Saturday, October 27, 2012

[Uniko Studio] Super FREE Saturday - Season's Greetings

Good morning, everyone! I'm so excited to be debuting today for Uniko Studio's Digital Design Team. Thank you Beverley for this wonderful opportunity!  

As you may already know, Beverley puts out some Free (yes, FREE) digital files up on Saturday. And because there is no name more perfect than "Super FREE Saturday" Yep - another exciting monthly event to pencil into your calendars :)


So this month, Uniko Studio has a really fun winter holiday set called "hohoho - let it snow." You can find the download here.




I made a CAS-style card with some of the goodies in this digital file.

Season's Greetings
Stamps: (hohoho) Uniko Studio; (Complements of the Seasons) Waltzingmouse Stamps
Paper: (Paper Basics Card Stock - Pure Poppy, White) Papertrey Ink
Ink: (Memento - Tuxedo Black; Versamark Pen) Tsukineko
Embellishments: (Vintage Button - Pure Poppy; Rustic Cream Twine) Papertrey Ink; (Fabric Tape - 05 Stripe) E2 Daily; (Embossing Powder - White) Stampendous!; (Gelly Roll - White) Sakura; (Rhinestones) Best Occasions; (Smaller Rhinestones) Memory Box


Forgive the picture quality...Florian is off on a business trip and decided to take the good camera with the house. I lost out on convincing him that the camera had to stay because of the card making; it's like dealing with custody...of a camera ;) 

Anyways - I printed off this beautiful Christmas bauble twice - once on white, and once on the red card stock. Then I took the gel white pen and colored in the little pieces on the two smaller snowflakes. These pieces were quite small...

Season's Greetings

Then I finally took out my Versamark Pen and filled in the larger bubbles and sprinkled them with white embossing power, heated it to set, and voila - some texture. I added some appropriate bling to the center of the snowflakes and fuzzy cut around them.

Season's Greetings

The strip comes from one of the pattern papers in the set. Chevrons are very in right now, and this set comes with a red & white polka dot, and some red & white stripes. What I love the most about Uniko Studio's Digital products is the fact that all the digital papers come in A4 sizes (for the European market) and in Letter size (for the US market). Easy peasy for everyone - no resizing needed! 

Now, please hop on over to the other lovely ladies
They are also a few new members to the Uniko Studio team and would love a warm welcome. Thanks for stopping by and I hope you enjoy your Freebie :)


PS. In case you didn't know, Uniko is having a Autumn Sale that ends Nov 1... Just saying... ;)

Thursday, October 25, 2012

[DYSU] Challenge #95 - Embossing


Good morning, DYSU-ers! I've sick and under the weather. I had a great Saturday and then it all went downhill from there. Spend a few days working from my bed and home desk, but there is no rest for the wicked.

Anyways, here at DYSU we're challenging you with Embossing - Heat & Dry. I got a wonderful Robyn's Fetish image. Isn't this teapot just divine?

No Matter What I Have To Do...
Stamps: (Afternoon Tea Sentiments) Waltzingmouse Stamps; (Teapot) Robyn's Fetish
Paper: (Paper Basics Card Stock - Rustic Cream) Papertrey Ink
Ink: (Memento - Tuxedo Black) Tsukineko; (Jenni Bowlin - No. 4 Lemon Drops) Ranger;
Embellishments: (Vellum) Papertrey Ink; (Soft-core Color Pencils) Prismacolor; (A2 Cuttlebug Embossing Folder - Fleur De Lis) Provocraft; (Crochet Trim) Waltzingmouse Stamps; (Nestabilities - Labels Eighteen) Spellbinders


I embossed a piece of vellum by inking up the embossing folder with some Lemon Drops. It gave it  a nice letter press impression. The teapot is colored in some cream for the aged porcelain, and some purple to make it pop. I used a piece of gorgeous lace trim from Waltzingmouse Stamps. Here a close up...

No Matter What I Have To Do...

That's all I have or you now. I'd like to invite you to hop on over to see the amazing creations by the rest of the DYSU team. Please leave them a loving comment, because they do appreciate some blog love :)

On a last note, if you're a regular reader, don't forget to answer the survey in the top right panel and if you want to play along with in the current open QuAC challenge feel free to. Just a few more days left to show our love for Fall season...

This week's sponsor:

* Winner's Choice of 5 Digital Stamps

      Birdie Brown
*Winner's Choice of 3 Digital Stamps

* Winner's Choice of 6 Digital Images

Monday, October 22, 2012

Exciting News...

Photobucket

Hello everyone - i'm super excited to be spilling some beans on this blog. If you are a follower of this fantastic new company Uniko Studio then you might have seen the new additions to Bev's Design Team. If not, go run over there ;)

Yep - it's official. I'm part of the Uniko Digital Design team. I'm so happy for this opportunity. Thank you, Bev! I am quite intimidated by this whole line up of girls, but I am sure I will learn a lot from these girls.

