Sunday, May 31, 2009

Windows Live Writer – Basic Tutorial

I {heart} Windows Live Writer. It makes my blogging life MO BETTAH. Jeanne Tomshack introduced it to me a while back and I have not used the online blogger interface to blog since. I had so many trouble with Blogger eating my photos and not publishing when it was supposed to, etc…. Blogger was also very cumbersome to compose posts in. Now, don’t get me wrong. I still use Blogger to host my blog and still have to log in to my Blogger dashboard to make the overall layout changes, etc., but I make the actual posts in Windows Live Writer (WLW).

I thought I’d show you a very basic photo tutorial on using it. So here we go.

WLW is a WYSIWYG program… “what you see is what you get”. There’s no guessing about how your text is going to appear or whether or not your photos are going to line up properly in your post. You can type up posts ahead of time if you’re going on vacation or won’t be near a computer but still want to share on your blog. WLV’s scheduling feature works GREAT!

The first thing you need to do is download Windows Live Writer HERE. You will need a Windows Live account (also can be a hotmail user account or MSN account… all the same company). Windows Live Writer is FREE. {Hallelujah!}

Once you’ve downloaded WLW it will prompt you to set up your user account info and password for your blog. Don’t worry, it only uses it to access your blog to upload and publish your posts.

Here are some photos for using WLW. I printed my screen while publishing a recent post. Click on the photos to view larger. They should open in a separate window.

Getting StartedWLVStep1Web

Inserting PhotosWLVPhotosWebWLVPHotos2Web

Linking TextWLVTextLinksWeb

Inserting a Photo Album
WLVPhotoAlbumsWeb WLVPHotoAlbum2Web

Scheduling a Publish Date WLVPublishWeb

{{edited: I just realized I'd abbreviated WLV instead of WLW.... I must have been thinking . Windows Live Vriter.... ooops!!! ROFL! It's been corrected...}}

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Faux-crylic Flowers Tutorial

I have had a few emails asking some specifics about the recent “faux acrylic/plastic” flowers that I’ve had on the last several posts.   I thought I would show you how I made them and hopefully ya’ll aren’t sick of them yet. LOL! 

This is a really easy process and you don’t need anything special… I think most crafters have a heat gun and embossing powder… and I KNOW you all have stamps! :) This is also a great project for using up those odds n ends paper scraps or papers you thought you loved but now can’t seem to figure out what to use them on….


Supplies Needed:
* Embossing Powder
* Versamark Ink
* Heat Gun
* Scissors
*Chunky Floral Image – CTMH Rustic Flowers
* Something like a pencil to roll your petals on
* Patterned Paper – Basic Grey

Step 1:
*  Load up stamp with versamark ink.  Stamp firmly and evenly onto paper.


Step 2:
* Sprinkle generously with clear embossing powder, tap off excess.


Step 3:
* Heat with heat gun and melt all powder.


Step 4:
* Cut out shape around embossed image.


Step 5:
* Curl edges around a pencil or other small round object.


Step 6:
* Scrunch the center and press petals forward.




Inky Smiles!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Thoughts for Thursday: Music - Symphony & Schmidt

Music has always touched my soul. I played trumpet & baritone junior high through high school and trumpet in college. There's something about playing in a concert band that just gets you right in your heart. I don't know if it's the feeling of being a small part of something so big and beautiful, the exhilarating feeling of playing powerful music, or the lack of oxygen in your brain because you've blown all your air into your instrument. I guess it doesn't matter what it really is as long as the music touches your soul and makes you feel amazing.

Symphony: Remember when Brent and I went to the symphony back in January? We went to "see" Vivaldi's "The Four Seasons". While we were there the Symphony Guild was having a raffle ($5 per ticket) for a really cool cruise vacation. B and I thought we'd try and bought one ticket. A few weeks ago we got a phone call from the Symphony Guild lady. No, we did not win the cruise vacation (darn), but we DID win a pair of Season Tickets to the Utah Symphony - 18 performances!!!! WAHOOOO! We've been perusing the schedule and trying to decide which performances we'd like to attend. We have reserved seats on Saturday nights! How cool is that? Date nights on the Symphony! :) hehe! We're both a little stoked. I am glad that my sweet, hottie hubby enjoys music as much as I do.

