Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Some on Wednesday

7. I made these:
It was the first time ever I'd successfully grown something, other than my son. I am SO excited. Ben and I scarfed two of them down last night. I am not often given to nostalgia, but we both were trying to explain to our 3 year old that "this is what tomatoes are supposed to taste like. No wonder you don't like tomatoes, if you're used to the ones from the store."

6. Saturday we had the girl child's 2nd birthday party. It was, in a word, delightful. She joined our family 15 months ago and was still having a hard time with the transition on her first birthday, when we had a party last year. It was such a blessing to have folks who haven't seen her since comment on how great she looks and behaves and have people who had never met her not know anything was unusual about her. She's a thriver, that one.

5. My husband is the master of dessert. He made this delightful rum-soaked nilla wafer, fruit, ricotta, whipped cream concoction for the party that kind of transformed our lives. Or at least delighted our taste buds. He called that the adult dessert.

4. I made cake pops. I think I'm perfecting them. This time I used yellow cake as the store was out of chocolate mix. Yes, I'm serious. They were out of chocolate cake mix. But, I have cocoa powder which I mixed in. I dipped the pops in lavender candy melts. They were gorgeous. I'll get pictures up soon. I remembered to take some this time. Now I need to remember where I left the cord that connects the camera to the computer.

3. I started making Christmas cards. I know, I know. Some of you think it is absurd to start cards in August. Others of you can't believe I waited so long. This year I'm not going to take orders. I mean, I will take orders, but more for quantity than design. I made 75 of the same design for my MIL last year. It was a pretty design, but it got old around 18. So, I'm going to make what I want and hope that's what people want too. Last year I sold 215 holiday cards. Yee haw.

2. Ben and I are about to have our 5th wedding anniversary. It feels like it's been at once just a minute since the wedding, and forever. Both are good things.

1. We just bought new mattresses for our bed and our son's. We live upstairs and couldn't fit box springs in the door opening of our old farmhouse, so we'd been sleeping on just a mattress for the last 4 years. Now we are on box springs (a split box, it's called, FYI) and a big fat mattress. We're about 12 inches higher off the floor. I feel like I'm in a parade when I'm in bed. Although, it has given me a better view of all the things that need to be cleaned in our room. Can't win 'em all, I guess.

Did I mention that I grew these my own self?

Happy Halloween

My mom asked me to make some Halloween cards for the kids in her life. She is "aunt" to several kids in several states. All of the stamps used are from the bargain bin at Michael's. Man, is that a dangerous place! :) The first two cards are A9 sized. I am still debating about what to put in the inside. The skulls on the last card are glittery and have google eyes. Boo, indeed.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Winking Reindeer

I made this card for the Hero Arts 90 Minute Scramble. Over on their Flickr page, they have these scrambles about every other week. I loooove them. This week's challenge was to use your oldest or newest stamp. I had just bought this reindeer stamp, and wanted to get started on some Christmas cards. Voila, multi-tasking. :) The papers are from Echo Park. I used one side for the deer, and the other side for the stripes around. Sneaky tip: I cut a window inside the stripes, behind the kraft paper. There is about a 1/2 inch border. That allows me to use more of the paper on projects, rather than wasting it behind the kraft piece. The stripes were adhered to a white card, all the easier for writing a Christmas message on.

A year ago I wouldn't have imagined starting Christmas cards in August, but I have decided to make whatever designs I want in whatever quantities. Sounds obvious, right? Last year I took orders and ended up making 75 of the same design for my mother-in-law. It was a cute design and I was glad she asked me to do it, but it's not really all that creative past the 13th one. I made about 215 cards last year, for our family and several others. Anyhoo, that's why I'm starting early. I'll be sharing some more Christmas cards these next few weeks.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

A Lily Pad Birthday

I made this card using the sketch from the Lily Pad site. Don't you just love it? I needed a birthday card for my mom, so I started with that idea. The stamps are from Paper Source. Thanks for swinging by.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Mojo Mondays #205

I really like the sketch inspiration over at Mojo Mondays. The cards that I have made from the inspiration are often totally unlike what I'd do normally, which is a great treat for me. I have found it easiest to begin with these many-element-ed sketches by choosing one set of papers and working from there. These are from the Crate Paper collection. The paper on the left top corner is from the papers. The two borders (blue and purple) come from the included border selections. I punched the bottom piece from the back of the paper on the left top corner. (wow, did any of that make sense? :) I only have one border punch, so I got creative with the upper right section.

