Saturday, December 31, 2011

Favorite Posts from 2011

I've seen a lot of these Top 10/12 posts, and I think it's a neat concept. Since I only started blogging in June, my list is a Top 7 list. I wasn't quite sure where this blogging thing was going to take me when I started, but seven months later, I'm so happy that I took the plunge. It's been a great experience. I've definitely stretched myself, and been inspired and challenged by many so many others. Thank you for stopping by, being a follower/participant on my blog and for inspiring me as well. So without further ado, here are my favorite posts from each month this past year:

JUNE



JULY



AUGUST



SEPTEMBER



OCTOBER




NOVEMBER




DECEMBER




Have a wonderful New Year's Celebration, see you next year!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

10 Things Mini Album



Here's a sneak peek at the mini album we'll be making at my workshop next month. I find that I spend most of my time crafting for challenges, or scrapping things for the girls, and very rarely make anything for Andrew.



This will be his Valentine's Day gift (which won't be a surprise since he's always hanging around the craft area, not that he could actually avoid it since it is the dining room).

It's a simple 6x6 album featuring the 10 Things stamp set as well as this month's Stamp of the Month, Little Reminder (for the numbers). I like to journal/write, so there will be journaling in my album, but you could easily make this album just listing the single word, or maybe just one sentence.

For those of you in the Northern Virginia area, I'll be holding the workshop Saturday January 21st. The cost to create the album (you need to bring your own adhesive but everything else is included) is $15, $30 if you want to purchase the 10 Things stamp set as well. AND, there's a free Spring/Summer Idea Book to everyone who attends.

Products Used:
Stamps: 10 Things, Little Reminder, Extreme Alphabet, A Typeface
Papers: Roxie Level 2 Paper Pack, Colonial White Cardstock
Ink: Black, Sorbet, Cocoa
Other: Hemp, Sponge, Cricut Art Philosophy Cartridge

Monday, December 26, 2011

The Boppy Layouts and What I got for Christmas

A belated Merry Christmas to all. Hope that you had a wonderful holiday! Ours was busy, but full of fun and family. Friday night we headed downtown to the Smithsonian National Zoo for Zoolights. The whole zoo is decorated/lit up. There's ice skating, a train, and of course animals. The girls had a great time, and we were joined by most of Andrew's family. Saturday we hosted Andrew's entire family for Christmas Eve dinner. There was a ton of good food, lots of kids, a whole lot of chaos, but a lot of fun as well. Sunday was much more subdued. We had a quite family morning, reading the Christmas story, opening stockings/gifts, a nice big breakfast, and lots of playing with toys. My parents and younger sister joined us just before lunch, and stayed until the girls went to bed.

It's been a hectic, at times stressful, loud, and crazy, but a wonderful season. I've even been able to do some scrapbooking. As promised in my last post, here are Carina's Boppy Layouts. This is an idea that I got from my friend Joe who took similar pictures of his girls each month. I wanted to try for weekly, and did this for Ellie too. I have to admit, that for Carina I wasn't as good about it. She was born on a Friday, and a bunch of these that actually got taken on Saturday/Sunday because I would forget on Friday morning. I completely forgot to take a picture Week 40 (more on that below), but I love the progression that these pictures show, not only size, but personality.






Here's a close up of one of the pages:



As for Week 40, I debated what to do, just skip it, show it, but put some text in the box about how I forgot, etc. Andrew came up with the best idea which is to take a picture of the chair with an empty boppy pillow, so that's what I've done...just need to order the print.



For all of you new or expecting parents, this is such a fun way to see your child grow. If weekly is too ambitious, try monthly is. I do think it's nice to get the same background/props so that you can more clearly see the development, but do what works for you.

NOW, onto a completely different topic. Do you want to see what I got for Christmas???? I was COMPLETELY spoiled by Andrew! Here it is:





I LOVE IT!!!!

I wanted an embossing machine, and was really thinking along the lines of a Cuttlebug, but one of my customers had been talking to me about the Vagabond (and Andrew overheard and started doing research on it), and this is what I got. Have I mentioned that I LOVE IT?!

Hope that you all had a wonderful Christmas, and that you're able to do some creating this week!

