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Friday, June 23, 2017

Blog Hops with Heart is Using It or Losing It.

Every time the army moves us, I try to be ruthless weeding out the stamps I'm not using. Hubby and I are in the midst of a move from Alaska to South Carolina. We are currently in Washington State visiting family and friends. Before the movers packed us up, I went through my stamp stash again. I was within an inch of getting rid of a sentiment set, but I decided to use it instead. I went clean and simple and paired it with an old Stampin' Up set.

The sentiment was stamped in Lemon Ink first and then offset and stamped again with Saffron using the State of Mind stamp set. The sandals were stamped in Pacifica ink, colored with Copics, and accented with red enamel gems. I popped them up with some foam tape to add just a touch more dimension.

I sent this to a friend who loves the sunshine and beach. I happened to be visiting her when she opened it, and it made her smile.


As always, the blog hop this month is a circle, and as always, you won't want to miss a single project. (I got a sneak peek!) You probably came from Kelly's blog, and you're heading to Stephanie's blog next. If you get lost, you can always go to Amie's blog. She'll have a list of all this month's participants.

Until next time,

Sunday, June 11, 2017

On the Move

We've spent the last week traveling, most of it on a ferry from Whittier, AK to Bellingham, WA.  Here are a few pictures I've taken along the way.

A tunnel to Whittier built for the railroad. It's so narrow, traffic can only go one way at a time.

Our ferry, the Kennicott.

 It's impossible to capture the magnificence in pictures. Truly an unforgettable experience (although I could have done without the seasickness the first day).

Popping back out again so we can spend time with family and friends. More pictures and an exciting announcement to come.

Until next time,

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Big News in the Writing Part of my Life

There are certain milestones that you start ticking off when you get published. The first - and biggest one, of course - is actually getting published. There's something incredible about seeing your name on the cover of a book and then seeing that book for sale online and in bookstores. After that, you start ticking off a few others. Today is one of those days. The series that my friend, Gina Welborn, and I are writing together is with a publisher who sends what's called Advanced Reader Copies, or ARC's for short.

These books have some grammatical errors or missing words since they were printed before the final round of edits are done, but you can still get the story. They are to be sent to people who agree to review the story.

Pretty exciting to get this in the hands of actual readers!!

In addition to that, today is release day for the promotional novella that kicks off this series. Come Fly with Me is only available in e-book (purchasing link along the sidebar).  Gina and I have been working on this set of stories for about three years from brainstorming to now. It's quite a thrill to see that much hard work pay off.

Gotta run. I have four guys here packing up my house as we prepare for our move to South Carolina.

Until next time,

Friday, May 26, 2017

Blog Hops with Heart is Going Green

I'm in the final push for deadline number one of the three I need to meet this summer while promoting two books I wrote last year with May release dates (see sidebar for links to The Secret Admirer Collection and Come Fly with Me). I'm also exactly one week away from signing out of our house in Alaska for a move to South Carolina so my husband can attend a six-month long school.

Yes, I still have my hair, but my nails are a total wreck.

Anyway, one of the things I do to help me de-stress when I'm under deadlines is escape to my stamping room. This month, Blog Hops with Heart decided to "Go Green." My original thought was to do something with recycling, but remember those deadlines I told you about. Yeah...just didn't have it in me to be that creative. So I went green. Like totally green.

Here's my first card. It uses current CTMH products:

To create the inset sentiment, I cut the "thanks" at an angle along the bottom of a 5.5 x 4.25 piece of white cardstock. I then cut it again from patterned paper out of the Some Kind of Wonderful paper (still available for purchase) and glued the two sentiments together. I then used my paper cutter to trim the bottom edge of the white cardstock and set everything aside.

Next, I smeared Topiary ink over top of the Confetti embossing folder and ran it through my Cuttlebug with Willow paper. The effect is known as two-tone embossing or something, but the basic idea is that you can get a multi-dimensional effect. As you can see, I ended up with sort of this splotchy look which, while it was okay, wasn't as much contrast as I was hoping for. So...sanding kit (which is set to!) to the rescue. I often forget to take advantage of the white core in CTMH cardstock but love how it gives me a fun option like this.

