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Thursday, December 29, 2016

Bright colors on a dreary day...

This beautiful background stamp is by Repeat Impressions. It is one that I won from Patti, the wonderful owner of the blog, Cherish Each Precious Day. I decided to stamp it with black Versafine ink and then color it with my ProMarkers. I definitely need more practice, but this was a fun exercise for me, and I always learn a little more about coloring each time I do it.

I don't have a lot of ProMarkers, so I have to be creative when I'm trying to do some shading. For instance, I only have two shades of yellow, so I use my one orange marker to add a deeper color. I love these alcohol markers, though, and hope to do a lot more coloring in 2017.

Here's a little closer look at some of the flowers. If you look closely, you'll see that I added some accents on some of the flowers with a white gel pen.

In this section of my stamped image you can see some more examples of my efforts to be creative: pink and blue together on the big flower and just a little yellow and a tinge of light pink on the tips of the white flower.

You can also see more of the white gel pen accents in this photo.

For the inside of my card, I used a black mat, a Woodware sentiment stamp and a few similar flowers stamped with some bright colored inks.

I'm entering this card into the I Love ProMarkers challenge #325: Anything Goes.

Thank you again, Patti, for the wonderful stamp! For those of you in the U.S. who might be interested in buying some ProMarkers, I believe you can now get them at Michael's. I have also ordered them online from www.carpediemstore.com.

With Christmas done and dusted, it is SO NICE to be back making other kinds of cards. My card stash has been sorely depleted, too, so I really NEED to stay on task and fill it out again.

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

Friday, December 23, 2016

Just one last post before Christmas...

For today's first card, I used a pre-made 5" X 7" card base that has an overlapping gate-fold front. I turned the card so that the opening was horizontal. Then I put some designer paper on each flap. For my focal image, I dry-embossed a piece of white CS with a freebie embossing folder that came with a magazine (Cardmaking & Papercraft).

After embossing, I chalked the embossed images and then sprayed them with a finishing spray so the chalk wouldn't rub off. I love using chalk to color my images (I used Q-Tips to rub it on) because it adds such a soft look and it's easy to erase when I'm not as careful as I should be.

For the red bow, I embossed just that portion onto some red CS, fussy-cut it out and glued it on top of the white card. I also added a gem to glitz it up a little.

My sentiment was heat-embossed. I'm not sure who made the stamp. It's an old one that I bought used several years ago from a craft store that was going out of business. After matting my embossed piece, I adhered it to the top flap of my gatefold.

I didn't take a photo of the inside of this card because it was very plain--just a stamped sentiment (I was in a hurry!).

My second card features a Spellbinders Shapeabilities die-cut (S4-339) from glitter paper. It seemed like it needed something else, so I drew some graduated lines on either side of it with my glitter pen and added a sparkly gem at the end of each line.

My sentiment (Penny Black, I think) was heat embossed on a strip of snowflake patterned vellum with some purple embossing powder. I LOVE heat-embossing on vellum. It always turns out so crisp and smooth.

The inside panel was matted with some more purple CS and stamped with a Woodware (I think) sentiment.

I'm actually really looking forward to getting started with the Christmas festivities. Ours always include a sledding party. Even the old geezers (like me!) go sledding on a hill not far from our house. Luckily, this year we should have plenty of snow, which is not always the case. In fact, we are supposed to get a couple more inches today. The temperature will be very tolerable on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day--slightly above freezing.

I wish you and your family a very merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year!

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

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

More poinsettia cards...

I had such a good time making poinsettias with my Darice die set, that I made several different cards with this die-cut as the focus.
First up, I used a kraft card base with some pretty plaid DSP on the front.

On this card you can see that I have  used the leaf die that came with the die set. I've dry-embossed and then inked the veins on the leaves, as well. Isn't it pretty?

You can also see here that I've once again used some gold micro beads for my center (held in place with some Glossy Accents).

My sentiment is a stamp one from the $1.50 bin at Michaels. I colored the leaves and added some berries with my red Viva Décor Pearl Pen.

A simple strip of matted plaid DSP decorates the inside.

This poinsettia includes the stamens die-cut that came with the set. Can you see why I prefer the gold micro beads? I was also a bit disappointed with my heat-embossed sentiment. I used distressed embossing powder - I certainly got a very distressed look with it! More than I expected.

Here's a little closer look at this poinsettia. You can really see the embossing on the flower center in this pic.

To decorate the inside of this card, I used a strip of red patterned DSP and one of the little snowmen from the DSP on the front of the card. I thought this made a cute little embellishment.

For my final poinsettia card, I used glitter paper for the petals, inking them with some red Distress Ink. I added the dry-embossed leaves, but left them uninked this time. I also used an iridescent enamel dot for the center. I thought it better reflected the flower centers in the DSP.

