Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Rose Bouquet with CTMH Hello USA Cricut Cartridge

Can we talk a minute about the wonders of White Daisy Ink? It's probably the most versatile and under-utilized ink pad in my stash. And can we also talk about the wonders of Cricut Design Space which allowed me to ungroup, resize, and mess until I created this beautiful floral bouquet from the flowers included in CTMH's Hello USA Cricut Cartridge?

Yep...the ungroup feature! These flowers are from New York, Oklahoma, USA, New Mexico, and Alaska. I cut them in Cranberry, Smoothie, Sweet Leaf, Mink, and White Daisy then sponged the White Daisy and Mink flowers with Blush ink and the leaves with Willow ink. Before gluing the roses together, I stamped layers from the Beautiful You stamp set in White Daisy ink on both the flowers and leaves.

The white lilac-ish flowers (New Mexico) cut with a long stem before you get to the frond leaves. I simply cut the stem holding the flower, re-glued it to the frond leaves, and then tucked the whole flower under the edge of the roses to hide the cut. The only extra thing I did was to use a round hole punch to create the centers of the Mink flowers. I don't know if I deleted the layer that would have given me a back or if they come open, but it saves paper and doesn't take much time to punch the holes and glue them on the back side.

The scallop edge background is Basic Fundamentals Charcoal paper cut with a die from My Favorite Things.

If you have the USA Cricut Cartridge from CTMH, here's the Design Space file you can use to recreate this. If you don't have it, click on the colored link above to order.

Here's the supply list with embedded links for your shopping convenience:
This is going out to my mother for her birthday, but I can easily see it as a mother's day card. The Beautiful You stamp set includes "Mother" as a sentiment. I was planning to use a folding banner thin cut (which is also on sale), but in the end, I couldn't bring myself to cover up any of the flowers.

Until next time,

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Spring Card with CTMH Flower Market

I've been having fun with my Cricut and the Flower Market cartridge. My upline, Shannon Baker, runs a color challenge weekly, and this time it was Almond, Tangerine, and Poppy. I loved the boot card I  made for winning the Spur Award (link HERE) and the tulip one I made where I highlighted with white gel pen (link HERE), so I combined them for this card:

For the rubber boots, I used a combination of the Basic Fundamental Paper and Basics Cardstock Combo. Both of these were on sale a couple months ago, so I stocked up. I love that subtle pattern on the boots. I filled in a few of the cuts just because I liked the solid look better. I could have used the Hide Contour feature while I was in Design Space to fill them in, but I actually like the bit of outline you get with the cut.

After cutting the flowers in cardstock, I sponged the edges with their coordinating Tangerine and Poppy ink colors with Sponge Daubers. I also sponged Poppy ink along the edges of the Almond cardstock used as a matte. Both the Almond matte and the White Daisy matte were cut using rectangular stitched dies from My Favorite Things. The banner, which was stamped using a coordinating stamp set in the Flower Market Cricut Bundle, is also a stitched die from My Favorite Things.

Once the flowers were sponged and glued together using alternate sides of the two-tone Tangerine and Poppy cardstock (which doesn't show up well in this photo but adds subtle interest), I highlighted them with a combination of white gel pen and some black dots from a micro-tip pen. The flower image in Flower Market comes with a center, but I decided I wanted the pen dots instead.

What a fun card to brighten someone's day.

Before I go, don't forget the Die-namite special CTMH is running. It took me a while to get on the die cutting band wagon, but - OH! - I'm loving it now. For some more examples of projects I've made using these die cuts, please link to the following:
Block Letters
Thankful for You

Until next time,

Monday, March 12, 2018

Anniversary Card with Flower Market Cricut Cartridge

I saw a picture recently with a charcoal gray background and colorful flowers over the top. The flowers were highlighted with white strokes. I wanted to see if I could recreate the look and am mostly happy with the result.

To begin, I cut five tulips using CTMH Flower Market cartridge. I used Willow, Bashful, Blossom, and Raspberry paper. (All of these colors except Bashful come in the Flower Market bundle but can be ordered individually here.)  Once the images were cut, I started adding streaks of white with a gel pen. It's times like these that I wish I was more artistic. They seem very rough and haphazard, but overall they are the effect I was going for.

