Tuesday, December 22, 2015

The Angel Tree Christmas Story

Every Christmas I share this story and I thought I would post it a little earlier than Christmas day this year. This story actually reminded me of what a good heart my child had when she was going through some difficult times and gave me hope that God would lead her back to her good heart. I am proud to say she made it through her dark years and now is in possession of this giving heart once again. 


When my daughter turned 8 years old she had gotten birthday money from relatives,  probably a total of about $40. We went to Wal-Mart so she could spend her birthday money. I had decided we would go to McDonalds to get a bite to eat first. There was an Angel Tree in front of the McDonalds there in Walmart.

My daughter asked what it was and I explained to her that it was for children whose parents couldn't afford to buy them Christmas gifts. I told her let's go eat and she continued to look at the names on the tree.

She grabbed my hand and said "Mom look, this little girl only wants some clothes and a barbie doll". I think she thought it impossible that a child would want mostly clothes.

I looked and noticed the only toy on there was a Barbie, I think the child's age was about 5.

My daughter looked up at me with pleading eyes and said "Moma would it be okay if I spent my birthday money on this angel?"

I couldn't speak as a piercing warmth shot through my heart. I was fighting tears, as I am now remembering this moment. My daughter looked at me and said "I won't Moma if you are gonna be upset". I told her "hang on a minute" while I continued to fight back the tears and choked to find the words I wanted to say. I knew I would just bust out crying if I said much more. After a few moments and a couple of deep breaths I composed myself I told her "baby if you want to spend your birthday money on this little angel then I will match you dollar for dollar".

We went to eat and my daughter kept looking over the list of items from the angel she had pulled off the tree. After we got done she was so excited to go and buy for this little girl. I did as I promised and  matched dollar for dollar, plus another $20 because daughter thought the little girl needed some things to go with her barbie doll that she picked out for the little girl. My daughter even said "you don't have to buy me anymore gifts Mom, just spend it on her. Santa will bring me stuff anyway".

We got the shopping done and took it to Customer Service where my daughter informed the lady to "make sure it is wrapped pretty". My daughter spent every last dime of her birthday money that day on someone else.

I can honestly say that on that day I had never been more proud of my child and still am to this day for her unselfish act of giving up her birthday money to make sure some little girl got her Christmas wishes.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Cricut Explore One Winner!!!

It's time! It's time! It's time to announce the winner of the Cricut Explore One!!

Giveaways can sometimes be a bit time consuming when there are a large amount of entries. I had said any duplicate entries would be deleted and there were quite a few duplicates. One person even went in and entered like 3 or 4 times with different names but I knew because the picture was the same woman on the entries, needless to say those got deleted. I also had to go through and delete any "anonymous" comments because there would be no way to find the person that made the post.

I had shared a link to the post with several Facebook groups and said to click the link, which of course would go directly to the post of the giveaway, and leave a comment in the comment section. Evidently that wasn't quite clear enough because people left their comment of what they would make if they won in the Facebook post.

At this point I'm not quite sure how to word things to make it easier for people to enter a giveaway and I guess at this point it doesn't matter on this giveaway now does it! *okie cracks up laughing*

So anyway after spending all that time weeding out duplicate entries and the ones where I wouldn't be able to get a hold of the winner I ended up with 481 valid entries. I went to Random.org and used the number generator and the winning number was....

Yeah 3!! After all that the number it picked was 3!!!  I was totally like "WTH???"

I literally spent a few hours going through all the comments only to have the dang number generator pick number 3! I could have just saved all that time and not went through all the comments, but then again it probably would have been a different number.

Oh and the person who made the 3rd comment was...

CONGRATS TO THE WINNER! Please contact me with your information so your machine can be shipped to you!!

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Cricut Explore One Giveaway!

So did you miss out and getting the Explore One on Black Friday? Did you stand in line only to get to where the machines were and they were sold out? Did you spend all your money on gifts for others instead of buying for yourself? Are you afraid no one understands how much it would mean for you to get an Explore One so you can indulge in your beloved hobby? Did you miss out on winning the Explore Air I just gave away?

Well fear not because here is your chance to be the proud owner of a Cricut Explore One that was featured in the Walmart Black Friday ad! Okay so not that exact machine in the ad because Walmart wouldn't let me have that one to giveaway but one just like it.

Why am I giving away another machine you ask? Well because I want to! So stop asking so many questions and start answering the question that is required for this giveaway!

1. One entry per person, duplicate entries will be deleted (I have to approve all comments so your comment might not show up immediately).
2. Comment entries must be submitted no later than Midnight Wednesday December 2nd, 2015 central time.
3.  Answer this question "What would you make with the Cricut Explore One?" in the comment section of this post.

The winner will be announced either Thursday December 3rd or Friday December 4th, depending on my work schedule.

Cricut Explore Air Winner!!

After going through and reading every comment 5 times to make sure I weeded out any entries that didn't answer all 5 questions correctly, remember that was one of the requirements, and deleting duplicate entries *okie truly appreciates the ones who stated "my other comment didn't go through" or "I think I accidentally entered twice"* I was able to get a winner for the Explore Air!