Supplies Used:
Cardstock: Creme Brulee, White Daisy
Ink: Garden Green
Stamps: Friendship Alphabet (large and small)

Friday, December 23, 2011

September Layouts



So I finally made myself sit down and get back to Carina's first year album. She turned one in September, and I've not given her album the attention it deserves of late. I should probably be cleaning my house for the big get together tomorrow night, but this is more fun.... Here are the September layouts.





I wanted to do something different with the background in this first layout. I created my own background paper (although only on half of the base) by using the center of the blue arrow outlines that I used for journaling (cut using the Cricut Art Philosphy cartridge). I used that center piece as a mask, moving it around the page, changing its orientation and sponging around it. It just adds a little more color, dimension, and interest to the page.



For the second layout I really wanted to focus on color. I must say that this cranberry paper from Creative Memories is my all time favorite red. I just love how vibrant and saturated it is. I used this past July's Stamp of the Month, American Celebration as well as Solos 1 for the stamping.



The photos on the left are from the girls' joint birthday party (their birthdays are only two and a half weeks apart, so we'll do this until they start complaining about it).



The photos on the right are from the little birthday celebration we had for Carina on her actual birthday. She's wearing a little Chinese outfit for a tradition that takes place on a child's first birthday. We put a bunch of stuff on a table that symbolizes different occupations (calculator, sewing kit, crayons, etc.) and whatever they pick up first is an indication of what they will be when they grown up. Carina went for the little maracca, so I guess we have a musicion on our hands.



I'm not quite done with the album. I still need to do the front page as well as the the Boppy layouts (which I've already started). What are the Boppy layouts? You'll see soon (fingers crossed)!

Suplies used
Calendar layout: CTMH - Pacifica, Gypsy, and White Daisy cardstock, Pacifica ink, Cocktail and A A Typeface Alphabet stamps, Cricut Art Philosphy Cartrdige; Creative Memories - Calendar pages.
Second layout: CTMH - Holiday red ink, Creative Memories - Cranberry cardstock and Sunny printed paper.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

O Christmas Tree



We've been busy, busy, busy getting ready for Christmas. This last weekend we finally got the last piece of the puzzle in terms of decor. The tree! This year we went to a local garden center to pick out our tree (thanks to a great Groupon I picked up in the fall). It was a great experience, and the girls had lots of fun walking around, checking out the beautifully decorated trees inside the garden center, and eating the free snacks they had.

Here are a few photos of our expedition.







And another shot of the fully decorated tree.



Ellie was a great help this year. Last year she put all her ornaments up in about a 2' x 2' square. This year she was very good about spreading the love around, and there was minimal readjustment after bed. ;)



There's very little left on our list to do. A few stocking stuffers to pick out, one more gift card to order, a bit of cooking/baking (and of course some cleaning - blah). I'm ALMOST starting to feel relaxed...

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Quick and Easy Tags



Despite a whirlwind of familial visitations this weekend (literally someone new has arrived since Friday, although they have also all now departed), I was able to get a quick project completed, kind of.

We're giving the girls' teachers Saltine Toffee this year. In Ellie's class there is a class gift for Christmas, but not in Carina's class, so her teachers are also getting a giftcard to Target.

I wanted to be able to easily distinguish between the two sets of teachers, so I created different tags for each class. I did use the same stamp sets for both (October's Stamp of the Month, Holiday Magic, and the sentiment from Say it In Style). Both sets of tags were cut using the Cricut Art Philosphy Cartridge (Tag #3 at 5 1/2 inches).



For Ellie's class, I used the Believe Level 2 Paper Pack. The tag base is Topiary cardstock. The green star pattern is cut to 2 7/8" by 4 1/2", finished with a corner rounder. The red ribbon was picked up from a local craft store and it actually has a pattern of snowflakes in the center. I adhered this to the patterned paper and wrapped the edges around adhering them to the back of the tag. The white cardstock for the sentiment is 1/2" x 2 7/8". For the back of the tag, I cut white cardstock the same size as the green star pattern pieces. Since Ellie is now printing, she'll be able to address/decorate those piece and then I'll adhere them to the back of the tag. I used some Maraschino twine form the Twinery and a Kraft button to finish them off.