In the meantime, if you need a little bit of enabling, there is fantastic Autumn sale at Uniko going on until November 1. If you happened to snag something, come back and share :) 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

[DYSU] Challenge #94 - Something Vintage


Good morning, DYSU-ers! I have no idea how this month is whizzing by. I think September and October has been one big blur. I was thinking the other day it was time to crank up Christmas card production, pick out cookies to bake (since I'm planning on attending a cooking swap event), cook of some butternut that I received in my CHA share two weeks ago...and I have not even carved a pumpkin. Work has been keeping me quite busy...

So last week I posted up a fun picture of Florian cutting his birthday cake. And some friends have been trickling in the birthday surprise shots...Yep, I have to weed through them and make sure only the approved photos will go up. Or else I might have to go sleep in the "dog house"...


Anyways, here at DYSU we're challenging you with Something Vintage. I am quite partial to this style, mainly because of the influencing by Claire Brennan. She really works it in so elegantly with no effort at all. I started emulating her vintage by distressing my card edges, and fell quickly in love with Antique Linen (something that Claire uses in abundance).

We are also this week being sponsored by Stampendous!, who have generously donated some beautiful Frantage Embossing Enamel in both Silver & Gold.

Wishing You a Lovely Day
Stamps: (Signature Series - Butterfly Mini Stamp Set) Papertrey Ink
Paper: (Paper Basics Card Stock - Antique Linen) Papertrey Ink; (Follow Your Heart - Be Happy) My Mind's Eye
Ink: (Versamark) Tsukineko; (Jenni Bowlin - No. 11 Brown Sugar; Tim Holtz Distress Inks - Antique Linen) Ranger;
Embellishments: (Signature Series: Butterfly Die) Papertrey Ink; 
(Frantage - Aged Silver Embossing Enamel, Aged Gold Embossing Enamel) Stampendous!; (Pearls) Creative Pearls

The interesting thing about this enamel is that there are bigger chunks of gold flecks (or silver flecks) with very fine black powders. Now, I'm not sure how they do it in those videos, but my flecks of gold and silver didn't quite behave. I heated it slowly from the bottom but some probably went flying throughout the room...I'm not sure if that explains why Jojo has some silver flecks on her coat, or if she's just aging well ;) Here an upclose look on what this Frantage enamel does...Isn't it divine? I think this product makes making any vintage card easy peasy...Find a motive and go emboss to your heart's content. A little bit of pearls and distress inking never hurts to give it a little vintage nudge.

Wishing You a Lovely Day

That's all I have or you now. I'd like to invite you to hop on over to see the amazing creations by the rest of the DYSU team. Please leave them a loving comment, because they do appreciate some blog love :)

On a last note, if you're a regular reader, don't forget to answer the survey in the top right panel and if you want to play along with in the current open QuAC challenge feel free to. Just a few more days left to show our love for Fall season...

This week's sponsor:
* Silver & Gold Embossing Powders

*Winner's Choice of 5 Digis

* Winner's Choice of 3 Digis

Thursday, October 11, 2012

[Paperplay Challenges] Week No. 41 - Something Cute

Note: If you are looking for DYSU Challenge - please keep scrolling :)

Hi there! It's another fun challenge at Paperplay Challenges. We are making Something Cute. We are also going being sponsored by Stamp Fairy and we got some cute digis to play.

Thinking of You
Stamps: (Mimi Teddy) Stamp Fairy; (Up, Up & Away) Papertrey Ink
Paper: (Paper Basics Card Stock - Dark Chocolate, Spring Moss) Papertrey Ink; (Urban Prairie) Basic Grey
Ink: (Perfect Match Pigment Ink - Fresh Snow) Papertrey Ink
Embellishments: (Tiny Flowers Impression Plate) Sizzix; (Soft-core Color Pencils) Prismacolor; (Border Punch - Upper Crest) Fiskars; (Paper printed tape) Target


Here is an up-close picture of the beautiful digi. It also shows a better shot on the impression plate. Funny enough I had these impressions plates for 3 years now and never used them. It was high time to try these Sizzix plates. And they are honestly not bad at all.

Thinking of You

The aqua tape is actually one of those bargain finds from Target. I love these super inexpensive tapes and can't get enough of them. I wish I could get hold of the orange / yellow one. My Target never seems to have them. So if you seem that at your local Target, will you give me a holler? I'll pay you for the shipping & the tapes, and you'll be my hero forever!

That's all I have for you now. Go see what the other PPC girls did on this challenge. They will absolutely knock your socks off...! Hope you will be playing along with us this week...!