I glued the Willow piece to the bottom of a 5.5 x 4.25 card base then glued the white panel with "thanks" cut out of it over top. Then I fit the die cut "thanks" into the white panel. To complete the card, I stamped "so very much" in black on a leftover piece of white cardstock and hand cut it into a banner. I then decided that I wanted the banner to hang off the edge of the card, so I trimmed the assembled card down to 4 x 5. 25 and used foam tape to mount the banner. I used my craft mat to make sure the banner only hung off by 1/4 inch so I could still fit inside a standard A2 envelope.

Here's a second card that uses the same basic design principle of an angle across the bottom but uses products that are close to thirty years old.

And here's a picture of the stamps and ribbon that, you heard me right, are close to in 3-0...years old.

In case you can't read it, this is Aspen Green. It was my favorite green before it retired. I still have a ton of coordinating paper, but I love the simplicity of just the inked bottom with torn vellum over top and a ribbon with a plain knot. Easy and elegant.

I got a sneak peek of a few projects included in this hop, so I can tell you with absolute certainty that you don't want to miss a single one. You should have come from Stephanie's blog, and now you're headed to Amie's blog. The hop is a circle, so keep going until you get back to where you started.

This will likely be my last post for a while. I have packed a crafty bag so I can create on the road, but it might be tricky to photograph and post from the road. It will take us over a month to get from Alaska to South Carolina because we plan to add a vacation into our travel. I'm particularly looking forward to the ferry ride from Whittier, AK to Bellingham, WA through the Inside Passage. The ferry might not have the same amenities as a cruise ship, but the views will be the same. I'll try to post pictures as I can. And so...

Until next time,

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Catch Up Card

I'm buried in deadlines for three new books, promoting the novella collection that released this month, and getting ready to move from Alaska to South Carolina.  All that means I haven't had much time for making cards. However, I found a card I made I don't know how long ago that I never shared. It uses a retired CTMH set called Blossom Workshop on the Go.

Because it's been so long ago, I can only guess at the colors. I think I used Poppy, Blush, Canary, Pear, and Pacifica with Saddle or Cashmere as the wooden sticks (all CTMH).  The stitched frame is a die cut from MFT, and the sequins came from Hobby Lobby.

The trick to making this card work was using my MISTI.  In fact, I think this might have been one of the first cards I made after purchasing the MISTI.'s been that long.

Off to do some more writing. If you don't see me for a while, don't panic. I'll be doing enough of that for all of us.

Until next time,

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Blog Hops with Heart - Photo Inspiration

When we first got the photo for this month's Blog Hops with Heart challenge, I stared at it for a long time trying to come up with something--anything--and just couldn't find inspiration. Maybe that's because I'm feeling pressure from writing deadlines, but it was killing me. Usually when my writing stalls I go to my craft room to give my brain something different to focus on.

Then, in desperation, I said to myself, "Fine, I'll go literal." (Yes, I do talk to myself on a regular basis.)  Here's what I came up with:

I used the color photo Amie turned black and white for out badge as my literal guide. I started with woodgrain paper that I dry-brush painted with some green acrylic paint. To get color variation, I smushed some Tim Holtz Distress Ink in Peacock Feathers, Salty Ocean, and Mowed Lawn on my craft sheet and mixed some of the paint in with them as I painted. After letting the paper dry, I cut it into strips and layered them over top of a piece of New England Ivy cardstock I'd swiped with Tim Holtz Walnut Stain Distress Ink. (The technical term is "direct to paper" but swiping is  more descriptive of the actual process.) I trimmed this down to 1/8 inch smaller than the brown mat at 4 x 5.25 and glued the two together.

