Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year!

Happy  New Year! To those that are out and about tonight, I hope you will stay safe and make sure you have someone to drive you home if you are drinking.

I always get excited for the New Year. To me it feels like a new start, a clean slate, a perfect time to start over or make changes. This year is no different. My family and I have faced some difficult times this year with my husband losing his job and both of us going to school full time to try to give ourselves that edge up for looking for jobs in this new market. Hopefully 2011 will see great changes for us and for you as well!

Do you make New Year's Resolutions? I usually try to. I can't say that I always follow through (I tend to be really bad about writing letters or remembering to send cards to everyone for birthdays) but I do follow through with some of them and, regardless, it gives me a sense of the direction I want to be heading in for the year. I always love to have a plan, even if things don't always go according to my plan. Anyway, I'd love to hear your New Year's Resolutions if you have them. I still need to write mine. Maybe I should make one about not procrastinating until the last possible minute, huh? So, leave a comment with your New Year's Resolutions and while you're at it, don't forget to check out the Blog Candy post. You never know, you could be the winner! Good luck and Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

ShaunnaMichelle's Handmade Boutique

Hello! As most of you know, I started a business in 2010 called Dragon Eye Studios. For various reasons, I've decided to rename Dragon Eye Studios to ShaunnaMichelle's Handmade Boutique. I think the new name reflects my vision for my shop much better. With the new name, some fun new changes are also coming. In the new year, we will continue to offer our wonderful line of jewelry as well as other handmade items. Keep an eye on the blog and the shop to make sure you don't miss out on the new items and on giveaways! You can visit us here on the blog, follow us on Twitter, fan us on Facebook, visit our Etsy shop, or visit our Artfire shop. Thank you for being understanding as the shop goes through its name change and some changes in appearance. I am looking forward to creating many wonderful things for you in the New Year!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

HandMade Holidays: Shopping for the Men

I had a pretty easy time deciding what I would do for the women in my family. But I still had to figure out what to do for the men. Out of the men in the family, only one of them spends any amount of time reading, so bookmarks aren't going to work. I've never seen any of them wear scarves either, so that probably wouldn't work. So, I turned to Artfire to see what I could find.
Here are some of the ideas I came up with so far...

For my Father-in-Law:
The first thing I found was this really cool Hand Tooled Leather Wallet featuring a fish. My father-in-law loves to fly fish, so I thought this was a really good choice. You can check it out at Lovejoycreations HERE.













I also found this really neat vintage Sakura Fishing Rod in a case. You can check it out at Rabbit Hollow Prims HERE.

















That takes care of my father-in-law. Now I need to find something for my nephew, Matthew. He is a 20-something year old college student who is into fixing cars and computers. Young adults are always challenging for me. Let's see what we can find.
I found this really neat chain maille necklace at BlackBird Maille. You can check them out HERE

















Jim, my brother-in-law, love Harley and I wanted to find him something unique along those lines. I was totally stoked when I found this awesome lamp at Chrome Sculptures. Check them out HERE.

















Next on the list is Dwight, also a brother-in-law. He is really into John Deere, so I decided to find him something that had to do with John Deere. When I see him, he is usually all comfy in a chair watching television, so I thought this throw looked rather comfy. You can check it out at Unhung Harps HERE.
















Next on the list is Bert. He is another one of those young adult types. He is more into computers and gaming. I wanted to get  him something edgy and cool. I found this really cool necklace at UnKamenGifts HERE.

















Last on the list for now is Cody, my littlest nephew. He is in middle school. They spend quite a bit of time going places and doing things, plus they live out of town. I thought that something fun to do in the car would be a good idea for Cody. I found this cool Tic Tac Toe set at Silver Garden HERE.

