And if you're a regular reader on this blog, don't forget to answer my quick little survey on the top right or enter into this month's QuAC #2 inspiration

Our sponsor this week:

[DYSU] Challenge #93 - Anything on Wheels


Good morning, DYSU fans! Yesterday we had a wonderful day. It was Florian's Birthday and I managed to pull off a surprise birthday dinner for him. He thought it was just the two of us going to dinner. He even confirmed with me three days ago and I just nodded when he asked "Just the two of us?" and hurried on to continue to my task to make sure I didn't give away anything. You see, I'm a horrible liar - I have tell-tale signs that my sweetie can tell ;)

I'm waiting for friends to give me pictures. I hope there are a few good ones out there of us catching Florian by surprise. In the meantime, here is Florian cutting his (Oh this tastes like heaven) cake. It was bought from Paris Baguette and it's called a Strawberry Chocolate Cake. If you don't know this store and there is one near you, go run to it...now. And make sure to try the Milk Custard.


Day 10 | Emotions: my sweetie celebrating a birthday. His smile makes me melt. #fmsphotoaday

I made this card for him today and laid it out next to his wallet for him to see this morning. I thought it was cutsey but manly enough. I decided to leave off the ribbon, the  glitter, and any of the other girlies...

Celebrate
Stamps: (Half Pint Heroes) Waltzingmouse Stamps; (Celebrate) Studio Calico & Hero Arts
Paper: (Paper Basics Card Stock - Fine Linen) Papertrey Ink; (Wander) Basic Grey
Ink: (Memento - London Fog) Tsukineko; (Jenni Bowlin - No. 11 Brown Sugar, No. 4 Lemon Drops) Ranger;
Embellishments: (Soft-core Color Pencils) Prismacolor; 
(Vintage Button - Dark Chocolate) Papertrey Ink; (Black & Gray Chevron Washi) Freckled Fawn

The background paper is pretty awesome. It's from the Wander collection from Basic Grey and I decided to cut out part of the city scape out. The next challenging part was to find a car color that didn't fight with this crazy, bold city scape. I opted for yellow. Maybe I should have picked a teal or a blue. But hey - live and learn. At least the yellow at it's own way of popping.

Celebrate

That's all I have or you now. I'd like to invite you to hop on over to see the amazing creations by the rest of the DYSU team. Please leave them a loving comment, because they do appreciate some blog love :)

On a last note, if you're a regular reader, don't forget to answer the survey in the top right panel and if you want to play along with in the current open QuAC challenge feel free to. Just a few more days left...

This week's sponsor:


* $10 Gift Certificate

* Winner's Choice of 10 Digis

* Winner's Choice of 5 Digis

Monday, October 8, 2012

[The #30WriteNow October Writing Challenge] On Heartbreak

Catching up on Day 8th's prompt: Heartbreak. Except I want to curl back into my shell for this one...
_____________________________________________________________________

Heartbreak feels painful,
   A Pain that doesn't want to stop.
Heartbreak feels numb,
   A Numbness that leaves all nerves devoid.
Heartbreak feels forever,
   A Forever into eternity with no end in sight.
Heartbreak feels cold,
   A Cold that no fire place can warm.
Heartbreak feels lonely,
   So alone because no one can empathize.
Heartbreak feels suffocating,
   Suffocating in the dense, heavy vacuum with no air to breathe.
Heartbreak feels like time standing still,
   Time standing still - neither moving forward or backward.
Heartbreak tastes bitter,
   Bitter like rancid, stale nuts.
Heartbreak takes time,
   Day after day, hoping for normalcy,
   Or sometimes just for the day to be bearable.
Heartbreak takes patience,
   To get over the addiction of love.
Heartbreak takes energy,
   To heal, and be open to love again.

[The #30WriteNow October Writing Challenge] On Faith

Yep, a day behind here. Doing Day 7's prompt on Day 8 and trying very hard to catch up tonight! Day 7 is on Faith.
_____________________________________________________________________

When someone asks me how to explain Faith, I think of the Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. They are embarking to find the Holy Grail, but there is this scene towards the end where Indy steps onto what seems just air. I was terribly young and all I could remember how scared I was that my hero was going to plummet to his death. Indy showed gumption, pieced all the facts together, and took a leap of faith. That's exactly what it is ... faith.

Because facts and science can only bring you so far, and faith, in my opinion, is that little bit of leaping that one has to do.

Faith comes in many different forms. We can have faith in a higher being. In both mono-theistic and poly-theistic religions, one entrusts higher beings to having control and we lay our trust in their hands. But to do so, one has to take that leap of faith in believing in those higher beings. I'm keeping religion here wide open because I don't really want to get into any debates about one or another...

Then there is faith in others. Having faith in our spouses, parents, siblings. I know this one is sometimes tough for me to do. I was taught to be resilient and independent - my parents always wanted me to be able to do everything on my own. So having faith in others requires trusting them first, and then taking that extra leap that when it really matters they will be there.

Lastly there is faith in oneself. Sometimes we read all the facts, or sit in a class room and learn all the teachings and instructions. And then it's time to go forth with that knowledge and do something great. Trust that we have the skills to navigate through a new experience or a new adventure. Have faith that we are adequate enough to overcome an obstacle, or fill a new role, or tackle a new situation. After all, if we don't place faith in ourselves that we can do something, who will?