I used Random Org to generate a winner number from all the valid entries and the winning number was...

I numbered each of the valid entries before using the Random Number Generator and the winner is...

Congrats tpthatsme! CONTACT me with your personal information so I can have the prize shipped to you!

Friday, November 27, 2015

My New Tablet - Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 lite

So there are a lot of people who are estatic over the whole Cricut Design Space App for the Ipad and Iphone. I, however, am not one of them. Why? Because I am an Android girl. I owned an Iphone 3 for a period of time and didn't like it. I was an Android owner before that and then after. My last 3 phones have been Samsung Galaxy phones and I have to say I LOVE THEM! I currently own the Samsung Galaxy 5. So ya see the app for the I products just didn't phase me one bit.

But wait...they announced an app for an Android? *insert Minion voice here* WOOT??!! Cricut Design Space for Android?? Oh well that is nice but how am I suppose to see on my little phone screen on what I am trying to do? My tablet is a Kindle Fire, which if you didn't know runs it's own OS (ie operating system), and is not compatible with the Android App of Cricut Design Space, and I know this information to be true because I got it from a very reliable source who I am sure was getting a headache trying to explain to me why the app wouldn't work on a Kindle. I had been shopping for a new Kindle since mine is starting to try and poop out on me and have been researching which one I would like to have for over a week. In the mean time I saw that Walmart had a Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 lite in their BF ad and I was mildly interested just knowing it was Android.

Thursday evening my cousins and I decided to head out to Walmart in Seminole *okie wonders if people have ever even heard of Seminole Oklahoma* to see if we could get a few things from the ad. The store was busy but was nothing like my Walmart in Ada on Black Friday. I didn't even see one fight in that store *okie remembers the fist fight and the cops being called over some Paula Deen cookware a few years ago*. People weren't even push each other out of the way. I digress, let me get back to our trip. We picked up a few things and I told my cousins I was going to see if they had any of the Samsung Tablets, thinking I could check it out more while we were in the very long line waiting to check out. I finally found out where the Samsung tablets were located and when I got to the spot there was a worker sitting on a pallet of water that was covered with a board protecting the Ipad and Samsung tablets that were left. I looked down and there were only 2 Samsung Tablets and she promptly handed me one when I asked and then behind me was a man that got the other one. I figured it must be fate. 

The operation of the tablet is almost exactly like my phone so there isn't a difficult learning curve for me right now. The display is good, not HD, but still as good if not better than my Kindle Fire. It runs Netflix which I do use a lot on my Fire and I was able to download the Kindle Reader App and figure out how to work it easily enough. I don't think I am going to regret my jump from a Kindle Fire to a Samsung Tablet. Now whether or not I like Cricut Design Space on the Samsung Tablet will be a whole different experience. For those who don't know I hated the Gypsy so lets hope this goes a little better!

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving - Turkey File

Just a quick note to say Happy Thanksgiving to everyone! The kids and I are going to Seminole to spend the day with my Aunt Betty and her family. Not sure if Shiane and I will do any shopping tonight or not, we still have to look through the ad. 

I just wanted to share this file that I made last night because I know people will be doing some Thanksgiving layouts. I think I will use him for the layout I do for this years Thanksgiving. 

Don't forget there are still 2 more days to enter the giveaway for the Cricut Explore Air!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Grinch Project - Repost

This was a project I made last year when I was reviewing the Cricut Explore while using vinyl.

I actually used the finished project for a dirty Santa gift at school and the girl who ended up with it loved it. The following post was the original post and has the download file available at the bottom of the post. 

Since Christmas is coming up I thought it was worth reposting now in case anyone missed getting this file last year. 


So last night I was going to work with some vinyl on the Explore for my next review and wasn't sure what I wanted to do. I looked through my files and started playing with a Grinch file and a quote file I had and came up with a new file. I posted it in the Design Space Facebook group to see if it could be read and my friend Jackie pointed out that one word was hard to read so I went back and edited the file and it did work a lot better! THANKS JACKIE!

A few people said they would pay for the file and I had to giggle to myself because obviously I guess there are a lot of folks out there that don't know I very, very, very rarely charge for files I make! Anyway I thought about charging but then quickly decided to make this file free as my Christmas gift to my readers! So many of you guys and gals have been with me for over the years and have shown such loyalty even when I was on my hiatus from crafting that I thought I should show my appreciation! You really have no idea how much it means to me to have people stick with me even when I was gone for months and months!

I did import the SVG file into Design Space, it imported just fine so it should be ready to use once you download the file and then upload into the program and of course as always I have the MTC file available as well.

So to all of you MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM ME TO YOU! And thank you so much for always being there to read all my dribble even when I have no files or projects to offer.

Celebration Giveaway!!!!

So yesterday I finished my series of comparison posts and to celebrate I am going to do a giveaway. I am feeling a bit generous and after much contemplation about what to giveaway I have decided to give away....

Go ahead and do a double take...yes that is a picture of a Cricut Explore Air!

Why am I giving away a Cricut Explore Air? Well simply because I believe in the Explore. I love this machine. I think this is the best cutting machine on the market at this time. So yep, that is why. 