Well, that covers the extended family. Now I just have my husband and two boys to get something for (or make something for). I hope you've gotten some ideas from my list here and that it makes shopping for the men in your life just a little bit easier.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Card Makin Mamas Challenge #10


















It has been a long time since I made a card! Recently I signed up for a swap in another of my groups, this one on CafeMom and one of the things I got back was this ONE image f this absolutely adorable snowman! Isn't he darling? I loved him so much that he inspired me to create a Christmas Card...and low and behold, Card Makin Mommas is having their 10th challenge on their blog and the topic is.....
HOLIDAYS!
This card is absolutely perfect for it, don't you think? I am by no means finished with my holiday card making (I'd better get stampin') but it sure felt good to break out the paper crafting stuff again! Hope you enjoy this adorable little snowman as much I did!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

My Plans for having a Handmade Holiday


Home for the Holidays
Well, it looks like we will be “home” for the holidays this year. By “home” I mean Montana. If things had gone at all according to our original plans, we would currently be in Raleigh, North Carolina. Things did not go according to plan. The plan got massively derailed. Oh well, part of life is learning to roll with the punches I suppose. 

The holidays typically bring snow here in Montana. Lots of snow. This year we’ve gotten lucky so far because it is already into November and all we’ve had is a little bit of frost on the car windows in the morning. Usually, it has snowed by the 31st of October. Usually, it snows ON the 31st of October either right before or right during trick-or-treating. This year, this year I am holding out for no snow. That is a totally unrealistic hope, but still, I can wish can’t I?

This year we are really hoping for a more handmade holiday. We usually run around trying to buy and shop for the boys and anyone else we can think of, but this year we are incredibly limited on funds due to Chris losing his job in May. Finding a new job has proven to be difficult. He has since started school so that he can get more training to hopefully find a good job. For this year, that means holidays on a budget. We plan to cook, bake, and make most of what we give for gifts. Some of the things we give will come from Artfire. I think handmade gives that extra little love, don’t you? You should check out www.artfire.com. I never knew there could be so many different things in one place! Even if you cannot make it, you can bet that there is someone on Artfire who does! The amount of talent on that one website is astounding.  

Since our entire family lives right here, we usually have an extended Christmas. With all of our family living here, we try to visit everyone. This year, it will be a little more extended with the divorce of my parents. Christmas Eve I typically visit my parents. This year will probably be no different. I suppose I will start with my mother since Dominic seems to get wound up as time goes on throughout a day and I would much rather the visit be peaceful than the typical angry teenager stuff he prefers to display. Maybe we’ll get lucky and he won’t be a Grinch. Mom just moved into a small apartment after her and Dad divorced. She is already having such a time trying to figure out where to put her things that I honestly do not know what to get her. I hate to add to the pile. I was thinking of possible giving her a handmade coupon book (http://www.splitcoaststampers.com/resources/tutorials/couponbook/). Maybe I could make one for a free coffee out with me, one for a free day of crafting together and other stuff like that. It is small, won’t take up much room, and will encourage our time together. For Dominic, he has really wanted an onyx necklace. I might see how well I can make men’s jewelry this year for him. Mom asked me what I wanted for Christmas and I, of course, started rattling off every crafting supply store I could think of with the suggestion of a gift card. She said that crafting supplies would not be for me because I make the items and sell them. She wants me to choose something that would be only for me. I had honestly never given it much thought past the crafting supplies, so I guess I will have to think about that a little. 

Our next visit on Christmas Eve will be to my Dad. Finding gifts for him is almost impossible. I bought him this wonderful Galileo Thermometer one year and it is still in the box. I bought him a heated massager another year. You guessed it, still in the box. What do I get this man that won’t end up just staying in whatever box it came in?  We intend to give him a picture of the boys. Other than that, I was thinking maybe a care package of things I know he likes. I may possibly create a coupon book for him as well, only for things like running errands or cooking him a meal. 