Once the flowers and leaves were highlighted, I glued them together using the chisel-tipped Glue Pen, alternating which side of the cardstock I used to get some more shading and to change up the look of the tulips. Note in the close up picture that the far left tulip has the broader petals of the top two layers on the left where they broader petals on the tulip one place over has the broader top two petals on the right.  You'll also see the subtle color difference between these two top layers. I'm LOVING the dual tones of our cardstock now that I've started to really play with it. (See this post for another example.) I didn't use all five of the flowers, and some of them were only two or three layers instead of all four. I only used three of the stems, the center one in the lighter tone of Willow dual tone cardstock.

Once the petals were glued together, I glued the entire bouquet to a piece of Charcoal cardstock cut to 2.75 x 5.5. I then added more dots and strokes of white with the gel pen.

To embellish, I added Basic Ribbon in the grey on white. I was fortunate in that the word in the end of my roll was "amazing." I wrapped it around the base of the flowers, securing the ends behind the Charcoal panel with tape. I then glued the entire panel to a card base. I was going to search for stamps to create a full sentiment and then decided it would be quicker to just hand write it. Again, I wish I could do fancy, swooshy-swirly writing like a calligrapher, but my scrawl matched the rustic feel of the flowers. That's what I'm telling myself, so please don't correct my delusion.

Off to my writing cave. Wish me luck because I've come down with a sore throat and cough. I'm drinking copious amounts of tea and orange juice thanks to my beloved husband who went grocery shopping not once, but twice this weekend. Chivalry at its finest!

Until next time,

Sunday, March 11, 2018

2018 Spur Award - Best Western Romance Novel

Friday evening, I got an email from the publisher of The Promise Bride congratulating Gina and me on winning the 2018 Spur Award from the Western Writers of America for "Best Western Romance Novel."

Uh...I didn't even know we entered.

I'll spare you the details (although if you want to read about them, you can visit my author blog post here) and say only that these past few months I've contemplated giving up writing pretty much every day. I can't express how much I needed some good news.

To celebrate, I made two identical cards - one for my writing partner and one for our editor - using a free Cricut cut, some CTMH paper and stamp (both current and retired), and an MFT die cut.

I searched "My Images" in Cricut Design Space for a boot, and this one came up as free. Sweet!! It didn't have the spur, so I created that by altering a square, circle, and star from the shapes button. The spur itself is a star that I copied, pasted, and then rotated one 45 degrees before welding both together. I cut everything with CTMH cardstock in Peacock, Linen (both current), Saddle, and Barn Red (both retired).

The scallop and stitched frame is from My Favorite Things. I tried it in plain white, but I liked the card much better with the added oomph of the Peacock cardstock frame.

The sentiment is from a retired CTMH Cricut bundle called Artiste. Technically, the sentiment should be "Brava" since the recipients of the cards are both women, but I didn't have that stamp. I had this one. Close enough. I stamped it in Peacock ink.

Part of what makes this win so remarkable is that The Promise Bride is an Inspirational story, meaning it comes from a Christian worldview and doesn't include any descriptions that would make my mother blush. That's atypical for a "Romance Novel." The coolest thing, though, is that I can now call myself an award-winning author. You might see some of my social media accounts begin to reflect that. **Big cheesy grin**

Until next time,

Friday, March 9, 2018

Die-namite Block Letters

As part of the month long Die-namite special, I'm featuring a new card and several older ones using the Block Letters. I purchased a second set of both the letters and numbers in the bundle on sale this month because...you know...sometimes you need two. Like with this card:

My colors are Linen, Lagoon, and Peacock. I cut a 1/4 inch x  12 inch strip from both Lagoon and Peacock cardstock. I trimmed them down to six pieces of 1/4 inch x 4 inch. I glued them onto a 4 x 5.25 inch rectangle of Linen cardstock, but I alternated the Lagoon and Peacock strips to take advantage of their dual tones. Using a ruler, I drew a faint pencil line so I could line up my die cuts. I secured them with Washi tape then ran the entire panel through my Cuttlebug to cut out the letters.

