Saturday, December 31, 2011

And That's a Wrap

The last of the weekly layouts, weeks 51 and 52.

365 photos
52 weekly layouts

priceless memories

Week 51

Week 52
Anna Aspnes Holiday Template No 1, Artsy Layered Template No 40, ArtPlay Palette Mint Winter 
Jen Allyson Newsprint Alpha 
Agnes Biro Abandoned Office 
Jenn Labre Holly Jolly Add On and Candy Cane Alpha 

(oh, and, more than 365 blog posts this year!)

Friday, December 30, 2011

The 12 Photos of Christmas

One of the 12 Days of Christmas challenges at Oscraps was to take 12 themed photos, then scrap them.  The themes and my interpretations...
  1. family - used the picture of many of us at thanksgiving (Mr AC is missing since he is taking the picture)
  2. food - has to be lasagna, always lasagna!
  3. sweets - I did a pretty good job of minimizing sweets this year (except for the massive amounts of snickerdoodles consumed at Mickey's Magical Christmas Party), but loved these faux sweets from the Silver Creek gingerbread house
  4. Christmas colors - one of my favorite trees was the Union Square tree...I think I even prefer it to the Rockefeller Center tree
  5. stockings - yup, they were hung by the chimney with care
  6. Santa - one of Dad's creations
  7. decorations - I love giant faux decorations, like these Christmas balls on the Embarcadero
  8. tree - this is our little tree with its pretty lights
  9. snow - I did not see any real snow this year, but thoroughly enjoyed the faux snow at Mickey's party
  10. holiday lights - I learned to take bokeh pictures!
  11. wreaths - MJU suggested hanging our little wreath on the front gate
  12. candles - lit for our first Christmas dinner on the 17th
And here it all is, crammed onto one page!

O Christmas 12 Photos 
Credits: Maya de Groot Design's Santangles and Christmoose

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Granny Square Christmas Stockings

Yes, Allen, I did make some of the granny square Christmas tree stockings.  Thanks for the pattern, it was perfect (only I made 2 stitches at the heel to round the corner).

This was a great project for the plane ride.
I just grabbed some scraps of red, cream and green yarn, my g hook and even found my plane-approved cutter, which I believe got left with Ms. AC's sweater project, and stuffed this all in a cosmetic bag in my carry-on.

And they were perfect for embellishing gift bags.
Just wish I had had a little more time to teach the littlest crafter how to make them. Maybe next time.
Crochet Stockings

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Return to Scrappiness

It was a little hard to get restarted, with so many other things to catch up on, including sorting through hundreds of photos to find the photo of the day from each day of our 8-day trip. But restart I did, picking up my scrapping with Week 50. 
 Week 50
Credits: Anna Aspnes FotoBlenz Template No 11, ArtPlay Palette Special One

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Rewards of Craftiness

I loved every crafty minute of making these gnome and owl arigurumi for Molly and Lily, but the rewards of seeing them loved by the recipients... well, priceless!

Monday, December 26, 2011

A New York Moment

With every visit, there is always the question, do we want to go into New York?  Of course the answer is "yes", but then we don't always make it.  We almost didn't make it this year...we were too tired and it was too cold on Christmas Eve.

But, since we had to drive to JFK to fly out yesterday anyway, it was not too much effort to get out early and stop on the way.

And I am so glad we did.  I got so many wonderful photos!

The screen at Times Square...

Times Square Screen

How many pictures we took or tried to take, in front of the giant faux lights! Giant Lights 1
Giant Lights 4

Then there were the giant ornaments...I love it when objects are blown up to giant size!
Giant Bulbs

It was super windy, but very clear, making for beautiful flapping flags in the wind!

Then there were the somewhat cheesy characters dressed up for photos and a handout (note the bag...yes, I did contribute, what the heck, it's Christmas, and you have to admire the fact that a crass commercialism service was being offered.  Note there was also a Minnie and Mickey Mouse, but they were not the real deal, so I passed).
Sponge Bob

I love this photo of the shoe wreath at 9 West...I didn't even realize the Radio City marquee was in the reflection!
Shoe Wreath

Ah, the tree at Rockefeller Center!  Wish we could have seen it at night, but it always feels much colder at night, and harder for me to venture out.
Rocky Center Tree

And the flags and soldiers at Rocky Center...(I love this picture for its coldness, the angle, the motion).
Rocky Center Soldier

And the statue above the rink at Rocky Center...
Rocky Center

The gothic spires of St Patrick's Cathedral...
St Patricks

The store windows...