Usually when I do a giveaway all you have to do is leave a comment but this time you are gonna have to work for it a little bit, just because I feel like being a little mean *okie gives a little evil laugh*. Okay, seriously I just want to make sure who ever wins is someone who reads my posts and isn't just coming here to enter a giveaway.

1. Enter only once, remember I have to approve comments so your comment might not show up immediately, be patient as I will approve comments periodically as my time permits.
2. Comment entries must be submitted no later than Midnight Friday Novemember 27th, 2015.
3.  Answer each of the following questions correctly.

  • 1. In the Cricut Explore VS. Cricut (baby bug) post what was the image in the screen shot?
  • 2. In the Cricut Explore VS. Expression post what did I say was unnecessary to me on the Expression?
  • 3. In the Cricut Explore VS. Expression 2 post where did I say the 2nd E2 I owned came from?
  • 4. In the Cricut Explore VS. Cricut Mini post who did I say I donated the Mini to?
  • 5. In the Cricut Explore VS. Pazzles post where did I say the Explore beat the Pazzles hands down?
The winner will be announced Saturday November 28th. Good luck everyone!!!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Cricut Explore VS. Pazzles

I am actually dreading this versus post...it is almost making feel like some kind of traitor but in the fairness of versus posts I have been doing and me being a person of honest opinions I am begrudgingly writing a comparison post. 

After my DIVORCE from Provocraft almost 3 years ago I started looking at other machines, ones that I felt could cut a little better, heavier material, and allowed me to have more creative abilities with making my own design files and after looking into several different ones I had decided on the Pazzles. I knew it would work with Make The Cut and had heard wonderful reviews. As fate would have it there was a long time reader that wanted to gift me her Pazzles because it was in storage not being used and she wanted me to have it *okie knows she has been very blessed in the crafting sector of her life over the years*. Once I got it set up and started using it I did notice it cut more intricate details than what the Expression would cut and I was in love. The Pazzles was good at cutting most things perfectly but there were still some issues with certain papers and materials. 

One area where the Explore has the Pazzles beat hands down is the settings. With the Pazzles there are literally hundreds of settings you can use and it was always hard for me to remember what settings to use with what materials since one little setting off would work for one cardstock or material and not the next. The pressure range alone went from 0-50. I did come up with a method to keep them straight by having little tags with settings written on them. Of course I thought this was wonderful but it was also a pain in the arse to have to look up a tag when I couldn't remember off hand what settings to use. 

With the Explore all I have to do is turn the dial or use the custom settings options when I get ready to cut, nothing to pull out and go through, nothing to remember...just turn the dial or use custom settings and POOF, perfect cuts every time. Yes, I mean every time! Okay it did mess up a time or two but it wasn't the Explore's fault but my own for not paying attention and changing the setting from my previous cutting *okie remembers how pissed she was when she first reviewed the Explore and wanted so much for it to cut things wrong and it wouldn't*. This is a total time saver when I'm crafting and one less thing to worry about. 

The Pazzles produces about the same amount of sound as the Expression did when cutting so it is quite a bit louder than the Explore, and if you aren't familiar with the level of sound just know that sometimes it seemed like it was loud enough to wake a sleeping baby. There was no sneaking to use your machine with the Pazzles. 

When I reviewed the Explore for the first time one of the things I cut was vellum and it cut perfectly. I did try cutting vellum with the Pazzles but never had good luck with anything intricate and even with larger things it seemed to rip the vellum rather than cutting it. There were a few cardstocks the Pazzles had difficulty cutting as well, mostly the cheaper ones and when I tried cutting the same cardstocks with the Explore I had no problems *okie wonders if people really understand how hard she tried to get the Explore to mess up cutting different materials*

Okay, so far I have said the Explore is easier to get correct settings and that it cuts better than the Pazzles but now I want to talk about the downfall where the Pazzles beats the Explore. It is no secret to anyone that I love Make the Cut and have been using it for a few years now and even sold off my cartridges because I didn't have a need for them anymore and the one thing I loved about my Pazzles was that I could connect MTC directly to my Pazzles for cutting. With MTC there is no need for an internet connection and the program has a lot more features than what the Cricut Design Space program has...A LOT MORE! So POOF there ya go...Pazzles over Explore!

But wait...now let me tell you where I messed up! Pazzles came out with the Pazzles Vue about the same time that Provocraft came out with the Cricut Explore. Both had a lot of the same features including print and cut but I already had a bad taste in my mouth about Provocraft and there was no way I was going to consider the Explore so the Pazzles Vue was coming to my house! All of this was happening during a time where I wasn't doing much crafting and I wasn't keeping on top of all the latest and greatest of things. I did however go ahead and order the Vue feeling fully confident that the developers at MTC would make the plugin for the Vue. My confidence faded over time and now I am quite confident it will never happen. I do have the Pazzles software but have no idea how to use it. I opened a few times and stared at the screen with a WTF look on my face and then would close it. I even tried watching a video or two and with my impatient nature *okie wonders who all remmbers that her motto is "I just wanna make chit"* it just never worked out for me. 