After gluing the Linen panel to a white card base, I glued the centers of the A and P's, using the cut out letters as guides for placement. This works much better if you have Tweezers. I waited a long time - too long - to invest in tweezers. I'm tellin' you, they make life so much easier!!

Finally, I stamped Free Cake! on the front in Peacock ink. I used tape to mask off the bottom line of the stamp, reserving it for the inside sentiment. I literally used a piece of Scotch tape over the top of my stamp, inked it, peeled off the tape (don't forget this step. I know...obvious...but you be surprised how many times I ruin a card because I forget), and stamped.

I'm always in need of masculine cards, and I think this one fits the bill.

Here are few of the other cards I've made using this stamp set. I've included links to the original blog posts for further instructions and shopping links.

(NOTE: The stamp set and coordinating die cuts retired but have been
brought back for this month's special. To purchase, click HERE.)

Now it's time for me to get back to work up in the writing cave. These deadlines won't meet themselves!
Until next time,

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Die-namite Special

CTMH's Die-namite Special is bringing a number of great products out of retirement for a limited time. One of my favorites is "Thankful for You." Each word is a separate die which makes it incredibly versatile. You can use all three, just two, or only one. Here are some of the cards I've created using this set. I've provided the link to the original blog post for a full explanation of how it was created (including shopping links, although some of the products might be discontinued now):

This one never made it into a blog post, but it's a folded paper lunch bag turned into a placecard holder for Thanksgiving. The front pocket behind the leaves holds a note card where each person around the table can write what they are thankful for to be read as part of the Thanksgiving celebration. The leaves have also been brought out of retirement for the Die-namite special. They are part of the Falling for You-Cardmaking set.

 also from Beautiful You and Country Collections
(which includes a Cricut cutting file for the floral overlay)

Do you see why I love this die set so much??? And it's on sale for only $7.46!

Again, these dies and stamp sets with coordinating dies are available only this month and only while supplies last. As you shop, look for ways you can mix and match the sentiments from the various dies. For example, I (Heart) Christmas could easily combine with Thankful for You to say, "I (Heart) You." With Be Merry you can say, "Be You". With Happy, you can say, "Happy for You." And don't forget about the infinite possibilities afforded by adding the Block Letters and Numbers Bundle to your stash. Mixing fonts is very on trend, so your cards and scrapbook pages will look amazing.

Until next time,

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Two More Easter Cards

I was recently inspired by Jennifer McGuire's tutorial on creating cards from cover dies. As I was watching it, I thought about ways to recreate the lacey look of a cut card front and back using my Cricut. I opened up my Artbooking cartridge and went to work.

Both of these cards use a cut out front panel, but the cutting file I created has an option for a front with a solid panel. They are a solid cut, so you won't need to do anything but score them down the center and fold. I will say that they are pretty "soft" after cutting so many holes in the paper.

For the top card, I used Easter Basket. This mini stamp is so beautiful colored up. I used Copic markers, but you could easily use any markers you have or even colored pencils. The stamp is so detailed, you don't have to do much coloring to make it lovely. The second card uses Chelsea Gardens-Cardmaking (the coordinating die cuts are now sold out.). I used Copic markers on these, too, then cut out the images, mounting some to the back solid panel and some to the front for added dimension. The Happy Easter sentiment comes from one of the coordinating stamp sets in the Artbooking collection.

There isn't a lot of room to write on these, a problem only because I chose to have an open panel on the front of the card. Again, the cutting file has the option of both an open center as shown or a closed one. The Artbooking cartridge is no longer featured in the catalogs, but it is still available while supplies last.

Time to get ready for church!

Until next time,

Thursday, March 1, 2018

March Specials from CTMH

Lots of fun new specials from Close to My Heart in March.

My favorite of the bunch is the Die-namite special. All thin cuts are on sale, including some that they brought out of retirement just for this. I'll be featuring a number of them over the month as well as linking to some of the cards and projects I've created in the past so you can see multiple examples of how to use the various thin cuts.

In addition, if you sign up as a consultant this month, CTMH will add special thin cuts into your new consultant kit as a bonus.

March is National Scrapbooking month, so there's a special paper pack and stamp release. This paradise themed set is perfect for vacations. It features a lovely color palate including this year's color of the year, Bashful, and a mint color which is very similar to last year's color of the year, Sea Glass.

