Friday, July 6, 2018


Hi folks! Super quick post from the road (I’m on vacation).

I have several winners to announce from release week and my Technique Tuesday post (which is way overdue).

Life’s A Game stamp set: Lagene (from the blog)

Snake Scales Cover Plate: @racheyjcrafts (from IG)

Snake Scales Stencil: @hjeannie1 (from IG)

Technique Tuesday Winner: Marjorie Dumontier

Congrats ladies! Please email me you mailing information (Marjorie I will also need your stamp/die choice) and I will get these sent out!

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Neat & Tangled July Release - Day 4 and Giveaways

Happy Thursday!  Today is the final day of release reveals AND all products are now available in the Neat & Tangled store.

Today is a very special reveal because today's set, Celebrate You, is a fundraising set.  Here's a little bit about it in Danielle's words: As many of you know, my dad become very ill unexpectedly last year. You can read much much more about his story HERE. The gist is that after a routine knee replacement he developed and was diagnosed with a condition called Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS), which is an unimaginable disease. Sadly, it has earned the nickname "The Suicide Disease", as the physical, mental, and emotional pain that it brings often becomes too much to bear. Here is a video sharing the story of 2 CRPS sufferers that paints a clear picture of life with this disease:

It has been on my heart to pay this forward. I have designed a stamp and die set, Celebrate You, that we will use the sales of (both wholesale and retail) to help families of CRPS in financial need. Customers will also have the option to just make a straight donation without purchase on our website.  Donations we collect will be made to the Burning Limb Foundation, a non-profit created by a former patient of Dr. Katinka's.  Dr. Katinka and the Burning Limb Foundation will work together to distribute the funds to families at the Neurologic Relief Center that are most in need, some will be patients already at her center, others will be those that have not had the funds to begin treatment. I am calling this campaign "Crafting with Compassion", as the definition of compassion is the humane quality of understanding the suffering of others and wanting to do something about it, which sums up my mission with this.  

I'm really excited about this set and the challenge that we're unveiling tomorrow that coordinates with it.  OK, here is my card for today:

I thought the Balloon Duo stencils would work perfectly with this set.  I used two colors of Distress Oxide - Twisted Citron and Salty Ocean.  The colors aren't totally clean since I didn't clean the stencil off as I was working.  I don't mind the cross contamination although I know some folks do.

Once that was done, the sentiments were stamped with Versafine.

I wanted to add a bit of texture and shine, so I added some clear Nuvo drops to the card.  I might have gone a bit overboard with those....once you start it's hard to stop!

And with that, the July release is a wrap!  We're also doing things a little differently this month since we are starting our challenge tomorrow.  All the products are now available in the Neat & Tangled store!  You have through today to enter the giveaways here and over at the Neat & Tangled blog though.

Here's a recap of the rest of my projects from this release:




Thanks for all your kind comments this week!  I'll be announcing winners for my giveaways tomorrow, but if there's something you HAVE to have, head on over to the store (if you win, and you ordered already, you'll receive a refund).

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Neat & Tangled July Release - Day 3 and Giveaways

Happy Fourth of July and Happy Third Day of the July release!  Today's featured set is Later Alligator, from Elena.  So fun! 

I love these cute alligators and of course this sentiment we have all been using since childhood.  My card is super clean and simple.

The alligators were stamped, colored with Copics, and then die cut.

I added just a tiny bit of inking to ground them, stamped the sentiments with Versafine, and adhered the crocodile/alligator.

So cute!  This one will get snatched up by my girls if I leave it out! 

OK, here's the deal with giveaways.  I'm giving away my new products to some commenters this week.  To be entered, be a follower and leave a comment.  

Also, Danielle is giving away this set/dies on the Neat & Tangled blog today, so be sure to head over there and leave a comment to be entered.  

FINALLY - there's something different happening this week.  We're kicking off our latest throwdown challenge on Friday, so instead of the release going live Friday morning, tomorrow will be the last day of reveals AND the release will be live in the shop.  8 AM EST.  Set your clocks!  

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Neat & Tangled July Release - Day 2 and Giveaways

Welcome back for Day 2 of the July Neat & Tangled release!  We're showing of a bunch of products today including my latest stencil and cover plate design, Snake Scales.

To create the background, I inked the stencil with three colors of Distress Ink: Salty Ocean, Evergreen Bough, and Dusty Concord.