*okie takes a deep breath and can't believe she is going to say what she is about to say* I have to say that when I did spend a few minutes with Cricut Design Space I found it quite easy to upload my SVG files I made in MTC and then cut the files. It was much less complicated than trying to use the Pazzles software. 

The Explore beats the Pazzles due to being able to cut more accurately and setting the machine is much more simple but the Pazzles is better because I could use it with a program that doesn't require an internet connection and has a lot more features. The Explore beats the Pazzles Vue because I don't know how to use the Pazzles Software and I can't connect the machine to MTC.

So in a final note it's the Explore over both Pazzle machines for me due to the following:
1. Simple settings
2. Cleaner, more accurate cuts
3. Easy of uploading SVG designs I make in Make the Cut
4. Quieter performance
5. Not as bulky
6. Machine closes for self containment
7. Bluetooth capabilities
There are probably a few more reasons that are escaping my brain at this moment. When anyone asks me what machine I recommend I tell them the Explore and give them the reasons I love the Explore, but I also tell them they only drawback I have about the Explore is the dependency of an internet connection. 

So there ya go folks...I have finished my series of Explore VS. every other machine I have owned and yep Explore wins over them all. Now with that said make sure you come back tomorrow because to celebrate I think I will do a giveaway of some sort!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Cricut Explore VS. Cricut Mini

Okay there really isn't even a comparison here...seriously! But since I did own a Cricut Mini I am gonna discuss it anyway *okie is wondering just how short this versus post will be*. I acquired the Cricut Mini on the second Cricut Cruise I went on and it was something I never considered buying. 

I really didn't get the concept of the machine and maybe it was because I really loved my Expression and being able to cut 12x12. I know some people were excited about the size of the machine because they felt it would be easier to take to crops and such but if I remember correctly it was difficult for a lot of people due to the requirement of having to be connected to the internet to use it and not all venue's had internet capabilities. 

Now I will say the Mini did cut great and it was more quiet than the Expressions when cutting. I know it even cut glitter paper quite well. The small size of the machine was nice and it was easy to store. After using it a few times I put it away and went back to my Expression. I ended up donating the Mini and the mats to a school teacher I know.

As for comparing it to the Explore, like I said earlier, there is really nothing to compare...EXPLORE WINS. I guess I can say the Explore wins because of the superior cutting abilities, the quietness of the machine while cutting, ability to cut 12x12 material, cutting a wider variety of materials and yada yada yada. And even though I hate to admit it the Cricut Design Space program is easier to use than the Cricut Craftroom program and so far I haven't had as much problem with the internet connection as I did with Cricut Craftroom but that maybe due to me only using Design Space for cutting and not designing. 

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Cricut Explore VS. Expression 2

Sorry for the delay on this versus, I had some life stuff that had to be taken care of *okie figures cleaning house is considered life stuff* and didn't have time to sit down and type out the post.

I remember all the excitement at the launch of the Expression 2, which will now be referred to as the E2 for the remainder of this post, and how there were a lot of people upset after purchasing because they felt the "exclusive" machine they bought from HSN should  not have been sold again and I even made a POST about my thoughts on the matter. I was not one of the ones who jumped on the bandwagon to buy one because I was happy with my Expression and didn't want to put out the money for another machine. I did however end up with two E2's. The first of the E2's I acquired was one of the gifts on the Cricut Cruise and the other was won from the HSN contest and I had submitted a few layouts and they chose one of my layouts as a winner. 

I liked the idea of the E2 and I did use it a few times but man oh man was it a pain! I couldn't use Design Studio with the E2 and of course the tiny screen on the machine was impossible for me to see to be able to do anything. The process that I had to use was as follows...
1. Design using Design Studio
2. Save the file
3. Close the file
4. Open the file and save as a Gypsy file
5. Upload the file to the Gypsy
6. Hook up the Gypsy to the E2 and cut my design.

I know Cricut Craftroom was available and yes it probably would have been less time consuming than using my Gypsy but I hated that program. For me it was glitchy and never ran smoothly and I only tried it a few times. 

The cutting abilities of the E2 was comparable to the Expression from what I remember. I don't think it really cut any better and it didn't cut any worse. I know a lot of people who loved the E2...I was just okay with it. 

With the Explore I still can't use Design Studio, which would be silly anyway since that program is now a dinosaur but I can't use the Explore directly with Make The Cut so I have the following process...
1. Design in MTC
2. Export design as SVG
3. Upload SVG into Design Space
4. Cut the design
So while there is a process for me to cut with the Explore it is a lot less time consuming than using the Gypsy or the glitchy Cricut Craftroom software. So far I haven't had any problems with using the Cricut Design Space with the method I am using and I love having the ability to design offline with MTC and then just using CDS for my cutting. I never use cartridges anymore and haven't for about 3 years now and my design abilities are only limited by my imagination and I love not having to depend on cartridges for images.  

Once again the Explore wins over the E2, but then again the Expression would win over the E2 in my book. 

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Cricut Explore vs. Cricut Expression

My second Cricut was the Expression. I didn't think I needed the Expression since I was completely happy with my baby bug and at the time I really couldn't afford to put the money out for an Expression. Back in the days of the Cricut Messageboard there were so many generous people and one of the members made it her goal to have me own an Expression machine and to keep things short about that in this post you can read about how I came to own the Expression >HERE<.