Next I stamped a wreath in Cocoa ink. I chose the wreath from the retired White Pines set, but any wreath will do. I then cut another wreath using the Flower Market Cricut cartridge in Chocolate and retired Twilight. The spray and leaves are also from Flower Market and cut in Fern and New England Ivy. I drew veins in the leaves by hand. Once all the layers were glued together and glued to the card, I got out embellishments and went to town. I don't know about you, but I tend to collect embellishments faster than I can use them up. I think all of these save the blue enamel dot are retired, but I'm at the point where I need to move again (Army wife) so using lots is a good thing.

Our hop is short this month, but I'm sure you'll find lots of great inspiration.  This is an incredibly talented group of ladies! You should have come from Stephanie's blog, and now you're off to Jayma's blog. Have fun hopping!

Until next time,

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Welcome Baby - Watercolor Whimsy

This week at Heart2Heart the theme is Whimsy. I needed a baby card, so I pulled out an older CTMH set called Baby Steps and my watercolors for this soft card.

I stamped in Antique Linen Distress Ink from Tim Holtz on water color paper then just painted to my heart's content. I did a light wash of blue for the sky, a wash of green for the grass base, and then pounced and splatted paint in various shades of green, brown, and blue green to add more dimension to the grass. After painting and drying, I ran it through a stitched die from My Favorite Things and mounted it on old CTMH paper. Why all the older supplies? Because I'm getting ready to makes me dig into my stash of stuff to see what goes with me and what just goes.

Time to head upstairs and pound the keyboard for a few hours. Hopefully I won't have to delete everything I write at the end of the day. Yeah...some days (or, in this case, several weeks) are like that. Wish me luck!

Until next time,

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Happy Mother's Day with Color My Heart

Have I mentioned how much I love the "Here for You" Workshop Your Way currently available through Close to my Heart (CTMH)? Maybe once or twice? Or a hundred times? Yeah...that's because I really love it. Really, really.  I used it again with a sentiment cut from Artiste for this Mother's Day card using the Peacock, Willow and White Daisy color challenge from Color My Heart.

I cut the sentiment at 1.25" tall three times and glued them all together. Then, I laid it on my card base to eyeball where I wanted to stamp the leaves in Willow. I used a combination of first and second generation stamping for the flowers, stamping some flowers directly on the card base and others on a separate piece of paper that I cut out and layered over top. The top and bottom border paper is included in the Workshop Your Way, but is also in the Some Kinda Wonderful paper pack. The only non-CTMH thing on the card is the lace which I adhered with Liquid Glass (aka the most amazing stuff on the planet.)

It feels pretty good to be this far ahead on cardmaking. These next two months are going to be crazy with two writing deadlines (followed by a third in August) and a move from Alaska to South Carolina starting in the first part of June.

Speaking of which, time to call my writing partner to iron out differences of opinion.

Until next time,

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Masculine Birthday Card

I will be needing about five masculine birthday cards in the next couple of months, so I thought I'd get a jump on them.  I used the CTMH Artistry cartridge and several sizes of circle punches to come up with this:

The paper is a mix of pattern and solid in Black, Pacifica, and Emerald (from this weeks Color My Heart challenge). I think it would have worked just as well with all solid cardstock.  The small birthday comes from the Sugar Rush Cardmaking set and was stamped in Pacifica ink.

I liked it well enough with just the triangles, but I really think the circles added an extra bit of flair without getting too "girly."

One card down, about four left. Now it's time to buckle down and get some work done. My writing partner and I are doing the final edits on "The Promise Bride" which comes out in September. Getting excited!!

Until next time,

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Blog Hops with Heart - Anniversary Wishes

This month, Blog Hops with Heart is celebrating (albeit a bit late) our 1st Anniversary. I borrowed an idea to come up with this:

Here's the inspiration card by Debbie Hughes.

Everything here is current CTMH except for the rectangular dotted die cut from My Favorite Things for the panel base. All patterned paper is from the Hello Lovely pack, the strip of gold triangles comes from the All About the Gold Fundamentals, and the plain cardstock is New England Ivy and Sorbet. To make the Mr. and Mrs. stand out more, I sponged over top of them with Sorbet ink.