The stamp of the month is a birthday-themed set called Birthday Time. So many fun ways to use this set. I love that it includes all the numbers plus the st, nd, rd, and th. That's usually missing. I have a bunch of birthday sets, but I really want this one just for those.

This set coordinates perfectly with the Super Girl and Super Boy sets, both of which are on sale when you purchase the stamp sets with the coordinating thin cuts.

Enjoy this month,

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Happy Birthday Earthling

My brother-in-law is celebrating a birthday soon. His name is Marvin and he loves Marvin the Martian, so every few years I send him a card featuring that cartoon character. This year, I combined Marvin the Martian with some MFT products for this fun shaker card.

I love how MFT products make me look like a genius in under ten minutes!

I used the shaker circle pouches which fit perfectly inside the Happy Birthday circle die which I cut from white paper and colored with the same Copic markers I used for Marvin. I colored with the green first then came back and highlighted the ends with yellow. The black check paper is long retired from CTMH and the small stripe of green is from a trimming that I colored with the green Copic and glued very carefully against the edge of the black paper.

He is so stinkin' CUTE!! I can't wait for the real Marvin to get his card.

Now it's off to my day job. Final edits came back for To Catch a Bride which is available for pre-order now. Once they are done, it's time to write the final two stories in this series. Wow! Can't believe Gina and I are almost done writing these stories.

Until next time,

Friday, February 23, 2018

Pretty in Pink Blog Hop

Blog Hops with Heart decided to coordinate with the current "Pretty in Pink" special CTMH is running until the end of the month. Selected products (pictured above) are on sale, so stock up before next Tuesday. Here's my card:

This is one of those "Oops. Well...let's fix it by..." things. I started by trying to copy this card I saw on Pinterest. I used all three layers of the smallest flower from the Beautiful You set, stamping them in Bashful, Blossom, and Smoothie ink. I cut a mask then stamped leaves in Fern with Nutmeg as the veins. I did a cluster of three flowers on white cardstock, stamped the stitched tag (from the retired Packages, Boxes, and Tags stamp set) with Black ink, then trimming it out with Micro-tip Scissors. I used a pencil to draw and outline of the tag on my card base so I could plan out where to stamp the two background flowers and leaves.

My first oops was when I used a sales receipt as a mask on my flowers. Fern ink bled through. After stamping , I added splatters of Fern and Blossom ink to disguise it. (Done by squeezing the closed ink pad so the lid picked up ink from the pad, turning the lid over, wetting a paint brush with water, swirling it in the ink, then flicking the wet brush over the tag and card base.)  I then stamped several blobs from the Splash of Color stamp set (my new "go to" set) in Bashful ink so my tag stood out from the rest of the background.

I added my sentiment by embossing MY FRIEND from the Beautiful You set in White Super Fine Embossing Powder. I die cut "for" using the retired Thankful for You thin cuts. Since I didn't know what color I wanted the "for" to be, I cut it from white cardstock and then sponged it with Smoothie (not dark enough) and then Pomegranate ink.

After I finished assembling the entire card, I felt like the splatters went too far over on the left side, so I decided to trim down the front, add a border of striped paper from the retired Cats and Bats paper pack, and then glue it to a new, clean white card base. I was good to go until the final oops. I turned the card front over onto my craft mat to glue the black and white striped paper, putting it right over the top of where I'd sponged "for" with Pomegranate ink.

Yeah...trimmed that off. I was left with a 4 x 3.5 card front that I then glued to a 4x4 card base. It wasn't what I originally intended, but I'm quite happy with how it turned out.

This month we have five ladies participating in the hop. It's a circle, so if you started her keep going to Wendy's blog. You should have come from Jayma's blog, but you can start anywhere. And remember to stock up on PINK before the end of the month.

Until next time,

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Preparing for Easter

Today, when we celebrate the homegoing of one of the greatest evangelists of all time, Billy Graham, I think it's fitting to post an Easter card. There's nothing religious about a basket filled with colored eggs, but it sure is pretty.

I used only a few supplies from CTMH (linked to my website for your shopping convenience):

Here's a close-up of the coloring. I used a wide variety of Copic markers and cut it with my Brother Scan N Cut plus an X-acto knife for the inner cut.

