Curt's Best Shots Slideshow

Thursday, June 30, 2011


Hey All!!!

Happy Wednesday and welcome to another edition of my blog.  I'm nervous about this because I am showing my first SEWING projects!!!  I have been practicing so much, and I'm learning a lot.  However, the stitching isn't absolutely perfect but it is getting close.  I've got a ton to share with you in this post, so let's get to it!

First, as promised, it is time for MY BLOG CANDY GIVE-AWAY!!!!  Since I'm all excited about my new sewing machine and all the possibilities it has added to my paper crafting, I thought I would give away something that is related.  Drum roll please. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

It is a We Are Memory Keepers Sew Easy prize package!!!!  The retail value of this prize is $50.00.  As you can see from the photo, here is what you'll get:

  • (1) Sew Easy Mat
  • (1) Sew Easy Tool with a straight stitch head and handle that holds a needle
  • (2) Additional Sew Easy stitch heads with various stitch patterns
  • (8) Sew Easy spools of colored floss for a total of 24 different colors

How's that??  I had bought all of this at various times thinking that I would not make the plunge and get a sewing machine.  But once I got my machine I didn't need this system any more so I thought it would make the perfect blog candy.  So, how do you win????  You know me, I don't make you jump through hoops to get it.  All you have to do is leave a comment on this post to be entered.  It would be nice if you followed me, but it is certainly not required.  I will use to select the winning comment at Noon, July 6TH, and will post the winner's name on the 6TH's Wednesday Evening Post.  I wish all of you good luck!

OK, on with the projects I would like to share.  Here is my first SEWN card!!!!:

See the stitching???  My first zig-zag stitched card!!!  I thought this House Mouse image would be perfect for it.  I paper pieced the little mouse doll with the same background paper.  The round sentiment was created in Word on my computer.  I, of course, colored the image with my cheap colored pencils and oms.  Here is a close up of the stitches. . .
I'm honestly shocked that the stitches measured perfectly to each corner on all corners.  Talk about beginner's luck!  LOL  I'm learning so much about the machine. . .for example, who knew your bobbin thread color doesn't have to match your spool thread color?????  I bought a bunch of bobbins thinking that I would have to have one for each color I used. . .LOL  Such a newbie!!!

OK, my second project:
This photo isn't the best, but it was the best I could do. . .This is a bookmark that I made for a neighbor who loaned me a great book (Merle's Door - about a man and his life with a very special Golden Retriever - made me cry several times!!!).  I've finished it, and wanted to return it with this handmade bookmark.  The background paper is all the dark black print.  It was the glare on the paper that makes the bottom part look dull.  I looked up "book quotes" on Google and picked this one and generated it on my computer.  I cut the top of the bookmark with a Nesties set by just doing the top.  Added the brads, eyelet for the ribbon, and then stitched around the two sides and bottom.  Don't look too close. . .I still need practice with my straight stitch!  But it wasn't bad.  The bookmark itself is very sturdy because I stitched 3 layers of card stock together so that it wasn't flimsy.

OK, last card is not a sewn card, but it is an experiment. . . 
Know what this is????  It is a piece of paper thin tree bark from a River Birch tree.  Here is the tree. . .
When I picked this piece up off of the ground, I couldn't get over how much like paper it was.  Then of course the idea came to mind . . . hmmmmmm paper. . . .
I know it is a simple looking card, but it is kind of unique.  As you can see, I stamped right on the paper thin bark.  This image is the large tree from my friend Mark's stamps at Deadbeat Designs.  I used distress inks (rusty hinge, mustard seed, and walnut stain).  Once I was finished stamping on the bark, I tore around the edges to get a rustic kind of feel.  I used glossy accents to glue it down to the card stock.  To dress it up a bit, I used a wonderful little trinket that my good buddy America sent me and some natural hemp cord for more natural accents.  This will make a great Fall note card.  Kind of fun, huh?  Once I had it done, I wished I had used my wood grain embossing folder for the dark brown mat.  That would have made it look better I think, oh well. . .Just goes to show that if you look at things differently, you can come up with some really unique stuff!

