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:








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 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!)


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


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'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: 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

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Lily Pad Sketch Challenge

I know, you're probably tired of seeing this stamp set, but Glory to God is my go-to set for Christmas cards right now. I tried to use another set, really, I did, but it just wasn't working for me. So, I pulled out Glory to God and voila!

I took a few liberties with the sketch, but I love the way it turned out.

To create it, I used my CM custom cutting circles to cut three overlapping circles on the dark cardstock. Then I lightly traced those shapes onto the cream cardstock. I removed the dark cardstock and stamped the images.

I cut one more circle of the same size onto a piece of scrap cardstock to create a mask. Using that mask and a sponge dauber I created those faint circles by lightly swiping the dauber from the mask in towards the center of the circle.

Then the tricky part. I decided I wanted a border of off white around the circles, rather than the dark cardstock coming right up to them, so I had to carefully center the circle templates over the circles on the dark cardstock, and use the next size blade to cut them a little larger. A few deep breaths, but it worked!

Then I trimmed the edges of the dark cardstock to create the frame around the edges, and cut the bottom right corner off. I trimmed about 3/8" off the long end to create the diagonal line.

The sentiment is from the Craft's Meow's All the Merry Best stamp set. It's just perfect for this card, don't you think?

Supplies Used:
CTMH: Glory to God stamp set; Cocoa Ink; Colonial White and Cocoa cardstock; sponge dauber
The Craft's Meow: All the Merry Best stamp set
Creative Memories: Custom Cutting System, Circles

Monday, November 28, 2011

SSD Sketch #103 - Another Gray Hare

Just a quick card tonight for Skipping Stones Design sketch 103.

I wanted to make a really simple card, and cut it to make a mosaic (or at least part of a mosaic) rather than use the squares as a design element.

There's very little in this card, which I thought was appropriate given the 'gray' subject matter. To color in the balloons and create the ground I used my go-to blending pen.

Hope you like it!

Supplies Used:
Skipping Stones Design - Gray Hares Stamp Set
CTMH - White Daisy Cardstock; Gray Flannel, Holiday Red, Topiary, Tulip and Pacifica Ink, Blending Pen

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Card for CAS-ual Friday and Ribbon Carousel (RCC30) Challenges

I'm so excited to share this card with you!

I had a great time creating was a bit of an 'aha' moment for me.

A few months ago a won some clear Hero Arts stamps from the Simon Says Stamp blog. I've been waiting for just the right time to use them. The stamps I won were a promotional set that contains images from several different stamp sets, but I did a quick search on Hero Arts' Holiday catalog, and the ornament is included in the 'Decorate Your Holidays' stamp set. I didn't see the sentiment in the Holiday catalog, but there are plenty of sentiments we all have that would be appropriate.

This is really a simple, easy card to make, just takes a little care in the doing.

I stamped the ornament on a piece of white cardstock. Then I cut a strip of cardstock the same width as my grosgrain ribbon (3/8") to use as a guide. I made sure everything was square and marked the top and bottom of the guide on the edges of the ornament. Using my cutting knife, I carefully traced around the ornament (on the inside of the border line) between the hashmarks. Then I fed the ribbon through. You need to be careful in doing this so that you don't tear the slit. Then I threaded through the twine, and secured both to the back of the cardstock using my tombow.

Really easy!

For the bottom piece, I first stamped the sentiment. Then I ran the tombow over my twine so I could shape it onto the cardstock, and followed up with some Liquid Glass at a few points to make sure it was secure. The white pieces of cardstock were mounted onto Cranberry cardstock using dimensional foam tape, and then those pieces were secured to the card base.

I love the look of this card, and am planning to use this technique a lot more.

Thanks for stopping by!

Products Used:
CTMH - Cranberry Ink, Cranberry and White Daisy Cardstock, Cranberry Grosgrain, Dimensional Foam Tape, Cutting Knife, Liquid Glass
Hero Arts - Decorate for the Holidays stamp set, miscellaneous sentiment stamp
Twinery - Maraschino twine

Saturday, November 26, 2011

SPARKS Challenge Card - Get Well

I've got another SPARKS challenge card for you today.

It just so happens that in my recent CTMH order, in addition to my new sanding kit, I had two new ink pads: Grey Wool and Sunkiss Yellow...providential when you look at this inspiration photo, don't you think?

For this card, I was really inspired by the line/shadow of the gray branch of flowers. I used the flower and leaf from the Hot Concoctions stamp as well as my trusty blending pen to mimic that branch. Then I cut around it, leaving a little bit of a white border and adhered it to some Juniper cardstock with liquid adhesive.

I also really love that the fabric texture comes through in the photo, so I wanted to sand the entire piece once I got it adhered....DISASTER!

Turns out sanding doesn't work so well when you fancy cut an intricate piece (which is very thin in places, and on which you also did a lot of shading with the blending pen)....the whole top layer (with all the stamping) came right off! Not what I was expecting, but it turned out to be a happy accident.