All cuts are from the Cricut Artistry cartridge. Here's the cutting file if you have Design Space. I included the light colored panel base with the cutting file but not the slightly larger mat in New England Ivy because I used my regular paper cutter for that.

Embellishments include White and Gold Twine, Gold Sequins, and Dreamin' Big Sequins. I used my MISTI to stamp "Anniversary Wishes" along the very bottom in New England Ivy using stamps from the "Finding the Words" set. This card could easily leave that part off for a wedding or engagement card.

This month's hop is short, but be sure to visit all the stops because you will be inspired. These ladies put up knock-out projects! You should have come from Kelly's blog and you are now headed to Jayma's blog.  As always, Amie's blog has a complete list of participants with links.

Off to finish editing "The Promise Bride" which comes out in September...and write the one that comes out next August. I'm tellin' ya, this writing gig plays havoc with your brain. It's tough to remember which story you're in sometimes. And then to come back to real people in real life? You sound like an idiot because the people you spend most of your time with don't actually know the people you eat dinner with. That's the real reason authors hide out in their offices. LOL!

Until next time,

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Altenew Simple Flowers

Most of the time I buy a set of stamps because I know immediately how I'm going to use it. Sometimes, though, I buy one because it intrigues me and I know the possibilities will unfold. Altenew's Simple Flowers falls into the second category. It's a relatively new set that showed up in my mailbox a couple days ago. Despite my writing deadlines, I needed to get inky so I looked at both of the challenges Altenew is sponsoring this month and decided to combine them.

I stamped the flowers in CTMH pigment inks Honey, Sorbet, and Smoothie. To get the overlayed sentiment, I used my MISTI to stamp Beautiful in black on the base panel, glued down the Smoothie rectangle, stamped Beautiful again, glued down the white rectangle, and stamped one more time. I white embossed "You're so" onto black cardstock, trimmed it with scissors and glued it down then added sequins to finish. The last step was to trim my base panel to 4 x 5.25 and mount it on a black 4.25 x 5.5 card.

The basic design is from Altenew's March 2017 Sketch Challenge, and the colors are from the March 2017 Inspiration Challenge.

Now I really do have to get up to my office and write. I have two deadlines which are pressing down, so fun time is over.

Until next time,

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Dreaming of Spring with Mojo Monday

It's -8 in Fairbanks as I type this. As you can imagine, I'm dreaming of green grass and spring flowers instead of three feet of compact snow.  I'm also in need of another get well card.  A friend was just rushed by ambulance to have emergency surgery. She's fine, but flowers are always good to cheer someone up.

Except for the doily and stitched circle die (MFT), all supplies are CTMH, although the floral image is the only thing that's current. It's from the Hello Lovely paper pack on the sheet that has Picture My Life type of patterns. I used the sketch from Mojo Monday (#487), which I haven't played along with in AGES because of my writing schedule.

Speaking of writing, I had a bad week. Wrote and deleted more words than I care to admit...and I  need to do it again. Off to work I go...

Until next time,

Thursday, March 9, 2017

On the Mend

My mother had knee replacement surgery today. I pulled out an old CTMH stamp called "Patch" and paired him with some current paper to make this card for her.

I used a ton of Copic markers to get the shading. I'm by no means a master, but I've learned enough to give new life to some of my older stamps that I never did justice to when they first came out.

Isn't he adorable???

Until next time,

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Iditarod Thank You

Yesterday was the start of the 2017 Iditarod race. For the third time in its history, the start gate was moved to Fairbanks due to lack of snow on the regular route. How could I possibly stay at home holed up in my writing office and miss that?

At race time, the temperature was -23, so I bundled up and carpooled out to a spot along the Chena River to watch the dogs race by. Several of us chaplain spouses met at a church that was offering free parking, a spot to stay warm until the race started, and free coffee and treats. We decided we wanted to send them a thank you note, and I offered to make one for us all to sign.

