Life Moves On…

Posted by Kathy Torrence on Mar 29, 2007 in Crafts

I am finally able to think about my dog Maggie without bursting out into tears – but just barely.  Especially when I saw this picture my 4-year-old daughter Emily drew all by herself (I didn’t even realize she drew it until I found it on the table yesterday):

On the left is Emily WITH a dog – notice she is smiling and happy and her dog is next to her.

On the right is Emily WITHOUT a dog – there’s an “X” where the dog was and in the picture, she’s frowning and crying. 

That pretty much sums up how we all feel around here – sad with no dog.

But…life must move on, I guess.  Tomorrow is my son Matt’s second grade ‘Spring Party’ and I am the room-mom. 

 We are going to make flower and bug T-shirts using fabric paint, our thumbs and markers.  These are really easy and turn out to be adorable – plus, they hold up really well.  I made them at my daughter’s birthday party last year and I still wear mine to bed as a nightgown at least once a week! :)

Here are the sample shirts:


The top one is one the girls can make (it’s really white, not pink like the photo looks) using thumb prints to make flowers and a butterfly.  I drew in the leaves, stems and grass with a green fabric marker.  The bottom shirt is for the boys – I thought they’d prefer bugs to flowers.  I drew in the antennae, legs and stripes with a black fabric marker.

I also made up some gifts for the teachers.  These are not my original idea (I saw them on SCS and am not sure who is the originator) but they are so cute and easy to make:

The ingredients in the jar bake up to be a s’mores type dessert, but in Easter colors.

In the jar (layered from the bottom up) are graham cracker crumbs (one sleeve, crushed), 8 Peep bunnies, 1 1/2 cups of Easter M&M’s and 1/3 cup brown sugar.  These fit nicely in a quart-sized canning jar. 

The instructions to bake are as follows:   Empty the jar contents into a bowl. Snip the bunnies into bits with kitchen sheers or cut up with a knife. Return the bunny bits to the mixture and mix well. Melt ½ cup butter, add 1 tsp vanilla. Pour this over the dry ingredients, mixing well. Pat into a greased 8×8 baking dish. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes. Cool and cut into bars.
*Option: leave the bunnies whole; combine remaining ingredients and place the bunnies on top; then bake as directed.

I printed out the recipe and attached it to the jars with a pretty ribbon.  I also added a little stamped and embossed Easter greeting to the lid of each jar – I made 7 jars altogether.  I thought I had enough supplies to make more jars, but the M&M’s go really fast  – I could only get about 2 jars from each bag.

Hopefully, the teachers will like the jars and the kids will enjoy their T-shirts too.


Good Night, Sweet Maggie Mae…

Posted by Kathy Torrence on Mar 27, 2007 in Uncategorized


This post is dedicated to the “best dog ever in the deep blue sea”  as my son Andrew always called her.

Maggie is on her way to doggie heaven tonight where she’ll get all the bones she wants, will go on a walk each and every day and will forever be able to hold her head out the car window while the wind flaps her ears in the breeze.

Love you, Maggie…


Stamping Therapy

Posted by Kathy Torrence on Mar 26, 2007 in Uncategorized

It’s been a tough couple of days around here – my dog Maggie is very sick and had to be taken to the emergency vet last night. They are not sure exactly what’s wrong, but she has a high fever, is unable to walk and is having seizures.

She’s still at the vet today – I had to transport her from the ER vet to our regular vet this morning where they are trying to keep her comfortable and figure out exactly what’s going on. The house seems very empty without her.

We’re not sure if she’ll recover or not and I’ve been very upset. She’s my sidekick and co-pilot – I take her everywhere with me. She has her own dog bed in the back of my truck and comes along to take the kids to school, run my errands and pick the kids up again. Just the other day, I was able to open up the car window for the first time of the season and she was right there, sticking her head out the window, tongue and ears flapping in the wind – such a happy dog. She always goes camping with us and absolutely LOVES it – she is a great hiker and joins us every night by the campfire, eating all the marshmallows that end up too charred for the kids to eat.

So what have I been doing for therapy? Stamping, of course. I’ve been hiding out in my craft room doing several different projects so that I don’t just sit here and think about the situation. If you’ve never tried stamping as therapy, I highly recommend it – I first got really into stamping and scrapbooking right after 9/11 – it helped to give me something on which to focus.

Here’s a photo I took of Maggie just last week – sleeping under the table – her usual spot while we’re at the dinner table.

And another of Maggie and Emily while we were camping in Hershey, PA last summer. In this photo, you can see Maggie actually smiling (if dogs are able to smile).