[smallhanded QuAC] Challenge #1 - Spaghetti al Pesto & Mozarrella Tomato Salad

My dear Blog Readers...I've been talking about how work has been using up any free cycles that I have, but let me know bore you with this. A promise is a promise, and I am celebrating your voice by making something what you all demanded...

Let's quickly recap 
Question, Answer, Create #1 "What is your favorite cuisine?"



I think the one thing I appreciate about my blog readers is that they love food. And they appreciate a diversity, just like myself ;)

I was rummaging through my Project 30 stack of recipes for inspiration. (Better not ask me how far I am along with cooking through the recipes, or how much I have scrapped. It think 10% is my cooking status, and 0% accurately sums up my scrapping attempt; I have completed one interview with one friend...)

Then I ran across a Spaghetti al Pesto recipe, and a lightbulb went off. I have Basil that has been so prolific all summer, and the weather is getting colder. I better go harvest the last batch before they die in some kind of frost.

I had a business trip to Genoa, Italy, once, and I heard how they had a special Pesto that I had to try. It was rich and creamy, and bright green, and so different from the ones I have had here. I believe Pesto also originated in Genoa, so perhaps that is also why it is associated with it.

I was going with a basic recipe: some toasted, pine nuts, lots of fresh basil, parmigiano-reggiano, and good quality olive oil. And this is what you get...one special little bottle as a gift that I was going to send off...


Spaghetti al Pesto

In truth I made enough to feed my house hold and my parent's household for probably 4-5 meals with just this... Or maybe more? I learned that a little bit of pesto goes a long way. Here the ratios

Simple Pesto

  • 2 c fresh basil
  • 1/4 c toasted pine nuts
  • 1/2 c reggiano
  • olive oil
  • salt, to taste


  1. Toast pine nuts until the flavors unlock
  2. Blend pine nuts, until ground
  3. Add basil & cheese to the blender
  4. Drizzle olive oil while blending until desired texture reached
  5. Add salt to taste

Easy peasy, or what?

Spaghetti al Pesto

And Florian and I had a batch of the freshly made green, decadent treasure tonight...

Spaghetti al Pesto

Another stunning dish to accompany the meal is a classic Mozzarella Tomato Basil Salad.

Mozzarella Tomato Basil Salad

I don't think I know of anything that pays homage to Italy like these ingredients do on a plate. If you start from the Basil, you get Green, White, Red - the colors of the Italian flag. And nothing beats fresh ingredients that taste delicious: the fresh zing of the slight acidic tomatoes, the tart, rich balsamico and lush, fruit olive oil mixed with the creamy, soft mozzarella texture, all bound together with that fresh surprise, but flavor that we all know too well - basil! Isn't it just delicious? And easy...

So this is my Italian Eats ode to my readers :) Enjoy the food porn photos...It's easy to make and nothing beats homemade pesto. Make it in a huge batch, and you will have plenty to last. 

Pesto also goes great over Tomato & Mozzarella (when there isn't fresh basil around), fish, or even as a bit of spread on bread.

So I hope you feel a little inspired to make something simple but tasty at home... Until the next QuAC or culinary adventure...

Sunday, October 7, 2012

[The #30WriteNow October Writing Challenge] Sin...

Day 6's prompt, if we choose to use it, is Sin. I know I'm writing on Day 7, but here I am hoping to catch up on both assignments. Work hasn't been exactly my friend...
_____________________________________________________________________

So the dork in me saw this writing prompt and I started thinking 1 / cos. And then I started seeing graphs and all of school came flooding back. I kind of miss this. 

To get started on this topic, I decided to look up the seven deadly sins:

  • Lust
  • Gluttony
  • Greed
  • Sloth
  • Wrath
  • Envy
  • Pride

It's not a easy list to digest. In fact, I'm not even sure where to start. 

In my childhood, these were things that my parents brought up. Not always in those same exact words as those listed here, but they would remind us in different ways.

Don't hunger after those things that you can't have. It could be anything, like those riding lessons that my friends had, or the newest toys or pencils. Just be content with the things we have and be grateful for them.

Everything in moderation. My brother and I learned a few times how we should have probably eaten those candies in moderation. But do we listen? Well the upset stomachs were enough to prove it.

Don't be greedy. Leave some for others or share. It's never worth it to hog everything to yourself. The rewards in sharing and sharing those experiences with other are many more rewarding that experiencing them on our own.

Be tidy. Be cleanly. And don't be lazy. Laziness never gets us far. It's only by hard work that we can be rewarded. If we wanted something, we had to earn it. I think this was truly evident in the music portion of my childhood. With some hard work and some perseverance, music became more beautiful. After unlocking the difficult passages and those horrible rhythms, the whole piece would unfold itself like a different world & lyrical language.

Be kind and cool. Always give people the benefit of the doubt. My parents would tell me to let things sit. And I never understood why this was so important. Until I was much older.