Christmas Day we really try to sleep in a little and, since the boys usually stay up so late because they are excited, we are typically blessed with a late start to Christmas morning. The boys are also very good about letting us make our cup of coffee and get the camera ready before diving in to Christmas presents. Once the boys have opened their gifts, we open ours from each other. Each of the boys has been begging for a necklace or bracelet made by me, so that will probably be included in their Christmas gifts this year. They are the best fans of my jewelry! Making boy jewelry is rather difficult though because beads are typically so sparkly. I think I will have to search out some masculine ideas. I have a couple of beading magazines that should hopefully be a great source of inspiration. For Christopher this year, I always try to make him a new and exciting coupon book. He loves them. I think he still has the very first one I ever made him. He asks for the coupons back when he uses them to place them in a box he has for memories and the like. How sweet is that?! I usually also try to get Christopher a WOW card since he enjoys the game so much and some necessities like slippers or lounging pants. He is actually quite easy to shop for. Necessities or computer stuff and he is a happy man. 

Christmas Afternoon is usually spent at my mother-in-law’s house. Everyone typically brings something yummy. Ami usually brings her handmade chocolates and cookies. I bring two of my favorite recipes: Appleberry Salsa and Sundried Tomato & Garlic Dip. Everyone loves them and requests them again each year. 

AppleBerry Salsa came from a Pampered Chef Mini Book when I was selling Pampered Chef. I chop the fruit extremely small to make it more like a salsa. We use apple cinnamon chips that you can purchase at Target. It is SO good. I also typically double the recipe.

Apple Berry Salsa (The Pampered Chef)
2 medium Granny Smith apples
1 pint strawberries, diced (about 1 ½ cups)
2 kiwi, peeled and diced
1 small orange
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons apple jelly or apricot jam
1.                   Peel, core and slice apples. Coarsely chop apple slices. Dice strawberries and kiwi. Place fruit in bowl.
2.                   Zest orange to measure 1 teaspoon zest. Juice orange to measure 2 tablespoons juice. Add orange zest, juice, brown sugar and jelly to fruit mixture; mix gently. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
3.                   Spoon into serving bowl. Serve with cinnamon chips.  

Yield: 3 cups (16 servings, 3 tablespoons each)

To be honest, I’m not sure where I found the recipe for the Sun Dried Tomato & Garlic Dip. Regardless, it is an awesome recipe. I love it. I typically just serve it with a variety of different crackers, but I really prefer Ritz Crackers with it best. I tend to double this recipe too since there are 13 people when Chris’ whole family gets together.
 
Sun-Dried Tomato & Garlic Dip

1 tub (8 oz.) Philadelphia Cream Cheese Spread
½ cup Miracle Whip Dressing
½ cup sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, drained, chopped
2 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh chives
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Mix all ingredients until well blended.
Refrigerate until ready to serve. Serve with crackers and cut-up vegetables, if desired.
Makes 16 servings, 2 Tbsp each.

We all spend a good part of the day enjoying the yummy treats brought by everyone and chatting. This is, of course, after the children get to open the presents brought to them by their aunts and their grandparents. Gift exchanges between the adults are usually lost among watching the children open their gifts. This year I am hoping to make Chris’ mother a tote to carry her things in when she goes to dialysis. I’m not sure if she has something like that and I know she spends a lot of time up there. I’d love to give Chris’ father this cute little fish bookmark I found while looking around Artfire. (http://www.artfire.com/modules.php?name=Shop&op=listing&product_id=136627). I think it is so cute and he loves to read and to fish…so it is perfect. His sister Stephanie asked for a set of handmade bows and cards this year. I found the tutorial for the bows on CafeMom in one of my groups. (http://www.cafemom.com/group/47724/forums/read/10400489/December_How_To_Handmade_Bows). I’m not sure if you can see it without joining the group though. You’ll have to let me know. I am at a loss for Dwight, Burt, and Matthew. I’m still thinking of ideas for them and I welcome ideas for those hard to shop for men! Ami will probably get a pink handmade piece of jewelry from me since pink is her favorite color. Jim and Cody are two more that I never know what to get them for Christmas. Again, I welcome ideas for hard to shop for people (Jim is an adult and Cody is in the 6th grade now) While the adults chat, the boys all play together. Dinner is usually served a little later and usually consists of some type of meat (such as turkey or ham) and then whatever anyone has decided should go with it. It is usually rather eclectic, but it is usually very good. Sometimes we just decide to forego the large meal in favor of enjoying snack foods. In this case, we also make little sandwiches, little smokies, and a lot of other things that I’m not sure if you could call them healthy, but they sure are good! 