Here's another look at the sparkle on this pretty flower.

For the inside of this card, I used an old scalloped border punch to create some trim for across the top of my card.

Well that's enough poinsettias for awhile, don't you think? I'll definitely be using this die set again next year, though. It's such a nice size and SO easy to use. It was also very inexpensive. You can find it here at Consumer Crafts.

I commend you if you made it through all my poinsettia cards to the end of this post. Thanks so much for stopping by, and remember to laugh--a little or a lot--every day.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

I am loving this color combo for Christmas...

My background papers were from a Heidi Swapp Christmas paper pad, and I just love them together. I added some white paper lace, made with a Marianne Designs die called "border stitch lace." The red ribbon is just a piece from my stash.

My poinsettia was made with a Darice die. I love this die because it allows you to emboss the veins and also add some ink to them if you wish. I did both, and it really adds a lot of nice dimension and interest. There is a leaf die included in the set that I did not use for this card.

A die for the stamens also came with the set, but I like to use some micro beads, adhered with Glossy Accents.

On the inside of this card, I did something a little different (for me). I added a bit of decoration--more of that paper lace and ribbon--in the center just below my sentiment instead of at the top or bottom. This arrangement still leaves plenty of room for a personal note and signature. I actually kind of liked this and may use this idea on future cards.

I think we have made it through the worst of our cold snap. The temperature dipped to -24˚F (-31˚C) last night. We had a frozen water pipe this morning and our car (the one that has to sit outside) would not start. We were able to thaw the water pipe, but so far, no luck with starting the car. It has an older battery, so that may be a big part of the problem and we'll probably just have to buy a new one. It is suppose to be a balmy 24˚F tomorrow, so we'll see what happens then. Ahhh, the joys of home and car ownership in Minnesota!

I finished my wrapping today (hooray!) and mixed up the last two batches of cookies. I will bake them in the morning and then I can start on making pies, soups and other "real" food. My brother-in-law will be here on Wednesday, so I hope to have everything pretty much done by then.

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

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Kokeshi dolls...

Japanese Kokeshi dolls are beautiful wooden dolls that were first made during the Edo period (1603-1868). One characteristic of these dolls is the lack of hands and feet. They're always hidden in the design.

Since the Silhouette online design store had some cards (#7183) using images of three of these lovely dolls, I decided to make a couple for my granddaughter to use as birthday cards for her friends.

Awwww - aren't they cute doll images? They were quite easy to cut out and layer. I added some gems and flowers to give them a little extra flair and sparkle.

My pictures really don't do them justice.

The only hard part about putting these cards together was gluing the tiny pieces for the eyes and mouths. I had to be extra careful that I didn't lose them in the mess on my desk!

These were cut at 5.5" high, but they ended up being a lot narrower than the usual 4.25" for an A2 card. I was able, however, to find some envelopes in my stash that fit nicely.

This was also a fun way to use up some of the pretty scraps in my left-over paper file. I have SO MANY paper scraps!

I didn't take a photo of the inside, as it was very simple. I just stamped "Happy Birthday," and left it at that. I was in a big hurry to get them finished so I could take them with me when we traveled the 200 miles to my daughter's home.

There is a third design in the set which I didn't make this time around. I'll be giving that one a try after Christmas because they're so fun to make!

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

Monday, December 12, 2016

Still working on those Christmas cards...

This is another card using some pretty papers that came in an issue of Cardmaking & Papercraft. Even though we don't see robins in Minnesota in the winter, the paper was just too pretty not to use.

For anyone from the UK who reads this, the bird we most associate with Christmas here in the northern Midwest part of the US is the cardinal. And they look so pretty against the white snow. We have a couple of them that must nest somewhere nearby, as we often see them.

Anyway, I cut the edge of my paper with a Spellbinders wavy edge die, and then cut my red mat with the coordinating wavy scalloped edge die.

My little swag was made with the Martha Stewart pine branch punch. I love this punch and use it every Christmas.

The little bow was also made with a Martha Stewart punch. I added a little shading to it with a ProMarker (hard to see in the photo), and also added a little flat-backed pearl to the center.

I decided that I needed to ink a little around my stitched oval to make it more defined against the background paper. I'm not sure that was a good idea, but it's done now, and I don't want to go through the work of changing it.

On the inside of my card, I added a red mat, another tiny punched bow and a stamped sentiment.

I am finally done (okay, ALMOST done) making cards and the house is decorated. Now I've got to focus on getting the cards in the mail and baking some Christmas goodies.

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

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Oh Christmas Tree...

For this card, I used some pretty Christmas patterned paper that came free with a magazine. I'm not sure of the brand of my snowy tree die, and I'm just too tired to go downstairs to my craft room and figure it out. If I think of it tomorrow, I'll update my blog with the brand.

