Saturday, December 31, 2011


Well, I finally made it back in my stamp room.  I've been taking a bit of a break the last few days, but I wanted to get back into the swing of things before I completely lost my mojo.

I am self-proclaimed challenge junkie, and a lot of my favorite challenge sites are on holiday hiatus so I've been somewhat lost.  Luckily, Create With Connie and Mary was hosting a sketch challenge this week so I chose that for my layout.

I used a bit of Melon Mambo dsp from a pack called Ice Cream Parlor, which I think was a Sale-A-Bration set from earlier this year.  Then I dry embossed the Pretty in Pink layer with Elegant Lines and the Basic Gray layer with Stripes .  I heat embossed the larger flower with Melon Mambo embossing powder and I dug out some really old Stampin' Up! embossing powder to do the smaller flower in pink.  I finished off the center of the flower with a Melon Mambo button tied with a bit of baker's twine.  I hand cut the leaves then, folded in half, ran them through the crimper.  (Folding the cardstock in half before crimping ensures that the lines run the same direction from the center on both sides of the leaf).  I sponged them a bit with Old Olive ink, too.

I hope that you all enjoy a safe new year's eve and many wishes for a wonderful, crafty new year!

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Thursday, December 29, 2011

PPA Best Dressed Surprise

I don't have a card to share today, but I do have news that I'm excited about.

This morning at work I checked out the latest challenge at Pals Paper Arts.  Only what I found was the Pals Paper Arts picks for Best Dressed 2011.

The Pals each chose a card from the winners each month, and I'm so proud to say that two of my cards were chosen!

This card was chosen by Margaret Moody for the month of May.

And this card was chosen by Mary Fish for the month of June.

I still can't quite believe that I made it onto this best dressed list.  Especially considering all the amazing talent that we see each week for the PPA challenges.  I truly feel honored!  So a big heartfelt thanks to the amazing design team at Pals Paper Arts.  I can't wait to see what you have in store for us in 2012!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

ColourQ 117 and Less is More 47

To my eye, the color challenge this week at ColourQ just screamed for a CAS card.  And since the ladies at Less is More are all about CAS, I checked out their challenge this week.  They had a pretty interesting one to make a card with just One Word.

The ColourQ challenge invited us to add one color of our own choosing to a combination of black and white.  I just love the adding a bright color to elements of black so I chose Melon Mambo for my card.  I inked up a Verve flower and stamped it off the edge of the cardstock.  (I can't take credit for this idea, because I went to my "binder of sketches" and found the FTL 54 sketch, which I thought was pretty cool).

To make the square outline I lightly drew a square with a pencil (using a piece of cardstock as a template).  Then once I stamped the flower and the sentiment, I went over the pencil marks with a Basic Black marker (using a ruler to keep the lines true).

I actually made this as an A2 card first but decided there was too much white space, so I made this version which is 4 1/4-inches square.  It's much more proportional to the flower and sentiment.

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Skektchbook Saturday Challenge 43

Last April, for my sister's birthday, I made her a lovely box (following the Stamping 411 tutorial here), that I filled with cards of various sentiments.  If you're like me you've got loads of cards hanging around, so it's nice to be able to give them to someone who can use them.  As luck would have it, shortly after I gave it to her she needed an "emergency" gift so she gave the box and cards to someone else.  Now, I have finally made a replacement for her.

She's been patiently waiting for me to have enough cards in my stash to make a suitable replacement.  I feel guilty that it took me almost eight months, though!  This is the lid, which I made from Rose Red cardstock and embellished with some designer paper from Thoroughly Modern designer series paper.  The inspiration for the layout is from Chupa's Sketchbook Saturday challenge.

For the flower I stamped En Francais onto some Very Vanilla cardstock, then cut out three flowers from the Sizzix Tattered Florals die, crumpled them up, sponged them with Soft Suede, and stuck them all together with an antique brad.  The "for you" sentiment on the scallop circle is from Great Friend.

The base of the box is Soft Suede, which I think looks fabulous with Rose Red.  And the crumpled flower?  I think it looks terrific and I'm pretty sure that my sister will like it too.  It looks so much better in real life, which seems to be always the way when I try to photograph these things.

