Curt's Best Shots Slideshow

Sunday, November 29, 2009


Hey Kiddos!  I really hope that your weekend was fun.  I hope too, that you were surrounded by family and friends during the Thanksgiving holiday.  I know that I have so many things to be thankful for and YOU ALL are on that list!

Today's post highlights my very first Christmas project.  How do you like the updated look of the blog and the new pics of the boys?  LOL  Aren't they adorable in those Santa hats?  They are so good at posing for me and they tolerate so much with their Daddy's constant search for great photos of them!  I so love them!

I have been working on this project for the last several days trying to perfect it.  I plan on selling these next year at a huge holiday sale they have in this area every year at the end of October.  This project has a lot going on, so it's going to take me from now until next October to complete enough to sell!  LOL  Here it is:

And here is what's inside:

This is not totally my design.  I got the idea complete with a great tutorial HERE:  This is such a great stationery box and is so versatile for so many occasions.  The great thing about it is that it makes such a nice gift.  This set includes the following:

  • 4 note cards with envelopes
  • 4 embossed holiday gift tags
  • 4 embossed holiday gift enclosure cards with envelopes
  • 4 postage stamps
  • 1 note pad
  • 1 pen

It is such a surprise when it falls open when you lift the lid.  Here are some shots of the individual items:

The note pad cover is one of the things I added to the original design.  I used the same card stock (which was already embossed with the pattern) to make the cover.  I simply cut a piece that was a 1/4" wider than the pad.  I then cut out the decorative end with my Nesties.  I attached a ribbon around it, then attached it to the box with red line tape.  So you just untie the ribbon and only the pad comes out.  I also made simple loops with the same card stock and attached them with red line tape to form the pen holder.    The other thing I added was a stamp holder on the side.  I've decided in working with this, that I'm going to move the stamp holder to the box section right above the pad to hide the "intersection" of the two holders.  I think this will be better because where it is now, it causes a slight bulge on the one side of the box when it is closed.  Here is the stamp holder up close:

You can see above that the stamps are in a little pouch that is kept close with thin craft magnets.

Here are the tags:

The reindeer is embossed with gold detail ep and then I added a glittery dot for the "Rudolph" look to give them a little whimsy.  I used a red eyelet at the top and then ran gold cord for tying.  The stamp is by Stampendous.  

These are the gift enclosure cards.  I again embossed the image in gold detail ep then added glittery dots for the ornaments.  The stamp is by Northwoods.  Each card has an envelope. 

Here are the individual note cards:

I used liquid appliqué on their hats and glitter on the snow.  Here is a close up:

Next note card:

And a close up:

I used glitter dots on the patterned paper to bring out the berries, and glitter on the edge of the snow on the branches.

The next card:

I used some fuzzy yarn for the side of the card as an embellishment.  Now, the final card:

The photo makes it look like the image panel is not centered, but it really is.  It is just the angle and the shadowing because of the center matted image being popped up with foam squares.

All of the cards were colored with my colored pencils and oms, and of course all of the images are from Stampabilities House Mouse series.  I have ordered several different images so that I will have a variety of images to use for these Christmas note card sets.  But I'm sure you can see, that this box project would be great for "every day" note cards, Halloween, Easter, Autumn, etc.  The box really isn't difficult to make, and I'm sure with a little more practice I will be able to knock these out a lot faster.  Here is a final picture of the whole set  with everything shown:

So, do you think they will sell at a craft bizarre?  I sure hope so!

I also wanted to share with you a very special gift I received from my blogging friend Chris at Mudmaven Designs.  She had emailed me for my address and said she had something to send me.  Well this is part of what was in the package:

I was so surprised and excited.  I couldn't believe how kind and thoughtful!  She also included in the package a beautiful card, and Jumbones for my boys!  Chris, thanks again so much for your kindness and generous gift.  It is so appreciated!

Well, that's it.  I hope you liked what I shared and I hope that you try one of these!  I would love to know if you make one because I would love to see yours!  So let me know if you do!  I'll be doing my Wednesday Evening Post this coming Wednesday and will be announcing the winner of the HM stamp from the previous post.  Good luck to all of you!

Again, thanks for stopping by and caring enough to take the time to comment.  They mean so much to me.  Don't forget the pic of the week below! 

I'll be seeing you on your blogs!



"God, please help me be the person that my dogs think I am."