We usually leave around the boys’ bedtime and, after we’ve put away their new toys and our new goodies that were leftover, we snuggle in for a relaxing evening, just my husband and me, with a sigh of relief that we survived another holiday at “home”. And we promise ourselves that next year we will plan ahead and have our shopping and making and planning done by July. Somehow, that never ever happens though!

This post is in response to a contest posted by Artfire. Share Your Handmade Holiday Plans, WIN a Canon DSLR. Check out the contest here: (http://www.artfire.com/win-a-camera). I’m not sure if a new camera will help my photos any, but it sure cannot hurt, right?

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Inspiration Challenge

This card is for the Inspiration Challenge at the Card Makin Mamas Challenge Blog. You can see the challenge and enter HERE. I honestly do not know the maker of the paper I used, it was specialty paper from a shop that sold oversees papers. The stamp is from Stampin' Up. I colored it using Derwent Watercolor Pencils. I hope you like it!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

TGF CHA Challenge Day 3

This is little Toby Cub from The Greeting Farm. Isn't he the cutest thing you've ever seen?? He makes me smile! This card is for the TGF CHA Challenge Day 3. The paper is "Baby Muffin Man" from American Crafts. I colored Toby with my colored pencils and OMS. I distressed the edges with SU Close to Cocoa. I cannot for the life of me remember where I got the brads or ribbon...sorry. This card was a little different for me because it's not all straight lines. I chose to tipsy him a little because he's all wobbly and I just thought it fit so well. Something new for sure! I hope you enjoyed looking as much as I enjoyed making this card! Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Brick Wall Card

This is a brick wall card that I made for a challenge in Card Makin' Mamas on CafeMom. The tutorial for the card can be found HERE. The stamp I used is Cherry Blossom by Rubber Stampede. The papers are g.c.d. studio's Soft Vines, Bo Bunny's Paris Blossoms, and s.e.i.'s Chocolat. I colored the image using copics and distressed the image using SU's Close to Cocoa. The "bricks" are inked using copics. The flowers are from Prima and the white pearl stickers are from Martha Stewart. I hope you like it, it was super fun to make...though a bit time-consuming!

TGF CHA Challenge Day 2

This is Charolotte from The Greeting Farm. She is for the TGA CHA Challenge Day 2. The paper is "Baby Girl" Dots/Light Pink Paper from the wild asparagus line by My Mind's Eye. I colored her with a variety of markers, including copics. I think this image is just too cute! Don't you just love her?

Sunday, January 24, 2010

TGF CHA Challenge

The Greeting Farm is giving away a FREE digi starting today and lasting all week. BUT...in order to get each free digi, you have to create something with today's free digi and post it in their gallery by the deadline. Each time you meet a deadline, you get the next day's digi! If you complete all of them, you get an extra free digi at the end!!!  
This is the card I made with Monday's free digi, Mer Ian. Isn't he the cutest??? 
Hurry and get over to TGF to play!!!



Sunday, January 17, 2010

CuppyCakes!

I have finished January birthday cards and mailed them all off. I finished all of the February birthday cards too and they are ready to be mailed. This is my first birthday card for March and it's featuring cuppycakes!!! It is a really simple card, but I just love the way it turned out. The blue and brown together is really pretty! I think this may be a Stamping Bella image, but I'm not entirely sure as I received it in an image swap. I, of course, gave them both chocolate frosting because I've had chocolate on the brain lately. Don't they look scrumptious?? Yum! Anyway, I hope you've enjoyed the card. Thank you for stopping by. I need to try to do another "writing" blog entry soon. So much to do, so little time!