Stop envying other people, because they probably have other issues and other hardships that we can't see. We have ours, they have theirs, but stop wanting what they want. Be happy & grateful with what you have.

Be humble. Don't brag. It's not becoming (or attractive). Being prideful meant we block ourselves from learning new things and seeing things how they really are. There were always these stories of a prideful peacock or some swan...

This certainly is the reader's digest version of the reader's digest version of our upbringing. It took many years to cultivate these lessons into us, and we are not always perfect in following these to the tee, but we certainly have been taught to know the right from the wrong. And to know when we edge into the warning or danger zones of any of these. But aside from consistent upbringing and hand-on parenting, I don't know of a good way to be educated on these sins.  How would you tackle understanding sin?

[smallhanded QuAC] #2 - Answer & Create

Good morning everyone! So last month I asked my dear readers for Question, Answer, Create #2 "What is your favorite season?"
Let's look at the results...
An overwhelming number of you love Fall - the current season that we are experiencing here in the US. 

For me this season is special too, and I were to have voted in my own poll, I would have selected Fall as well. Why? Because the oven gets cranked up, lots of delicious smells of savory and sweet baking, the preparation and anticipation for Christmas starts, and some of my favorite holidays such as Halloween & Thanksgiving are right in this season. We also get one "extra hour" of sleep when Daylight Savings end ;) But the best part is that the harvest is completely in full-bloom before everything lies dormant on the field. Some of my favorite ingredients pop up now, such as squash of all kinds, kale, cabbage - you name it! 

I think I should start celebrating this season by grabbing a pumpkin spice latte and salted caramel - two of my favorite drinks on the Starbucks menu!

I hope you'll consider joining me in creating something inspired by the Fall season. Apple pie? a card? a project? anything goes...as long as you will make it an ode to Fall. Your projects are due Nov 8, 2012 - feel free to link up.

I have a small giveaway for one random player. It's something small to enjoy the fall season ;)

Ta for now!


Saturday, October 6, 2012

[The #30WriteNow October Writing Challenge] Fear or not to Fear?

Today's prompt, if we choose to use it, is Fear. So I got home from work last night at 10p and pulled a 14 hour work day at work. Kinda just crashed, so I a making up Day 5 of this writing today ... I hope it still counts ;)
_____________________________________________________________________


The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.
Send quote to a friend
Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882-1945) Thirty-second President of the USA.

Source: http://en.proverbia.net/

Fear is something that goes hand in hand with courage. I suppose one can break down facing fear into multiple steps: First, acknowledge the subject matter that I am fearing. Two, muster enough courage to face the fear. Three, follow through...and don't chicken out. 

Usually I have Steps 1 and 2 down. I manage to hype myself up so much and am energized, and somehow somewhere half way through Step 3 I am kind of faltering. Sometimes the results can be quite rewarding when we come out on the other end all unscathed. On the other hand, the fear can infest itself and grow deeper roots within the person when the experience ends badly. 

Take this for example:

I hate roller coasters. I hate how they make they throw me around, and how I lose the orientation from where up and down is. They literally make me puke after I get off. The last time I rode a roller coaster before this event was over 10 years ago. And the last time before then, maybe also 10 years.

So here we were all at Six Flags. I managed to convince Swen & Florian to wake at 630a, to drive down to come watch me run a 5K, that was hosted at the Six Flags ground. In return, we'd go to Six Flags after. So, boys being boys easily went for this deal. Who wouldn't want to play afterwards? To sweeten the deal I told them I would ride one roller coaster with them. Any one of their choosing. In hindsight, I should not have offered them such a big blank check, because days on out, they kept joking about making me ride King da Ka. So much of overcoming fear. I think I was rather worried...Seeing that coaster in person wasn't any better.

I tried to tell myself that roller coaster are fun. After all, why do so many people get on them? And then ride them over and over and over again (like my brother). And these structures have to be safe, otherwise they wouldn't be allowed in parks. We certify and inspect everything in the US, right? We care about safety and well-beings; or at least we care about avoiding lawsuits and damaged reputation...so I'm sure these are safe. So with all these thoughts racing through my head, I was accomplishing Step 2 quite well. Psyching myself up to all the reasons why I was being silly.

So my not so heartless friends said, let's go warm up. So went onto a kiddie roller coaster. HA! It was one of those little wagon wooden ones...no loopies... nothing. I remember telling Florian that he has to sit in the same wagon with me. So off it went, slowly at first. Chug chug...chug chug... and the first horrible drop...wooosh! (Ok call me a hypocrit, but I love riding those wooden log rides with water, because there is only one horrible drop and then it's all over, but I hate roller coasters) Not quite sure how the rest of the ride went, except that my heart was racing when the wagons pulled back into the start position. Florian mentioning that I have crushed every single bone in his hand and that he went deaf. I swear I was held captive on this ride for what seemed like hours, but rationally I know that was not possible.