While this design was inspired by snake scales it works perfectly for anything scaly really - mermaids, fish, dragons, etc.  For this first card I knew I was going to pulling out this mermaid from the Mermazing stamp set.  It's a match made in heaven!  

She was colored with Copics and die cut, and then I added sentiments from Danielle's newest set which you'll see on Thursday.  To give them some extra oomph, they were stamped in Versafine and then embossed with clear embossing powder.  I repeated this a few times to get a glossier look.

Next up, a look at the cover plate.

I started by giving a watercolor paper panel a wash of color starting with a yellow green and ending with a blue green.

Once that was dry, I die cut the panel with my cover plate and then adhered the entire thing to my card base.

I loved the soft look of this and wanted folks to see as much as possible, so I went very minimal with this card adding a couple colored/die cut critters from Elena's set that you'll see in full tomorrow. 

The sentiment is also from that set and was stamped on one of the banners from the Scalloped die set.

OK, here's the deal with giveaways.  I'm giving away my new products to some commenters this week.  To be entered, be a follower and leave a comment.  For extra chances, head over to my Instagram (@mprantner) and follow the directions there.  Full disclosure, I am currently on vacation and there is a 6 hour time difference, so it's entirely possible that the IG post might not be up yet...just check back.

Also, Danielle is giving away this set/dies on the Neat & Tangled blog today, so be sure to head over there and leave a comment to be entered.  See you back here tomorrow!

Monday, July 2, 2018

Neat & Tangled July Release - Day 1 and Giveaways

Hi friends!  It's time for the July Neat & Tangled release!  Can you believe that it is already July?  Today we're showing off my newest stamp set Life's A Game. 

The set has a board game theme with a bunch of different sentiment/icons you can use in the game spaces as well as for inside the card.  I tried to make this an all occasion set, and it's one that you can easily use for those folks you might not know as well or are colleagues.

I created three really simple and mostly one layer cards to give you an idea of how this set can be used.

This first card is purely one layer.  I used Altenew inks for the colored tiles and Versamark for the black stamping.  Really easy, and I love that this is kind of a forgiving stamp set - the blocks/spaces were all stamped without the use of the MISTI, if your placement isn't perfect it's fine, I think it goes with kind of the retro vibe of older board games. 

My next card creates a longer, more windy path which goes along with the sentiment I chose.

There are coordinating dies that go with the set which cut out the LIFE letters in case you want a bit of a bolder look with the inside letters filled in like on this card.  (There are also coordinating cuts for all the game spaces and a few of the icons.)

Next up a quirky baby congrats card.  I had so many ideas for things to put in the game spaces, but I wanted to keep the set at 4x6, so I really had to narrow things down, but this Bun in the Oven sentiment was definitely staying in.

I sometimes get tired of very cute baby cards and this is a fun way to celebrate an impending arrival in a non pink/blue cutesy sort of way.

OK, here's the deal with giveaways.  I'm giving away my new products (there are two more) to some commenters this week.  To be entered, be a follower and leave a comment.  For extra chances, head over to my Instagram (@mprantner) and follow the directions there.  Full disclosure, I am currently on vacation and there is a 6 hour time difference, so it's entirely possible that the IG post might not be up yet...just check back.

Also, Danielle is giving away this set/dies on the Neat & Tangled blog today, so be sure to head over there and leave a comment to be entered.  See you back here tomorrow!

Saturday, June 30, 2018

June 2018 Reads

Hi friends! A bit of a slower reading month for me.  June gets a little crazy with the end of school and preparations for vacation, but I still got in some really good ones this month.  Here's the recap:

The Good Pilot, Peter Woodhouse - Alexander McCall Smith - historical fiction - five stars - I do love Alexander McCall Smith.  This was a quick, sweet book about a woman who is working as a Land Girl in England during WWII - they sent women out to the country to help farmers as all the farm hands went to war, kind of a rural Rosie the Riveter.  Anyway, she is working near an airbase and meets a US aviator, Mike.  Much of the book is focused on their relationship as well as their relationship to a stray dog, Peter Woodhouse.  Mike is shot down in Holland (with Peter Woodhouse who becomes a mascot for the airmen) and manages to survive in hiding until the end of the war.  He is befriended by a German soldier named Ubi.  The second part of the book deals with the lives of Val, Mike and Ubi after the war.  A sweet and bittersweet story that I didn't want to put down.