For Carina's class I went with a very differnt color scheme. The papers are from Nikki Sivlis Scrapbooker's Gingerbread Land line, which I was lucky enough to win last week (yay!). The light blue paper on the front of the tag kind of reminded me of kid's writing paper, so I stamped the sentiment between the thin lines, and then second generation stamped some snowflakes to add a little more interest. The trees are die cuts from the Gingerbread Land collection that I sponged with chocolate ink.



The back of those tags has a pocket for the gift certificate. The pink cardstock was cut 2 7/8" x 2 7/8", and I used a trim piece from Nikki's collection to add some definition to one end while corner rounding the other. The 'to' and 'from' come from The Craft's Meow's All the Merry Best stamp set. I'll use some green/blue Twinery twine (haven't quite decided which color yet) and a Kraft button on these tags too.

These really were a quick, easy project. Now I just need to make that toffee!

If you'd like to make some toffee too, here is the recipe (so easy, and so GOOD!)

Ingredients:

* 40 saltine crackers
* 1 cup butter
* 1 cup dark brown sugar
* 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Line cookie sheet with foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray. Line cookie sheet with saltine crackers in single layer.

In a saucepan combine the sugar and the butter. Bring to a boil and boil for 3 minutes. Pour over the crackers.

Bake for 5-6 minutes, or until bubbling. Remove from oven and sprinkle chocolate chips over the top. Cool and break into pieces.

Supplies Used
Christmas Tree Tag (all CTMH unless specified): Topiary and White Daisy Cardstock, Believe Level 2 Paper Packet, Holiday Magic and Say it In Style stamp sets, Cranberry, Topiary, and Chocolate inks, Kraft Button, Cricut Art Philosphy Cartridge; The Twinery Maraschino twine, Ribbon from Michael's.
Gingerbread Gift Tag: Nikki Sivlis Gingerbread Apron and Gingerbread Love Papers, Gingerbread Border Strips and Ginberbread Love Punch outs; CTMH Tulip cardstock, Say it In Style and Holiday Magic stamp sets, Garden Green and Chocolate Inks, Cricut Art Philosphy Cartridge; The Craft's Meow All the Merry Best stamp set.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Bad, bad, blogger

I've been somewhat MIA this week, but not for lack of trying. I was working several projects at the beginning of the week, but they just weren't turning out they way I wanted to. Don't you hate that?

So, I decided that it was a sign and that I needed to force myself into some self-imposed challenge exile to take care of some other things...it's that time of year...there are just so many things going on, and while it would be great to craft away all evening, there's stuff to get done! Here's what I've been up to:

1) Finishing up our family Christmas cards. This is the first year that I actually made them (link to a photo of what folks are receiving from us), but it was fun, and I'll do it again next year. I also like to write a little note inside each, so it takes a little longer than just stuffing and addressing and mailing.

2) Working on Carina's first year album. I was convicted that I've been having so much fun with the cards, I've been neglecting this very important project. I ordered the last set of photos I need, and I'm hoping to have that wrapped up soon!

3) Shopping, I try and get most of mine done in November, but there are always those last minute items, stocking stuffers, and a few stubborn individuals for which the perfect gift takes much longer to determine.

4) A class! I was fortunate enough to win a spot in Karen Grunberg's Reclaiming my Time class at Big Picture Classes. This is the first class I have taken there, and I'm really enjoying it. So far we've done a series of exercises evaluating what we think and what we actually spend our time on. This week is a fun week, it's all about what we WANT to be spending time on. It's been a great way for me to step back and evaluate the things that I do with my time. The end result will be a mini album that documents what we've learned and goals. It's a great time of year to be taking this class, and I'm excited to start working on the actual album.

5) Planning for next year - I'm trying to put together a basic roadmap for next year in terms of workshops that I want to do. I want to get a good mix of card, scrapbooking, and even mini album workshops together.

6) Enjoying the season. It really is nice to be able to do some fun things with the kids this season (mostly Ellie since Carina doesn't quite get it yet). I got Ellie a Christmas craft activity set last year during my after Christmas shopping. I pulled it out last week, and we've been doing crafts each night after Carina goes to bed. It's lots of fun, and we have been decorating her room with her handmade creations. We also do Advent each night. She has a calendar with doors and there is a little candy treat and a sticker which goes on a Christmas scene. Then we read an entry from the Advent Storybook which I highly recommend. It's been a great time to relax and think a little about what the season means. Next week we're planning on a few outings, the National Zoo has something called Zoolights in the evenings during the Christmas season, I want to do an evening drive with the girls to look at lights, watch a few Christmas movies, stuff like that. Having the girls really helps me to be intentional about this season I think, and it really is neat to experience Christmas with little ones.