Monday, November 23, 2009


Hey All!  Hope you all had a great weekend! 

I'm so excited about today's post!  My very first "official" House Mouse Monday Challenge Post as a design team member.  It seems I've waited an eternity for this day, and it is finally here!

This two week challenge #57 is to use a House Mouse image on a double pocket bag that you have to make!  I've never made one of these until this challenge, but I can see unlimited possibilities for their use and for every occasion and holiday (you can find the tutorial HERE).  Since Christmas is right around the corner, I decided to make mine Christmas oriented.  Here it is:

I had never seen one of these and for those of you who haven't either, the finished project looks like a mini shopping bag with two pockets.  And super easy to make too.  Since my House Mouse image was mice with candy canes, I decided to use it to hold candy canes.  I've already got another one in mind for holding ingredients for a cup of hot chocolate.  These are also perfect for holding gift cards too.  As you can see from the above picture, I added some tissue paper to really give it the "shopping bag look".  Here is a view so you can see the side better:

Those are full size candy canes, so you can get a better idea of the size.  Here are some more close ups:

As you can see from above, I made a border across the top of the bag with punched out gold pine branches and glittery sticker berries.  I also added these glittery berries on the corners of the image panel and added a scalloped red background to it.  I also attached the image to the bag with dimensional foam squares.  The ribbon handles coordinate with the whole theme, sporting fun candy canes on them as well.

So, there you have it!  But I have a SURPRISE for all of you!  In celebration of my very first House Mouse Monday Challenge post, I'M GIVING AWAY THIS STAMP!!!!  I found that I mistakenly ordered this one twice not realizing I already had it in a previous shipment.  So I thought it would be fun to give it away to one of you.  So, here's the deal. . . .all you have to do is twirl around 3 times, say I love House Mouse stamps as you twirl. . . .just kidding LOL  I can just see a few of you starting to twirl!  LOL  Just leave me a comment like you always do and I'll select someone next Monday at Noon Eastern time.  The winner will be announced on the December 2 Wednesday Evening Post.

Hope you liked this project enough to try one.  They are so cute after they are done.  Please be sure that you go take a look at the other design team member's projects HERE.  Everyone on the team is so talented!

Thanks again for all of your support and incredible comments.  Honestly, I don't think anyone has better readers than I do.  I love you guys!

See you on Wednesday!



"God, please help me be the person that my dogs think I am."

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


Hey All!  How the heck are ya?  Boy, it feels like forever since I posted.  Everything kinda got screwed up, but now I'm back on track.  Hope everyone is well and having a great week!

First things first.  I want to announce the winner of my note card set in the last post.  Drum roll please. . . . . . . the winner as determined by Random.Org is . . . . . . . . .DPKENNEDY!  Yea for DP!  Can you get me your address so I can get the set right out to you?  Congrats!  Thanks everyone too for all of your wonderful comments on my last post!  They really do mean a lot to me.

OK, now on to the current post.  Over the last couple of months, I have had many emails asking me if I could do a tutorial on how I color my House Mouse images.  One email stated "I would love for you to PROVE that they are as easy to color as you say they are!"  LOL  OK, I love a good challenge, so I put together a tutorial below showing exactly how I colored an image for my card and then the finished card.  I don't know how good this tutorial is going to be, but it does show me using my "cheap colored pencils" that I always  talk about.  So, on with the tutorial:

Here is a picture of my famous cheap colored pencils!  LOL  This group is a mixture of 4 different brands (Cran, Crayola, Sargent, and Rose Art) that I use the most:

First, I stamped the image onto 110# card stock using Archival Jet Black ink.  The image is a Gruffies (House Mouse line) stamp called "Beary Fast Sled".

The first thing I do is start outlining the image of the bear in the color he is going to be like this:

Once I have the image outlined, I lightly color the image with the same color like this:

Here is what it looks like before I start with the odorless mineral spirits.  I think you would agree that a third grader could do a better job!:

Now comes the OMS and blending stump.  I dip the stump into the oms to saturate it.  Then, moving in small circular motions from the edge of the image to the center, I start blending the color evenly like this:

You can see how the color is now filling in nicely.  Here is what it looks like after the first pass with oms:

Looks much better huh?  Now, I go back over the image with the same color darkening the areas where I think there should be shadowing like this:

I then blend again making sure there aren't any "hard" lines and that all looks smooth.  Here it is now that it is done:

