Curt's Best Shots Slideshow

Wednesday, December 29, 2010


Hey All!

Well, we survived Christmas!!!!  I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas.  I want to take this opportunity to thank all of you who sent me cards, surprises, and treats!  Your are all so wonderful!  "The boys" each received 16 wrapped Christmas gifts throughout the day from various friends and family members.  They received more gifts than anyone in the family!  LOL  They were so exhausted by the end of the day.  Such spoiled brats!  They were even sent several Christmas cards (some from you guys!) LOL  Thank you for including them.

OK, this will be the last of the Christmas projects.  I had to save these because I didn't want my Mom or sister seeing them before I gave the boxes to them.  I made them each a magic box with a surprise scene inside.  The boxes on the outside are exactly the same, however the figure in the scene is different.  Here is my Mom's:

This is what both boxes look like on the outside.  If you click on the pics, you'll see the silver panels I created using silver tinsel ep.

Here is my Mom's box on the inside:

This is an ornament that I picked up at Michael's specifically for this box.  Isn't he cute?!?  I love how his little scarf looks as if it is blowing in the wind.  I used a piece of Styrofoam that I cut and molded to look like a snowy berg.  It is covered in glitter and really sparkles in real life.

Here is the inside of my sisters:

Again, another ornament like the first, but a different pose.  Used same Styrofoam as a base and covered it in glitter like the first one.  They really loved them and I really love how they turned out.

The last thing I would like to show you is a sympathy card.  A very sweet lady here in the neighborhood (the one that I scrapped with for over 5 hours) lost her dear, sweet Father right before Christmas.  I wanted to be sure she knew how very sorry I was for her loss.  Here is the card I've made for her:

This is a brand new fold for me and I LOVE it!  It is called a "joy fold" and I had never seen it before.  As is with my style, I deviated from the video making it a 5 1/4 square so that it was full size.  The one on the SCS tutorial (HERE) was way smaller.  The following pictures show how it opens:

You can write a message on the panel that is resting on my thumb.  This really makes a great card.  I'm just sorry my first was a sympathy card.

Well, that's about it for this post.  Before I forget, here is the "Pic of the Week":

Thanks for coming by and taking a look.  Even more thanks for the nice comments you always leave.  I love reading them.

Well, I guess this is where I say "I'll see you all next year!"  LOL  I'm such a dork!

Happy New Year To All Of You From My World To Yours!


Curt O'Brien

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

Thursday, December 23, 2010



How the heck are ya???  Worn out right about now????  Even so, you are all looking absolutely gorgeous!

Since this is my Christmas post, I've composed a little tongue in cheek poem for you all that I've put at the end of the post.  I hope you enjoy it.  It actually pokes a little fun at yours truly.

Also, I'm just going to show you the pics of the last of the Christmas cards that you haven't seen yet.  I'm also not going to go on and on about technique or supplies on each either.  I'm just going to "show" and very little "tell".  Then it is on to the poem I wrote for you this evening.  So here are the cards:

 This is an example of using a stamp set that is not intended for Christmas.  This is from Flourishes called "Do It Yourself Topiaries".

 It has been such a long time since I inked up my Gruffies, Happy Hoppers and House Mouse Stamps.  All of these are colored with a water brush and Tim Holtz distress inks.

 With these stamps, I always keep the card simple as to not distract from the image.  These images are so wonderfully illustrated, that they don't need much.

Can't see it very well, but this is a shaker card.  The ribbon is actually sparkly silver.  And the last card to show you:

I'm so disappointed in the photo of this card because it is so sparkly in real life.  I embossed it with silver tinsel ep, and boy does that stuff sparkle.  It is so beautiful on dark blue card stock.

Well, those are the last of the Christmas cards.  Next Wednesday's post will have a couple of special 3-D projects that I made for my Mom and my sister.  I didn't want them peeking at the blog to see them before I give 'em to them on Christmas.

OK, on to the self poking fun at poem I wrote.  I'm sure that most of you will relate.  It is a take on 'Twas The Night Before Christmas.  Here goes:

'Twas a few days before Christmas,
with music playing in my house.
I'm still working on cards
and drinking like a souse.

My blogging buddies have sent me
all their Christmas cards on time.
But here I sit with some vodka
and a little wedge of lime.

All of their cards are so beautiful,
sitting up there on my shelf.
I grunt and I grumble:
"You're such a bad little elf!"

I dutifully was up late,
night after long night.
Working so hard on my cards
to get them just right.

But what could have happened?
Why am I so late???
I once again grumble:
"Why must I procrastinate???"

So what's to be done now?
I'm so out of time!
Now I'm searching the counter
for another wedge of lime.