When you sand the top layer of your cardstock off, you end up with a kind of felty looking layer. So, I went ahead and re-stamped on that layer....being a little more careful with the blending pen this time as the color shows up more saturated on this layer. (I'm planning to do a lot more experimenting with this. You can create some pretty neat textured backgrounds with this technique.)

The teapot and cup which are also from the Hot Concoctions set are stamped (three times) on some Grey Flannel cardstock which is then sanded. I added the ground for the teapot and tea using the blending pen.

I scored another piece of Gray Flannel cardstock and sanded that to create a mat for my main piece and to add a just a touch of that yellow, I swiped the Sunkiss Yellow stamp pad around the edges of the white card base. By the way, I found the cheapest, and best scoring old (dried out) ball point pen. Love that it never 'jumps' like the old scoring stylus I have!

So there you have it. This card has a much different look than the other Paper Smooches cards I've made, but I really like how it turned out.

Supplies Used:
Stamps: Paper Smooches - Hot Concoction; CTMH - A Little Bit of Everything
Ink (CTMH): Grey Wool, Sunkiss Yellow
Paper (CTMH): White Daisy, Juniper, Grey Flannel
Other (CTMH): Blending Pen, Sanding Kit

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Embellish Leaves Color Trends Challenge

I just received a small order of CTMH supplies in the mail which included the sanding kit, and had to try it out. At $3.50, this little sanding block/file make a great stocking stuffer, and they are great tools to have in your arsenal.

I decided to make a quick one-layer card for the current Embellish challenge.

I started with a 4x6 piece of Desert Sand cardstock, and just sanded away at it. I wanted a lot of the white core (all CTMH papers, including the patterned papers have a white core) to show through. I really like the distressed look this gives, almost a wood grain.

Then I used the large leaf from Something Splendid, bending it a little so it was straight, and stamped it three times with three different colors.

I thought about leaving the card sentiment free, but decided to use the 'thinking of you' sentiment from Say it in Style. Then I stamped just the 'thinking' a couple more times above the original sentiment using the same ink colors I used for the leaves.

All that sanding left the edges sanded too, but I ran the distressing tool around them to get it a little rougher.

Usually at this point I would adhere it to the card base letting a little bit of a frame/mat show around the edges, but I decided not to this time. I really like the rustic feel of this card, and wanted to keep it very simple.

Hope that you are having a wonderful Thanksgiving!

CTMH Supplies Used:
Stamps: Something Splendid, Say it in Style
Ink: Topiary, Garnet, Twilight
Paper: Desert Sand
Other: Sanding kit

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

10 Things - Thanksgiving

Journaling doesn't come naturally to many people. Maybe you don't like the tone of your writing (I often cringe when I go back and read what I wrote because it's SOOO stream of consciousness). Maybe you get writer's block. Maybe it's just too difficult/time consuming an excercise when you're just struggling to get pictures in books.

If any of these describe your situation, lists might be the solution you're looking for.

A list can be short - just one word, or long - a description, even a paragraph expanding upon that, or somewhere in between.

Making a list of '10 things' is all the rage right now, but 10 is just a number. If that's too long a list for you, make it 5. Or tie it to the theme of your layout/story. For example, 6 things I love about you, for someone's 6th birthday/anniversary. You don't even need to tie in a number. Use a word or name to make a 'list' acronym. For example: things I love about Carina: Caring/Crazy/Crashing, Adorable/All-out/Appetite, Renegate/Roly Poly/Riotous, etc.

Start off with the short, and see where it takes you. A great card or layout doesn't need to have the long description. Short and sweet can be just as effective. If your descriptions are intimate thoughts that you don't want everyone reading, there are lots of great ways to hide journaling in tags, behind photos, etc.

I wanted to share my list of 10 things I'm thankful for this Thanksgiving, and I've actually created three lists so that you can see the short, the long, and the in-between of it.

1) God
2) Andrew
3) My daughters
4) Family
5) Our home
6) My job
7) My other job
8) The plan for next year
9) Friends
10) Time off

1) God - his grace, and the knowledge that he is sovereign.
2) Andrew - our marriage, it's a work in progress, but we are truly growing together.
3) My daughters - what a joy they are, how amazingly different and complementary they are, and how proud I am of them.
4) Family - that they are close by and for who involved they are in our lives.
5) Our home - we're so blessed to live in the shadow of the nation's capital, we're so blessed to have a home and to be so close to so many activities, parks, etc.
6) My job - especially during these difficult times, I am thankful to be gainfully employed.
7) My other job - I'm grateful to have found Close to My Heart, to be putting away money in our 'fun fund', and to have an outlet for my creative energies.
8) The plan for next year - to be able to work part time once Ellie goes to Kindergarten.
9) Friends - what would I do without them!
10) Time off - time away from work, to relax and be with Andrew or Andrew and the girls, our larger families, or friends.