This summer I went to the Billy Graham Library and then to The Cove, a retreat center run by the Billy Graham Foundation. You could not come away from either of those places without recognizing that Mr. Graham decided early on that he was one thing: an evangelist. He resisted all attempts to be anything else.

I'll end with a quote from him. I'm not sure how long ago he wrote it, but is a fitting period to his life and work:

"Someday you will read or hear that Billy Graham is dead. Don't you believe a word of it! I shall be more alive than I am now. I will just have changed my address. I will have gone into the presence of God." ~Billy Graham

Until next time,

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

GRATEful for You Card with CTMH Gimme Some Sugar - Cardmaking

While watching the Super Bowl, I colored images from the Gimme Some Sugar - Cardmaking stamp set which I'm now turning into thank you cards.

I wanted to participate in another Team Challenge from my upline, so I used Saffron, Ruby, and Mink as my color scheme. I began by stamping the background in Mink using the Splash of Color stamp set. I stamped the larger blob (yes, that's the technical term) once then the small, splotchy blob three times in a triangle pattern: one below the thumb of the mitt, one between the mitt and the grater, and one behind the body of the mixer. I stamped each of the small, splotchy blobs a second time directly over the first image to give it a deeper layer of color. Since they were splotches, I wasn't fanatically worried about getting them lined up. Good enough was good enough.

The images from Gimme Some Sugar - Cardmaking were colored with a variety of Copic markers. I added the shine on the mixer with a white gel pen. I mounted the images with various levels of depth. The grater is glued directly to the card base, the oven mitt has one layer of foam tape, and the mixer has two layers of foam tape except where it overlaps the oven mitt.

To finish off the card, I added a .5 x 4.25 strip of Saffron from the Enchantment Fundamentals Paper Packet along the bottom of the card base. I stamped the sentiment, also from Gimme Some Sugar - Cardmaking, in Ruby ink then used some long retired baker's twine as my only embellishment.

I've linked to the Gimme Some Sugar set which includes the coordinating die cuts. If you want the stamp set only, use this link. If you look closely, you'll see that the coordinating die cuts don't cut the small shape between the mixer blades. I did that with an x-acto knife because...well, just because I wanted to.

I finished enough images to make about five of these cards. They are all different colors, though, because...well, just because I wanted to. And yes, there's a technical term for that, too, but I'm not sharing it with you. I think you can probably figure it out for yourself. LOL!

Until next time,

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Dear Friend Card with Chelsea Gardens - Scrapbooking

I can't get enough of the new Chelsea Gardens - Scrapbooking set, and I haven't even started using it for actual scrapbooking. This card was done for a challenge through Shannon Baker's Stampin' Buds team. We were supposed to use Black, Bashful, and Glacier. I went non-traditional, deciding to make the flower blue and the background pink.

For the background, I "stamped" my Bashful Ink Pad directly on the card base which I trimmed down to 3 7/8" x 5 1/2" because I wanted to let my leaves hang over the edges. It also helped "square up" my card base with the shape of the Bashful background. Bashful is the color of the year, and it's also on sale through the Pretty in Pink campaign running all this month. I'm going to be very, very sad when the CTMH year ends in August, but I'm stocking up on everything Bashful so I'll have plenty of it before it retires.

The flower and leaves come from Chelsea Gardens - Scrapbooking; the sentiment comes from Chelsea Gardens - Cardmaking. After stamping the flower in Glacier, I used a Clear Shimmer Brush over the petals. I tried to get a good shot of the shimmer but it none of them turned out well. Trust me, it's really pretty in person. The leaves and stamen were stamped in Black. I fussy cut everything with Micro-tip Scissors, glued the leaves directly on the card base (making sure the total width of the card from each leaf tip measured 4 1/4 inches so it would fit inside a standard A2 envelope), and added the flower with 3-D Foam Tape. My last step was adding Liquid Glass to the center of the stamen.

I really like how this turned out, so now I think I'll go try this using Glacier as my background and Bashful for my flower.

Until next time,

Friday, February 2, 2018

Two Great Specials from Close to My Heart

CTMH is running two great specials this month.