I also wanted to share a couple of other things.  Here is the new place in my craft room for my sewing machine:
I know. . .don't laugh at the two chairs on either side. . .I like my barrel chairs (they were in my office when I was a manager and when they closed our division, they let us keep some of the furniture).  I just don't have any where else to put them and they have always been up there.  Next week, I'll show a pic of the full room so you can see the configuration.  But I think this little table complete with large drawer is perfect for the machine!  I got it from my Mom. She is moving in with my sister this week until my sister's house sells, then they are going to buy a house together.  So Mom's getting rid of some of her stuff.

Finally, a special Pic of the Week:
This is my beautiful oldest boy, Shotsy.  He celebrated is 10TH birthday on June 24TH.  He looks a little blurry because I used the "low light" setting on my camera and you have to be really still.  It turned out cute anyway.  That is an Oreo Ice Cream Cake.  Every year, we have always gotten the boys an ice cream cake to celebrate their birthdays.  Of course, they just get a small slice and we get to eat it as well.  He is such a good boy.  He posed with that cake in front of him for 3 or 4 shots and posed for each one.  Never once did he try to eat the cake.  He really knows the rules and loves to pose for pictures.  He is truly the sweetest dog and such a love of my life.  This was taken with him at the coffee table in our living room.

OK, I've taken way more time of yours than I deserve.  I hope you enter for my blog candy!!!  I also hope you all have a wonderful, safe 4TH.  Thanks for stopping by, I love having you come and hang around with me.  Can't wait to see what you've been working on. . .See you on your blogs!

God Bless America!



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

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


Hey All!

Happy Hump Day to each and everyone of you.  I hope this post finds you well and happy.  Also, Happy Summer!  Where did Spring go?  Did we actually have Spring???

This post is going to be short and sweet (alright, who out there was clapping???)  I have something to show you that I'm so excited about!  But I'm saving it for last as hard as that is for me.  On to the post. . .

Here are my fist few cards all in one picture so click on it to make it bigger so you can see them better:
I love this new set from Friskars.  It is a red rubber set and the images stamp beautifully.  I made all 3 of these cards with the set and didn't even use half of it.  The sentiments are part of the set as well.  I am trying to build up my "generic" type cards stash and I thought these really fit the bill.  I colored them all with my cheap colored pencils and oms.  The center images are popped up with dimensional dots.  These were quick to do and turned out really fun.  The images could be used for lots of occasions and are very quick to color.  Even though I'm not a big fan of Friskar's paper cutters, I think they hit a home run with this stamp set.  I got it at JoAnn Fabrics and plan to get a few more of their sets with coupons.

Next card is a get well card:
Super simple card.  The inside says "Heard You Were Under The Weather".  The stamp is a single umbrella image that I stamped 4 times.  The stamp is one of those $1 stamps that you find in the $1 bin.  I ran the stamped image through my CB with the Swiss Dots embossing folder as well as the navy blue mat behind the image panel (you can't see it very well in the photo).  I wanted to get the "feel" of rain as well as wind with the DP.  It is a simple get well but colorful which I think makes it cheery.

OK, now for my fun thing to share with you. . . .are you ready????  Take a look at this:

Tah Dah!!!!  My newest purchase!!!  My family and friends decided last year that we would no longer exchange birthday gifts with each other.  We said we'd take the money we would spend on each other and buy our own gift!  My birthday was this past weekend (thanks to you all that sent me cards and wonderful surprises!!! I was truly touched by your kindness.) and I decided that I wanted to start doing some sewing on my cards and take them to the next level.  I had originally went to by the Janome Sew Mini, but when I got to Hancock Fabrics to buy it, this little beauty was sitting next to it on sale.  The Janome is a tiny little craft sewing machine and this one is a full size.  The Janome had 8 built-in stitches, this one has 25.  The Janome was $79.00, the Brother was on sale for $89.00!!!  Can you believe it?!?