Anyway the purpose of this post is for me to think about how the Explore compares to the Expression. First off I have to say that the Explore does seem to be better built than the first Expression machines. The first one I had wouldn't cut nice scallops and I actually ended up going through about 3 machines before I got one that would cut some scallop circles half way decent. Another thing that happened with the first Expression I had was that it BROKE and I do mean BROKE. A replacement was quickly sent and I was back in business.

The Explore blade holder is made in such a manner that it is faster and easier to get the blade housing out of the machine. Instead of a screw that tightens the blade housing in there is a latch that opens and closes. As you can see in the pictures the way the holder on the Explore is manufactured the blade housing is more stable due to the length of the holder.  

I never knew what all the buttons were for on the Cricut machines since I never used them without either using Design Studio or Make the Cut. I did try one time...it was a disaster. I do like the sleek design of the Explore better than the Expression and it doesn't seem to be as large, well as tall anyway and there aren't all those unnecessary buttons, well unnecessary to me anyway.  

The cuts between the machines are non comparable as there were many things the Expression seemed to have difficulty cutting. There were many cardstocks and papers that the Expressions would shred when trying to cut and I have no idea what those techno head designers of the Explore did to make the machine cut so well but I'm just glad they did! I have only found one piece of cardstock that seemed to have problems and I might have actually had the settings wrong at the time. 

Now about the settings...EXPLORE WINS! Although I am still not a fan of Cricut Design Space I do love the little feature of "custom" settings and the list of materials available in the program. With the Expression there were the dials that had to be set, blade depth, cutting speed, etc and it was a guessing game a lot of times because one time you would cut with a certain setting and it would be great then the next time there might be problems. The Explore is consistent with the cutting. I am beginning to think there are little beings in the machine that make sure it cuts correctly and cleanly every time because I can think of no other reason for the invariable cuts.

I honestly believe that if anyone liked the Expression they would LOVE the Explore. Well of course there will be those few disgruntled, for what ever reason, people who will not like the Explore but if they are honest with themselves I don't think they will find fault in the machine and it's cutting capability but only find fault with having problems with the software that has to be used with the Explore. 

Oh and if ya haven't noticed I am going down the line of the machine's I've had over the years and comparing them to Explore so expect a few more versus posts because I owned a few more than just the baby bug and the Expression.

If you guys are really good and pay attention I might even have a little surprise at the end of my series of versus posts so PAY ATTENTION AND KEEP COMING BACK! 

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Cricut Explore vs. Cricut (Baby Bug)

Years ago when I started using machines I started out with the Cricut, the orginal one, the one we often refer to as "baby bug". Oh how I loved that little machine! I got it just so I could cut letters for my scrapbook titles...yep that was it, the only reason. I soon found out how much more it could cut, well within the bounds of cartridges that were available and I was totally hooked. I also learned that by using Design Studio I could weld and manipulate shapes into making things that weren't available on cartridges. I spent HOURS making new designs, anything from animals to vehicles to ballerina shoes. 

At the time I had two cats that I loved and adored and they loved it when I would start cutting paper. They would jump on the table and watch as the mat went in and out of the machine. I even did a layout of them and this picture because it was something I wanted to always remember. 

I don't have the screenshots of all the designs I use to do to use with the baby bug but here is a screenshot I found of the ballerina slipper I made. The image was made with what was available on the George cartridge that came with the machine. I used George for almost all my first designs because it was what I had and what others had at the time. 

The baby bug was a workhorse and I have always said I thought it was the moresolidly built than any of the other Cricut machines. Of course the drawback with the original Cricut was the limitation of the mat size, it was 6x12 and there were just some things, such as envelopes that couldn't be cut in one piece. 

How does the original Cricut compare to the Explore? Well they are both solid machines and can handle a lot of cutting but the Explore does cut more accurately, can cut larger materials and a wider variety materials. All in all it probably isn't truly fair to compare the machines since the baby bug is the grandfather of the Cricuts and the Explore is the high tech grandchild. But when I think about it I guess if there hadn't been a Cricut all those years ago there wouldn't be an Explore now. 

Sunday, November 15, 2015

3 Flower Card Challenge Projects

Sometime ago I use to post card and layout challenges and a lot of people always wanted me to post them and wanted to participate but then when the time came only a few participated and then it got to where no one participated so I stopped taking the time to make a design, make a post, etc etc etc and it looks like this might be my last card challenge. Since I did have a few people participate in the last card challenge but thought I would get the pictures of the cards up that were posted or sent to me.

My friend Avra made two cards for this challenge. I like how she used some of the Stampin Up flower punches in place of the flowers in the file. I have the same punches and they are some of my favorites. The "hello" is also from Stampin Up if I remember correctly.  

On the second card Avra made she took a Christmas spin on the design and used snowflakes in place of the flowers. I really love the look she got with all the different patterned paper. 

This card was done by my friend Kathy and when she posted hers I hadn't finished mine yet and I thought about not finishing it because I didn't want to post mine along with hers! I love all the colors in Kathy's card and the embellishments are just gorgeous. 