I'm so glad that the Christmas craziness is over now, and life can get back to normal.  I'm looking forward to trying out some of the fun stamping things that Santa Claus brought me.  I got an awesome storage rack for my ink pads that I hope to have ready for some pics later this week.  Stay tuned.  I think you're going to want one for yourself!

And in the meantime, thanks for stopping by!  I really appreciate your visits!

Monday, December 26, 2011


I'm off from work today and after running some errands this morning, I found myself at loose ends and anxious to play with some of the goodies that Santa Claus brought me.

First I inked up and colored this fun stamp for the MOJO sketch challenge.  I used a So Saffron scrap from the retired Walk in the Park designer paper series (love that paper and wish I had more!).  I love this image, but what I really love is the snarky sentiment that pairs with it.

As soon as I saw it, I knew right off who was going to get a card made with it!  Here's the MOJO sketch:

And finally here's a quick pic of my photography assistant, who periodically jumps into my light box to check things out and make sure everything is A-Okay in there.

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, December 23, 2011

CCMC181 and PPA125 {Tag}

I really didn't think I'd make it into my stamp room this week, but I found myself with some extra time tonight so I thought I'd do a quick project and combine the white and silver color challenge at Create With Connie and Mary with the Tag challenge at Pals Paper Arts.

I embossed the holly sprig from Bells and Boughs in silver and then layered it on some silver glimmer paper.  I cut another smaller circle from glimmer paper and attached it at the top with a hole in the middle so I can add some silver cord later.  It's quite sparkly and festive in real life!

I'm sure I won't be back here for a few days so I will just wish everyone a very Merry Christmas.  I hope you all enjoy a wonderful, safe holiday with your family!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Stamping 411 Sketch 234

For some reason I got to thinking about watercoloring yesterday.  I hadn't done any of that in quite some time so I thought I do a little practicing.

I love using the leafy stamp from Growing Green to watercolor.  I colored it with a Wild Wasabi marker then dragged the color around with an aqua painter.  The companion designer paper is from Woodland Walk and the sentiment is from Much Appreciated.  The layout is courtesy of the Stamping 411 sketch challenge.

Now, you might be wondering what is up with that tie-dyed ribbon.  That is an experiment gone awry!  Several months ago I tried to dye a piece of Very Vanilla seam binding ribbon.  I soaked the ribbon in some water that I had added a few drops of Wild Wasabi ink to.  But the ribbon wouldn't take the color and this is what I ended up with.  I'm not sure why, but I saved it and I came across it as I considered what ribbon to use on my card.  It's actually kind of pretty in real life and the colors go perfectly with this card!  That's some serendipity!

Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Color Throwdown 172 and Sketchbook Saturday 42

I was so happy to see the fun colors this week at the Color Throwdown.  So I plunked myself down in my stamp room last night to see what I could come up with.

I stamped the big flower from Raining Flowers in Versamark then heat embossed it with Melon Mambo embossing powder.  I layered that onto one of the flowers from the Fun Flowers Sizzix die, which I dry embossed with the Perfect Polka Dots embossing folder.  The scrap of designer paper is from the Welcome Neighbor paper pack.

I got loads of help on this card with the colors at the Color Throwdown and also this great sketch from Chupa's Sketchbook Saturday challenge.  And it also fits the challenge for wet or dry embossing at Scrapbook Essentials.

Well, I've cleared my schedule for this afternoon so that I can watch the Patriots play.  It's going to be a great game because we'll be playing the Denver Broncos and the NFL's latest wonder boy Tim Tebow.  Should be fun!

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

FTL 171 and Our Creative Corner Holiday Color Combo

This has been a busy week and today is the first day I've had a chance to set foot in my stamp room and do something meaningful in quite some time.  And I was very discombobulated when I got there!  It took me a long while to get my thoughts together and figure out what I wanted to do.

I ended up with this card which I made for the FTL sketch challenge and the color challenge at Our Creative Corner.

I used some designer paper from the Sweet Pea collection and I paired it with a Baja Breeze layer behind it.  The I found some nice Real Red scraps from the Ski Slope designer paper pack, which I used on the center square.  I used the Northern Frost decorative strip die to cut the snowflakes from the silver shimmer paper and some Pink Pirouette, whereby I discovered that the shimmer paper is just a tad too thick to cut cleanly with the decorative strip die.  It made a tight sandwich through the Big Shot, but I ended up fussing with the cutout quite a bit to release it.  In fact, the small snowflake ended up with a tear and some missing shimmer because I was apparently a bit too rough trying to wrestle it out.  I'm pretty sure that no one but me would notice that it is missing a tiny bit, but I know it and it bugs me!