First is the always-popular Stamp of the Month: Sunny Thoughts. The stamp set can be purchased for $17.95 or for $5 with a $50 purchase. This set is only available during the month of February because there's another great set waiting for you in March.

Here are a few images of projects using this versatile stamp set:

Next up is the Pretty in Pink special with discounts on selected products.
As you can see, there are a variety of products included, some of which can be purchased in a bundle, others sold separately. If you need pink or gold, now is the time to shop.
There's also a butterfly mural.
Finally, don't forget to check the Clearance section as new products have been added at discounted prices. Happy shopping!
Until next time,

Friday, January 26, 2018

Baby Girl Card with Pizazz

I recently hired an assistant to help me build my author social media presence. She's taking a little break because a much more important job came up...delivering baby number three. I made this card for her using vellum paper for this month's Blog Hops with Heart Paper Pizazz theme.

I took a great deal of time on this card because I just couldn't stop embellishing.

I began by creating an envelope, the flowers, and lace in Cricut Design Space using CTMH's Flower Market Cartridge. Here's the cutting file. I used Bashful paper for the bottom layer, Gimme Some Sugar for the patterned paper, and White cardstock for the lace. (Image is from a jar with a lace band which I ungrouped from the jar. I copied and pasted two more lace images then welded all three together.)

The flowers were cut with Bashful, White, and Blossom cardstock and more Gimme Some Sugar paper for the leaves. The letters were cut from White cardstock using Block Alphabet Thin Cuts.

The envelope was cut with Vellum paper, which is what qualifies it for the Paper Pizazz theme.

All stamped images come from the Sent and Delivered hostess only set in the current CTMH Seasonal Expressions Catalog. (No shopping link is available, but you can view the stamp set on p. 5 of the catalog.) "Special Delivery" was stamped in Bashful ink with a hint of Raspberry ink sponged in the center and around the edges. The circled heart, postage stamp and wavy lines (which I think is technically called a stamp cancel) were all stamped in Peacock. The border along the lace was stamped in Juniper. I also sponged Juniper around the edges of the leaves and a bit of Raspberry in the center of the largest Cricut cut flower. I colored the stamp using Copic markers and fussy cut it with Micro-tip Scissors.

I used the Piercing Tool to create holes for my sewing borders. The pink border on the patterned papers was actually done with thread. I poked the holes first then weaved thread through them. The white one on the Bashful paper was done by drawing lines with a white gel pen first and adding the pierced holes later. I added more of the pink thread through every other hole along the top of the lace border, weaving one layer all the way across, turning the border, then weaving another layer through the remaining holes. I didn't really need to do that, but like I said, I couldn't stop embellishing.

The final embellishments were White Twine and a small safety pin which CTMH sold years and years and years ago. It's technically Baby Pink, but it's close enough to Bashful for me.

If I were doing this card without the baby's name, I would enlarge both the envelope and the accent flowers in my Design Space file.

Now you're off to Aime's blog. You should have come from Jayma's blog. It's only the three of us this time around, but be sure to link through so you see their projects. If you are interested in the Sent and Delivered stamp set and don't already have a CTMH consultant, please leave me a comment along with contact information so I can help you earn this fun set. If you'd prefer to keep your information private, visit my author website and use the "Contact Me" page. Any information sent there goes straight to me.

Back to my day job. My writing partner and I got an extension on our latest deadline, and we're going to need every minute of it to finish editing book to of our Montana Brides Romance series.

Until next time,

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Quick Card

Gotta be quick. Edits came back on Book 2 of the Montana Brides Romance series Gina and I are writing, and we've gotta get 'em to our publisher soon. However, I HAD to take a quick break and share this simple card I made using the Cross Stitch Love stamp set.

Nothing fancy here, just Raspberry inked hearts stamped in a line. My only embellishment is two rivets and some white thread.  My background piece of Raspberry Cardstock measures 4 x 5.25 and my white top panel measures 3.75 x 5. I offset them for added interest.

That's it!

Back to writing I go...

Until next time,

Monday, January 22, 2018

Mixed Media Card

Have you ever fussed with a project because nothing you do the first time works like you wanted? That's exactly the process with this card.