I'm also not sure of the brand of my stitched oval die, but I do know there are lots and lots of companies who make them, so they're easy to find.

However, I actually DO remember who made the banner die that I used - it's by La La Land Craft.

I left the inside of this card pretty plain - just a mat to coordinate with my card front and a stamped sentiment.

I've been making cards like a mad woman. I think I only need to make about 5 more and I'll have enough. Once the cards are done and mailed, I'll be baking up a storm. That means clouds of flour in the kitchen and rows of cookies cooling on the dining room table. I'll also be making pies, soups (for Christmas Eve) and planning my meal for Christmas Day. Oh yes, and there's still the decorating and wrapping. {sigh} So much to do, so little time...

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

Monday, December 5, 2016

Let's Craft and Create Challenge #120: Christmas and/or New Year

Today begins a new challenge on Let's Craft and Create, and we'd love to have you join in with your Christmas or New Year's creation.

Because I am sorely behind on making my Christmas cards, I decided to use this opportunity to try to add to my Christmas card stash. Here's what I made:

This card is so glittery and sparkly, it feels really festive! I started with some silver glitter paper and some pretty background paper that I received as a free gift in a magazine. The DSP has some wonderful silver-embossed areas in the design that inspired all my silvery sparkle.

Can you see the clear snowflakes that I added on the right side of my card? They add a nice bit of dimension without taking away from the pretty design of the paper.

My ornament "frame" with its inside scallop was made with a die that I received from my sister. I'm not sure what company makes it as it came in a plain cellophane package. I love it though, and can see myself using it a lot - for ornaments and for tags.

I cut a circle of white CS the same size as my frame and heat embossed a Sizzix sentiment stamp onto it with silver embossing powder. The sentiment includes the pretty pattern around it, which fit perfectly into my frame.

Then all I needed was some silver thread to make a string and bow.

 On the inside of my card, I once again heat embossed my sentiment with silver embossing powder and added a strip of my silver glitter paper. Simple...but still sparkly and fun.

So now it's your turn. Just pop over to Let's Craft and Create for some incredible inspiration from my teammates. You'll also see the prize we're offering this month. Be sure to post your creation so we can all ooh and aah and include you in the drawing for a winner.

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

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Happy Birthday box card...

My granddaughter Lucy's birthday was on November 20. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, LUCY!!!

I decided to make her a box card, using Silhouette file #57264. This is quite a large card, fitting neatly into a 5" X 7" envelope.

The balloons are not part of the file. I made them with a balloon punch and added them with strips of clear acetate.

If you look closely at this photo, you can see the strips of acetate (from some packaging material) that hold the balloons in place. I used Glossy Accents to adhere them, so they are very secure.

On the back I added another balloon and a stamped sentiment, leaving room for a signature and a personal note.

I think Lucy liked her card. She seemed very pleased that it was not the usual kind of card.

Because Lucy's birthday is so close to Thanksgiving--and we were spending the holiday at her house--we were able to personally deliver her card and presents and watch her open them. So much fun!

I hope all my friends and family in the U.S. had a wonderful Thanksgiving.

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

Monday, November 21, 2016

Thanksgiving is nearly here...

I made a few more cards (six of this particular layout) to round out my stash of Thanksgiving cards to send to family and friends. Once again, I used a Darice EF to add some texture to my background.

My pumpkins came from a Silhouette file which I cut from different pieces of orange-patterned cardstock. As you can see, I did a little inking to give them some dimension.

My "vine" is actually a Die-Namics leafy flourish die that I cut apart to add a little greenery to my pumpkins.

On the inside of my card I again used some paper with a subtle leaf pattern. The sentiment was computer-generated, and my leaf was cut with a Martha Stewart punch out of some CS that had been colored with various distress inks.

Well, that's it for my Thanksgiving cards. Now it's full-speed ahead to Christmas!

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

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Sweet birthday wishes...

I made this card for my youngest sister's birthday, which is today!

Happy Birthday, Michelle!

My little berry basket is a file from Silhouette. I honestly don't remember if it was a freebie or one that I purchased. I like it though. It's simple to cut out and put together, and I think it looks great.

The doily cut behind my berry basket was done with a Prima die. I'm always amazed at how pretty this doily is when I cut it out. I should definitely use it more often!!

On the inside of my card, I added another strawberry and printed the sentiment with my Silhouette. The "Sweet Birthday Wishes" on the front of the card was also printed with my Silhouette. I really love being able to print my sentiment and then cut out the perfect-sized rectangle of cardstock, all on one machine.

We finally got some snow here yesterday. No real accumulation yet, but I'm sure it won't be long before the white stuff is here to stay. Boo!

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

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Thanksgiving cards at last...