Right now this is a card, but I may alter it a bit and put it on the front of a gift bag because I just discovered that a gift certificate I bought for my godparents is languishing without some pretty Christmas packaging.  Must remedy that!

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Freshly Made Sketches 15

I've been so busy the last few days trying to get my Christmas cards organized and out in the mail that I haven't spent any creative time in my stamp room.  Last night I tried to put make a card, but nothing was coming together so I quit!  Luckily I made my card for the latest Freshly Made Sketch a few days ago!

I hope you can join us because this week Cindy has given us a really fun sketch.  It really got me thinking!

There are so many possibilities with those rectangles, and I can't wait to see how everyone interprets this versatile sketch.  Since I've been trying to put away my Christmas stamps for good this season, I decided to go with some fun colors and a birthday theme.

The Berry Blossoms designer paper provided this gorgeous color scheme.  And as I was looking at the flowers on the designer paper it occurred to me that I hadn't used my Flower Daisies Sizzix die in a long while and it would make a nice addition to my card.  I cut out three of the flowers to layer together then used a white flower punched from the Boho Blossoms punch and a Lucky Limeade brad to finish off the center.

This is our last sketch for 2011 so that the design team can take a little break.  But we'll be back on January 4th with another fun sketch.  This is also our last sketch with our talented guest designers Lauri and Christy Q.  It's been a lot of fun having them on board and seeing their beautiful cards each week.

But now it's time to check out the inspiration from the design team and then let's get inky together one last time this year!

Lesley Croghan
Linda Callahan
Cindy Hall
Lauri Ingram
Tui Nathan
Christy Q
Jennifer Timko
Rita Wright

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Paper Players 76 and SSSC147

Just when I thought it was safe to put away my Christmas stamps along comes this great color challenge from my friends at The Paper Players.

I took one look at it and knew that, for me, gold meant embossing.  And maybe some gold cardstock.  And maybe some gold cord.  So, with an Idea in my head for all that gold, I went in search of the perfect sketch and came across the Sweet Sunday Sketch Challenge.

That big layer was just perfect for my Dasher stamp.  He always looks swell all decked out in gold embossing powder.

I used a couple of sheets from Jolly Holiday because they were just circles made of Cherry Cobbler and Very Vanilla.  I used a little bit of gold cardstock peeking out behind Dasher and then I rounded up some gold cord and twirled it around the biggest layers three times.  And since I think that embossing powder and the gold cord qualify as dressing up my card, I think I'll add this one to the Pals Paper Arts challenge of Puttin' on the Ritz.

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Friday Mashup 36 and Sketchbook Saturday 41

Yesterday I thought I was done making Christmas cards.  My stamp room is overflowing with them and I'm totally fine if I don't see another poinsettia, snowflake, wreath or what have you until next year.  But then the challenge this week at The Friday Mashup included snowmen, which got me thinking about the cute guys in Snow Much Fun, which got me thinking that I could maybe do one more Christmas card.  For old times sake and all.

The challenge was to make a card with a snowman, and/or make a card using the colors Blushing Bride, Baja Breeze and Basic Gray.  I definitely planned on using the colors, but I really wasn't sure about the snowman owing to my previously mentioned aversion to all things Christmas.  But the more I looked at this adorable graphic, the more I realized that the dudes from Snow Much Fun deserved one last hurrah.

So then I went over to Chupa's blog and checked out her latest Sketchbook Saturday sketch and, combining the two challenges, sat down to get all inky.

Actually getting inky for this card was not all that easy.  I had a hard time translating what was in my brain to what was appearing on my card and I almost scrapped the whole thing.  But I took a short break and by the time I got back in my stamp room I managed to settle down and create this.  It actually has a nice clean look to it that I like and the colors are great together.

I've been experimenting with the custom white balance setting on my camera to {hopefully} help me get a better picture of a card that has a lot of white in it.  I took a picture of this card with the automatic white balance then again with a custom setting and I can actually see a difference.  It is far from perfect, but I plan to keep experimenting with it until I get something I'm really satisfied with.