Then we took a break, walked around and decided to go on another kiddy roller coaster. About half an hour later when my heart rate decided to settle to a more normal one, the guys manage to convince me that my horrible experience was due to the wooden wagons. It wasn't a smooth ride, jerky and not fun. So off we went on another kiddy coaster. Except this one was metal, had rails and has a few loopies. 


All these excited kids were running up to this. I didn't see what all this fuss was all about, but hey, if they survive and they had fun, then why won't I? So off I went with all the courage and then some. Somewhere around the second loop it all went away. Florian came out more deaf, and this time his other hand had all bones crushed. At least I evened things out for him, didn't I?

I looked so pale when I came off the coaster, and proceeded to see the whole world colliding together. My legs felt like jelly...I just remember waking up to the thought "No more roller coasters. I am allergic to them"

The one good thing of this is, I faced my fear. And I have comfortably rid myself off of the mystery and gripping power they had over me. Now I can easily say "I can swear of roller coasters because they aren't for me, and not because I am fearful of them."

Friday, October 5, 2012

[The #30WriteNow October Writing Challenge] On Invisibility

Today's prompt, if we choose to use it, is Invisible. I forgot to look up what the prompt is, since I have been working wee into the night. And am shocked that it is almost 130a. I guess time to speed write...
_____________________________________________________________________

If someone stood up in a crowd
And raised his voice up way out loud
And waved his arm and shook his leg
You'd notice him

If someone in the movie show
Yelled "Fire in the second row
This whole place is a powder keg!"
You'd notice him

And even without clucking like a hen
Everyone gets noticed, now and then,
Unless, of course, that personage should be
Invisible, inconsequential me!

Cellophane
Mister Cellophane
Shoulda been my name
Mister Cellophane
'Cause you can look right through me
Walk right by me
And never know I'm there...

I tell ya
Cellophane
Mister Cellophane
Shoulda been my name
Mister Cellophane
'Cause you can look right through me
Walk right by me
And never know I'm there...

Suppose you was a little cat
Residin' in a person's flat
Who fed you fish and scratched your ears?
You'd notice him

Suppose you was a woman, wed
And sleepin' in a double bed
Beside one man, for seven years
You'd notice him

A human being's made of more than air
With all that bulk, you're bound to see him there
Unless that human bein' next to you
Is unimpressive, undistinguished
You know who...

Cellophane
Mister Cellophane
Shoulda been my name
Mister Cellophane
'Cause you can look right through me
Walk right by me
And never know I'm there...
I tell ya
Cellophane
Mister Cellophane
Shoulda been my name
Mister Cellophane
'Cause you can look right through me
Walk right by me
And never know I'm there
Never even know I'm there.

Hope I didn't take up too much of your time.

Source: http://www.lyricsondemand.com/soundtracks/c/chicagolyrics/mrcellophanelyrics.html


I still remember distinctly watching Chicago, the famous Broadway musical. Some of the songs I heard once and stuck with me for a lifetime. One of them is the "Mr. Cellophane" song. It was so brilliantly sung and acted out, it described in multiple levels of emotions what it means to be invisible. He just swayed back and forth with his hand in front of him, palms outward to the audience singing "Cellophane, Mister Cellophane Shoulda been my name."

I remember how ironic the song felt, but yet how empathetic I felt towards this character. Even after leaving the show, that little annoying twinge came back in the most unexpected moments: watching a child cry on a busy New York street, because she thought she had lost her parents; how a brilliant violinist was playing in the subway, but everyone just walked past him without a token or nod of appreciation. I wondered if they felt invisible.

After all, a person has basic needs towards feeling loved, appreciated and remaining relevant. It's a question that most of us face at one point or multiple points in life - am I relevant? do I matter? what's my purpose?

And when those questions are hard to answer, we become more self-conscious and can start doubting ourselves.

To take it one more step further, I ask myself what's my impact? How do I influence or make an impact within my team, my company? Or what kind of social impact do I make onto my family, friends, relationship? Or even society?

Except there is one key to impact and influence: gain visibility. It's the actual opposite (or negation) of invisibility.

That's all I have for now. I'll go chew on that for a bit. Maybe I will finish my thoughts out here in another post....but for now... Good Night!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

[DYSU] Challenge #92 - Have a Swell Day


Good morning, DYSU fans! Have you seen the leaves out there? They are turning into the golden reds hues. I am really not ready for fall to come full-blast. I still want some nice days with glorious sun, and I already see that the daylight is shorter, and am often coming back when it's already pitch black.

This means it's time to whip out the blankets, cozy up with some hot cocoa or some hot tea...