I'll keep what I planned, how it didn't work, and then what I did to fix it out of my explanation and just give you the facts. I started with blue and green Distress Stain from Tim Holtz then covered it with white paint to fade it out. Next I stamped the leaves from Chelsea Gardens in New England Ivy twice. The variations in the ink color come from the inconsistent paint coverage.

Two strips of White Shimmer Trim, one colored with a yellow-green Copic marker, were added before I ran the background panel through a stitched die from My Favorite Things. Before gluing it down, I colored the card base with a light blue Copic marker.

I stamped the flower in Glacier ink then used a Sponge Dauber to dab Pacifica ink around the inside and outside edges. The center is also Pacifica ink. I added Liquid Glass to the very center for some shine. For even more glimmer, I painted the flower petals with the Clear Shimmer Brush. I cut out the flower with Micro-Tip Scissors and mounted it to the card with foam tape.

The final touch was the sentiment from Short & Sweet in Pacifica ink.

Got lots of writing done today. Gina and I are working on edits for Book 2 of our Montana Brides series. It releases in October. There are some stories that need to sit for a while before you can see what needs to happen to fix it. After this round of edits, the story is shaping up nicely. We'll start work on the final stories soon.

Until next time,

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Belated Birthday Card

What do you do when you get an idea for a birthday card but have to wait on an order of stamps to arrive before you can make it? Why...you put extra effort into it so your friend doesn't care that it came late.

The stamps are from Chelsea Gardens-Scrapbooking (NOTE: items in italics linked for your shopping convenience). I stamped the flower base in Crystal Blue, the leaves in Willow, and the flower centers and banner in Black. To color the flowers and leaves, I used a dark Prismacolor pencil to fill in the white space then added shading with various colors until I was happy. I also added shading to the banner with gray pencils.

I'm no artist, but I've studied the techniques of people who are. On the flower, I colored darkest at the center and under each fold of the petals. On the leaves, I colored darkest near the stem and lighter at the tips. Here's a close-up shot:

Although the pictures make the flowers look quite blue, they are actually more purple. I chose the blue base and purple pencils to give another layer of color. I hand-cut all of the images with my Micro-tip Scissors then set them aside while I worked on the card background.

To get my scalloped and stitched border, I used a die from My Favorite Things with Whimsy Fundamental Paper. The MFT die cuts the center out but I wanted to keep it, so I just glued it back inside the frame on my card base. Because I was so late getting this in the mail, I decided against a strict birthday card. Instead, I cut my friend's name using the Block Letter Thin Cuts. (NOTE #2: The current Seasonal Expressions catalog features coordinating Block Number Thin Cuts. You don't want to miss out on them, so order before the retire!) I traced around the letters with a thin black marker for added emphasis.

The "Happy" and "Day" come from the recently retired stamps set Happy to be Friends.

I'm going to end with an unusual plea. Many of you are waking up to news of the government shut-down. What that means for my household is that my husband keeps going to work but won't get paid until Congress passes a budget. We still have to pay our bills and fill our refrigerators, however. If you are able, please support anyone you know who is in this situation and - like me - has a side business (but only if you don't already have a consultant. Please, please, please don't take business away from them.). If you have a CTMH consultant already and would still like to support me, here's the link to my author page for those of you who like Inspirational Historical Romance. Thanks!

Until next time,

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Sympathy Card

My husband asked me to make a sympathy card...and to make it really pretty. Challenge accepted! I pulled out some Altenew and CTMH supplies and went to work.

The floral stamps are from Remember This by Altenew (NOTE: everything in italics is linked for your shopping convenience). I love their layered flowers! I stamped this one with CTMH inks starting with Nutmeg for the outlines. The flower base is Bashful, the second layer is Smoothie, and the final layer is Pomegranate. The leaves are Flaxen as the base and Fern as the layer. I stamped everything but the main flower onto 3 x 4 piece of retired paper from CTMH called Sugar Rush, but the same ombre effect could be done by blending Bashful ink onto White cardstock. I backed it with Bashful cardstock. CTMH has started printing their cardstock with a base and shade so you get two colors with every piece of cardstock. I think I used the full-strength version of Bashful on this, but I can't remember and hubby already took the card with him to work this morning. The sentiment is from a CTMH set called Heartfelt Thoughts. I stamped it in Nutmeg ink.