Looks a lot different from the outlining stage doesn't it?  I left the stump in the picture because you can see on the tip that it has color on it.  I use what is left on the stump to color the face of the bear so that it is a lighter color of the same brown in the body so it looks like this:

So at this point, I have only used ONE pencil to color the bear.  Next I move on to the sled and hat.  Again, I do the outlining of the image with the color:

You'll see in the pic below an emery board.  I use an emery board to file off the last color before proceeding to the next blend:

Again, I do the blending of the color.  However, you might have noticed that I did not lightly color the center of the image like I did with the bear.  The reason is that with smaller areas, you will have plenty of color to pull into the center from the outline:

Here is what the sled and hat looks like now:

Next, I wanted the handles to have a metallic look so I used a silver glitter pen to color it in:

We are now at using only 2 colored pencils and one pen.  I wanted the snow to be 3-D so I used my liquid appliqué for this effect:

Once I have it applied I use my heat gun to make it puff up.  Now I know to PROPERLY use liquid appliqué, you put it on and let it dry overnight, then you use your heat tool.  However, I wanted the puffy look because I thought it would look appropriate with a sled pushing mounds of wet snow and clumping it to the side as it passes.  So I heated it up:

Here's where we are now:

I wanted the "snow" to have a glitter to it, so I used Diamond Glaze along the edges and then added glitter:

I then realized that I hadn't made his cheek rosy like I usually do to these sweet images, so I use a light pink pencil to color right over the top of the brown, then blend it lightly with the oms:

So now I have used a total of 3 colored pencils and a pen to complete the coloring.  Here is the finished colored image:

Now to the card I made using this image.  Here it is:

If you click on the picture, you'll see that I stamped the hat a second time, colored it, cut it out, and attached it with a foam square for another 3-D effect.  Looks like his hat is flying right off the card! I'm disappointed with the picture of the snowflakes.  They were punched out of a super glittery piece of card stock so they are really shimmery in real life.  The "snow" is really sparkly too.

So, there you have it.  You see, there really is nothing to it!  These images are so easy to color and you don't need much of anything to do it.  I used 3 colored pencils for this image and got all the shading I needed.  I hope now you see that it is really pretty easy to do.  If I left anything out or you have questions, please send me an email and I'll be glad to tell you whatever you need to know.  I hope this was helpful!

Now, I'd like to share a RAK card I got from my very sweet blogging buddy Sharon over at Grandma's House of Cards.  She is so talented as you are about to see.  Take a look at this card:

I LOVE THIS SO MUCH!  The quality of the materials, her coloring, the image itself, everything!   For a real treat, go take a look at her work.  She is simply amazing!  Thanks so much Sharon!   It came at a perfect time!

OK, that's it!  Thanks so much for visiting!  You know how much I love you guys!  There are days I don't know what I would do without you.

My first House Mouse Monday Challenge post will be THIS MONDAY!  I'm so excited and nervous.  Can't wait to show it to you.  So, until then, you all take good care!  Don't forget the "Pic of the Week" below!



"God, please help me be the person that my dogs think I am."

Sunday, November 8, 2009


Hey All!  I'm so sorry I didn't get Wednesday's post up, but I've been dealing with some "stuff" and just haven't been myself.  But I'm "over it" now LOL and I've got stuff to post!  (Thanks Patti J for your sweet email!)

As I mentioned in my last post, I got this great stamp set as a gift from the artist herself.  It was such a generous gift, and the note she sent with it and the things she said were so very sweet.  But one thing she did say was there were no strings attached and she didn't expect me to do anything with it or to post anything but to just enjoy the set.  But did I listen to her???? Hmmmmmmm????  LOL  I'm here to tell you that her stamp set is one of the best I have ever owned.  SERIOUSLY!  I've NEVER seen such quality!  The polymer is really thick and they are so sturdy.  The impression that you get with them is effortless.  Add to that the fact that the set is stunningly gorgeous, and you have got one of the best sets around!

I decided to make a note card set, complete with holder and give it away.  You know the saying "Pay It Forward"?  So, here is the note card set and each note card up for grabs":

Here is the note card holder I made for the set.  The wreath is one of her stamps in the set.

Here it is open.

This is the first card in the set.  Isn't this a great image?  I colored it with my ccp/oms and embossed it and cut  it out with my Nestie ovals and matted it on scallops.  Then I attached that onto great woodgrain paper and added a red satin bow.