What I liked most about how this turned out was the ribbon and twine bow. It added a lot of visual impact in a relatively easy way. Thanks for the inspiration!

Water taxis

Last week, right before the eternal un-carpetting of our living room, we spent a couple of days in downtown Chicago with my in-laws. My MIL just sent some pictures of the kiddos enjoying the sights.

And here they are enjoying Soren's trike and gymnastics class. He's quite the natural athlete. With that hair, how could he be anything but? Ha! The other parents in the Parent-Tot class seemed pretty intense. We just wanted the kids to have some fun and get some exercise.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Just Us Girls Color Challenge

This week's challenge at Just Us Girls was to use the colors red, yellow, green and brown. Since I was sadly short of birthday cards, I began brainstorming with that focus, and then chose the paper and design. All that you see are from Basic Grey. The sentiment and the balloon are Die Cuts. The collection is Life of the Party.

The brown in my card is pretty subtle, but enough to count, I hope. I really like this color combination.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

I had a strange shortage of baby girl cards in my stash. I had a lot of gender neutral cards, which obviously work for either gender, but someone requested a girly card. Here it is. The stamp is from Hampton Arts, and the papers are from a pack by Recollections. There are two strips of patterned paper that were then punched with a Fiskars punch. You can see better on the green strip, but both have the border punched out. The die is from Spellbinders.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Anniversary birds

These cutie pie birds are 3D stickers by Recollections. The patterned paper is from Anna Griffin. The die are Spellbinders. I think these will be wedding cards or anniversary cards. I might add a congratulations down on the right corner. Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Moxie Fab Tuesday Trigger

The design for this card was inspired by one of the stops on the Blog Hop for the Twinery's 1st anniversary. I'm embarrassed to not remember where I found it, but there was so much gloriousness on a long hop I lost track. I liked the way the designer used the patterned pieces at different heights on the card. It's both orderly and unpredictable at the same time.

Anyway, the patterned paper here is from Recollections. It comes as a big pack. I just used 3 of the sheets out of the 6 available. The twine is from My Mind's Eye. I'm not really sure what I was doing with that fan, made out of mulberry paper, but I liked it. I accordion folded the paper, then folded it in the middle and glued it together on the ends.

I used the colors from the Trigger, as well as the fact that it was a furniture setting in choosing my patterned papers. I love those bright greens and pinks together.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Thinking of you Embossing CFC #16

This card was created as part of the Hero Arts Flickr group 90 minute scramble. It's what it sounds like. The leader gives the group an idea for cards, and they have 90 minutes to complete and upload it to the group. I love these. I am a fast card maker and like to be decisive :) The beauty of the scramble is there's no time to sit around and brainstorm. It's a nice counterpoint to a lot of my professional work.

I had a couple things in mind when I started, namely that I wanted to do some embossing and that I wanted to use the Leaf Clusters stamp set from HA. The small stamps and sentiment are also Hero Arts (CL342).

I will be entering this for the CAS-ual Fridays challenge to emboss. I just bought this black embossing powder and love how it looks on the teal paper.


Is this PTI Grunge Me set the best, or what? It really does all the work for you. It is REALLY fun to use. I almost had to restrain myself from stamping more on this card, as it is so much fun. I stamped this card open, so that the green and pink parts on the left edge go over onto the back. I also stamped one of the blue circle things on the back, too. I liked carrying the design onto the back for a surprise.

I used some Stampabilities ink in blue and lime green. The pink is worn lipstick from Tim Holtz distressed inks. The sentiment, which I only inked (with markers) part of, is from Hampton Arts.