Love Is In The Air

As with most holidays, Valentine's Day is already here in most stores across town. For crafters, this is a good thing. We have to have this stuff in advance in order to get the cards out on time, right?! Right. So in the spirit of Valentine's Day and for several challenges on Cafemom, I made some Valentine Day cards that I'd like to share with you. The first one was a sketch challenge from the Cute Critters Club. I chose a House Mouse stamp. I really like the way it turned out, but I'm not so thrilled with the photo. No matter what I did, you can't see the words on the charm. It says "Love" of course, but still.













This next card was for a challenge in Card Makin' Mommas. I believe it's called an easel card. I think it's super cute, though it would be much more convenient if it was bigger (for envelope purposes). I chose House Mouse again just because it is such a darn cute image.

















This next card I made using a stamped image that I received in an image swap. To be honest, I cannot remember who gave it to me or what it's called. I really like how the card turned out though. I think it's my favorite.













This last card is so simple and yet so very beautiful in person. I loved the paper so much that I used it as the main focus of the card. It was fun to play with. I made a couple of them with images, but I really prefer these without an image.














Well...that's all I'll post for you today. I've made a ton of Valentine Day cards! It's really time for me to get focused on birthday cards! There are over 100 to send out this year!
I hope you enjoyed looking. Thank you for stopping by!!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Long Cold Winter

I have some cards I'd like to share with you today. They are fairly simple, but I am proud of them none-the-less. Around the halfway point of my long winter break from school I got extremely cabin-feverish. With the cold, the snow, and not really having a reason to leave the house I was simply too bored. So, I asked my boys if they wanted me to make their Valentine Day cards for school this year. Surprisingly enough, they were very enthusiastic about the idea. I gathered up all of my "lovey-dovey" type stamps and allowed them each to choose two images. I made 12 of each card for a total of 48 cards. Phew!
Jaden, my oldest, chose Changito Pair and lovey Huggabugg. I couldn't decide if I liked the dots on the lovey huggabugg spaced further apart or close together, so I did 6 of each there.













Jordan, my youngest, chose Monica Romances by House Mouse and the mouse from Happy Heart Day by Stampin' Up.
 












My personal favorites are the Changitos and the House Mouse. I love how those two turned out! I hope you like them! I think I'll be doing this every year for awhile. The kids were so excited and I was happy to have something to do!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Birthdays! Lots of Birthdays!

It is one of my goals this year to try to send everyone a birthday card. So far, I'm all done with January birthdays and now I'm moving on to February birthdays. It will be interesting to see how it is to keep up with all these birthdays once school starts! Wish me luck!
I made this card for the current sketch challenge in Cute Critters Club at Cafemom. The patterned paper is by My Mind's Eye and the image is from Stamping Bella. I hope you like her!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Spring On My Mind

Spring has definitely been on my mind lately. I'm just about done with all of this cold weather and snow. One of my favorite stamps is Daisy by Elisabeth Bell from Sugar Nellie Stamps. It is definitely a stamp that makes me think of spring! She is just too cute and too fun to color. I enjoy making cards with her. Here are a couple that I've done using Daisy. Enjoy!

















Sunday, January 3, 2010

3D Butterfly ATC Card


This card started as a challenge to make an ATC card. For those of you who don't know, ATC stands for Artist Trading Card. Evidently these are quite popular in the crafting community. Anyway, I had never made one, so I thought I'd give it a try. This first picture is the ATC. I photographed it on a black background. The butterfly is from K&Company's Amy Butler Lotus Tea Box Butterflies Die-Cut Paper. I layered two of them to create the 3D look. The antennae are made from coiled metal. I placed three rhinestones on the butterfly's body.
This next photo is the ATC after I've turned it into a card. I really just felt like this needed to be made into a card. Once the ATC challenge was completed, I did just that! I like how it turned out. It's one of my favorites and I keep it in my craft room. The doodles are done with a glitter pen.


I hope you've enjoyed seeing my card. It was one I truly enjoyed making. Thanks for stopping by!