(EDITED ) Schmidt: I was perusing some new tunes to add to my playlist in iTunes (to be played on Brent's iPod classic) this morning (checking out YouTube first) and came across this FABULOUS piece by Jon Schmidt and cellist Steven Sharp Nelson. Jon's an incredible pianist and Steven... wow... now I want to play the cello! (Seriously.. I'm going to see how much to rent a cello and try it out!) Jon plays classical, modern, and makes his own amazing mixes of classical and modern. I just checked his show calendar and he's going to be in a town just north of us in July... and tickets are only $10!! I might just have to buy a pair!

Close your eyes, lean back in your comfy chair and relax for the next several minutes.... Love Story by Taylor Swift meets Viva la Vida by Cold Play:

Did that not LIFT your spirits or what? WOW. Simply AMAZING!!

Do you love music? Why or why not? What music inspires you?


I'm back from Iowa. It was a FABULOUS trip. I need to pull my photos off my camera card and share some of the fun! I got to meet Jeanne Tomshack on the way home because we decided to come back through Colorado instead of Wyoming. It was AWESOME!

I've got a busy few days, but I will be back crafting and sharing asap. :) I've had a few requests to show how I made the flowers for my luminary and recent card posts, so I will be doing that very soon. I worked a super long day yesterday and am going back in to finish up month's end accounting and get the rest of the monthly invoicing done. Argh! (It's only money, right? Nevermind that I have things I'd rather do besides work! hehehe!)

Our veggies that we started from seed in the house are not as big as we'd like them to be for putting out in our garden, so today I'm off in search of larger tomatoes and bell peppers, maybe some cucumbers. I will share photos of the garden, too. We're trying some new stuff this year, onions and garlic!

I will also be picking up some annual flowers to plant in the tree rings in the front yard and fill in some places in the back yard. My patio pots are loooking AMAZING! I planted them before I left... no flowers on them, just beautiful healthy green plants and now they are blooming like mad!

Anyway... I've got to go get ready to go pick up my friend, Trish, and head out for the afternoon. I've got a TFT to share and it's coming up right after this post!

Inky Smiles!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Watercolor Irises

{scheduled post}
{you must download windows live writer}
{it will make your blogging life mo bettah}
{i promise}

I needed a simple and quick card to send to my friend, Kathi, with a packet of goodies for a challenge that we’re going to be doing here on the blog in June.   I’m not good at keeping “ready made – ready to go” cards on hand… I should really get better at it.  {I think I do mo bettah at actually creating if I HAVE to create something… still working on Jeanne’s advice to “create just to create”}   So anyway… needed a quickie card to send with the goodies and sat down to play.  I have a little envelope of pre stamped images that I received from the swap I did ages ago with Wendy Tunison. 

This little stamped gem has stood out since I got the bunch of images back…  I LOVE the image, nice rich, black lines, AND it was stamped on this really amazing textured paper.  It feels like the portrait paper you have professional pictures printed on… kind of like a canvas…. kind of like watercolor paper. {You can kinda see it in the second photo if you click and squint.. lol!}   I colored the image with some water color pencils and blended with odorless mineral spirits and blending stumps.  I love the simple richness of it.

Hope you have a MARVELOUS Memorial Day Weekend.  We’ll be “on the road again” driving back to Utah… See ya again soon!

Inky Smiles!


