Friday, April 25, 2014

Spring Refresher

I have one clock that is still set to standard time. I changed every other clock in the house for daylight savings time but not the clock in the kitchen. I mentally add one hour when I look at that clock. It’s always on the back of my mind to get out the stool and change the time, but I haven’t gotten there yet.

Our house and yard has been stuck on the back burner just like that clock. For years we’ve had projects and ideas simmering, but life got in the way. Most of our time and money went to fencing and then it went to two universities and their residence halls. (#1 is graduating this May!)

With kids out of the house, we talked about possibly moving and came to realize we had work to do if we ever decided to sell the house. And then we decided to fix up our house for us instead of for someone else.

Instead of spring cleaning, I’ve been spring repairing.

SC Lists

I went through every room and wrote down every little thing that bugged me. Having that list has been empowering because I put a big black line through every finished project.

It’s about dang time.

And the clock still reads one hour earlier than it really is, but I put that item on the list. I’ll get there eventually.

Since my crafting time has become spackling time lately, I’m expanding Suzy Cucumber to include all the other crap I hack around here. Because being handy is a craft too.



Thursday, February 13, 2014

Quick Cutting a Monogram Valentine

sc monogram valentines

What kind of Valentine do you give a 20–something? As long as it contains money or food, I don’t think it matters that much.

Since my first inclination is to craft what I need, I used my new–found Adobe Illustrator skills and quickly designed monogrammed Valentines for my kids.

SC d heart

Part of the reason I want to improve my Illustrator skills is that I can open the files in Make the Cut software and then cut out my design on my electronic cutter.

sc d mtc

I find the whole process amazing. I once cut out a huge, intricate love knot for my parents using a scalpel. My index fingertip was numb for days.

sc j mtc

It literally took me minutes to design and cut out these two flat Valentines for my kids. I popped the cutouts from the background papers with foam dots. Don’t worry kids, money is attached.

Have a wonderful Valentine’s Day!



Tuesday, February 4, 2014

A Book Lover’s Dream with a Free Printable

The bargain book sale at the library is like Christmas to a wannabe librarian.

$3 for a paper grocery bag of books culled from the shelves of five branches along with donations from citizens… oh, yes. They try to keep the shelves organized by genre, but I make my best discoveries by combing every shelf.

(I already have the schedule for this year’s sales on my calendar.)


Digital calligraphy, printing, designing, faux painting, decorating. It’s the best $3 I’ve spent all year.

Inspired by the library–ness of it all, I saved a defunct checkout card pocket and recreated it using my new Adobe Illustrator skills. I also remade a checkout card from one of the many library books I currently have checked out.

I like to loan my books, but I like getting them back even better.

The pocket and card printables are pdfs. Click on the links to download.

LINKS: Library Cards printable and Library Cards Pocket printable.
Library Card Printable   Library Card Pocket Printable

For the library cards, print and cut.

For the library card envelope or pocket, print and cut out. Score all the dashed lines. Fold up the bottom dashed line and crease. Fold in the two side tabs on the dashed lines. Fold the whole bottom up on the middle dashed line. Don’t glue the tabs shut. Glue each tab to the body of the pocket.

Glue the pocket into your book to loan with acid free glue and start your own library.

Suzy Cucumber Library cards

What kind of books would you search for at a library book sale?



Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Learning a New Skill: Illustrator

Suzy learned a new trick recently. I’ve been trying to teach her to sit up for nine and a half years. Last fall, she decided it was worth knowing how to do. I guess I switched to the right treats.

I’m sure you’ve heard the adage that it takes 10,000 hours to master a skill, but did you know it takes only 20 hours to learn a skill? My goal for January is to finally learn how to use Adobe Illustrator.

I began my study about two weeks ago with a free online Illustrator crash course. Even Art School Daughter learned a few tricks.

Illustrator Extrude Exercise    

I think I’ve finally gotten a rudimentary understanding of the pen tool. Here’s my first solo pen tool attempt.

My first freehand pen tool drawing.


So I’m up to the point where I tried to convert one of my own drawings into a vector drawing. Vector drawings are great if you need an image that can be enlarged without getting fuzzy.

Here’s my little raccoon. Her name is Pansy. Pansy needs to lay off of the pancakes, but she loves them so.


Pansy also needs a makeover. Look at all of those lines.


Time for some body work.


I added some sketchy lines and a few items for Pansy to clutch.


Look, no fuzziness when I resize!


I’m pleased with my progress so far. Everyday the controls seem less cryptic. I’m now working on the pattern for an antique quilt my husband’s grandmother owned. I had been trying to recreate the pattern in Illustrator for months without success because I didn’t know what the heck I was doing. Now, I do.

What is it you’ve always wanted to learn? It only takes 20 hours.