I used the Tim Holtz distress inks in Salty Ocean, Peacock Feathers, and Mustard Seed to watercolor over top of white embossed snowflakes from an old Stampin' Up set called Lace Snowflakes. After letting the watercolor dry, I cut it with the wonky panel from My Favorite Things BluePrints #15.  The die cut snowflakes and sentiment are Thin Cuts from CTMH. All were cut from white cardstock, but I used a mixture of Salty Ocean and Peacock Feathers to paint the smaller snowflake. When it was dry, I painted another layer of Iridescent Paint mixed with Salty Ocean and Peacock Feathers over top. More drying before attaching it to the larger white snowflake then adding a layer of Liquid Glass over the blue snowflake and letting it dry overnight.

I hope y'all are proud of me for all the patience it took to let things dry before proceeding to the next step. Patience is NOT my strongest character trait.

The color scheme was inspired by the Lime and Aqua challenge over at The Card Concept. I know it's March and you folks down in the Lower 48 are watching flowers begin to bloom. Here, we're close to -30 and more snow is in the forecast to boost the 78" that have already fallen this winter. It almost...almost makes me happy to be moving to South Carolina in July. Right now a little heat and humidity sounds good. Except, between now and then, I have three writing deadlines to meet, so I'd better go hole up in the office!

Until next time,

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Birthday POW!

My brother-in-law is turning the big 6-0!  He's a big fan of comics, so I used that as my inspiration for his birthday card.

I used the sketch from Freshly Made Sketches, Superhero paper from CTMH (retired), and a speech bubble from the freebies on Design Space with my Cricut Explore.  The alphabet for POW was Action Comic.

I bet he sorta feels like 60 sneaked up as fast as a POW! 

Until next time,

Monday, February 20, 2017

Hello Lovely

This week, Color My Heart's challenge uses the colors from the "Hello Lovely" paper pack by CTMH.  Heart2Heart featured the same paper a couple weeks ago, so I'm entering this card in both.

This was really easy to do. I cut the floral overlay from Artfully Sent Cricut cartridge, laid it on my card base at a wonky angle, turned the card over and drew pencil lines along the back where the overlay hung over the edge of the card base, and cut it to size. I then backed it with Hello Lovely paper and glued the whole thing to my card base. I attached a Blush Shimmer Ribbon bow, and DONE!

One of the great things in Design Space is the "Set Canvas" feature. I set my canvas as a card, then stretched and tilted my overlay until I liked the amount of space it took up on the card.  The overlay piece ended up being 6.29H x 4.19W.  The only other trick I used was to "Ungroup" the overlay image (the original image comes with two layers, the floral and a solid backing) and delete the solid piece. You could cut your background (in this case, the Hello Lovely paper) using the Cricut, but that wastes too much paper for me.  I'm okay with wasting the white paper (floral overlay), but I'm hoarding the Hello Lovely paper.

I really love this card. I have a feeling it will be mass produced as it can be used for just about any long as it's going to a woman.  Somehow, I don't think a man would be quite as in love with this. LOL!

Until next time,

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Souper Get Well Wishes

Some people are worth buying a whole stamp set for.  My sister-in-law is one of them.  She's undergoing treatment for cancer, so I've been sending a card here and there to cheer her along. I purchased "Recipe for Happiness" from MFT specifically so I could combine it with "The Whole Herd" (which I already had) to make this card.

Is that too cute, or what?!

The sentiment from MFT's "Recipe for Happiness" actually says, "You're Souper Cool." I stamped "Get Well Soon" from Stampin' Up in black, used my MISTI to place the "Souper", masked off the side words, inked in Cranberry (CTMH) to match the scalloped border, and stamped. The yellow background paper is also from CTMH in Sunny Yellow (long retired, so I'll be tagging the lovely Karen Day because she and I have this thing going about using up old CTMH paper). The stitched die cuts are all MFT, as are the coordinating dies for the two stamp sets used. I trimmed down the soup pot because my Copic coloring bled outside the lines.

I'm guessing this will put a smile on my SIL's face, which was the whole point...and is worth every penny!

Until next time,

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Inspired By...