Here's a close up of the image.

Here is the next card in the set:

I so love this wreath image.  I formed the background by cutting the four panels with my Nesties from the same paper I used for the front, back, and inside of the card holder.  I lined them up and attached them to chocolate brown card stock.  The image is colored with you know what and I cut it out again with Nesties and mounted it with foam squares to the front of the card.  The sentiment on both the card holder and this card are also part of her set.  Here is a close up of the image:

Here is the next card in the set:

I love this image too!  I'm actually a tree/leaf freak!  LOL  When I was showing my Mom my stamp collection, she said "Boy, you sure like leaves and trees."  So no more boring with details.  Card was made like the rest. . .

Here is the close up of the image:

You can see that I used a stardust glitter pen and went over the leaves for some shimmer.  I did the same for the wreaths in the other two.

Here is the last of the four cards in the set:

Another wonderful image.  Here is the whole set together with the holder:

These make great Thanksgiving or general Autumn note cards.  I can't wait to use this set some more!  Thanks again Claire for this treasured gift.  I hope I did you proud with this  card set!

I've not told you her name yet have I???  What a dork I am!  Her name is Claire Brennan and her website is called Waltzing Mouse click HERE.   You can find the stamp set I used here:  Peace & Plenty  It has 10 images and 6 sentiments.  You can see all of her stamp sets HERE.  And talk about a genius, she has stamp sets that work in conjunction with some of the Nestabilitie die sets!  How cool is that?  OK, to wind my note card set, all you have to do is the usual.  Just leave a comment, and I will randomly choose a winner with next Sunday (November 15th at 6:00 PM Eastern Time) and will post the winner on my Wednesday Evening Post on November 18th.  Good luck to all!  I can't wait to give this set to one of you guys!

Next on my agenda is another little project of mine.  I kept seeing this cute luminary on SCS and I wanted to give it a try.  Here are two shots of it.  The first is unlit and the second lit:

I couldn't believe how easy and fast this was to make and how beautiful it looked when lit.  If you can notice, again I used the same paper that I did on the note card set (can you believe I got all the cards and this project out of 1 12 X 12 sheet!)  on the outside of the base.  The vellum paper I used for the windows was already pre-stamped with those beautiful leaves.  I bought two sheets of it on clearance over a year ago and knew that this was the perfect use for it.  You can find the a pictorial tutorial and video tutorial for this project HERE.  I plan on doing some Christmas ones down the road.  The one above is not really decorated like the ones they showed at SCS.  I wanted to keep this one simple because of the beautiful vellum.  But I can think of lots of decorating ideas for the outside of them for Christmas.

My final card today was kind of used for an inside joke with my Mom.  My Mom, sadly, has macular degeneration.  It has gotten worse over the years, and we kinda noticed that she is having some difficulty putting on her makeup properly.  Sometimes the rouge is way heavy on one side or she is wearing an extremely bright shade of lipstick that doesn't go with her "style".  So, even though it may seem a little evil on my part, when I saw this image I COULD NOT RESIST GETTING IT FOR THIS CARD I MADE FOR HER:

Here is a close up of the image:

On the inside the sentiment says, "You May Look a Little Funny, But We Still Love You."  LOL  When she first saw it, she couldn't believe what she was seeing, then when she read the inside, she laughed.  She knew I was trying to be sweet in a funny way.  This is a perfect example of why I love the House Mouse images so much.  They have an image that you can apply to just about everything!

Well kiddos, that's it for this post.  Except for one last little thing.  Some of you may have noticed that I finally posted my picture here on the blog.  The people at the House Mouse challenge kinda hinted it would be nice. I have never liked any picture of myself, but I pulled this one from the following magazine article that was done on me and Jay a while back:

I'm sure if you click on the picture, you'll be able to read the short article on us.  Our story was a part of a series of stories of how our pets are so much more than just pets.  How some are heroic or like in our case can have a healing effect on people.  But anyway, I just took a photo of the photo above and cropped it down.  It's as good as it's going to get unless someone has a miracle camera to make me look better!  LOL

OK, that's really it except for the Pic of the Week below!  Thanks again to everyone for their joyous responses to my being picked for the HM design team.  I can't wait to get started and I'll let you know in an upcoming post more details about that first post.  Again, thanks so much for your awesome support and good luck with the draw!


Curt O'Brien

"God, please help me be the person that my dogs think I am."