I cut my card base then ran the top part through the Rose Embossing Folder. It added such interest without overwhelming my beautiful flowers. When the card was all assembled, I used foam tape to add the central flower which had been die cut using the coordinating dies from Altenew (NOTE: I have linked to the stamp set and dies individually, but you can also purchase them as a set). I deepened the stamen by adding black, but I'm not sure I like it. Hmmm.

At any rate, hubby liked the card - "oohing and ahing" spontaneously rather than after being prompted by me. I hope it brings a measure of comfort to the recipients.

Now it's off to the writing office. I spent a lot of time crafting yesterday, so now it's time to buckle down and meet next Thursday's deadline. Good thing Virginia shuts down with an inch of snow on the ground. Everything is cancelled for the day.

Until next time,

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Cross Stitch Roses - 2

I've been having fun with this new Cross Stitch Love set from CTMH (NOTE: italics indicate shopping link). Here's the second card I made with it. Click here for the first card.

I stamped the rose in Tangerine Ink and used a Sponge Dauber to add a bit of Poppy ink to the center. The leaves are Willow ink with the edges rolled in Emerald ink. I eyeballed the placement of the rose and leaf and ended up with a small gap between them, so I'll be using my MISTI next time to get my placement right. Before stamping the sentiment in Black ink, I used a very light blue pen to create a halo around my flower. It's a trick I learned a few years ago which makes a subtle but lovely difference.

The background paper is Gimme Some Sugar. I'm crazy in love with this paper. It's beautiful on it's own but soft enough to be the perfect background, too.

Snow day here in Virginia. I did all my grocery shopping and errands yesterday, which is a good thing since my co-author and I need to work on edits for Book 2 in our Montana Brides series.

Until next time,

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Cross-Stitched Roses

Even if it weren't for all the moving we do with the army, I'm at the point in my life where I'm trying to unclutter rather than accumulate. However, once in a while there's something given to me with deep sentimental value. This summer as we were making our way from Alaska to South Carolina, we stopped at my sister's home. She's collected teacups and saucers for years. One of them has a pattern of cross-stitched roses. Before I got into stamping, I was an avid cross-stitcher, making that particular cup my favorite of hers.

So she gave it to me.

When CTMH's latest Seasonal Expressions catalog came out, the first stamp and thin cut set that went on my shopping list was Cross Stitch Love. (NOTE: Everything in italics is linked for your shopping convenience.) I sat down and played with the set last night and came up with several cards which I'll be sharing the next few days. Here's the first one along with the teacup that inspired it...

I used Raspberry and Emerald ink. The rose and leaf stamps are designed so the variation in shading is automatic when you stamp. Sooo cool! I did go over them with a light pen just to add a little more color.

In order to get the leaf and flower lined up perfectly with the thin cut die, I started by stamping the flower. I lined up the die cut and ran it through my Cuttlebug. I used the negative space left after the cut as a guide, laying it inside my MISTI and then placing the leaf stamp down. I closed the MISTI lid to stick the leaf stamp to it, then put the stamped rose cut in the negative space, inked the leaf, and stamped it in place. Worked perfectly.

I also used the MISTI to create the background using the single line of cross-stitching and White Daisy pigment ink on Black cardstock. (FYI, White Daisy ink requires refreshing, so be sure to order the coordinating White Daisy re-inker and add a few drops whenever you stop getting a crisp, white image.) It was a bit painstaking to create the background but easy once I got going. Pigment ink requires a much longer drying time, so I had to be patient before cutting it down to 3.5 x 3.5, wrapping Basics Ribbon around it,  and mounting it on a 4 x 4 piece of plain Black cardstock. I cut White Daisy cardstock into 4.25 x 8.5 and folded it in half for my card base.  I mounted the flower with foam tape off the edge - a really fun technique to use with square cards which still allows you to send the card in a standard A2 envelope. The final touch was creating a banner with more White Daisy cardstock and Raspberry inked sentiment.

The teacup sits in my kitchen window as a precious reminder of my sister who's on the opposite coast of the US from me now. I'll be sending her this card to tell her how much I love her and my teacup.

Until next time,