This card was inspired by one I saw on Pinterest. I began by embossing some kraft cardstock with a Darice EF and then cutting it into two pieces so that I could fit a sentiment strip between them. The sentiment was stamped with black Versafine ink and then heat-embossed with clear embossing powder.

To make my pretty leaf, I randomly sponged some red, orange and brown distress inks onto some yellow cardstock. I used a Darice leaf die to cut it out. Then I sponged some darker brown ink onto the die (with the die-cut still inside it) which gave the leaf veins some definition.

Finally, I added some sparkle with a clear Wink of Stella brush and a few sequins.

Here's another of the leaf shapes that came in the 3-leaf die set from Darice.

And this is the final leaf shape. Since this one was narrower, I used two leaves on my card and a bit of raffia to make them look as though they are tied together.

For the inside of my card, I used some pretty paper that had a subtle leaf pattern on it that was the same color as the embossed cardstock on the front of my card. My sentiment was computer-generated.

I made 12 of these cards to send out to family and friends. And now I've REALLY got to buckle down and get my Christmas cards done. I'm starting to get a little panicky about my Christmas preparations. I should know by now that it happens every year. I'm always scrambling during the last weeks before the holidays.

How about you? Are you through making Christmas cards? Done shopping and wrapping? Ready to decorate the house? Baked goods in the freezer? If so, I'm SO impressed!

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

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Just a few more photos...

I thought I'd share just a few more photos with you from our trip to the eastern U.S. This is a photo of Hildene,  the home of Robert Todd Lincoln, son of Abraham Lincoln, in Manchester, Vermont. It is a beautiful old home. I didn't know how economically successful Robert Lincoln was until we visited this home.

We also visited President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's home in Hyde Park, New York. Another beautiful home, but a little dark inside for my taste. The week before we had also visited his summer home--Campobello--in New Brunswick, Canada. That home was simpler, but also light and airy - more to my liking!

Next we traveled to New York City. This view of Manhattan is from the top of Rockefeller Center. We had an unexpected disaster as we drove into New York our first night there. Our little RV hit a very big and deep pothole which caused a rear leaf spring to break. Not only did it break, but it came right up through the floor, making a big hole!! We had the RV towed to a repair shop where they told us it would cost as much to fix it as we had paid for it in the first place! Also, it would not be a quick fix. We called our insurance company and realized we'd have to continue our trip by car while they figured out if and how they might help cover the cost of the damage. We rented a car, bought some luggage and went on with our trip.

We spent about 5 days in New York, visiting as many landmarks as we could. This is a photo of the 9/11 Memorial. We also went through the museum, which is very sobering.

This is a view of the new World Trade Center.

I tried to imagine the horror of the two former towers collapsing on this site, and it is just beyond imagination, even though I watched it happen on the morning news.

My husband is a huge Frank Lloyd Wright fan, so we had to visit the Gugenheim Museum, which he designed. It is such an unusual building. I liked that it wasn't a large museum--you can walk through it and enjoy the art in just a couple of hours.

We took a boat tour of the harbor, which gave us a great view of the Statue of Liberty.

Next we headed to Philadelphia. This is a photo of me with a dumb look on my face looking at the Liberty Bell. We also toured Independence Hall and many of the other historic sites in the old part of the city.

Of course, we also had to take a little side trip over to the Philadelphia Museum of Art - not to look at the art, but to see the steps that Rocky ran up in the first "Rocky" movie.

After leaving Philadelphia, we headed to Washington, D.C. We walked and walked and walked, taking in a number of the fantastic museums: Holocaust Museum, African American Museum of History & Culture and the American Indian Museum. We toured the Capitol and the Library of Congress and saw many of the famous memorials.

This is a section of the Viet Nam Memorial that holds the name of a young man from my high school who was killed in that conflict in 1968.

Here's a view of the White House - this was as close as we could get.

While in D.C., we took one day to tour Mt. Vernon, the home of George Washington. It's quite a large estate so there was lots to see and lots to learn. There were a number of people dressed in period costumes giving demonstrations from that period including boat building, cooking, weaving, etc.

On our last day in D.C., which happened to be Sunday, we attended a morning service at the Washington National Cathedral. It's a beautiful structure that took 83 years to build! It suffered quite a bit of damage in an earthquake a few years ago, so they are still repairing parts of it.

Before heading to Chicago and then home, we toured Fallingwater, Frank Lloyd Wright's most famous structure near Mill Run, Pennsylvania. It is truly an amazing home built over a waterfall in 1936-38 for the Kaufmann family. I recommend visiting if you ever get the chance!

After we arrived home, we learned that the insurance company had deemed our RV a total loss! We were pleased to receive the replacement value of the vehicle, and we will be purchasing another one. Can't wait!

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