I used the colors from the Play Date Cafe, which were navy, bubblegum, and leaf green.

Friday, August 19, 2011


I really love this thankful stamp I got at Michaels. I use it all the time. It was made by Hampton Arts. I love the mixed fonts and how it just looks thankful. The yellow die cut is from K and Company. The gems are Martha Stewart and the patterned paper is 100 Days of Summer. I cut the paper this time so that it is the entire length of the card. Usually I leave a bit of the cardstock showing all the way around, but felt like mixing it up. You can see the brown of the card on teh width. Happy Friday!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Three on Thursday

How lazy I've become. Three on Thursday. Not Two on Tuesday, Five on Friday or Six on Saturday. I guess I'll blame the polyeurathane smell coming from our nearly de-carpeted floor. My husband took out all the carpet (20 years old at least), the lining, the nails, and then sanded the heck out of the floor. He sanded it 9 times to get it smooth. Egads! Right now it's between coats 1 and 2 of finish and will soon be done. I'm looking forward to getting stuff back in place, especially the couch which is presently taking up 85% of the hallway. It's getting pretty tight in there. But it will soon be gorgeous.

1. Aren't I lucky to have a handy husband?

2. My mom is coming this weekend to visit and we are off to IKEA for some entirely necessary home goods. They are certainly VERY NECESSARY, husband. Definitely not frivolous. :)

3. I wish all the internet commenters were as nice as the folks on craft blogs. Comments all over the rest of the internet are just vicious. I think healthy feedback is important, but can we do it with respect and perhaps good spelling?

And with that, I have completed my quota of "grandma-y" statements for the day. Now, get off my lawn, you whippersnappers.

I hope to have cards tomorrow. Perhaps when everything from my living and dining rooms are not in my hallway/bedroom/bathroom. I'm grateful to have that old carpet out, and grateful to have my hallway back soon. Have a good Thursday!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

I get by with a little help from my friends

The stamps that make up this pretty image come from my friends Jennifer and Aaron, both of whom are graphic designers. They gave me these stamps over the summer, along with a bunch of other great ones. We laughed a little bit about what I could possibly do with an A and a J stamp, until late one night I suddenly remembered that my best friend's initials were AJ. Duh, right? But I had been thinking of my family members all of whom are Ws or Ds, and hadn't even thought of friends.

My friend Ayanna's favorite colors are orange and purple, so I whipped up this card for her. I gave it to her this weekend, so now I can show it to you. Do you ever wake up with a card idea? My husband finds it hilarious, but given that he's a writer, you think he'd understand :)

Monday, August 15, 2011

Happy Anniversary

My husband asked me to make a couple cards for him to send to folks whose wedding he performed last year. Ta da! One wedding was a small affair in a tiny town in Alaska, the other a big city shindig downtown Chicago. Both were lovely. Isn't it interesting how everyone who chooses to get married can do it in such unique ways?

This card features patterned paper from Heidi Grace. It's got a bit of a sparkle the scanner couldn't pick up. The sentiment is from Hero Arts and the ribbon is from American Crafts. Happy Monday!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Six on Saturday

Often I write a "Five on Friday" post, but had meetings all day yesterday, so we will instead go with Six on Saturday. I hope you don't mind.

6. We are taking out the 20 year old carpet in our parsonage (church house - I work for the church and we live in the house next door) next week. The greatest part of the debate has been where to house the children and whether my husband can do all the work himself. It is not a question of his ability, but rather his ability to bend the time-space continuum and create enough time to do the work of 6 people. He's pretty impressive, so he might actually pull it off. I'll let you know. I would post before and after pictures, but I'm afraid I'd be arrested for child endangerment for the present state of the carpet.

5. Wondering where to go for hilarious commentary on celebrity attire? Wonder no longer.

4. I am extremely fortunate in my colleagues. This is helped by the fact that I am no more than 25 miles from my university and there is still a concentration of us in the area. We got together yesterday and holy cow, it was helpful. We have called ourselves a lot of different names, but settled on Wild Women of Worship. Sometimes you need a lot of frivolity to make it through the day, am I right?