DCWV Luxury CS
Archivers CS
Misc Stamped Image
Misc Grosgrain ribbon
Misc Watercolor Pencils (SU &/or CTMH – they live in the same bucket)
Odorless Mineral Spirits (raided B’s shop again)
We R Memory Keepers Brads
We R Cropodile

Friday, May 22, 2009


{scheduled post}
{did i tell u that i heart windows live writer?}

So while I was cleaning up my studio before the Iowa trip {and waiting for Brent to get off work so we could finally LEAVE}, I decided not to save my scraps and odds & ends. {More items to find homes for…. ugh!}

I had this cool “Enjoy” stamp from Heidi Grace that I picked up in the Hot Spot bin area at Archivers about a hundred years ago and still hadn’t used.  It was calling, nay, screaming my name from my "odd stamps bin” in the bookshelf…  “ERIN, USE ME, INK ME, MAKE ME YOURS”  What can I say?  I succumbed to stamp pressure.

The result was a fun little card that I made for a friend who just had a birthday {yes, it’s belated} and also had an offer accepted for their first house!  I am soooo stoked for Amaryllis and her family!  They’ve been kicking butt on getting things in order and saving for their house for the last year or so.


…and ENJOY!!!!

Inky Smiles!



Archivers cardstock
Gina K LUXURY white CS
CTMH Chocolate CS
Heidi Swapp stamp
CTMH Blush ink
Glue pen
Doodlebug Glitter
Martha Stewart Lattice border punch
Cuttlebug embossing folder (grass of some sort… lol!)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


{scheduled post}
{i heart windows live writer}
{amen & hallelujah}

Here’s a fun little card that I made with a leftover flower and extra piece of scalloped mat paper for a friend.  I ‘ve decided that I have to just sit down and create… my friend, Jeanne, told me that not every piece needs to be a “masterpiece”… “JUST CREATE!!!”  LOL!  And you know what, she’s right….  sometimes we just gotta sit down and create for the sake of creating.  So here’s one for you Jeanne!!

I just CREATED.  

So there, HA!



Nestabilities classic oval & scalloped oval
White gel pen
Archiver’s CS (love the free cs coupons)
Basic Grey Urban Prairie paper pack
Papertrey Ink ribbon
Martha Stewart border punch
Gina K Designs LUXURY cardstock… lol (it really is awesome)
CTMH Delight in Everything stamp set
StazOn Timber Brown ink (and I need the refill soooo bad)
Score Pal

So many tools, such a tiny card.  Yikes!

Hope you’re having a DELIGHTful week!

Inky Smiles!!

Monday, May 18, 2009


Hey, so I scheduled this post before I left… let’s hope the other two actually work, too! LOL!

A while back, Tresa Black gave me an award for my blog….


and I failed to follow through on passing it along…

so I think now’s a perfect time, eh?

So without further adieu….  I nominate the following folks…  for various reasons…. because they are BRILLIANTE in my books!  Stop by their blogs, check out their brilliant works of art and give them a shout!

Kathi Carlson

Barbara W.

Michelle Durheim

Karyn Campbell

Stacey Flores

Sparkle Smith

Rachelle Funk

Stacey aka “Stace”

The official rules are to tag 7 people and then they tag 7 people.  Some folks don’t like to play the tagging game, but I think it’s fun sometimes… so if you’d like to play along, go ahead and nominate more ppl on your blogs!

Have a happy day! Inky Smiles!


Friday, May 15, 2009

On The Road Again….

.......I just can't wait to get on the road again..... da da da daaaa daaa... something, something... I can't remember the words, but I just can't wait to get on the road again.......

I'm checking out for about a week.


(In order to be fair, I must admit that I am 99.9 100% sure that the sign has been poorly altered. See the seam? LOL!!)

We're headed to Iowa today to visit my parents, sibs, nieces, and nephews... Yah, I'm the "lone wolf", the "black sheep" who moved to Utah for school, and STAYED here.

I love Iowa… it’s choc full of cornfields, rivers, and open spaces…. as far as the eye can see. That’s the problem… as far as the eye can see. Is there something that is opposite of claustrophobic? If so, that applies to me and Iowa.