Red Sparrow - Jason Matthews - fiction - five stars - I love a good spy/action movie, and I've seen trailers for the Red Sparrow movie, but since I knew it was a book, I wanted to read that first.  I'm not sure why I thought it took place back in the Cold War, but it doesn't, which I thought was really interesting.  It's more of a current day plot which made it even more interesting because some of the things that they talk about seem so old school, i.e. Sparrow school where women learn how to set honey traps/seduce targets.  It was a pretty complex plot line, lots of different people and moving parts, and definitely some surprises as well.  I enjoyed it, and there are two more books in the series which I'll be reading as well.  Not sure if I'm going to watch the movie at this point, I feel like I'm likely to be disappointed/annoyed at how it is shown as I think it would be very difficult to show all the complexity/nuance in a movie.

Framed! (T.O.A.S.T. Mystery #1) - James Ponti - juvenile fiction - five stars - This was an Ellie directed read.  She got this for her birthday last year, but hadn't gotten around to reading it, and she loved it.  It's a little bit like the Spy School series although I would say slightly older/more sophisticated.  Florian Bates is a kid who just moved to the DC are who has a very developed observational skill.  This allows him to help the FBI solve a crime at the National Gallery of Art (where his mom work).  I really liked the characters.  It was a fun and quick read.

Vanished! (T.O.A.S.T. Mystery #2) - James Ponti - juvenile fiction - five stars - This is the sequel to Framed! and just as good.  Ellie had me borrow it for her as soon as she had completed the first book (we are excited that there is a third book coming out later this year).  In this book Florian and his best friend are sent undercover to an exclusive private school in DC where the president's daughter also happens to attend.  There are pranks being played and he is supposed to determine who is involved.  In doing so he gets to know the first daughter and becomes involved in a kidnapping case as well.

The Invention of Wings - Sue Monk Kidd - historical fiction - five stars - This is my first book from Kidd and I really enjoyed it.  I love that it was loosely based on a real person, Sarah Grimke, born into a well to do slave owning family in South Carolina who later became an outspoken abolitionist and Quaker.  The story revolves around her and a fictional slave, Handful, she was given at eleven.  The story is told from both Sarah and Handful's perspectives and kept me riveted.  I'm definitely planning to read more from Kidd.

Where the Past Begins: A Writer's Memoir - Amy Tan - memoir - 2 stars - I was so disappointed by this book. I have read and enjoyed everything Amy has written, so when I read jacket cover description of the book I was excited to learn more about Amy's life/history.  To me most of the problem here was essentially false advertising.  There are snippets about Amy's life included, but a lot of this is long winded discourse about the process of writing itself.  I had a really hard time getting through it.  This was one I read for the better part of the month off and on sprinkling some of my other books in to break it up.

The Final Race: The Incredible World War II Story of the Olympian Who Inspired Chariots of Fire - Eric T. Eichinger and Eva Marie Everson - biography - four stars - So I have to admit that I have never seen Chariots of Fire and only know of Eric Liddell as the guy who was portrayed in the movie (this is a bit of a travesty to my track athlete/coach husband....and it truly is on my list of things to watch).  I saw this book on the new shelf in the library and thought I ought to educate myself.  I really enjoyed reading about Eric - the book talks about his athletic career, but focuses more on the rest of his life - that that was just something he was really good at, but his true calling was to be a missionary to China.  He sacrificed much to fulfill his calling, and was in China and interned in a camp there during WWII.  The book recounts stories and anecdotes from others who were there with him, and his truly humble and giving personality comes through in volumes.  I almost gave this one five stars, but the writing was a little clunky for me and that's the only reason it was downgraded a bit, but a very good read.  

How about you guys?  I'm always looking for recommendations!

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Technique Tuesday Strawberries and Giveaway

Hi friends!  Today I've got a card featuring the latest Greenhouse Society stamp set from Technique Tuesday. I just love strawberries, I have had them for breakfast everyday the last few weeks with my yogurt and granola.  

I started by stamping and coloring the image with Copics and then die cut it.

I love the fresh, summery image, and selected a couple of patterned papers that bring out the colors in the image as mats.  I also added machine stitching to give it a more homespun feel.

The thanks sentiment actually comes wired inside the coordinating die and was the perfect size/font to add to the card.  I cut it twice from dark gray cardstock and then layered the white over the top.  I think those dark layers help it to stand out a bit more.

I have a giveaway too!  The very generous folks at Technique Tuesday will send a stamp set and coordinating die set of their choice to one of my lucky blog readers.

To be entered, be a follower and leave a comment letting me know which stamp/die set from you would select.  You can see their full range here.

I'll announce a winner next week!