3. Stalking my favorite card designers on the internet pays off again. I won a prize from Lucy Abrams! What a nice Friday surprise. It's a bunch of embellishments, some of which are totally off my regular beat, so we'll see what interesting cards I whip up after they arrive. They're coming from England, so it might take a bit. Neat stuff coming in the mail? Two of my favorite things!

2. A friend wrote a story about trying to return to normalcy after his dad died. It is really good.

1. Sometimes it is hard to figure out where to start with card challenges, but they are so helpful for getting inspiration and VERY sweet feedback that it's worth the trouble. These are a few of my favorite card challenges. The PlayDate Cafe, Cas-Ual Fridays, Just Us Girls, Moxie Fab World, and Wee Memories. Go get 'em, friends.

Thursday, August 11, 2011


When typing the title for this post I first forgot the second l, which resulted in "boldy" which is kind of a funny word. Anyway, the stamp/verse for this card comes from Verve. I just love it. The paper is from Michaels (I will try to be more specific, sorry, brain dead, Friday, etc). It came with that great multi-colored swirl all ready to use.

I hope you have a good weekend planned. We are doing a long weekend downtown with my in-laws and the kiddos. We might even take a water taxi. Bets on whether the girl dives into the water?

Just Us Girls

I really like the Just Us Girls website. Each week has a different type of challenge. Two weeks ago it was to make a gift bag, which I was immediately able to use for a birthday party the next day. This week it's a sketch. I have seen a bunch of cards made lately using the Antique Engravings stamp set from Hero Arts and was inspired to pull mine out. It was literally at the bottom of the drawer, not because I don't love it, but because I have been, ahem, purchasing just a few new ones. But there's something about old stamps, isn't there? It feels like a triumph to use them again.

I was also able to use some paper I got at Michaels during one of their crazy sales. The dies are from Spellbinders. Here's the inspiration sketch:

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

How Beautiful it is to be alive

This was a fun card to make because it came from a bunch of scraps. I had made some of those Tea for Two packs and cut out the die cut, leaving what you see here. The paper is from Basic Grey Kioshi paper. The flower is Hero Arts Big Flower and was embossed in white on white vellum. The quote is "How Beautiful it is to be alive" from Beethoven. Nice. (The quote I mean, I'm not getting braggy).

This card is for the Wee Memories Challenge to use at least 4 colors on a card. No problemo!

Curio Bird

I absolutely adore the paper and embellishments from the Basic Grey Curio collection. Both the patterned paper and bird come from it. I border punched the sides of the paper. I love that punch. Have a good day!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

PDCC Twofer

This week the colors for the Playdate Cafe were just perfect for summer: Watermelon, sorbet and lime. These are some of my favorites, so I made 2 cards for the challenge. For the first, I had this very cute paper from Pink Paislee that I whipped out, along with some Hero Arts flowers and Paper Studio gems. The trim separating the patterned paper pieces uses a Fiskars punch.

This card uses some old Basic Grey paper I had lying around that I was glad to use. The squares are 1" square. Thanks for swinging by.

And here's the challenge photo:

Friday, August 5, 2011

Five on Friday

This little exercise is meant to improve my creative writing. I can never remember which side of the brain it is, but regardless which side it is, it could use a little exercise. Let's not talk about the rest of my body which could use a little exercise too. Last year when my doctor asked me how active I was I said "I have two small kids." I don't think that was the sort of "exercise" answer she was looking for. She looked at me skeptically, I looked at her earnestly. I'm pretty sure she included an eyeroll. Anyhoo, here' s more about the Five on Fridays.

5. The church is having the Annual Garage Sale tomorrow. I don't know why it stresses me out. Maybe I think I need to somehow be in charge of church fundraising success. Perhaps it all stems back to my control issues. Ah, control issues.

4. I had heat exhaustion this week. I tried to collapse at the Botanical Gardens with the family on Monday. That was super great. Not. At my encouragement Ben took the kids around while I chilled (ha ha ha) in the Visitors Center. The Garden has a train exhibit which was a big hit with the kiddos. I finally felt better yesterday.

3. My evangelism technique has gotten better, I hope. Yesterday we took the kids for ice cream. The guy who we think owns the place was joking with the kids and said "You're at the second happiest place in the world. Do you know what the first one is?"
"The church?" I asked friendly-like.
"Uh, no. I thought church was where kids went to cry."
"Not my church. At my church the kids are treated like a prince and princess." The girl child beamed, just to make clear I wasn't lying.
"Oh. Good." he said.
Later he was talking about how he wanted to have kids with his wife, and I said, "well, we really like ours." I was swinging the girl child around at the time and she was giggling. I said casually "This one's a foster child" and smooched her on the cheek while she hugged me for all she was worth.
"Oh." he said.
I hope that I changed his mind a teensy bit about what churchgoers and foster families look like. Plus we got ice cream. Win for everybody :)

2. I'm about to start reading a book called On Killing by Lt. Col. Dave Grossman. It was recommended at a workshop I went to about how to help troops integrate with their communities after deployment. I am thinking about starting a group here at church, but am a long way from knowing enough to be helpful AT ALL. To the research!

1. Ben is writing an article about movies that show unhappy marriages. It's been a strange week of movie viewing for us both. The movie Hall Pass? Horribly written. Plus there's a sand trap scene which is best not discussed. The movie Crazy, Stupid Love? Pretty good. Good acting and funny use of slo mo.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Clean and Simple with Tags

This card was for a challenge to use tags on cards. We have about a half dozen weddings in the next 2 months, so I'm working on wedding cards. This ended up busier than I thought it would. I think I know just the couple for a busy card... :) The stamp on the tag is from Stampendous, and the paper is Paper Studio.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


Embellish Magazine
is sponsoring a challenge using patterned paper and some great neutral colors. Last week I was straightening up my paper stack and came across this old Basic Grey paper from the Granola collection. I love using old paper. I used color blocking technique (I don't know if it counts as color blocking if you use busy prints. Probably not) to make the background.

I cut the strips too wide, so when I trimmed off 1/4 inch, I decided to make that into the little flower. Then I wrapped each loop in twine. I also used some knitted ribbon behind the horizontal strip of patterned paper.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Cas-ual Fridays Challenge

This week's Challenge over at CAS-ual Fridays was to create a card that measures 4 x 9 but is still clean and simple. I have had this Pink Paislee paper for a while, and wanted to make a welcome to the neighborhood style card for whenever I need one. I did not add a sentiment so that I can choose to give it to a new neighbor or when a friend buys a house. The punch is from Fiskars and the twine is American Crafts. I think I've put twine on every card I've made in the last couple of days.


This card is for the Play Date Cafe's Challenge to use coral, petal pink and gold. The background here is a shiny gold shimmer piece which is sheer. This card kind of made itself. I thought I was going to make something with flowers and this awesome ribbon I have from American Crafts, but obviously I ended up with something totally different. I love how it goes like that sometimes. The papers for this are from a set of baby paper, but could be for anything. They are from K and Company. The doily is from Hobby Lobby's food section :)

This was the inspiration photo. I love that ballerina dress. Sooooo pretty.


This card is from the CASE challenge, though I missed the deadline. It's much busier than I usually do, but I was glad for the chance to get out my background stamp. I used it last year for an Easter card.

The sentiment is from the Michaels $1 bin. That is a dangerous place :) It reads "Do great in the small things. Mother Teresa." The oval and label are both dies from Spellbinders.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Bible Verse Verve

I am really glad to have these new Verve stamps with some great Bible verses. The Bible verse stamps are sold separately, so you can choose a wide selection. I got four or five. The flowers on the corner are also from Verve, the New Mercies set. Thanks for swinging by!