For my card I used Graphic 45 Le Cirque papers. I used the flowers from the file and like how the turned out. I curled the petals a little to give them a little dimension. As I was laying the card all out after getting the base pieces done I thought "Oh dear God this thing looks like a crayon factory exploded!" Once I got done and had the large white piece for the sentiment in place I felt better about the card. 

I'm not sure if and when I will post another card challenge. It's getting close to the holidays and I have some other things I need to work on and might not have time to do some designs. 

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Cricut Explore One - Black Friday

If you are wanting to get an Explore and can be satisfied with the Explore One then ya might want to jump on the deal that Walmart is having! This was just posted today!

It's a great price for a great machine! If later on you decide you want to go wireless you can always get the bluetooth adapter separately. It does seem to come with the ablity to use pens if you want by using the accessory adapter that is included. 

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Card Challenge - 3 Flower Card

I am going to admit that I really don't know what to call the card challenges and I absolutely don't know what to call the card designs that I am posting so if the title sounds weird forgive me. 
This weeks challenge is a 3 flower card. And since people seem so curious as to where I am getting my designs I will tell you...I see something, trace it, make a file out of it. As for the ideas for the designs I get those from various locations and by the time I adjust tweak and save I honestly can't remember where the original idea came from so it's not that I am trying to cheat anyone, it's just that I have too many squirrels. 

The following are to be used:
- Basic design of card (layer shadow optional)
- Oval frame
- 3 flowers, more if you want
- Leaves, amount of leaves are up to you
- Feel free to add other embellishments

The oval can contain a stamped or cut out sentiment. I left it large enough so a cut out sentiment can be used. 

Cards will need to be completed by midnight Thursday November 12th. If anyone would like to send a picture of their card to me to post just send it to me by EMAIL and I'll be glad to post your project. 

SVG users if you are importing into Cricut Design Space you will need to select all and resize to 4.25" x 5.5" to keep ratio that is show in the picture.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Bee Card Challenge Projects

So I'm a little late getting the cards posted but I've had a really busy week. It seems my life is always busy these days and I'm not really sure what I do to stay busy *okie stops and tries to think of what she is accomplishing in her busy life and can think of nothing...absolutely nothing*

I had posted the Bee Card Challenge here and in my Facebook group Old Cricut Community to see if anyone wanted to join BFF Carmen and I for the challenge and I did have a few send me pictures or post them in the Facebook group. 

I'll start off with my card. I added some Glossy Accents in the honeycomb to give it a wet look and then added some Fiskars Zings to make it look like honey dripping off the honeycomb. For the wings I did a layer of mica and then a layer of translucent drew on some veins with a Stardust pen. 

I went with a simple sentiment I cut out and left the inside blank so it can be used for about any purpose. 

This card was made by Avra Williams. Avra is part of the OCC group and has been a Cricut friend for years, we met on the Cricut Messageboard years ago. 

I love how Avra made a "trail" behind the bees for their flight pattern. 

BFF Carmen made this card and she said it was a pain to glue all the little letters and I am sure it was but it is so nice! The inside of the card says "great friends are we". 

Linda Guild made two different cards for the challenge, both punny cards. She said she is counting the donut as the half circle in the design. 

Linda loves minions and I bet this idea came to her as soon as she saw the card!

The last card was made by Maureen Sala. She saw the challenge here and decided to join in. She said she downloaded the SVG and opened it in her Explore just fine. Maureen also said "I usually do bright colors, so this card was a change for me.  Pop dotted the bee - it turned out fantastic."  I love the paterns she used and the sentiment.  

I'll get a new challenge posted tomorrow!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Who's Up For A Challenge?

So as y'all know I haven't had time for crafting in quite sometime and BFF Carmen and I were talking about how fun our challenges were when we use to do them and how much crafting we got done and we have decided to start doing a few again and I thought it would be nice to post the challenge in case anyone else wants to play along. Another reason for the challenge is because BFF Carmen has decided she is a fraud, meaning she has all that craft chit but never uses it, and by doing the challenge she can vindicate her fraud status. 

I asked Carmen if there was a specific theme she wanted and she said she didn't want a theme but more of a general card and I came up with this bee card. I figure you can add what ever sentiment you want to the card. 

The file is available Make the Cut and SVG formats so it doesn't matter what machine or program you use you can take part if you can use either of those file types. The only rule is that you have to use the honeycomb and at least one bee, more can be used if you want and use the general layout of the card, meaning the square in the middle and the half circle at the top. Other elements can be added if desired but use the basic elements there. 

Cards will need to be completed by midnight Sunday November 1st. If anyone would like to send a picture of their card for me to post next week just shoot me an EMAIL and I'll be glad to post your project. 

SVG users if you are importing into Cricut Design Space you will need to select all and resize to 4.25" x 5.5" to keep ratio that is show in the picture. 

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

3 Funerals and A Wedding...CONTINUED

Sorry for the delay in finishing the story....now where did I leave off? *okie goes back to see how her previous post ended*. Oh yes! So BFF Carmen and I had grand crafting plans and they got interrupted on Monday October 12th with some news that would send us scrambling around the rest of the week like chickens with their heads cut off. 