So that's what I've been up to. I should have some more projects to share next week, but while I wish I had a little more time for crafting and blogging, I'm giving myself permission to take it easy, relax, enjoy my family and friends, and contemplate the holiday. I hope that you will too. Have a wonderful weekend!

Friday, December 9, 2011

A card for many occasions/challenges: H2H, RCC32, SSD #105, Moxie Fab Trigger Tuesday


This is another one of those cards where there was a perfect storm of challenges....partially owing to the holiday season. The challenges at H2H and Ribbon Carousel both had inspiration photos which you can see below. I was inspired by the colors and the candy stripes at RCC32 and all the all ornaments an polka dots at H2H.





Moxie Fab World's Tuesday Trigger also had lots of those round metallic ornaments, and while I took my color cue from H2H and RCC, I was inspired by the lovely line of the scattered ornaments on the grounds, and tried to get some of that feel in my card.



Finally, I followed the sketch at Skipping Stones Design for the layout of the card.

This was a fun card to make. I used the Happy Clusters stamp set, which is one of my favorite. I've pulled it out on so many occasions, and the truth is I haven't even made a star/tree card using it yet. I just love all the little circle elements that are included.

For the little green squares, I used three of the larger circles, random stamped them onto the cardstock using Topiary ink, and then mounted them on two larger squares of Topiary cardstock.

The piece with the sentiment is a little trickier. It's NOT die cut (hope for all of you who don't have a machine yet). The 'Merry' was hand drawn and then cut out using my CTMH cutting knife--a great cutting knife that gives you tons of control. If you don't like your writing or don't think you can do it, not to worry. A simple solution is to use alphabet stickers. Just adhere them to the cardstock, and then cut them out in the same fashion. You could also trace a dimensional element in pencil. You don't have to have the fanciest/most expensive tools to achieve the same look!

After I cut my letters out, I used Cranberry and Topiary ink and random stamped all those circles onto the cardstock. As I mentioned before, I was trying to get a feel similar to that from the Moxie Fab trigger photo. Then I added the solid circles. I have two hol3 punches. They're about 3/8" and 3/16". I punched a bunch of circles out and then adhered them to the sentiment piece. Then I adhered the whole thing to an old piece of Bazzill scrap.

For the ribbon/twine element, I cut a very thin piece of cardstock (thinner than the 3/8" grosgrain ribbon, so it looks like it's just the ribbon there. Then I added two strips of twine (I wanted it to look a little like wrapped present). The little bow is so easy to make. Just wind the twine around two of your fingers a bunch of times. Remove, cut a small piece of twine and tie it tightly around the middle and fluff. I added the green bow on top for a little added contrast.

Hope you are having a great weekend and getting to do some crafting too!

Supplies Used:
Stamps: CTMH - Happy Clusters
Paper: CTMH - White Daisy, Topiary, Cranberry; Bazzill - Scrap of Red paper
Ink: CTMH - Topiary, Cranberry
Other: Twinery - Maraschino/Peapo twine; CTMH - Cranberry Grosgrain, cutting tool, Misc - Hole punches

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Craft's Meow November/December Sketch


Here's my take on this month's Craft's Meow sketch. This card uses The Merry Best stamp set. It also features my favorite print from Close to My Heart's Wonderland Level 2 Paper Pack. I love the soft pattern with very faint doilies and snowflakes. It's just a gorgeous sheet of paper.

I also created some paper for this card. The rectangular pieces on the left side of the card are stamped with the large snowflake from the stamp set. The white cardstock is second generation stamped with Chocolate ink, and the piece underneath is Kraft cardstock which is stamped with White Daisy ink.

The square and blue circle are edge distressed and sanded, and the white circle with the star stamped on it has chocolate ink sponged around the outside using my large sponging tool.

It was fun to make non-traditional Christmas card as I generally tend towards red, green, Christmas trees/holly, etc.

Wednesday's over...the weekend is coming!! Have a great night all.