Maggie and Emily

Hopefully, she’ll be okay, but it doesn’t look good right now…


Have I Mentioned That I Love What I Do?

Posted by Kathy Torrence on Mar 24, 2007 in Uncategorized

I spent most of the day yesterday stamping samples for Take Ten magazine – they requested more submissions using several techniques on other samples I sent them a few weeks ago.

I’m not going to post photos of them here right now (just in case there’s any publishing conflict), but I am SO happy with how they came out! 

I realized as I was working on them that THIS is what I enjoy doing!  Give me some request for a specific color combination, technique, stamp set or accessory and I have so much fun just sitting down and creating something new.  I really think I would enjoy being on a design team for that very reason.  Now just to convince some team to take me on… :)


Stamp Club No-Show!

Posted by Kathy Torrence on Mar 22, 2007 in Cards, Crafts

One of my stamp clubs was scheduled to have a meeting tonight – it was already re-scheduled once because of bad weather. But it’s 8:30 and no one is here (it was supposed to start at 7:00). Hmmm…I’m thinking that no one is coming tonight – I’m like the girl who throws a party and no one shows up! :(

No really – it’s okay. I managed to get a lot done in the hour I was sitting here waiting for someone (anyone!) to show up.

I’m scheduled to do a workshop on Saturday for a friend of mine, so I used the time to set up the make-and-takes.

We’ll be making an Easter card with the Never Ending Joy stamp set:

And a cute sticky-note holder:

These are SO easy to make! You start with a clear acrylic photo frame – this one is magnetic, but you can also use the kind that sits on your desk – and insert a piece of patterned paper or cardstock in whatever design you’d like. Then stick the sticky-notes right on the frame and hang it on your fridge. When the sticky-notes run out, just add another pad.

Then we’ll also make a matching beaded pen:

These are easy too – you just stamp an address label and wrap it around the pen. Then cut a piece of double-stick tape to size and add it on top. Roll the pen in some micro-beads and voila – you have a pretty pen to match the sticky-note holder. I also added a little tag to the lid (you can never over-embellish, right?).

So now I’m ready for the workshop on Saturday! Plus, my house is clean (well…the downstairs, anyway) – I pretty much only run my vacuum cleaner right before a stamp club or stamp camp. It’s so bad that when my four-year-old daughter sees the vacuum coming out of the closet, she says, “Mommy, are you having a stamp class tonight?”. And she’s usually right! Luckily for my family, I usually have a stamp club or stamp camp twice a week, on average, so the floors never get TOO bad. :)

I spent the rest of today finishing up my entries for the Stampin’ Up! Artisan Award. I may not win (I’m sure I won’t – see – there’s that enormous amount of self-confidence again), but I’m pretty happy with the stuff I made. I put a lot of time and effort into the projects – so much so that my husband said I shouldn’t send them in after I put so much into them.

To tell you the truth, I’m so tired of looking at these projects, I’m happy to send them out the door! They were a LOT of work, but I had fun doing them. Though I will still be glad to see them go out of my house and to the post office tomorrow….


Stamping, Stamping and More Stamping!

Posted by Kathy Torrence on Mar 20, 2007 in Uncategorized

If you could see how inky my hands are right now, you’d know what I’ve been doing all day – stamping!

I’m trying to get together some pieces to enter into Stampin’ Up!’s Artisan Award contest. I realize that I have no chance of actually winning, but I’m having fun creating anyway. I can’t post photos of my creations here, but I’m sure I’ll be able to show them to you once the contest is over (and I don’t win!).

For the contest, we have to create two 3-D projects (done!), three scrapbook layouts (done!) and 5 cards (not even started). But now I know what I’ll be doing tomorrow – more stamping!


Just Having One of Those Days…

Posted by Kathy Torrence on Mar 19, 2007 in Uncategorized

Did you every just have one of those days where you doubted yourself and your abilities? I had one of those days today.

Don’t know why, but I get into these funks every once in a while. I just feel like I’m kidding myself by thinking I have some sort of artistic talent. I look at my most recent work and I just don’t think it’s that good – everyone else’s just looks so much better than mine lately.

Now this may come as a shock to those of you who know me (said with extreme sarcasm), but I have very little self-confidence – it doesn’t take much to shake me up sometimes.

So…instead of working on any new projects today, I spent the afternoon cataloging all of my non-Stampin’ Up! stamps. I’ve been really bad about that for the last year or so.