Carmen arrived on Sunday and we were all kinds a chillin and hanging out. On Monday when I got home from work my daughter came over and informed us that she and Chuck would be getting married on Saturday, a mere 5 days, and would be doing this little ceremony on my deck...if that was okay with me of course. Now in all fairness I knew she and Chuck were going to get married and they had planned on going to the court house but found out that the court house no longer performs marriage ceremonies and I also knew she wanted to have the ceremony at my house. She had said it would be them, their roommate, me and the officiant. She had informed me of this a week or two before hand but then had changed her mind and said a few more people would be invited. Now when you think of a few more people you think like 5 or 6, right? In this case the few more turned out to be about 25!

Carmen and I got right to work trying to figure out how to decorate the deck and decided that we would try to enclose the deck to make it a little more private. In a few trips we cleaned out Goodwill of all their white sheets and some sheers. We went to another thrift store and found a few more sheers. At Walmart we purchased some rope lights so there would be more light on the deck and picked up some laundry line rope and eye hooks to run the line through so the sheers and sheets could hang from the line. We also got some tulle with the idea of making swags somehow and picked up some burlap *okie wonders what her daughters fascination is with burlap*. Shiane joined us for a trip to the Dollar Tree and flowers, plates, forks, vases and ribbon were found that we felt would work well for decorating and making Shiane a bouquet. I think the best thing about the short time span was there was really no time to stress. Shiane was grateful for everything we were doing and seemed quite proud that Dollar Tree was the source of decorations.

The exact time of the ceremony changed about 3 times before a time was settled on and then it was an hour later that it actually started. I was concerned about where everyone was going to sit but somehow we scrounged up enough seating for everyone *okie thinks it probably helped that about 5 people were standing so they could take pictures*.

So now for the pictures!

This was taken before the wedding. Chuck and his friends hung out in the back yard while Shiane finished getting ready and waiting for guests to arrive. We weren't too concerned about how the outside of the deck looked since the inside is what was important.

Oh and don't worry, we didn't light the tiki torches! *okie cracks up laughing*

This was the table for the cake and punch. The flowers, vases,leaves, ribbon, plates, candles and shot glasses all came from Dollar Tree. It might be hard to see in the picture but the shot glasses have "Ramsey 2015" on them. Shiane wanted her guests to have a little something to take home with them. It didn't take long at all to get the vinyl cut and put on the glasses. I don't have a better picture of the sign in the back that has the large ampersand on it, it was a gift from her maid of honor. Shiane printed off pictures of her and Chuck and we punched holes in the corners and strung them up for a nice little banner.

I had ordered the cake before I knew there were so many people coming and it was a little small but it worked great. The cake was 8" diameter and fed everyone, the trick is knowing how to cut it! I cut the banner out of adhesive backed fabric on the Explore and then cut the lettering in vinyl. Carmen and I decided chopsticks would work just fine for stringing the banner and they were perfect.

If you look behind the cake you can see the candles. We turned wine glasses upside down and covered the goblet part with burlap and tied it with ribbon and added a few leaves.

This is a view looking toward the front of the deck. The sheers worked great for allowing some nice light in but still allowing for a great deal of privacy. We picked up some mums at Walmart and put them in the concrete pots I have. I had purchased 20 yards of tulle and we used every bit of it. The leaves in the middle swag are just placed loosely in the tulle and the ones on the draped tulle were pinned to keep them in place.

I'm not sure who smiled the most during the ceremony, Shiane or Chuck and they both looked so happy during the whole evening. The empty chair there was mine but I couldn't sit there and take pictures so I ended up standing at the back so I could get pictures. I'm hoping one of the girls got some good pictures as well. I know there were a lot of phone camera's going off during the ceremony and afterwards so there is no telling how many pictures were taken.

Shiane and Chuck had agreed not to smash cake in each other's faces but then BFF Carmen yelled out she would give them a certain dollar amount if they would smash the cake and so ya know what happened....and you can tell from the picture that Shiane got Chuck a lot better than he got her! I think it took him a good 10 minutes to get the cake off his face. He was laughing about how he couldn't get the icing off his skin.

After having cake and punch the adults left and that left the kids friends to have a bit of a celebration. I was so thrilled that they did invite their friends and that so many were able to make it on such short notice and a few more who couldn't make it for the ceremony showed up afterwards. The kids all drank, danced, laughed, smoked cigars, told stories, played cards and just helped Shiane and Chuck celebrate starting their life together as Mr. & Mrs. Ramsey.

While I have suffered some losses over the last few weeks I can sit with a smile on my face right now and see how I am blessed as well. Not only did God know that BFF Carmen would need to be here to keep me from getting into a depressive state, He knew she would need to be here to help me with planning my daughters wedding. I even told Carmen "God seems to know when we will need to be there for each other in person". God has also blessed me with a wonderful son-in-law. While I have considered Chuck my son for quite some time I can now address him as my daughters husband. 

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

3 Funerals and A Wedding...

My life the last 3 weeks has felt like something out of a movie and about the only movie I can think of to compare it to is 4 Weddings and A Funeral but in my life it has been 3 Funerals and A Wedding.