I reach for the vodka
'cause I ran out of beer.
And I think happily to myself,
"What the heck, there's always next year!"

So there is the little poem I wrote for you all.  I hope it made you giggle.  Just so you know, I wasn't drinking vodka, however I am known to have a glass of wine or two during my creative sessions.

I want to thank all of you who sent me cards and special treats.  I cherish them all and have them proudly displayed throughout my house.  Your talents are endless and I'm so very lucky to be the recipient of such beautiful artwork.  I'm such a lucky guy!

Here's wishing you all the Merriest of Christmases and the brightest and joyous New Year.  I treasure all of you and think of each of you during this holiday season. 

Pic of the week:  The Boys in Their Christmas Finest       LOL!!!!!


Curt O'Brien

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

Thursday, December 16, 2010


Hey Kids!

How the heck are ya?  It is now only 10 days until Christmas, and I'm still making cards!  LOL  I'm almost done, and I've sent some out.  I should have them all out by Friday!  I have some FUN NEWS to share. . . I took a little "me" time and went to the local casino up north of us last Saturday.  I am an avid video poker player and love to play it.  Mind you, I don't go very often.  Anyway, I hit a Royal Flush and won $1,000.00!!!!!  Oh how excited I was and I sure could use the extra cash.  So I went on a spending spree at my favorite place to shop online (Creative Play Stamps).  I'm serious, Laura & Art are the nicest people to deal with, and they have a TON of stuff to purchase.  They have awesome prices too and offer monthly coupons.  And they have some of the best customer service you will find anywhere!  You really should check them out next time you need something.  I provided a link to them above, or I have a permanent link on my sidebar for them.  

Also, for those who are interested, I HAVE A RANT at the bottom of this post that might save you some frustration.  OK, on with the cards!

Here is my first:

I have always loved this branch stamp from Stampendous, and when I originally purchased it, I pictured it with an ornament hanging from it.  Well, now it has 3!  The ornaments are from Basic Grey and the sentiment is from Hero Arts.  I inked the whole card front with distress ink (stormy sky).  The ornaments are popped up with mounting tape.

Card number two:

I was wandering around on SCS in the resources section and found a great tutorial for this snow globe card.  You know me, I have to add my own twist to it.  So in experimenting, I came up with a fun idea for the snow globe glitter effect.  Instead of using just one piece of acetate, I cut out two.  On the surface of one, I squirted dots of Diamond Stickles and then some of the Silver Stickles.  I then put the second piece of acetate on top of that and "squished" it around.  Here is a better shot of what it looks like:

(Click photo for a better look)

It really looks like a snow globe after it has been shaken up.  I was so excited at how it looked.  Here is a pic of the card from the side view:

The image is from Penny Black (one of my fav snowman stamps).  I inked the background with distress inks (stormy sky) and then added little snowflakes using Versamark and embossing with white ep.  The sentiment is computer generated.  If you would like to try one (I'm making more!) you can find the excellent tutorial HERE.  There is even a video tutorial at the bottom of the linked page.

The next card is using the same image as the last card:

Card is pretty self explanatory.  Same image, technique, and sentiment as the snow globe card.

Here is the last card to share with you tonight:

This came from my abandoned endeavor to find a card to mass produce.  I just didn't find it this year, and I only ended up making 3 of these.  I wish I was more comfortable with CAS, but I just don't feel my skills are good enough.  I made the background panel with a set from Cloud 9 Design.  The wreath is from the same set.  I like this set a lot.

So there you have my latest.  Now, on to my RANT!!!!