Rock in the Field 52

There is no end to what you see… it just goes on and on and on… (which might be ok for some folks, but I like my mountains…)

The other problem is the summer humidity. Too bad I can’t show you a photo of that. If you’ve never experienced that kind of humidity… imagine a steam sauna and no breeze…. and then add the ‘squitos… ick. In the thick of it all you may as well not bother drying off after a shower, just pull your clean clothes on and head out. And hair? HA!

I do enjoy going to Iowa to visit my folks… but I like to do it in May/early June and in the fall. Iowa is absolutely gorgeous… (Don’t get me wrong, I love Iowa, too, I just don’t think I could live there full time…. :P) There’s all kinds of neat places to go see & do: The Living History Farms, The Iowa State Fair (awesome!!), JOhn Wayne’s Birthplace, The Bridges of Madison County (ok, kinda boring), LOADS of lakes, The Amana Colonies… all sorts of neat things… and then there’s the shopping. My ‘rents live smack in the middle several cities meeting each other… and literally across the street from GOBS OF SHOPPING. And then there’s that way stinkin’ delicious CORN.. Nothing beats good Iowa sweet corn!

And they have a beautiful State Capitol building.


But then there’s Utah.

I love Utah.

I love the mountains, the lakes, the forests, the deserts. We live smack in the middle of a mountain desert area. I can drive 5 hours to Las Vegas (for the shows and rides), 6 hours to Yellowstone, 2 hours to Zion National Park, 4 hours to Arches National Park, 6 hours to the Grand Canyon, 8 hours to Denver, 8 hours to California (10 to Disneyland), etc, etc, etc. And if I could ski…… 40 minutes away from world class ski resorts….. we have the BEST SNOW ON EARTH.

utah-cedar-city utah-moab



I literally live at the base of the mountains. The views here are amazing. The mountains behind my home and to the south of us are incredible. We can drive 5 minutes to the mouth of the canyon for a gorgeous mountain canyon drive (Payson Canyon, Nebo Loop)….

Mt Nebo

Gotta stop at the Daley Freez first to pick up the world’s best Lime Freezes…..


JonesRanch05 day_use maplelake MapleBench


I will spare you winter photos… I’m finally warming up and I am so stoked for summer!

So enjoy your week/weekend. I might pop online with a couple of photos of having fun with family…. I’m praying for decent weather…. you know, no tornados or other maladies…. lol! (Not quite tornado season, but you never know… )

Inky Smiles!



I am not from IA... grew up an Army Brat... Dad retired from El Paso, TX and IA was just where he was when he retired from his last civilian job. Also, non of the pics were taken by me. I snagged them from the web (google images) this am when posting.

PPS... We have a beautiful (and newly remodeled & nestled up high on a mountain side) state capitol, too!

Monday, May 11, 2009

What’s This – A Bouquet of Flowers!

I joined Curves almost a month ago. I finally decided that I needed to something about all this extra hamburger I’ve been packing around for years. PCOS and all the many years of infertility drugs have done a number on me… UGH! Went by Curves to “check it out”…. did you know they make you stand on a SCALE and MEASURE you during an assessment before you even sign up??? MY LANDS! The nice little old lady had me kick off my shoes and stand on the scale…. which was followed by a string of obscenities a few naughty undermybreath words and a swift kick to the scale after which I departed the scale, put my shoes back on and handed over my money.

So anyway…. the first day was pure hell. I worked a little too hard and my fibromyalgia flare up points (my forearms) went BERZERK and I laid in bed in pain all night hugging a hot rice bag. The next day I got up and hauled my aching carcass back to Curves and worked out again. So much better the 2nd day and so far, so good. I feel great, haven’t lost any pounds yet, but my shirts are feeling a little looser and my body feels stronger. (Now to work on strengthening my lower back for walking endurance and less pain.)

So what does this have to do with the pretty little teaser I showed you earlier? Well, I will tell you…. Curves is big on “causes”… especially cancer. The American Cancer Society's Relay For Life is coming up in June and you can buy a plain little white sack for $5, decorate it, then hang it on their wall until the Relay For Life. During the RFL, they fill the sacks with sand and a little candle, then line them up along the course and light the candles. I have many relatives who have had cancer… but I thought I’d honor my paternal grandmother this time and make a luminary for her.