The ostentatious Trump Tower!
Trump Tower

Love this Louis Vuitton window featuring the Pantone color of the year!
Louis Vuitton

And love this Love, hmmm, also in the Pantone color of the year...

Am I nuts, to be out in this cold windy day in my San Francisco clothes?? (Feeling did return to my feet after about a half-hour in the car).

Getting ready for New Years...
Times Square Ball

a New York moment!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

The Artsy Craftsy Basement

Before leaving the AC P's house in NJ, I made a trip down to the basement, Only in NJ, they call it the "cellar".  In the cellar is one of the Artsy Craftsy workshops, where the figures are painted, purely for the enjoyment of making them.

I know that feeling, and know where I get it from.

And when one is no longer able to do it, it is quite sad.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Tangerine Tango

Get ready for the year of the tangerine tango, for it will be everywhere, being the Pantone color of the year for 2012.

I look forward to taking many tangerine photos next year, exploring this color to the fullest!

By the way, I love my new Olympus Stylus 7040, a present from the Webers, and an upgrade from my last Olympus Stylus, which I also loved, until I broke the door to the battery and memory card compartment on the first day of our European vacation. No more risk of lost pictures, and 14 mpx of creative memories in every shot!

This picture was taken on Christmas Eve morning as the table was being set for dinner.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Cake Pops

I love to witness the creativity of others, be it the imagineers of Disney creating new lands, or two sisters creating cake pops.

From the largest ideas designed to entertain millions, to a simple act bonding two sisters, creativity and craftiness is the stuff of memories.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Castle

I would love to know whose job it is to think of things to do with the castle... what color to make it, how to light it, how to entertain with it.

Here are just a few examples of the wonder that is the imagineering of Cinderella's Castle at Disney World.

During the day, it is just plain beautiful, looming large from both near and far, and captured here as the backdrop to the wonderful Christmas parade.

At night, during the Wishes nighttime entertainment, a stupendous assortment of colors and images are projected onto the castle, bringing out squeals of delight!

And when the nighttime shows are over, there is the just-plain-beauty of lights, probably thousands of lights, creating a pink, purple and silvery fantasy!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Spaceship Earth

Always so exciting, the first glimpse of Spaceship Earth, always a must-do photo opportunity, here augmented a bit with an Instagram filter. 

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


What is it, you might ask? 
Seems like a root beer or birch beer, with a sweet creamy foam on top. It's yummy, and can only be found in the village of Hogsmead at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. 
It was a highlight of the visit to Hogsmead to taste butterbeer, and I liked it so much I had a 2nd in the afternoon at the Three Broomsticks.

Monday, December 19, 2011


Long a favorite, worth sitting for hours to see this fabulous show in which Mickey triumphs over evil!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

A Magical Night

Disney World never fails to surprise and delight! 
The castle at night was breathtakingly beautiful, in changing hues of pinks and purples.  There must have been thousands of lights making it sparkle!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Bokeh Scraps

The bokeh pictures from a week ago were perfect for this week's AnnaLift challenge at Oscraps.

I love creating art like this, no muss, no fuss.  Well, I have to admit I also loved getting out the heat gun, stamps, ink pad and embossing powder to decorate Natalie's Christmas card, but back to bokeh scraps...

AnnaLift 1216 Bokeh 

Friday, December 16, 2011

Week 49

Only 3 more weeks left in this year, as always, so hard to believe.  It will be by far the best documented year in history, at least my history.

Without further ado, week 49 scrapped.  Since this will sit alongside week 48, I used the same template, which I quite like for these weeklies, Anna Aspnes Holiday Template No 1.  Although there are 8 slots for photos, I did the same thing as I did in week 48, stretching a landscape picture across two frames.

Highlights of the week...getting some crafted projects not only done but shipped.  I decided to send the gnome arigurumi to Natalie for her birthday instead of waiting for Christmas...poor kid often gets neglected with a birthday in December (not true :-)).  The one will go to Lily, since Molly will also get a gnome.  I hope it doesn't scare her.
Two trips to San Francisco in the week, both so much fun!  On Saturday the 4th Ms AC & I went shopping and got to see the tree in Union Square against a gorgeous clear and sunny day, and on Saturday the 10th we all went up to deliver Ms AC's iPhone and went out for a super delicious dinner at Shanghai Dumplings, a recommendation from That-Sam-I-Am.