I have decided that I am NEVER GOING TO PURCHASE ANOTHER PRODUCT FROM FISKARS!  EVER!!!!!  I don't know why I keep doing it, but after this last purchase, no more.  I am having a really hard time finding a paper cutter that is good quality, cuts a straight line, and is easy to read.  My first Fiskars cutter never cut a straight line.  So like a dummy, I bought a more expensive Fiskar's cutter thinking it would be better than the cheaper model.  WRONG.  It too never cut a straight line.  It was always at a slight angle.  It used to drive me nuts and I would have to angle the paper slightly to accommodate the fluke.  So, I decided to try another one.  Am I an idiot or what???  It is one of those with the swing out arm and is a rotary cutter (which I like the best).  Well guess what????  It did cut a straight line!  HOWEVER, when you pull out the orange swing out ruler, all the numbers and lines on the ruler are orange too and you CAN'T READ THE DAMN THING!  OMG!!!!  I had to take a magnifying lamp and use a black marker to color in the ruler lines and numbers so I could read the measurements.  ARE YOU NOW READY FOR THIS????  I have to be ONE OF THE MOST GULLIBLE PEOPLE IN THE WORLD!!!!!  I saw a new Fiskar's cutter in the Joann Fabrics Christmas mailer this week.  It was called the LED Sure Cut.  It has a built in LED light that shows you exactly where the cut will be. It folds up so that it goes from a 12" cutting area to a 6" cutting area.  So guess who went down to buy one????  LOL  Yes, yours truly, IDIOT BOY!!!!  When I got there, my mouth fell open when I saw the price. . . .$79.99!!!!   Fortunately, they were on sale for $49.  I still thought that was way too much.  So they had two and both boxes looked like they had been opened (as in "had been returned").  Did I let that RED FLAG sway me away from buying it????   NOOOOOOOOOOO!  I grabbed that baby and paid for it!  Here is the best part, the part you have all been waiting for. . .did it work?????   HELL NOOOOOO!  OMG!!!!  I wanted to put my head through a wall!!!!  What was wrong with it you asked????  FIRST, the main ruler on the side where you would measure for your cut was off about 1/8th of an inch!!!!!  I ruined 3 sheets of my expensive Gina K Designs luxury card stock on that piece of crap.  SECONDLY, the LED light is such a gimmick and a big JOKE.  It is totally USELESS!  THIRD, don't be too surprised. . . .IT DIDN'T CUT A STRAIGHT LINE!!!!!  OMG!!!!  Do they not care about quality control at FISKARS???????  When I lined up the paper against the ridge and made the cut, you could put the two halves together and see both edges of each half of the paper going down in a slight angle.  And FINALLY, when you lay the cutter on the table fully extended, the one half wasn't the same hight as the front half!!!!  I took that baby back to Joann's today and I will NEVER NEVER NEVER buy another Fiskars cutter as long as I live!  So I'm now stuck with my maker colored ruler Fiskars cutter until I can find something else.  At least they got this one to cut a straight line (must have been a fluke).  As a side note, I was at Michael's this afternoon and saw two more of these PATHETIC LED Sure Cuts boxes sitting there and they both had obviously been opened like the ones at Joann's and were probably returns too!  So if you are even remotely thinking about this cutter, turn around and RUN from it!  OK, I feel better now. . .at least maybe I've saved some of you the headache of buying one of these high priced pieces of crap!

Finally, the "Pic of the Week":

Someone asked me if I would post a picture of my house decorated.  This is my living room.  I made that wreath over 20 years ago and it is still going strong.  The tree is on the opposite end of the room and I'll show that pic and the pic of the "bears in the tree" that I have in my entry way on my next post.

One last thing, I'm so sorry that I didn't make it around to everyone's blog this week.  I don't know where the time has gone.  But I'm going to grab my coffee in the morning and sit down and come visit you all in the morning!  I'll see you then!

Hugs to all of you!


Curt O'Brien

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

Thursday, December 9, 2010


Hey All!

17 days until Christmas!!!!!  AAAAHHHHHHHHH  LOL  Is that how you feel too???  OMGosh I can't believe it.  Next thing you know we will be showing off our Easter cards!  Where does the time go???

Have you ever had someone make a comment to you that made you feel so good about yourself that it stuck with you?  A neighbor lady across the street stopped me a few weeks ago and asked "Are you working any craft shows??"  I replied that I wasn't and asked why.  She said "Darn it!  I wanted to buy some of your stuff."  I was so flattered.  So, I wanted to make something for her as a gift.  I'm excited to show you what I came up with.  

I revamped and mingled many different ideas that I've seen online to come up with my own twist.  I wanted to make several Christmas gift tags and a holder for them to present to her.  Here is what I created:

This is the packaging for the tags as it looks closed ready to give.  Kinda reminds you of a little present with a wild spiky bow on top doesn't it?  When you remove the belly band, this is what you find inside:

The ones I kept finding online were only four panels, so I designed mine to  have a total of six.  When it is stretched completely out it measures 18" long!  There are two each of six different tags.  I decorated the pocket of each panel to kind of go with the theme of the tags it holds.  Here are the tags:

The little envelopes were created with an envelope punch.  I created the little "letter to Santa" in Word.  The background writing is embossed with white ep.  Here is the next:

I stamped these Hero Arts pine cones then colored them with pencils, stamped the greeting and cut them out with my Nesties.  Made the tiny bows with my Bow Easy.  Here is the next tag:

Pretty self explanatory.  The stamp here is Stampabilities.  Here is the next:

This wreath stamp is by Cloud 9 Design.  I stuck little "berries" on the wreath and then the little bows I made.  Here's the next set:

I altered the shape of the Nestie die I used for this tag because it was too wide to fit into the pocket.  Kinda has an odd shape, but it worked!  The snowflakes in the background are by Cloud 9 Design and the ones that are popped up are a MS punch with Stickles on them.  Here's the last set:

My fun little gingerbread men are from Stampabilities too.  I just love these little guys.  Here is a shot of the whole set of tags:

This was a blast to make.  It really is a surprise, because when it is folded up, it is really small.  It is really surprising that it holds 12 tags and measures 18" long.  I hope she likes it.