First,on September 23, was the death of a wonderful lady I had the pleasure of working with at the ICF/MR where I see clients. She had been employed at McCalls Chapel for 49 years and every resident there knew her and she knew them. It was very difficult for some of the residents, especially those that worked with everyday on the yard crew. The day after the news of her death I had to do 3 groups, one included the boys from the yard crew and it was a very emotionally draining day. During those times I always have to set my own feelings aside so I can help others cope with the feelings they are having and I don't always have time to attend to my own grief and process it. I had just started trying to process my own grief when I got news of a dear college friend of mine being involved in a motorcycle accident.

Calvin - October 1992
On September 27th I got word that my friend Calvin had been in a motorcycle accident and I being the optimist I am thought he would be fine. Later in the day I found out that he had succumbed to his injuries and was no longer with us. Calvin was one of "my boys" as I have always called them and this hit me hard. Back in the days of college there were a group of us that were close. I had 2-3 roommates and the boys were at our house all the time, especially on Sundays when I would cook dinner. Luckily I was able to go with my friend Bryant and his wife Stephanie down to Wichita Falls Texas for the funeral on October 2nd, so I didn't have to ride by myself. To be honest I don't know how I would have handled the drive back home alone. Since Calvin was a police officer in Wichita Falls there was standing room only for the services. He was laid to rest in Oklahoma City and we decided to go to the interment because we were worried about Stavie and how he was holding up. Stavie and Calvin were roommates in college and were best friends ever since then. After that we went to Calvin's mom's house and visited with the family for a few hours. I know I had a harder time dealing with the death of Calvin than Jan for many reasons and I still feel myself asking all the why's and if's that occur when we lose people we love. 

A few days after Calvin's funeral I was talking to a friend and I told her "death seems to come in 3's and I'm just waiting for the other shoe to drop". When I said that I did mean it but I was also hoping it would not be true but then....the shoe dropped.

Larry, Wendy and I in Las Vegas - Aug 2001
On October 8th I got a phone call from my friend Amy, which was odd since she knew it was the middle of the work day, and she said she had noticed I hadn't been on Facebook and I told her I had been busy. She proceeded to say "I didn't want you to open Facebook and find out about this like I did so I thought it was better that you heard this from a friend" and tells me that my friend Larry had passed away on October 6th. I was glad I was sitting down when she told me because I literally felt myself feel faint and I think I would have went down to the ground. I had tried to call Larry the previous week and he didn't answer his phone and I kept meaning to try again but something would pop up and then I would remember when it was too late to call. I first met Larry in Yahoo Chat back in 1998 and there were a group of us that loved to chat together. We moved on to Yahoo Messenger and our group dwindled down to 4...Larry, Joani, Wendy and I, and we would chat almost every night even if was just for a few minutes. We used the voice chat feature, well they did, I did the typing because I could type faster than talk. We exchanged Christmas presents a few years and I always made them ornaments. I always sent Larry cards I made and he always fawned over them. I have never known anyone who loved getting mail as much as Larry did. Anytime I went on vacation I always sent him post cards, whether it be from somewhere in the Caribbean or even just Houston Larry always knew he could be expecting a postcard. I always knew when it was the Christmas season because for the last 10 years Larry has had a loaf of Stollen sent to me from Dinkels Bakery in Chicago. It was a tradition in his family and he wanted to share that tradition with me. It meant so much to me I even did a "Stollen, not stolen" layout that was posted back in 2011. There is so much I could tell you about Larry but right now I don't think I can type anymore about the sorrows that have happened in the last few weeks. 

BFF Carmen had been planning on coming to visit in October and I just knew I needed her to visit more than ever and was hoping she would be able to make it...I needed something to distract me and keep me from sitting home alone and slumping into a depressed mood. Luckily things worked out and she let me know she would be arriving on Sunday October 11th!! We had grand plans to make our Christmas cards, make some t-shirts and other projects with the heat press and any other great crafting project we could think of...notice I said "had".

On Monday October 12th we got some news that would change any and all plans that we had....and right now I have some other things to do so I'll shall have to post that story tomorrow!

Monday, September 21, 2015

Graphic 45 Mother Goose Mini Album

One of the ladies that attend stamp club frequents Tuesday Morning and she brought 7 different sheets of the Graphic 45 Mother Goose line for us to purchase, for only $1, for the card challenge. The challenge requires that you make cards with the papers that are purchased and then bring them back the next month. It's always a lot of fun to see what everyone comes up with and instead of cards I decided to make a mini album with the sheets I purchased.

I've always wanted to try an accordion album and figured this was as good a time as any to see if I could make one. Now I could go into all kinds of details about what I did on each page but I honestly don't think anyone reads most of the stuff I type so I am just going to say the hell with it and only post the pictures.

I really love how it turned out and I think I might make a few more albums out of this line. I was lucky enough that BFF Carmen was able to get a package of all the sheets from Tuesday Morning and share with me so I have enough to do a few more albums. I'm not sure I will do accordion ones since I have a ton of acrylic and chipboard albums I can use.