Week 49
Additional Credits: Anna Aspnes ArtPlay Palettes Retro Holiday and Sweet Christmas, Anna Aspnes Number Overlay and Magic Sprinklez No 2, Biograffiti's Itty Bitty Dates

So excited to see these weeklies printed in a book! Do hope Santa brings me some Shutterfly-bucks!!  I've been a good little scrapper, Santa!
Week 48 Week 49

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Are My Ears on Straight??

We leave in 3 days for our holiday trip.  3 days!!  I don't even want to think about what still needs to get done.  But checked off the list is my Mickey Mouse Christmas stocking cap.

I sketched this in my notebook a couple weeks ago, then sifting through some patterns, found a pattern for a baby stocking cap.  I had to adjust it, several times (rip it, rip it), but ended up with a functional and fitting cap.

For the ears, I traced the shapes onto cardboard from the cap Ms AC brought me from Disneyland several years ago, then crocheted "sleeves" around them.

When I first attached the ears, via slip stitches, they flopped!  But a few more anchor stitches higher up on the back of the ears and voila!
Mickey Ears Hat

Now there is this childhood memory song stuck in my head.  It was a 45 record and I remember playing it on my record player...I wonder if it was the same record player that later used to give me a shock when I touched the metal arm, which probably was not properly grounded.  Amazing we made it out of the 60s!

I'm a little doll who was dropped and broken
Falling off my mommy's knee
I'm a little doll who has just been mended
Now won't you tell me please.

Are My Ears On Straight, Is my nose in place
Have I got a cute expression on my face?
Are my blue eyes bright, Do I look all right?
To be taken home Christmas Day?

When I first came here, Just a month ago.
Brought in by a little girl who loved me so.
She began to cry, 'Til they told her I
Could be taken home Christmas Day.

Christmas time is drawing nearer, And I'm getting scared
Wish I could see in a mirror, How I've been repaired.
I'll be called for soon, But I'm worried so
Will she love me like she did a month ago.

Are My Ears On Straight? I can hardly wait.
To be taken home Christmas Day

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Lovely Red Twigs

When we go for walks in the neighborhood, it's hard for me to make progress sometimes, since I must stop and observe pretty and interesting things, and I must take pictures of them.

I just heard yesterday that the most popular iPhone app of the year, by far, is Instagram.  No surprise! I had Instagram envy for a long time, longing to make the wonderfully cropped and colorized photos I was seeing everywhere.  Now I can make my own.

Although I did use a filter to somewhat enhance the colors of these lovely branches, they really are quite bright coral red, especially in the light of the cloudy day.  According to the label hanging from the realtively newly planted young tree, it is a coral bark maple...a fitting name!

I look forward to seeing it branch out in the spring!

Meanwhile, I used it as the subject for an "AnnaLift".  
The challenge of artsy pages like this is to stop sticking stuff on it and declare it done.  With limited time and so many projects still to complete before Christmas, it was time that finally made me say, "ok, good enough"!

AnnaLift 1209 Twigs
Credits: All from Anna Aspnes: ArtPlay Palettes Sweet Christmas, Ablaze, Encapsulate, Retro Holiday, Find My Way 2, Sophistica, Twiggy No 1 (recolored to match the lovely branches of the coral bark tree), Winter Frames Transfers

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Merry Christmoose

A combo of the old and the new, old santas and the still-new view.  I don't know where these tacky melted plastic Santas came from, but they appear among the Christmas goods every year.  This year, I almost stuffed them back into the closet, then decided to embrace them instead, hanging them on the back fence along with the cascading lights and the view of the valley.

Unfortunately this one Santa looks right into the window where I sit and work all day and I keep getting the vaguely creepy feeling that I am being watched.

Guess I had better be nice!

This layout uses the completely adorable new Christmoose kit from Maya de Groot designs.  I LOVE that moose!  and the very clever alpha all stitched together.
This would have made a great Christmas card, that is if I were sending Christmas cards this year, which I am not.  No time, no regrets.
Hmmm, OK, this might make the perfect Christmas card for Mom & Dad...may need to print and send, today, else it will not get done...sigh.
Silver Creek Christmas

Monday, December 12, 2011

Christmas Memories

I wanted to title this story, "the red balls of Christmas", or the "giant red Christmas balls", but somehow neither of those sounded quite politically correct.  I considered "the red ornaments of Christmas", but ornaments is too long of a word to pronounce, especially in a title, and the significant part of the memory is not that they are ornaments, it is that they are round red ornaments, aka balls.  Anyway, perhaps not sufficiently creative, but it is still in the 6 am hour, and so I settled for Christmas Memories.