Here’s what I came up with. It was so much fun to dream up and make!! I quilled the butterfly out of hand cut cardstock. The flowers are made using BG Urban Prairie paper and CTMH Rustic Flowers Stamp Set and heat embossed & popped up with foam squares.. I hand cut each one and curled the edges. The leaves are hand cut and inked. It originally did not have leaves, but I think I like it better with… :)

Basic Grey Urban Prairie paper pack
CTMH Rustic Flowers
Clear Detail Embossing Powder + Versamark
SEI Buttons
Rhinestones & Stars
Martha Stewart Lattice Border Punch & Bubble/Dot Punch (??)
Nestabilities Large Oval and Scalloped Oval
Timber Brown StazOn
White Gel Pen
Textured White Archiver’s Cardstock
Archivers Smooth Cardstock
Aileen’s glue (for quilling)
American Crafts Foam Dots

{As always, you can click for a larger view.}


It was really difficult to get a good photo today. Here are some better close up shots.




And the back:


What is this?


Can you guess what this is? LOL! I just wanted to share a sneak peek and show ya that I have actually been crafting this week! My studio is an absolute pigsty right now… I’ve got to run some errands, but I will be back later to show you what this is!

Inky Smiles!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Studio Tour: Part 5 – It All Fits Together In This Small Space {full reveal}

So now we’ve made it through the details of how I organize and function in this space… here’s the full reveal of my creative space. I know, I know… how long have I been promising it?? {I hereby pinky swear to never promise anything on a time schedule ever again…. }

This is a wonky, odd shaped, small space that I share with the family office at the bottom of the stairs in the corner of the basement. {Ok, mostly I’ve taken over..} Here’s the “official tour”. Thank you for your patience. I hope you like it as much as I do and I hope it inspires you in some way to do something fun with your creative space, no matter what wonky size or shape you’ve got.

{You can click on the photos for a larger view. They should open up in a new window.}

{Edited: All of the details - pattern # for curtains, paint color, etc., are listed in the posts linked under "My Studio" on the left side of this blog.}

Peeking down the stairs from the first level. All the crazy colors in my house meet in this small little space… Thankfully the tin box of silk flowers breaks it up and blends all the colors together and makes it work! {Yah, I know there’s no carpet on the landing… LOL! When Brent got laid off in Jan we put the remodel finish on hold. Now that he is full time employed again we are gearing up to choose carpet for the stairs after we get back from visiting my folks.}


When you hit the bottom of the stairs and look left, I have some fun clipboards hanging on the angled wall with pics of my favorite people to keep me company.


Looking straight ahead from the stair landing is the office workstation. {I must have been jamming to tunes on winamp.. it’s up on the monitor. Today’s blogging tunes are a variety of hits from Ace of Base and the Beatles… Winamp is playing in alphabetical order this afternoon… hehe!}


And we’ll go around the room from here…

RoundRoom1 RoundRoom2Web


And that view again from the hallway into the studio….


And back around… here you can see the antique window and what I did with it. Originally I had wanted to do a “wall of E’s” all cutely decorated and altered, but as the studio re-do progressed there wasn’t a wall that really worked for just “E’s”. I thought the window was a fun place to rest some of the previously altered E’s. I’ve got to work on some more.. just gotta find some cool looking letters.


A bird’s eye view of the whole space. It’s hard to get an accurate photo of the place because of the wonky size/shape.


This is my space. I love it. I am so very grateful for a sweet husband who helped me customize it and agreed to the fru fru and fun colors in the open space. It took a long time to pull it all together. {Life happens that way sometimes… and the cleaning and purging and organizing was a bear!!} But it came together and it fits my creating style and it works for mE.

Thanks for coming along on this tour with me!

Inky Smiles & Happy Crafting!