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, December 9, 2011

CCMC179 and Cards & Things 99

It's been ages since I've made a round card, so when I saw the challenge this week at Cards & Things I knew right away that I'd want to participate.

So I spent some time tonight surfing around my regular challenge sites to see if I could come up with a color challenge that would go with this great sketch.  There were quite a few that caught my eye and I hope I have time this weekend to make some cards for them, but for this card I decided on the Create With Connie and Mary challenge.

I was going to make another Christmas card, but honestly I think I'm tapped out.  It feels like I've been making Christmas cards since July (I'm sure I haven't, it just feels like it), so I thought I'd make something that had no connection to any holiday or special event.  I inked up one of the stamps from the retired Artfully Asian in black Stazon, then colored it with Lucky Limeade and Poppy Parade markers.  The sentiment is from Fabulous Phrases.  I finished it off with a Basic Gray button.  I so wish that I had dropped the "smile" sentiment down a bit to give the button a bit more room, but I was too lazy to re-do it so this version stays.

Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving a lovely comment.  I really enjoy reading them!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

MOJO 218 and ColourQ 114

The ColourQ colors this week provided a challenge that was a refreshing change from all the Christmas colors I've been using lately.

I suppose I could have made a Christmas card with these colors.  And I'm sure that some of the talented participants in the challenge will have done so, but I felt like I wanted to do something different.  A little help from this week's MOJO sketch and I was off!

I had kind of forgotten all about Cool Caribbean but luckily I still have the inkpad so I colored the butterfly with it using my blender pens.  It actually looks more vibrant in real life.  I almost added a sentiment at the bottom of this card because I thought it looked a little bare, but decided I liked it the way it was.  I can always add one later!

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Freshly Made Sketches 14

This week at Freshly Made Sketches we've got a sketch brought to you by the lovely and so very talented Jennifer Timko.

I've made cards with a similar layout before and I've got to say that this has got to be one of my all-time favorite sketches.  It is so versatile!

I feel like I've been neglecting Chocolate Chip lately, so I thought I'd dig it out for this one and pair it with Old Olive.  The patterned paper is from Holiday Treasures, and my wreath is made from one of the snowflake stamps in Snow Flurries.  I randomly stamped the snowflake in a circle then drew some circles in Cherry Cobbler to look like berries.  Easy peasy!

It can be a little tricky making the squares proportionate in a card like this, so I saved the first one I ever made to use as a reference.  The card itself is 4 1/4-inches square.  The Chocolate Chip layer is 4-inches square, followed by four Old Olive layers that are each 1 13/16-inches square and finally the designer paper layers are 1 5/8-inches square.

Our wonderful Freshly Made Sketches design team have some gorgeous samples to share with you this week.  I know because I've seen them all and I let out a big gasp when I saw them!  So make sure you check them out.  Then head on back to the FMS blog and link up your creation.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Paper Players 75 and Inkspirations 98

I think I must be channeling some previously unknown psychic abilities because on Friday when I first saw the Inkspirations color challenge I thought it might be fun to use the colors for a Christmas card.

Then I find that this week the The Paper Players challenge us to use non-traditional stamps or colors to create a Christmas card!  How cool is that?

Once again I turned to Perfect Presentation and the wonderful tree stamp in that set.  I don't know what little Christmas fairy persuaded me to get that stamp set so many years ago, but I am eternally grateful to her because I can't believe how often I use it this time of year.  Not only does it have this great tree, but it has tags, and a snowman, and some round sentiments that are so useful.  It's long been retired, but I'll never part with it!

I also used one of the snowflakes from Snow Flurries to to stamp a background on the So Saffron layer.  One of the other snowflakes from that same set I stamped in Versamark and heat embossed with Wild Wasabi embossing powder.  I punched those out and mounted them on dimensionals.  The sentiment is from Contempo Christmas.

I haven't decided who will be the recipient of this card.  I think it's got to be someone who will appreciate the irony!

Now, I need a little help.  Last year I loaned this stamp to my sister and I recently got it back.   But I don't remember what stamp set it came from.  It's on purple rubber, which used to mean it was either a hostess set or was from a Mini (I'm not sure which).  If you recognize it, please let me know where it goes!  I'll be forever grateful!