This picture was taken by Ms. AC somewhere along the Embarcadero, as I understand it, but it reminds me of a Christmas memory.

"I remember something about a silver Christmas tree, with only red ornaments on it.  It may have had red tinsel too.  I don’t remember there being lights on it, but it is all a pretty vague memory.
What I do remember was the red ornaments.  Nothing but round red ornaments, just like those in the picture.And I still have some of those ornaments, a legacy from the 1960’s.
It seems that perfectly round, perfectly red ornaments are quite timeless."
Created for the December web inspiration challenge at Oscraps.

Christmas Balls Web Challenge
Uses Anna Aspnes Artsy Layered Template No 40, Anna Aspnes ArtPLay Palettes Retro Holiday and Encapsulate, Anna Aspnes Magik Sprinklez No 2 and Jenn Labre's Holly Jolly Add On

Sunday, December 11, 2011

How to Quilt a Penguin

So, there is this quilt, made by a long-time client, and it has penguins on it.  "Of course I would be happy to quilt it for you," I said, honestly.

But, how does one quilt a penguin??

Thinking, thinking, thinking, and meanwhile time is running short.

"How can I help", asked Mr. AC.
"How do I quilt a penguin?", I asked, not really expecting an answer, just some sympathy.
"Let me take a look."

Really??  Well, OK.

The answer...snowflakes and feathers!
The lesson...answers may come from unexpected places!

Quilted Penguin

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Bokeh Time

There was a time when I did not know what bokeh was, and that time was not long ago!

Now, it is an integral part of the holidays!  No, not food...anyone that knows me knows that food is just not that interesting to me, but lights, and we're talking!

From our friend Wikipedia:
In photography, bokeh is the blur, or the aesthetic quality of the blur, in out-of-focus areas of an image, or "the way the lens renders out-of-focus points of light." Differences in lens aberrations and aperture shape cause some lens designs to blur the image in a way that is pleasing to the eye, while others produce blurring that is unpleasant or distracting—"good" and "bad" bokeh, respectively.Bokeh occurs for parts of the scene that lie outside the depth of field. Photographers sometimes deliberately use a shallow focus technique to create images with prominent out-of-focus regions.

Mr. AC helped me take these photos, as I do not often (ever?) take the digital SLR off automatic mode.

This first shot of our Christmas tree was taken with a higher f stop (3.6), and so we got the hexagonal shape of the aperture in the bokeh, which I happen to think looks uber-cool.

bokeh hex

Then I lowered the f stop )3.2) for this next shot, and got bokeh circles! bokeh round 

I'm excited to scrap with my bokeh, but it will have to wait for another day, for after this day of cleaning, crafts, golf and a trip to San Francisco to deliver a Christmas present to Ms AC, this artsy-craftsy gal is bokehed-out.

Friday, December 9, 2011


Whooo am I for? We'll have to wait until Santa delivers me to find out. 

Free crochet pattern instructions can be found here on the Red Heart website.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Winter Wonderland

Last weekend Mr. AC & I went to the Global Winter Wonderland in Santa Clara, in the parking lot of Great America.  It was an interesting mix of a carnival and a light parade, pretty well done, but with a definite carny slant :-)

The light structures were steel skeletal frames covered in colored silk lighted from the inside.  The silk is very saturated, making for some great color.


Although there was a Christmas theme, it featured world landmarks, including many asian and mexican landmarks, which was an interesting twist. All my favorite landmarks were well represented, including the Eiffel Tower, the Status of Liberty, the Golden Gate Bridge and the Grand Canal in Venice!

Eiffel Tower Statue of Liberty

Golden Gate Bridge Grand Canal

One of my favorite things were the trees that changed color!

Tree Lights 4 Tree Lights 3

Tree Lights 2 Tree Lights 1

The non-Christmas colors worked well for the December color challenge at Oscraps, featuring this palette of wine, pink, mauve brown (very like my current nail polish) and deep green,

which I turned into this, using the Oscraps December collab kit, Family. Winter Wonderland