Several months ago, I got one of those emails that brings a tear to your eye and terror to your heart. Karen from "Inspired By All the Little Things" asked me to be a guest designer. After I'd calmed down--and it took a few months--I was sent a number of inspiration photos and asked to choose one.  I then did something even scarier. I chose the one photo I had NO IDEA what to do with.

And then, as though the paper crafting gods knew I needed help, an idea sprang into my mind.

First came the color scheme plus the gold lights=watercoloring with gold embossed images. Second, I decided to do a large and small image the same=this turned into two large flowers from Altenew's Beautiful Day plus one small image from their Remember This. Third, I wanted to create a blurred effect near the bottom of the image=my attempt to heat emboss until the gold lines blurred failed, so I splattered water with a paint brush, poured embossing powder over the top, gently shook off most of the excess, and heat set it from the underside. I ended up doing this splatter, pour, and heat set process twice to get enough blur along the bottom with a few straggling blots around the rest of the image. I then added the sentiment, also from Altenew's Remember This set, using the more normal method of stamping with Versamark ink and using gold embossing powder over the top.

The final step was to run the image through an MFT dotted die cut frame, wrap gold twine around the panel, and mount it to a card base with foam tape.

I'm actually thrilled with how this came out. Thank you, paper crafting gods! And thank you to Karen Day and the rest of the Inspired By ladies for allowing me to stretch my creativity as a guest designer. I hope I lived up to the challenge!

Until next time,

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Bake Me Happy

I'm supposed to be writing, but a new box of goodies from My Favorite Things (MFT) showed up yesterday, and I have lots of thank you cards, a Valentine card, and a Get Well card to make. So here I am at my craft desk instead of my writing desk. Yeah...some days are jut like that.  Here's what I've been working on:

The chef and sentiment are from MFT, the background words are from an old--and I do mean old--CTMH stamp, and the paper is current CTMH called Sugar Rush. Now, the person who is getting this card may not catch the special meaning of using sugar paper on a baking card, but I'll know...and so will you.  I used MFT's Blueprints #15 to cut the Pomegranate dotted stripe and the Sea Glass small banner. The arrow is retired CTMH Washi tape.

I sponged Glacier ink over the background words to give it just a hint of color and set it apart from the sentiment area. The chef was colored with Copic markers BG0000, BG10, C3, C00, E21, E000, E57, RV69, and RV39. He was cut using the coordinating die cuts from MFT for "Recipe for Happiness."

To get the multicolored sentiment, I masked off everything but "Bake" with tape, stamped it in Pomegranate ink, removed the tape, and carefully stamped the remaining words in Black. Fairly easy to do, and it gives a subtle highlight to the play on words. The sentiment is from the MFT set "You Bake Me Happy." The inside sentiment, from the same set, says "I Mix You." So fun!

Time to return to my day job.

Until next time,

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Blog Hops with HEART

The Blog Hops with Heart gals are back with a bunch of great projects centered around HEARTS! You should have come from Katy's blog, but don't worry if you started here first. The hop is a circle, so you can go from here and see everyone's. I'll give you the link to the next blogger in a moment.

Here's my contribution:

I used the CTMH Artistry Cricut Cartridge to cut both the center heart and quatrefoil background. I weaved the Sea Glass Washi tape through the background before backing the whole opening area with Sugar Rush paper. Using the piercing tool, I created holes for the ombre embroidery thread (which is the only non-CTMH part of this card). The number on the thread is 123. I bought it years and years ago, so I'm not sure DMC still sells it.

To create a triangle of accents with my bow, I added white enamel dots to the top right of the heart and a small sentiment stamped in Pomegranate ink to the bottom right of the card.

Since I have so many people to thank for hosting me this past month, I think I'm going to combine thank you cards with Valentine's Day cards. Can't say I'll be doing this one in multiple. All that threading is lovely, but it takes time...and I do have some writing deadlines to get to, after all!

We have a great group of bloggers participating in this month's hop. Be sure to head to Wendy's blog and keep going until you complete the circle.

Until next time,