My last card to show you tonight is my endeavor to find an easy card to make.  This one was fairly easy, but still not what I'm looking for and I'm running out of time!  Take a look:

I usually don't do Christmas cards out of the "norm" colors, but I love kraft paper and I love red with it.  I punched the snowflake out using my Nesties, added the red and white "Merry Christmas" tiny print paper behind it, then added faux stitching around the panel (my first attempt at faux stitching I might add).  Layered it all onto a kraft sheet embossed with a folder then rubbed with white craft ink from Stampin Up.  What do you think?  I got the idea for this card from several similar ones on SCS.

OK, that is it.  So busy and there doesn't seem to be enough hours in the day.  I swear I don't know how I did everything I did when I was working full time!  Here is the "Pic of the Week":

I took this photo the other day while walking the boys.  This "fungus" was pure snow white and looked so stark against the dead wood and all the grey coloring of their surroundings.  Plus I thought it was cute that they were a "couple".  LOL  I'm such a dork!

OK, thanks for coming by.  I really apologize for not getting to your blogs yet this week, but I'm on my way, don't you worry your pretty little heads.  I love coming by to see what you have all been up to.

Hope you are all well and doing fine.  Hugs to all of you!

Curt O'Brien

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

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


Hey All!

There you are!!!  I've been waiting for you!  Can you believe that it is DECEMBER ALREADY??????  We had our first measurable snow here (albeit less than a 1/4 of an inch) it was appropriate for the 1st day of December.  The boys were so excited to see it.  They love the snow and love to romp in it.

OK, on with the post!  I'm busy working on Christmas stuff, and have some stuff to share with you all.  I'm still trying desperately to come up with a card that I can make several of, and have had no luck yet.  Two of the Christmas cards I'm showing today are from my "trying".  But before I show you those, I have to show you the set that I made for my Mom to send out to her friends.   I found this adorable image at Mo's Digital Pencil Too and could not believe how much it looked like my Mom's dog "Chunk".  Here is her dog:

And here is the card I made using the Mo image:

Doesn't it look like Chunk???  LOL  I couldn't believer how much it resembled him!  Here is the box I made to hold the cards.  It is a box called a "memory keeper" and it is my favorite to use for card sets (it is so fast and easy to make and turns out so impressive every time.  You can find the video tutorial for it HERE:

And here is a pic of the whole set:

I don't know why the card that is laying down makes the image look brown, but it is just like the one on the front of the box.  Mom loved them, and I'm going to have to make her some more.   I colored the image with my colored pencils and oms.

My next card to share is one that is a little bit of a "manly" Christmas card.  Take a look:

OK, OK. . . .it does have a bow on it, so shoot me!  LOL  All men have a "softer side" whether they admit it or not!  I have always loved this pine cone stamp.  It is from Hero Arts.  I stamped it with Saddle Brown Staz-On ink and then colored it with colored pencils and oms.  I added some chunkier glitter to the tips of the pine cone for a frosted look.  This was a fast card to make, but still not what I'm looking for.  You will see this image pop up again on another future project or two.

The last card for tonight is another one I thought would fit the bill:

But again, not what I'm looking for.  This one really sparkles a BUNCH, but you can't really see it in this photo (you can see it better if you click on the photo).  I used an inking technique that I used on some of my Halloween tags.  I blotted ink on a craft sheet, spritzed it with water and "smooshed" the paper on top of it.  That is how I got the background color.  I then stamped the trees (Hero Arts) on top of that in dark green Staz-On ink.  Used Stickles for the "snow" and the "ornaments".  For the falling snow, I took a MS glue pen and made dots all over the sky then sprinkled with crystal glitter.  It is matted on navy blue card stock.  It really is pretty IRL, but I just don't care for CAS look when I do them.  

OK, that's it for this post.  I hope you enjoyed your visit.  I sure do enjoy your comments.  I hope you all had a great holiday, and that you are keeping up with your Christmas stamping.  I'm working on a couple of fun projects that I'll be anxious to share with you (hopefully next Wednesday's post).

Here is this week's "Pic of the Week". . .enjoy!

Hope all is well in your world!  Hugs to all of you and I'll be seeing you on your blogs soon!


Curt O'Brien

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