Thursday, November 27, 2014

Throwback Thanksgiving

Look at that black and white suit dress.
mmmmm... 1989
For my whole life, Thanksgiving was at my Grandma Hord's in  Ohio. 
It was always my favorite time of the year: food, family and guaranteed BFF time. 
Rea and I could tell you at any time of the year how many days there were until Thanksgiving; it was OUR holiday.
Going to college in Florida meant that i would miss it for the first time. 
I couldn't even imagine what Thanksgiving could be without all of my traditions.
Luckily, my other grandparents were at their winter place just a little over an hour away.
My Grandma Craig knew i was having a tough time and gave me the cutest Thanksgiving pin: a cartoon turkey and monk advises us to Count Your Blessings. 
It made me smile and somehow everything was okay.
I have worn it every Thanksgiving since then, putting it on today for the 25th time.  

Saturday, November 15, 2014

he's almost100 for goodness' sake

Welcome to another tale from The Suburban Jungle Book by Nikyard Hipling.
The average lifespan of a golden retriever is 11 years.

Max is 14.


He has passed puppy, juvenile, dog and senior citizen, but he is still friendly and alert.
And not above trying to steal some of his sister's food.
Unbelievably, he is also still pretty spry.
Well. okay, spry might be reaching, but still pretty darn mobile for a nonagenarian.

Max has plenty of energy to continue practicing his hobbies of napping, pawing the carpet, napping, licking any exposed human skin he can find and napping.
Max in his favorite bed on the left and his other favorite bed on the right
Though not a big fan of steps, he can still get up and down them by himself. It might take a try or two so i always make sure that he has made it off of the porch before i close the backdoor.
One nice weather day i stayed outside to enjoy some fresh air and make a little vitamin D myself when i heard a crazy rustling sound.

Max was stretched out in the yard, paws in the air, rolling around like a puppy.
He squiggled and turned every which way with obvious joy.
There was pawwing and flailing and growling -the happy kind- and some quiet barks that were the closest things to a yip that a dog that size can make.
Sure, he flopped over tired and panting every once and a while, but he'd lay still for a few seconds, resting, sniffing the ground and then launch his paws back into the air for another round.

I have sat Max and his sister Zoe many times, but i will never forget the first time he completely shocked me with his energetic love of the outside.
Since then i have seen him shamble through the kitchen and stumble down the stairs only to run strong and graceful around the yard.
I guess no matter how old you are or how weak or tired, there is still joy to be found in the simple pleasure of rolling around in the sunshine.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

it all started with "sparkle"

It is not a secret that i love sparkles.
Everything is better with sparkles.
I love things that sparkle.
Everything could use some sparkle.
Except maybe greeting cards.
How could I -owner of more glitter than Michael's, wearer of vintage rhinestones, wrangler of sparkle ponies, for Pete's sake- possibly say such a thing?
Well, i don't mean actual sparkles, but the word sparkle.

Suzanne and i were working in her studio late one night: me on cards for the store and her on a class design. 
Good Greetings by Stampin' Up!

Having just earned a new limited edition stamp set of fun words in a loopy script she was trying to use it on the cards for her Christmas class. 
Every single design, prototype or idea ended with her asking me,
  How about sparkle? Could we use sparkle on this? 
It quickly dissolved into fits of cackling. 
I mean, all the other words are useful, but sparkle?
We realized there was no card that was appropriate as she branched out and started suggesting the sparkle stamp for every card i was working on: 
-birthday card? SPARKLE
-thank you card? SPARKLE
-sympathy card? SPARKLE
Just stop yourself.

Though sparkles are fantastic, the word isn't particularly useful as a sentiment. In fact, I told Suzanne that i wasn't sure that any card could ever be made that suitably used the sparkle stamp.
Fast forward a week to the class she had been designing. 
Sitting in on it, but not doing the projects, i decided to make Suzanne a sparkle card. 
I freaking love sparkles; certainly i could figure out something.
I wanted something simple that really highlighted the sparkle so i went with only one color, a stylized star and some actual sparkles:

Then i did a second version that didn't have the glitter,

but had sparkle lightly water marked all over the background.

From that night sprung the studio challenges. Suzanne would pick random items -often non-matching items- that I would have to use in a card design. 
Look for more posts featuring the results of these challenges. 
As with many things in the Nikiverse, the challenges started with sparkle.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

3rd Annual Browse and Buy

For the third year in a row i will be participating in Objects Found's Browse and Buy at the Catonsville Historical Society.
NikCo will be on-site with Quirkees, plus there will be a LOT of quality arts and crafts materials for sale uber-cheap.
Yes, there will be glitter and sequins for sale.
This weekend i will be there Friday, Saturday and Sunday, 10am-4pm.
Stop by and say HI!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

please don't ask again

It is a well known fact that i have a serious aversion to facial hair.
I believe it makes most guys less attractive (i do concede that there gentlemen who are enhanced by it, but only if it is well groomed).
And i really can't even explain how much i dislike the on going pop culture "let's put a mustache on everything to make ironically cool" movement. It is so ubiquitous that it has even made it into the Oriental Trading Co. catalog.
UGH! Stop it already! 
Anyhoo, late into the night/early into the morning last night, my friend Suzanne and I took a break from sorting and packing her studio to give each other some card-making challenges.
[more on that fun activity later]
She thought it would be hilarious to give me a piece of equipment that makes die cut mustaches, which according to the rules of the challenge i HAD to use.
Yeahhhhh... hilarious.
As i was designing, cutting, and crimping the stupid things she kept taunting me that the theme for the next retreat would be mustaches and that we'd all be wearing them and using them in projects.
People, here is a Public Service Announcement for you: taunting Niki is a bit like poking a sleeping bear - it might sound fun to some, but you never know what you're gonna get.
Last night, she got lucky.
Knowing it would make her laugh, i put on one of the 'staches while she was working on her own challenge. Indeed, there was a hearty chuckle and she said that if she could take a picture of me, no mustaches would appear at the next retreat. Therefore,
Why me, Lord?
Black hipster mustache.
BAH!       Cliched.        Hate it for reals.
Just this once, Suzanne.

Mixed up Love by Stampin' Up!

In case you were wondering, my challenge was to use green, orange and grey ink, the mustache framelit and this stamp set to make a card.

Here is my result: