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Saturday, November 29, 2014

Like a fine wine, you only get better with age...

I picked up the Fiskars "Aged to Perfection" stamp set a week or two ago at Michael's. It was highly reduced, and I knew that I would be able to use it for birthday cards. As it turns out, I needed a quick card to give to my husband's cousin tomorrow when we meet her for lunch, and this stamp set was the perfect choice to produce something in a hurry. I really like how the card turned out. Sadly, this photo doesn't do it justice at all.  It was late afternoon by the time I could take a photo, and the light was nearly nonexistent.

The wine bottle and wine glass were stamped on vellum, then heat-embossed with some clear embossing powder. I fussy-cut them out and colored them on the back side with my ProMarkers. Then I popped them up on some clear dimensional adhesive. You can just see a slight shadow of the cork in the photo at left, indicating that dimension I was talking about.

If you look closely, you'll also see the tiny red gems that I added to the corner flourish. I also went over the lines of the flourish with a glitter pen to give it a little sparkle. Oh yes, the fancy rectangle was cut with a Spellbinder's Romantic Rectangles die.

I added a little strip of the black and white DSP to the top and bottom of the inside panel. I also punched out a couple small flowers from the glitter tape that I used on the front. I added them with one of the little red gems in the center of each.

Our Thanksgiving Day was lovely - lots of food for everyone to enjoy and several grandchildren to keep us on our toes. The turkey is nearly gone now, but we're still working on the pie. We ended up with eight pies for eight people! It's going to take a while to eat all of them.

Thanks so much for stopping by, and remember to laugh--a little or a lot--every day.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving...

I want to wish everyone a happy, healthy and hearty Thanksgiving Day. We will be hosting the big Thanksgiving meal with a few family members and thinking about those who are not able to join us.

I also want to share a quick look at a final Thanksgiving card that I made and sent out earlier this month.

I embossed the main panel with a Darice embossing folder. I then inked the edges of the panel with some distress ink and used other inks to add some color to the raised image.

The rectangle for the sentiment (computer-generated) was cut with a Spellbinder's Romantic Rectangles die. I added a few autumn-colored sequins for a little bling and tied a casual bow on the side with some seam tape.

On the inside, I stamped some leaves after inking the stamp up with some orange ink and then rolling the edges of the stamp on a red ink pad. I think that technique works especially well for fall-colored leaves.

That's it for me today. I'm off to get the turkey in the oven.

Thanks so much for stopping by, and remember to laugh--a little or a lot--every day.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Napkin cards...

I see napkin cards everywhere in blogland these days, so I thought I'd give them a try for my Thanksgiving cards.

Here is the package of napkins that I found at Joann's to use for my cards. I've always liked still-life paintings and really liked this image for Thanksgiving.

I first separated the plain white tissue layer (these napkins were 2-ply) from the top printed layer and set that aside to use in other ways. I also grabbed my plastic wrap to use as a "glue" between my image layer and a piece of plain white cardstock. Now, I needed to assemble my "sandwich."

Plan A:  I laid down some parchment paper to work on, then my cardstock, plastic wrap, napkin image and another piece of parchment paper, in that order. I ironed this sandwich on my iron's highest setting (it's old, so maybe it doesn't get very hot anymore). I discovered that my industrial-sized container of plastic wrap--one that I bought at Costco--must also be industrial strength, because I simply could NOT get it to melt!

Plan B: I remembered that I also had a small box of Dollar Store plastic wrap that had been in our RV, but was now stored away in the house until next spring. I got that out and gave it a try, using the same sandwich configuration. Voila! It worked!  Lesson learned - use cheap, thin plastic wrap for this technique.

After the napkin was adhered, I simply cut the image to size and used it to make my cards, just like I'd use a stamped image.

Here's one of my cards with a custom-made envelope to match.

I tried adding a few autumn-colored sequins to some of the cards for a little bling.

I also used a Spellbinders "Fancy Labels" die for the sentiment on some...

...and added a die-cut button to others.

I found that occasionally the napkin would come loose along the edge of my cut-to-size image. I just used a glue pen to tack these areas down again.

For my some of my card interiors, I punched some leaves out of some inked cardstock and attached them inside.

For other cards, I stamped a simple pumpkin.

All in all, it was a fun experiment, but much more time-consuming than I expected.

Thanks so much for stopping by, and remember  to laugh--a little or a lot--every day.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Thanksgiving cards in a hurry (and have you ever heard of lefse?)...

Because we arrived home from our 7-week-long trip on October 31, I didn't have much time to get a few Thanksgiving cards made and sent--after I unpacked, that is. I was surprised at how long it took me to "get back into the groove" of card-making.

This card design was very quick to make, and I love the fall design of the Darice embossing folder that I used. I simply cut three strips of Core'dinations cardstock in different fall colors and put them side-by-side into the embossing folder.

After embossing, I sanded the surface of the embossed image a bit to highlight the design, and then adhered the strips to the black mat on my card.

An additional white piece of CS was stamped and adhered beneath the colored strips


I used a small leaf punch to cut a leaf from each of the three colors of cardstock and adhered those to the inside of the card around my computer-generated sentiment.

That's it--quick and easy, but pretty, too.

Today, I'll be heading to Ingebretsen's, our local Scandinavian shop, to purchase some lefse to serve with my Thanksgiving meal. I have some Norwegian heritage on both my mother's and father's sides, so I grew up eating this Scandinavian flat bread during the holidays. My sister has all the special tools (round lefse griddle, special rolling pin with cloth cover, etc.) to make it, so her family gets fresh, homemade lefse every year. My family has to be content with store-bought. If I lived closer to my sister, I'd be offering to "help" her make lefse, just so I could get a piece straight off the griddle. It's SO delicious when it's warm and freshly made.

Thanks so much for stopping by and remember to laugh--a little or a lot--every day.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Paper tube snowmen...

My grandson Patrick stayed with us for the last couple of days, and he always likes to do some crafting with Grandma (bless his heart!). With Christmas coming soon, I decided this time we would make some snowmen out of some sturdy paper tubes that I had saved.

First, I cut the tubes into three different heights, and then Patrick helped me paint them white. Then we went to work on the hats. I cut some strips of fleece that were about 4 - 5" wide by 10" or so long. I created the "roll" on the hat by first folding over about 1/2" of the fleece and hot-gluing it down. Then I hot-glued this to the edge of the paper tube. No sewing needed! Just be sure the two ends meet snugly at the back and then trim off the excess fleece.

To create the tassel at the top, I made 3/4" snips into the fleece at very short intervals along its length. I then took some embroidery thread and tied it tightly around the fabric where the snips ended. Be sure to make a good knot to hold it securely.

Patrick stuck on some self-adhesive black gems for the eyes, drew on the smiles with a black Sharpie and used some Gem-Tac glue to adhere the tiny buttons. He also picked out a ribbon from my stash to serve as a scarf for each snowman.

The "carrot" noses were probably the hardest part of the entire project. I tightly rolled some orange cardstock, making sure it came to a point at one end. I added a bit of glue once I felt I had rolled an adequate amount. I then cut it off to an appropriate length and attached it to the snowman with a bit of hot glue.

Patrick was very proud of his snowmen, saying that the smallest one is him (he's the youngest in the family) and the other two are his older sisters. They'll probably be the first Christmas decorations to be put out on the fireplace mantel at his house.

So if you've got some extra paper tubes around, along with some ribbon and fleece (or other fabric), give this simple project a try. It's a fun one to do with kids.

Thanks so much for stopping by, and remember to laugh--a little or a lot--every day.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Happy 8th birthday to a special granddaughter...

I have a beautiful granddaughter who lives 200 miles away, so I don't get to see her nearly as often as I'd like.  Luckily, however, I did see her this past weekend, so I was able to hand-deliver this birthday card to her:
I purchased the "Hanging Around" Wryn digital stamp from Tiddly Inks a while ago, but I still love it. It reminds me of my granddaughters (and even myself when I was their age). What little girl doesn't love to hang from her knees at every opportunity?

I colored Wryn with my ProMarkers and then did a bit of shading around her with some coral and yellow chalks.

I selected all of the colors I used from the colors in the DSP. I think I was able to match them up pretty well.

The blue doily that is just peeking out from behind the image was cut with a Lifestyle Crafts die.

I created my outside and inside sentiments on the computer. I love writing short little poems to use on cards. It does take extra time, but they really help make my cards more personal.

Here's the rest of the poem on the inside of the card.

A friend in Germany sent me a number of butterflies that she had punched out for me in different sizes. I've used two of them on this card. Thanks so much, Nadine!

The flowers were made with a couple of Recollection punches (star and flower) that I purchased at Michaels.

Thanks so much for stopping by, and remember to laugh--a little or a lot--every day.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Happy birthday, sis!

I had a lot of fun making this card for my sister's 61st birthday. I cut the numbers with my Cricut. I don't recall anymore what cartridge I used, but it may have been Art Philosophy.

The flowers were punched out with a couple of Reflections punches (flower and tiny star)and shaped a bit with my biggest stylus.

This image is a stamp from Inky Antics that I colored with my ProMarkers and then fussy-cut before adding to my card. I love coloring up these images. They're simple enough to do quickly, but add so much to the look of the card.

The inside was kept pretty simple - just a couple more flowers to adorn the die-cut that held my birthday punch line.

I hope my sister had a fabulous birthday. I know the weather wasn't particularly cooperative, but hopefully she was somewhere warm with good food, good company and maybe even a piece of cake.

Thanks so much for stopping by, and remember to laugh--a little or a lot--every day.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Happy 60th Anniversary...

This coming Sunday my aunt and uncle will celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary. That is a loooooong marriage! They are such a wonderful couple, and I am happy that I am able to go to the party. It is going to be a surprise for them, so I am curious to see how their three sons (my cousins) will pull it off. It's going to be held at their church in the afternoon, so their boys will have to have a reason for taking them there.

The 60th anniversary is the Diamond Anniversary, so I wanted to make them a card that included some silvery sparkle. Here's what I came up with:

I used a Darice embossing folder called "Photo Frame," and I inked around the edges with my silver ink pad. It has a nice sheen IRL, but it was impossible to catch it in a photo.

Please forgive the darkness of these photos. It's been cloudy a lot around here lately - and C.O.L.D. We've only gotten into the 20s for a high this past week. Ugh!

I used my "Precious Hearts" dies by Memory Box to cut the two beribboned hearts from some silver glitter paper. It is truly sparkly! I added three gems underneath the sentiment (computer-generated) to suggest the diamond theme.

The inside of the card is quite plain. I did add some score lines on the top and bottom for a more finished look.

My favorite touch to the inside was to add the gem to the 6 in 60th. I hadn't actually planned this, but when I started adding gems, it seemed like a natural place to put one. And it fit perfectly!

My aunt and uncle don't read my blog, but I want to wish them a happy anniversary here anyway. I love you, Jean and Lyle, and I wish you many more happy years together!

Thanks so much for stopping by, and remember to laugh--a little or a lot--every day.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Baby shower card...

This past weekend I was invited to attend a shower for my nephew's first child. They have decided not to learn the baby's gender until the birth, so the gifts - and cards - needed to be somewhat neutral.

Earlier this year my friend Nadine, who lives in Germany, sent me some baby pram die-cuts that she had cut with a Marianne Creatables die. When I was sorting through the items on my work desk, looking for some inspiration, I came across these die-cuts - one pink, one blue and one yellow. I decided that the yellow one would be perfect!

I used one of my Spellbinders Heart Circles dies to cut the white background for the pram. I added the teal with white stars paper to the pram hood to make it look more like a real pram where the hood folds down. A few teal-colored gems finished the front of my card.

This card is 5" X 5" - just the right size for my Circle Hearts die.

On the inside, the sentiment square was cut with a Spellbinders Marvelous Squares die. Along with a tiny bow, it added a nice finished look.

The shower was great, but I couldn't help but wonder how I was able to raise my own kids without all the paraphernalia that young parents seem to "need" nowadays. I'm not sure I could afford to raise four kids if I were starting my family now!

Thanks so much for stopping by, and remember to laugh--a little or a lot--every day.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

A little set of cards as a thank you...

During our recent 7-week odyssey to the West Coast, we stayed for three days with some friends who treated us royally. They even included us in a luncheon they had planned long before they knew we were coming. We truly appreciated their gracious hospitality, and I wanted to give them something handmade to show our gratitude. Here's what I came up with:

I made a set of four autumn-themed cards. I thought our friends would be able to use them as Thanksgiving cards or even for other occasions. I used a Darice embossing folder to get the lovely fall pattern on the front of each card. Once the pattern was embossed on Core'dinations cardstock, I sanded it a bit to bring out the design.

The patterned strips across the front of each card are really just some Washi tapes on strips of the same cardstock that I had used for the base of each card. The leaves were cut using an old Cuttlebug die set, and to get the appropriately colored bow, I used my ProMarkers to color some baker's twine that I had on hand.

An inside panel for each card and the envelopes were embossed with a 2" X 12" Cuttlebug embossing folder. I got this embossing folder at a huge discount a few years ago, and I've used it quite a few times since. I thought it added a nice touch to this set.

Then I needed a box to hold the cards and envelopes. I whipped out my WRMK envelope punch board and came up with this:
Starting out with plain kraft cardstock, I selected a couple of stamps and inks and decorated it with leaves and vines.

This photo shows the thickness of the box a little better. I used a simple belly band to hold the box closed and decorated my sentiment with a couple stamped leaves that I cut out and adhered with a little green bow.

I really hope our friends like this set of cards. I remembered our fun-filled days together as I worked on them.

Now, however, I REALLY need to get started on some Thanksgiving cards or it will be too late!!

Thank you so much for stopping by, and remember to laugh--a little or a lot--every day.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

More than 7,000 miles in nearly 7 weeks...

No card today, but I did want to share a little bit about our recent trip (we arrived home on Halloween afternoon).  My husband and I took our little RV - Gladys - on a big loop beginning in Minneapolis and heading west to the Pacific Coast, down along the coast and then back again through Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Nebraska and Iowa.

We had a wonderful time, making plans just one day at a time along our basic route.  Here are a few photos that I thought you might like to see:
Bison grazing in Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota.

My husband and I in Glacier National Park in Montana. The fall scenery here was spectacular and the weather was perfect!

We visited our kids in Oregon and got the chance to spend some time with our beautiful granddaughter. We don't see them nearly enough!

We took our time driving down the Oregon and California coasts, seeing beautiful scenes like this along the way.

The trees in the Redwood National Forest are immense. Here you can see me standing at the base of one of them - and it wasn't even close to being the biggest tree we saw!
We spent a few days in San Francisco. What a fun city! Here I am looking out at the Golden Gate Bridge, which was mostly shrouded behind the low-hanging fog.
It is always fun to come across some wildlife that we don't see here in Minnesota. As we traveled down the winding coastal highway, we often saw sea lions and cormorants sunning themselves on the large rocks that lay just beyond the shoreline.
The California beaches were mostly empty of people -- but perfect for a couple of northerners who are used to freezing temps in October and November!
Hearst Castle near San Simeon, CA, was a must-see on my list. It's hard to imagine the resources that were put into building this audacious structure!
Joshua Tree National Park offered a rough, but beautiful, landscape so different from our home state, which is filled with lakes and deciduous trees. This high-desert area is one of the few places where the crazy-looking Joshua Tree grows.
We stayed in many beautiful campgrounds. This one in Arizona impressed me with how neat and orderly the campsites were laid out. It also made me realize how LITTLE shade one gets from a palm tree in the searing Arizona sun!
As we neared Sedona, AZ, these beautiful red cliffs rose up out of the ground. Sedona sits at an elevation of 4,500 ft. above sea level, so the weather is very temperate and the scenery is amazing!
The last national park we visited was Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona. Besides the petrified remains of a forest from millions of years ago, you will also find the beautiful Painted Desert here. It looks different from every angle, sometimes more red and other times with bands of white to gray. So beautiful! I kept trying to imagine what the pioneers must have thought as they approached vast habitats like this as they traveled in wagon trains across the country.
Thank you for staying with me until the end of this post. It is fun to share this amazing trip with others. Believe me, I have many, many more photos I could have posted here, but I thought I might hear the loud groans of anyone who visits my blog, had I included any more.
I will soon begin to post the cards I began working on as soon as I returned home. I did miss being able to craft over the past two months, but seeing so many beautiful parts of this country that I had never seen before was truly worth it!
Thanks so much for stopping by, and don't forget to laugh--a little or a lot--every day!