I’ve been keeping up with my SU! stamps, though – stamping each set on a sheet of paper once the set arrives. Then I note the name of the set, which catalog it was in and the price of the set. I punch holes in the sheet and put it into a 3-ring binder in alphabetical order by the name of the set. As they retire, I also note that on the page.

So today I went through each of my single stamps (made by other companies) and put them into categories by subject (Christmas, floral, sentiments, etc). Then I stamped them according to category and filed them in the binder. This way, I can see all the images I have to choose from when I’m making a project.

I found a few stamps I forgot I even had – it’s easy to do that once they’re all put away.

I hope I feel better tomorrow…looking at all my stamps today should help to inspire me. I hope so – I have quite a few projects on my to-do list…


Happy St. Patty’s Day!

Posted by Kathy Torrence on Mar 17, 2007 in Cards

Top o’ the mornin’ to ya! Well – that’s about as Irish as I get, I’m afraid!

Mike and I went to a great St. Patrick’s Day party last night and I’m still trying to recover this morning – I’m not used to staying up so late! Lots of great food and good friends – a really fun evening!

What with it being almost spring and all, you would think that it would be nice and warm today here in NJ – hmmm…let’s take a look outside at lovely Pitman today…

Yeah, looks real warm and cozy, doesn’t it? But really – spring WILL be here soon, right?

I have my Scrapbooking Ministry Crop today – I doubt that we’ll have a very good turnout with weather like this. I’ll be speaking about ‘peace’ today and sharing my peaceful pages (see previous post).


If you will be attending my Kid’s Birthday Card Stamp-A-Stack on Monday, 3/19 and do NOT want to see what the cards will look like, read no further on this post!!!!!

(I’ve had a few complaints that some of my attendees like the element of surprise…)

On Monday night, I am holding a Stamp-A-Stack where we are only making birthday cards for children. I had many requests for this idea – nothing’s worse than having to run out at noon on a Saturday morning to pick up a birthday card for the party that starts at 12:30 because you forgot all about it!

Here are the cards I designed – cute and simple! I tried to do a mix of boy’s and girl’s cards – for the card in the last photo, they’ll have a choice of the frog or the flowers – same layout, different stamps.

There are 5 cards – we’ll make 2 of each design for a total of 10 cards. I’m also including envelopes to fit the cards. I tried to use some different sized cards this time (square, etc) – I’m getting bored with the same old 5 1/2 by 4 1/4….



Kid’s cards are so much fun!  I could have done at least another 5 designs for this Stamp-A-Stack if I had time.  I actually had a difficult time narrowing down the stamps sets and colors to use!  I wanted to do one with Wild About You, Totally Cool and Lively Little Ones too but I had to stop myself…

But I think that these are great, easy cards – perfect for a child’s birthday!



Velvet Frame

Posted by Kathy Torrence on Mar 15, 2007 in Crafts

Well, I had a few minutes yesterday and made at least a mock-up of a new project (this really only took about 30 minutes to make):

I took a piece of velvet and embossed it with a flower stamp. Then I wrapped it around cardboard and added some trim, some beads and a transparency pocket for a photo. It will hang from a dowel…I just need to pretty it up a little bit and keep the ends of the trim from fraying…it would also work great as a cover for an album…hmmmm…if only I had more time to play in my craft room and less laundry to do!


Cigar Game Box

Posted by Kathy Torrence on Mar 14, 2007 in Crafts

I have got to stop watching so many craft shows! Every time I see one, I just HAVE to try yet another project. Here’s my latest – I don’t even know from which show I got this idea, but I took their simple concept and expanded on it using all Stampin’ Up! stuff.

I started with a plain, wooden cigar box and rubbed it with craft ink to give it color. Then I cut small squares of patterned paper and glued them onto the top in a checkerboard pattern:

On the other side, I used the same technique to make a backgammon board:

Oh – and I added this little embellishment on the outside:

Isn’t that cute? But of course, I couldn’t stop there – I had to add some game pieces.

First, I lined the inside of the box with paper and made two small envelopes to hold the pieces:

I figured that the checkers and backgammon pieces can be the same and the chess set needed different pieces.

Here are all the pieces:

For the checkers, I used small circles of patterned paper covered with layers of Crystal Effects and a little glitter.

For the chess pieces, I stamped letters representing each piece onto cardstock, then punched them out and embossed them.

I also added a little closure on the back of the envelope with some circles and thread.

Here are the pieces up close:

I added a Stampin’ Dimensional to the chess pieces to give them a little more substance.

I had fun doing this project – but it was a LOT of work!

Now I’m off to try my next project – this one involves velvet, fancy trim and photos…

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