Supplies Used
Stamps: The Craft's Meow - The Merry Best
Ink: CTMH - Chocolate, White Daisy
Paper: CTMH - Wonderland Level 2 Paper Pack, Chocolate, White Daisy, Indian Corn Blue, Kraft
Other: CTMH - Cocoa Grosgrain, Sanding Kit, Sponge Tool, Distressing Tool

Monday, December 5, 2011

Skipping Stones Design Sketch #104 (Two more stocking ideas)


One more card tonight...Andrew's off playing hockey, so I have a little extra craft time. :)

First, a big thank you to Jingle! I was the lucky recipient of Sassy Snow from the blog hop that SSD had a couple weeks ago.

As soon as I saw this week's sketch, I knew I wanted to put my snowman in a snow globe. I wanted it to almost look like the snow globe wasn't there...blend it into the sky/snow around it. I think it turned out pretty well. To create the globe, I used a sponge dauber and two shades of blue around the edges to create a sky effect (I did create a mask for the snowman to make sure I didn't get any blue on his body).

Then I put the snowman together. The scarf and mittens are the red plaid fabric from CTMH's Believe Level 2 Paper packet and I used a white gel pen to fill in the polka dots.

For the base of the snow globe, I cut a black piece of cardstock 3/4" wide, and then kind of eyeballed how long it should be. I sanded the cardstock pretty heavily until I got the texture/feel I was looking for. Then I measured off 1/4" at the top on either end, marked it with a pencil, and cut from the pencil mark to the bottom corner.

For the background, I used the sponging tool you see here: http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-DrNZEb_Ii-Q/TsmkCYGC-gI/AAAAAAAAAek/99EcW5Ia9Pk/s1600/IMG_9567.JPG I traced lightly around the circle first so that I could see how far to go, and starting from the top corners, worked my way in.

For the snow, I used the small snowflake from the Sassy Snow set with White Daisy ink on the background. This is pigment ink and against the blue you get kind of a transparent look. On the inside of the snow globe, I used Heavenly blue ink to stamp the snowflakes.

I used two of the fun sentiments from the stamp set to create the little banners and added some cranberry grosgrain to finish it off.

It was a fun card to make. Hope you enjoy it!

Oh yes, and if you're looking for a few more stocking ideas, please consider:
1) Sanding Kit - Item Z1294, $3.50, another inexpensive way to get a totally different look from your papers.
2) Texture Tools - Item Z1298, $9.95, the foam tool I used for this card is just one of the great tools in this kit that will allow you to create a variety of textures and effects on your projects.

Products Used
Stamps: SSD - Sassy Snow
Ink: CTMH - Pacifica, Heavenly Blue, Black
Paper: CTMH - White Daisy, Black, Chocolate, Sunset, Believe Level 2 Paper Pack
Other: Sponge Tool, Cranbery Grosgrain, Sanding Kit, Dimensional Foam Tape

CASE Study #68, and ideas for Stocking Stuffers



I decided to participate in this week's CASE challenge. The inspiration is this beautiful card by Amy Heller. I was inspired by the blue and orange color combination as well as the butterflies.

This card also gave me the opportunity to break out a couple items that have been patiently sitting in my stash waiting for me to have time to use them.

First, a spray pen. For this card I used Twilight reinker, I filled the pen with reinker to the first line, and then added five more lines worth of water.

My goal was get a more concentrated spray in the center (behind the die cut), and a little less saturated towards the outside. This really was an easy tool to use and I love how it turned out. I need to practice a little more to figure out how far away to hold the pen for different spray patterns, how hard to press, how concentrated to make the mix, etc., but I'm definitely going to be using these pens more!

For the sentiment, I cut a small white circle using the CM custom cutting system and stamped the sentiment in the center. Then I used a sponge dauber to lightly add color around the edges. The black die was cut using the Art Philosphy cartridge. I used a white gel pen to add the little white dots as a nod to the polka dots in the pattern paper and on the butterflies of the inspiration card.

Then I broke out the butterlies. This is the other product that I've been waiting to use. These Just Blooms Flutter Paper shapes are so much fun. There are four sizes with a variety of patterns. I chose to use the largest and second smallest sizes for this card. I again used the sponge dauber to add color to the butterflies slowly progressing from light (honey) to medium (creme brule) to dark (autumn terracotta). I also added some emphasis using the blending pen and autumn terracotta.