Have a Swell Day
Stamps: (Cocoa) Melonheadz Illustrating
Paper: (Paper Basics Card Stock - Canyon Clay) Papertrey Ink; (All Spice) My Mind's Eye; (Back to Basics) Bo Bunny; (5 & Dime) October Afternoon
Ink: N/A
Embellishments: (Soft-core Color Pencils) Prismacolor; 
(Vintage Button - Pure Poppy; Baker's Twine - Dark Chocolate) Papertrey Ink; (Essential Glitters - Brownstone, Garnet) Martha Stewart

This is a pretty straight forward card. I started by printing out the cocoa cup and decided I would paper piece it onto some delicious My Mind's Eye All Spice. The paper I thought was appropriate for a fall cup of cocoa. There are some details on this cup, such as the color pencil shading onto the border of the mug and adding a bit of "chocolate powder" (or brown glitter) to the marshmallow and some red bling to the heart.

Have a Swell Day

I saw some cute, bright Bo Bunny paper sticking out of the folder and was determine to use it. I also pulled some 5 & Dime paper from October Afternoon and saw this amazing pattern paper. I really liked this chalkboard sign that said "Have a Swell Day." A little bit of twine & button to bring the card together.

Have a Swell Day

So what do you think? Good enough to drink? I invite you to hop on over to see the amazing creations by the rest of the DYSU team. Please leave them a loving comment, because they do appreciate some blog love :)

On a last note, if you're a regular reader, don't forget to answer the survey in the top right panel and if you want to play along with in the current open QuAC challenge feel free to. Just a few more days left...

This week's sponsor:
* Winner's Choice of 3 Digis

*$15 Gift Certificate

* Winner's Choice of 7 Images

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

[The #30WriteNow October Writing Challenge] On Hunger

Today's prompt, if we choose to use it, is Hunger. I'm shooting for 3 out of 3...Not sure where I will go with this prompt, but let's see.
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hun·ger/ˈhəNGgər/

Noun:
A feeling of discomfort or weakness caused by lack of food, coupled with the desire to eat.

I guess I wasn't sure where to start with this, so I went to look the definition up. 

So here's a fact with me... I get cranky when I get hungry. I get headaches, feel lousy, and get really, Real.ly cranky. Food is tied to very strong emotions. Florian and I had numerous conversations if food was a cumbersome routine or symphony experience of the five senses. If a pill was invented that could keep a person nourished and not hungry, Florian would opt for that version. I would cry. It is definitely an efficient way to go about your day. The amount of free time that would open up, but I would not want it that way.

I love shopping at super markets. I love picking fresh produce, picking them out, rotating them in my hand, smelling and seeing the vibrant colors. I relish in the idea of trying new ingredients; it's like going on an adventure and not knowing how it will turn out.

My deep relationship with food comes from the way our family treated food and dinner time. My parents instilled an appreciating for food and gratefulness never to experience hunger. 

Not everyone is as fortunate. It's evident in the soup kitchens and food banks that are everywhere across the country. There are always heart-breaking stories of children trying to sneak out their lunch, because they wanted to bring a roll back for their sibling, who is hungry. But the teachers have a job to make sure that they eat their one hot meal completely. Heart-wrenching. 

And these are kids in a neighborhood less than 20 minutes away from where I live. It's a surreal picture: a wealthy middle to upper class neighborhood border by a low income neighborhood. The contrast is quite drastic and all separated by one thing: hunger.

And the worst part is that people don't choose this.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

[The #30WriteNow October Writing Challenge] Truth is...

Today's prompt, if we choose to use it, is Truth. I didn't have a very "out of the ordinary" idea or day to inspire "out of the ordinary" thinking, so I'm going to just write on and see where this takes me... Feel free to abort if you get bored ;)
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Truth is...so easy, but yet so difficult. It's so black & white, yet so gray. Truth is solid as a rock, steadfast, but yet it keeps moving. Funny how a little five-letter word can be so hard to describe.

We were asked to memorize the Declaration of Independence, and this line always stuck out to me
"we hold these truths to be self-eivdent"
I had no idea what it really meant. Or how about the Truth campaign for anti-smoking? Remember those? Truth, Truth every where...

But let's just step back a bit. Truth is a concept we are taught at a very young age. If mum asked "Did you eat that cookie," I know she wanted me to spit out the truth. Never mind the fact that I had a half-guilty look, smeared chocolate across the mouth, sticky fingers and crumbs all over my wee t-shirt to proof the crime. Evidence? What's that? We were too young to piece it together. So when mum keeps asking the same question until I cave and finally nod, it reinforces that our parents must be super smart and all-knowing. Never ever lie to parents - another "truth" I was taught in household. It's disrespectful, shameful, dishonest, disgraceful and just plain bad. And when you're a child that wants to please her parents (still do to some extent!) then it's unacceptable to lie to them. We equate truth to factual events that happen and we equate truth telling to pleasing our parents, as well as learning "it's a good thing."