I've never sewn a stitch in my life on a machine, so I felt a little intimidated pulling it out of the box and reading the manual.  But to my surprise, I was up and practicing zig-zag stitching in less than 20 minutes.  I wound the bobbin, threaded the machine, and sewed the first scrap of cardstock to another with a zig-zag stitch without one problem!  I am so excited about this.  So my next post will undoubtedly showcase my first "sewn" cards.  I've been practicing all evening.  I've also bought several gorgeous pieces of fabric to integrate with my cards.  I've got so many "cloth cards" floating in my head waiting to get out.  So stay tuned. 

Also, next week's post will have my BLOG CANDY GIVEAWAY!  And it will be related to the above (that's your hint) and I think you will really be excited about it.  So be sure you come back next Wednesday to get in on the action!


Thanks again for stopping by and being the wonderful people you truly are.  I'm still working on getting around to all of you and I will be there, don't worry.  It has been amazing to me all the emotions I've felt in visiting those of you I have.  There has been some very sad news on some blogs, and very happy news on others.  It is just like dropping in on friends and families catching up on all the happenings in their lives.

Hugs to all of you!  Love you all. . . .



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

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


Hey All!

I know you all have been worried about me and I so appreciate it.  This has been one hell of a couple of weeks, but I've survived, albeit a little worse for wear.  Jay is back home and I have been working on transitioning from his patient advocate while he was in the hospital and rehab, back to his home caregiver.  Now it is an endless parade of physical therapists, nurses, etc. until he is back 100%.  Thank you so much to those of you who sent cards and emails of well wishes.  You don't know what they meant to us. . .

This post is all about thank yous.  My neighbors have been true angels through all of this.  One had me over for a cookout, one painted my mailbox post, one brought me one of the best roast pork dinners I've ever eaten, one brought me a House Mouse stamp, one brought Jay and me some special diabetic cookies, etc. etc. etc. . . I truly am blessed with people who care.  So many thank you cards are needed so I thought I would share a few.

I will always have a special love for the House Mouse line of stamps.  The images are so perfect for so many card needs.  This one is going to the nice lady who painted my mailbox post.  As always, I colored it with my cheap colored pencils and oms.  If you are wondering why she painted my mailbox post. . .we live in a neighborhood where things are supposed to be uniform such as the color of our mailbox posts.  Ours was looking ratty, but I was planning to paint it when I paint the house this Summer.  She had bought the "correct" paint and had a bunch left over after painting hers so she did mine.  It was so appreciated.  So I thought this mouse painting was perfect.

Here is another thank you card that is going out.  I saw a card on SCS a while back that had used hounds tooth paper as the background.  I loved the look so I re-created it on mine.  The card is simple, but I think a black and white color scheme makes cards look so elegant.  I used a white gel pen to put the dots around the scalloped edge so it would stand out more.  I created the double bow with my trusty old Bow Easy.  Stamped thank you on a small tag, added a black eyelet for a ribbon to attach it to the bow and done.  The bird stamp is by Anna Griffin.

This turned out a little brighter in the photo than it is in real life.  For some reason that yellow is screaming in the photo.  I saw a technique on YouTube where you use an image and just keep stamping it in different colors to make the background, then you use the same image in normal color as the focal image.  The butterfly stamp is by Stampendous.

I'm sorry my cards tonight are pretty simple, but I haven't had much time or energy to get upstairs and create.  Though simple, they were made from genuine gratitude, and I hope the recipients know that.


I took this photo of the waterlilies this past weekend.  The lake that they are on is just covered with them.  They are stunning this year.  I think the waterlily is one of the most perfect flowers.

OK, that's it.  Other than to say I would like to thank you all in some way for all of your kindness and support while I went through this latest episode with Jay.  It was so nice to know that you all were thinking of me.  So I'm going to have a really fun BLOG CANDY GIVE-AWAY in the next couple of weeks, and I think you will really like what I'm going to give away.  Stay tuned.

I've certainly missed each and every one of you. I'm starting my blog reading journey tomorrow and I'll be around to catch up on all you've been doing while I was taking care of things here.  Can't wait to see what you've been up to!

Hugs to all of you!  Thank you so much for your support and your kind and wonderful comments!


Curt O'Brien

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