The ribbon is from Michael's (70% off Black Friday sale). It was a little lighter than I wanted it to be, so I used a sponge dauber with autumn terracotta to add some more color to it.

While there are many different elements to this card, I think it still has a great clean and simple feel to it, and I loved being able to play with my stash.

Now, I promised you some stocking stuffer ideas. There are four, very inexpensive, lots of bang for your buck items I used on this card that would be perfect for the crafter on your list:
1) Spray pens, Item Z1380, for $3.95 you get three of these pens. That's $1.33 a piece. Keep them together or break them up and give them out separately. Either way they are a steal.
2) Sponge daubers, Item Z726, again $3.95 for three.
3) Blending pen, Item 3174, $3.95. If you follow my blog you know I love and use this ALL the time. It's an inexpensive must have tool that has a big impact.
4) Just Blooms Flutter Paper Shapes, Item Z1463, $5.95. I've just scratched the surface with these. For that price you get 68 butterflies in four sizes, with a variety of prints and including some plain. These are a great addition to cards or scrapbook layouts and you'll have plenty to complete whatever project you are doing.

If you're interested in these items, you can place an order using the 'Shop with me' link to the right (and there are some new, very discounted products under While Supplies last while you're at it), or email me.

Hope you had a great start to your week!

CTMH Supplies Used
Stamps: A Little Everything
Ink: Honey, Creme Brulee, Autumn Terracotta, Black, Twilight Reinker
Paper: White Daisy, Black, Honey
Other: Just Blooms Flutter Paper Shapes, Sponge Dauber, Blending Pen, Spray Pen, Dimensional Foam Tape, Liquid Glass

Friday, December 2, 2011

Card Patterns Sketch 143


I just got a little package in the mail from the Sweet Stamp Shop and decided to ink one of the sets, Tree Traditions, up to participate in this week's Card Patterns sketch.

This card ended up being a little more complicated than I intended. I wanted to stretch myself a bit in terms of mixing patterns, but I don't have a lot of patterned paper (since I like to use solids), so I had to improvise.

The pattern for the tree is actually a stamp - it's one of the Christmas trees from CTMH's October Stamp of the Month, Holiday Magic. I stamped it onto a piece of white cardstock, and then stamped the tree from the SSS stamp over top of it and cut it out. I did the same thing for the tires and elements on the front of the truck, using one of the stockings from the CTMH stamp set.

The red pattern for the car comes from the Believe paper pack, and I added some detailing to the car using a while gel pen.

I added a little bit of interest to the blue background by stamping the two smallest snowflakes from Tree Traditions in White Daisy ink (hard to see in the photo). The cardstock that the sentiment is stamped on has some sponging in Heavenly Blue, and then the medium snowflake from Tree Traditions.

A little Twinery twine, a Kraft border, and ta-da. A great way to keep the hands busy while catching up on the DVR after a long work week.

Have a great weekend all!

Supplies Used:
CTMH - Holiday Magic stamp set; Heavenly Blue, Black, White Daisy, Topiary inks; Believe Level II Paper Pack, White Daisy, Sky, Chocolate cardstock, Kraft Borders
SSS - Tree Traditions stamp set
Twinery - Peapod Twine

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Cards for Troops




I was asked to design some cards for a package for the troops that we are putting together at work as a part of our Combined Federal Campaign drive this year.

Many of the folks I work with don't normally do this sort of thing, so I wanted to make it pretty simple, and the project needed to be relatively low cost as well.

I designed the five cards you see above, using two sets of stamps: Holiday Cheer ($9.95) and A Holiday ($6.95). The great thing about these sets is that they both include shapes that can be cut with the Cricut AP cartridge, which is a huge time saver!

I've pre-stamped several of the shapes, so if people don't want to do a lot of stamping, they can just assemble -- the cards with the holly leaves. If they are more adventuresome, they can put the card together from start to finish, and if they're interested, they can design their own card.

CTMH Supplies Used:
Stamps: Holiday Cheer
Ink: Cranberry, Topiary, Desert Sand, Chocolate
Paper: Cranberry, Topiary, Chocolate