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

PPA122 and FTL169

I really love how Always Artichoke and Cherry Cobbler look together, especially when I'm doing a Christmas project.  And lucky for me the challenge this week at Pals Paper Arts uses those colors plus Very Vanilla.  Then I saw the FTL sketch challenge at Clean & Simple and I got an Idea.

I'm {somewhat} sure that the tree shape from the sketch challenge can be substituted for another shape, but based on my Idea, I decided to go literal with this one.

This card marks the first time that I used the Snow Burst embossing folder (unbelievable, I know)!  And my tree is simply four scallop circles, sponged on the edges and cut in a triangle.  I paper pierced the smaller Very Vanilla layer and popped it up with dimensionals so that it would stand out from the card base of the same color.  I really like how this turned out.  It's simple and lets those fabulous colors take center stage.  And as I was getting ready to post this card, I realized that I left off the sentiment.  But I decided not to go back and add one, because I think it looks pretty good without one!

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, December 2, 2011

ColourQ 113 and Cards & Things 98

I loved the colors for the ColourQ challenge this week.  Especially when I scrolled down to look at all the submissions so far.  I think it's so neat when you see all those cards assembled in once place with a common color scheme.  I decided to combine that color challenge with the sketch at Cards & Things.

The other day I was making a project for a color challenge and accidentally made it using Sahara Sand when I was supposed to be using River Rock.  So I thought it was a bit of poetic justice that this challenge uses Sahara Sand.  At least I grabbed the right color this time.

I don't think I've used my snowflake punch very much this year, so used it here to punch out three flakes in Night of Navy, Bashful Blue and Whisper white after I stamped Simple Snowflake onto each piece of cardstock.  A little Night of Navy button finishes off the center nicely.  The sentiment is from Perfect Presentation.  It's part of a stamp that contains a star, so I just inked up the word with my Marina Mist marker to get the "peace" sentiment you see.

What a crazy week it's been for me.  I went back to work on Tuesday after being on vacation for 18 days!  I spent the first day basically just reading and responding to emails, and the second day opening and reading my snail mail.  It's wonderful being on vacation, but so hard to catch up when you go back!  Then to top it off, I was busy a couple evenings with meetings, so tonight is the first time I've had a chance to spend in my stamp room.  Now that I've got this card posted I'm off to see what I've been missing in the blogosphere all week.

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Freshly Made Sketches 13

Hello, and welcome to another episode of Freshly Made Sketches!  This week, the lovely and talented 
Lesley has given us a gorgeous, versatile sketch to work with.

I was getting a little worried that I hadn't made enough Christmas cards so I figured I better add to my stash just in case.

I paper pieced the poinsettias from the Deck the Halls dsp.  That's something I don't often do, but I really like the result.  Then I cut out the holly leaves and the music from the same set.  The sentiment is from Bells and Boughs.

Our wonderful design team has some great inspiration for you, so be sure to check them out.  Then head on over to Freshly Made Sketches and use the linky tool to upload your creation.  We can't wait to see what you do!


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

MOJO217 and PPA121

I think I just made it before the linky widget expired for the Pals Paper Arts challenge this week.  The challenge was to use pearls and I almost didn't make a card for it until I spotted the MOJO sketch and was struck with Inspiration.

I nearly made a around card this time around because, oddly enough, I had some round scraps in my stash that were just begging to be used.  They will continue to beg, because I needed the additional space that a square card gave me.

Santa came a little early this year and brought me a new Sizzix decorative strip die called Festive Greenery that I couldn't wait to use.  It's got holly, berries, branches, arborvitae leaves and some flourishes.  I cut out the holly leaves in Always Artichoke, the arborvitae leaf in Old Olive, the branch in Early Espresso and the berries in Cherry Cobbler.  I used the holly leaves with the scratchy side showing because I thought it looked pretty neat, especially after I sponged them with some Always Artichoke.  The scratches took on a little more ink so the leaves have a cracked paint look to them.  I took a little liberty with the placement of the sentiment vis-a-vis the sketch and now I wish I had lowered it a bit.

I'm in the home stretch making the Christmas cards that I will need this year, because I'll have to get them out in the mail within the next week or two.  I hope I have enough, but I like this one quite a bit so hopefully I can more of them if I need to.  It actually came together pretty quickly.

Thanks for stopping by!