our 22ND Anniversary together! Wow how the time flies! I can't believe it has been that long. So, in honor of today, I'm posting the card that I made for him and gave him this morning. Here it is:

I love these colors together, and this stamp is from a new set that I just bought from Inkadoo. I used Versacolor ink for the image and then embossed it with clear embossing powder. You can see that effect in the photo below:

Added the bow, did the matting, stuck on the little "metal like" brads that I got from JoAnn Fabrics for a dollar a sheet, then raised it all with pop up squares. I don't know where I got the Happy Anniversary stamp, but I liked the script-like quality. Pretty simple card, but I do love how it turned out. Which brings me to something else. . .

I just want to thank everyone for their inspiration and ideas for techniques, because I am learning so much. I am inspired by everyone I visit, and I take away great ideas, tips and techniques. For example, I first learned the clean, professional looking multiple matting from Julie Koerber's blog. Her cards are absolutely beautiful. I learned that your stamped images look so much better if you emboss them with clear embossing powder, and I learned that from Jennifer Muraoka. Talk about great blogs, hers is AWESOME! I learned how to take your punches and use them in different ways to achieve other looks (like taking a flower punch and using it to get the ticket punch look). I learned that from Jennifer Young my big-hearted, super talented blog buddy. These people are just a few that I mention, but I've learned so much from everyone I visit; things like coloring techniques, card layout, etc. You all have amazing talent and I appreciate all of you so much. This blog thing is such a blast which brings me to . . . .

BLOG CANDY!!!! In an earlier post, I mentioned that I wanted to give some blog candy away, and so I shall. As soon as my counter hits 2,000 I will begin the give-away! I have a cool blog candy idea, so be sure to come back for the announcement. I don't think it should be too long now, my counter is getting there quickly!

Finally, thanks to Jen Young for "tagging" me - hence the "You Rock my Socks" up there. You rock too! Don't forget the pic of the week below. . .until next post! Take good care!


Curt O'Brien
"God help me be the person my dog thinks I am."

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Summer Card

Hey All! Hope you all had a safe and happy 4TH. I took the boys to the Carmelfest (local 4TH celebration). I had a funnel cake with strawberries, and I got them each a jumbo corn dog which they loved! They were show stoppers while they were there with dozens and dozens of people stopping to ask what breed they were and how beautiful they are. I was one proud daddy!

So, all that leads up to the card I'm posting today. After going to the 4TH celebration, I was in an "I love Summer" mood so I thought I'd make a summer card. Here it is:

Summer is all about bright colors and cool tropical drinks, and just having a good time! I got this new set of stamps last week, and loved the little drink glasses so I thought they would be perfect for this card. I colored each drink with my colored pencils, and shadowed the glasses at the bottom with a grey colored pencil as I have seen so many of you do. I like how it gave them more dimension. See? I'm learning from all of you and I thank you for that! I then added a thin line of glitter on the rim of each glass to make it look "sugared". You can see it a little better if you click on the picture above.
So, that's it today. I'm really going to try to post new cards every couple of days. I'm feeling so inspired by all of you and really want to start "producing"!

One last thing. . .I wanted to thank Jane Scossie (my blogging buddy in Australia) for nominating me for the award that I have listed up there on the right. It is my first award from anyone and meant a lot to me! If you get a chance, visit her site. She has beautiful page layouts and cards, and shares great photos of her family (and she has a beautiful family). She is very sweet!

That's it for this one! Take care all. I LOVE the fact that you come visit and I appreciate it so much! Don't forget the pic of the week below. It is from last night's fireworks show. I've never done "night shooting" before, and my pics did NOT come out the way they should have. HOWEVER, they came out quite interesting. I did not know until now that when you are using the "fireworks" mode on my camera, you should use a tripod to keep the camera steady. Well, you'll see from the photo below what happens. But I think the "effect" is kinda cool! Enjoy!


Curt O'Brien
"God help me be the person my dog thinks I am."

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Recived A RAK from JEN in Hawaii!!

Hey All! Hope you are having a great week and gearing up for a nice long weekend for most of you! Today I received a RAK from a very sweet friend in Hawaii! Jen Young. I was so excited to get it. She is the one who I was matched with for her June RAK and I made her a set of monogrammed note cards which I posted in an earlier post. Anyway, below is what she sent me:

How cute is this stuff!?! She does such cool stuff. My fave is the little canister holder of dog note cards! These are just absolutely adorable! Close up pic below:

She also included the most beautiful note card (below) with her best wishes! It is so cool!

When I went out to get the mail, I didn't even make it into the house with the package. I stopped and opened it in the garage. I was just like a little kid! I loved everything she sent, and it was so much fun getting it! Thanks Jen! It was wonderful!

Hope you all have a fabulous 4Th. Have fun and stay safe. I'll post at you soon! Don't forget the pic of the week below. . .the boys were being patriotic!


Curt O'Brien
"God help me be the person that my dog thinks I am!"