1) God - for his grace as I am truly undeserving; for the knowledge that he is sovereign and that even when I have not idea what is going on, he is working out a purpose in my life; and for the promises he has made to me in his word.
2) Andrew - for our marriage - that we are working at it. It's often hard work, but we are working at it. That he is stepping out as the head of our home, and that we are setting aside time together each day to be together in prayer and the word.
3) My daughters - for the joy and blessing they are to me. Even when I'm so frustrated that I'm yelling, I wouldn't trade them for anything. They make me want to be better, so that they will be better. They challenge me, but at this stage in life love me unconditionally and with no holds barred. I can't imagine life without them and find it hard to remember life before them.
4) Family - for the fact that the geographic distance between family members is shrinking. Mom and Dad have been living in Virginia officially for just over a week now. I love that they will be so involved and accessible to the girls. I love that the rest of my family, though far away, makes the effort to get here and see the girls. They aren't strangers. The girls know and love each of them. I love that Andrew's family is close by also, and that Ellie has been able to spend extended periods of time in Lynchburg visiting with grandparents, aunts and uncles, and cousins. This is so different from when I was growing up and all our relatives were living across the globe and were essentially strangers.
5) Our home - for the blessing of having a home, and that we live in such an amazing area. There are so many opportunities here in Arlington, VA. And even more, for the gift of being able to live in the United States of America. I'm only a generation removed from growing up in a different country. I have often thought about how vastly different my life would have been if my grandparents/parents had made slightly different choices. I would be living somewhere else, speaking a different language, perhaps lacking many of the freedoms I enjoy and often take for granted. I love my home, and I love my country!
6) My job - for the blessing of having one during these difficult times. It's often not the most glamorous or even enjoyable work, but it allows me to contribute to our family's needs and to have the means to help others also.
7) My other job - for the gift of Close to My Heart. This is an endeavor I stumbled upon, but has allowed me to grow and learn and nurture the artistic side of me which has been busy doing other things for the last several years. I've been blessed to be able to save some spending money for the trip Andrew and I have planned next summer. I've been blessed to make new friends/customers/consultants. I've been blessed to meet and be encouraged by folks like you, and the rest of the creative blogosphere. I love this second job and I love how unsure I am of myself when it comes to this. It's been a step out on faith, and I continue to be amazed at how the story unfolds.
8) The plan for next year - for the ability to work part time once Ellie starts Kindergarten. Like many working moms, I have often felt the tension between working and staying at home. It's necessary to work, and I'm not sure if I would be good at staying home full time, but working full time makes life so crazy! I feel that in many ways I parent differently (even though I shouldn't). I make allowances because I want our time together to be fun, and wonderful, and I don't want to go down that difficult path of discipline where I know the rest of the evening will be shot. I want to be able to take time to let Ellie help me cook instead of rushing through it to get some food on the table so we can get to baths so bedtime isn't late. I want to be able to sit down and read and help with the homework. Maybe my rosy picture of what I'm going to do with all that time next year isn't realistic, but if I can even get to part of that list, be there when she gets off the bus, have that time to really be there and listen, it will be worth it!
9) Friends - what would I do without them! They put up with me, encourage me, help me, and pray for me. I'm not always great about keeping up with them, but I know that they are there, and that I can call on them when needed, and I think they know that I would do the same for them.
10) Time off - for time away from work to be with Andrew, or Andrew and the girls, extended family, or friends. To be in my natural state where I can say and be who I am without worrying about my appearance, or having to think about my words (although I should probably still think about that a little). To be me. I find that I crave these times more and more as 'grow up'. I need these times to recharge, refocus, and remember what it's all about.

So there you have it. A long post, and no artwork, but I hope that it's encouraged you to try making a list. Even if you don't have time to do the long or in-between, job down the short list and come back to it later. See where it takes you, but try it. Journaling takes practice, and the more you do it, the easier it gets.

Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 21, 2011

CASE Study Card


I've been wanting to try out the CASE Study challenge for a while now, but I must admit that I've been a little intimidated. They do some amazing work over there! This week, as soon as I saw the card, I knew exactly what I would do.

First I used my sponge tool to create the background.

Then I stamped the Bethlehem scene leaving a little bit of space on the bottom of the card. I inked up my acrylic block and stamped that at the bottom for the ground.

I added the stars using white pigment ink - I thought about stamping over them twice to get more white, but I really like the kind of translucent look that a single layer achieves.

I cut two circles, one 1/2" smaller than the other, and stamped the sentiment and stars on there. The dark circle was colored by swiping my ink pad over the edges of the circle. I adhered the two circles together timmed them at the top, and added them to the card.

This card was really quite easy to put together and I really love how it turned out. I'm looking forward to playing along at CASE Study again soon!

CTMH Supplies Used:
Stamps: Glory to God, Happy Clusters
Ink: Cocoa, Pacifica, White Daisy
Paper: whtie Daisy
Other: Sponge Tool (from distressing kit)