Six or so years later, I had a sibling! This is where truth gets fuzzier. Of course I had to learn that I couldn't quite hoodwink my way through everything too early on. After all, my brother had to be old enough to eat a cookie or have hte legs to walk him to the crime scene. So if mum asked if I ate a cookie, I would sheepishly deflect and answer "Ren-An ate a cookie." After all, looking at the facts, that is what happen. And by this time I had the know-how to wipe off the crumbs (here you go, little bro) and wipe off my fingers (Here hold this paper towel, lil bro) So what if I did eat one or two myself while persuading my little, innocent brother to join me in my act of crime? Deflecting and telling one half of the truth will get me off the hook, right? Deflect, deflect, deflect ... i'm still telling factual events here. So while my mum is reprimanding my brother and me, but more so my brother... cogs start turning. A kid learns new powers -- the power to bend things. And a new type of truth is born: white lies are kinda almost truths. And the grey begins...We manage to convince ourselves that we still told the truth, even if it means omitting a few crucial facts. 

Ok, let's fast forward to those more fuzzy logic...

The worst parts are when people start caring about your opinion but ask this of you: "Tell me the truth, do you like this dress on me?" When you know your best friend saved hard to get this dress by working after school and she's been swooning months over it, then comes out strutting her stuff in this dress that just makes her look like a glittery christmas ornament. What if her eyes are all lit up with pride & "I told you I can do this" look...I am not heartless. So can I just bend the truth or just bite down on my tongue? If she was my bestest friend I would try to muster up all the courage inside of me and let her down easy. After all, I rather her look stunning then make a fool out of herself on her date. But what if it's a person in passing and you could make their day by just nodding and smiling? Does everything have to be so blatant truth if it's hurtful?

So that's a lot of chewing and mulling of us to do ... Where do you stand on the whole truth thing? Never told a lie? Told a few white lies? Or told a horrible lie that will get you fired or disowned from your family? No details about the lie (this is not a confessional), we're just here to discuss thoughts on truth and if it's black & white for you or gray...

Monday, October 1, 2012

[The #30WriteNow October Writing Challenge] On Self-Esteem

So I stumbled across this "Just Write" challenge via a fiery & passionate friend. I follow her twitter feed and she has a lot to say...Usually I just read & listen, nod slowly while I process, and nod some more. Yep, she's one passionate writer and one that I don't get around to reading as much as I would like to.

So when I stumbled across this #30WriteNow challenge that she put out there, I thought why not? It's hosted by Nicole Blades and Bassey and it sounded like a great way to stretch myself. I haven't really written anything creative or persuasive since oh maybe freshmen year in college? And I'm not telling you how many years ago that is...

When it comes to writing, I write a lot of requirements, specifications, technical mumbo jumbo. The same stuff that I detest reading... I know, the irony...Don't choke on your chuckle...Go ahead, let it out!

So here is my attempt in tapping into that creative side that's dusty and dormant...The prompt today is Courage and I am taking a spin on it...
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"Hello?" 

Those words echoed through the dark, cold cave rather eerily. It was barely audible, almost a whisper, but the sound was unmistakably from a young girl, no more than eight years old, wondering where she was. The cavern was engulfed in darkness, so that she couldn't see her hand in front of her. She felt lost. If she walked in circles, she could not tell. If only she could reach out and touch the side of the cave and just inch along, but the wall never appeared. It always seemed just beyond her fingertips. Just one huge cavern of dark that never ended. 

In anticipation she held her breath; maybe there was someone else here, or another living being. If only there was a sign of a mouse scuttling by, or a bat swooping through...but it was just dark - a vast vacuum of lonely.

Exhausted and scared, she finally sat down. The cold, rocky ground sent a shiver up her spine. If only she had a way to make fire; if only she had a way to warm her ice-cold fingers; if only her friends or her family would come rescue her; if only...oh - if only so many things...

Sunlight came crashing through the blinds, flooding the bedroom with golden rays of warmth marking a new day. The alarm clock went off, while E mechanically hit the snooze button. Laying awake, E counted the seconds that would slowly pass until she hit 300...the mark of when the alarm would sound again. As if on auto-pilot, E put on her suit, straightened her hair, and gave her whole assemble one more check in the mirror. 

After taking the train into the city, she finally got off her stop and walked into a huge, black-marbled building...When the receptionist looked up quizzically at E, all she could muster was a "Hello?"

@FatMuslim's "A Photo a Day Challenge"


I found this neat little challenge via Felicitas Klink on my Twitter feed (who I was introduced to via Janna Werner who I met through the Waltzingmouse Stamps Forum a couple of years ago) Funny how the web and crafting community is such a small world, right? But I love stumbling across inspirational things via others and this is one such thing. So the plan? Post a picture on Instagram (@smallhanded) & Twitter (@flutterby38) every day. So if you like to take part, drop me a comment with your Instagram or Twitter name, and I will make sure to add you... Happy Photo-taking!


[smallhanded QuAC] #3 - What kinds of crafting do you enjoy?

Good morning everyone! Time for a new poll.... 

For QuAC #3, this month I want to know what kinds of crafts do you enjoy? Do you paint, knit / crochet, scrap, make card, pottery, glass beading, felt, cross-stitch...?

Let's hear those answers.
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