Monday, December 30, 2013

Exciting Announcement

Good Morning!

I'm taking a quick break from my vacation to let you in on an exciting announcement.  I am please to announce that I will be working with for the next six months as a Design Team Member.  My first post goes live January 9, so I hope you'll come back then.

In the meantime, I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas and wish you all the best in the New Year!

Until next time,

Monday, December 16, 2013

Sending Love

As soon as I saw the sketch over at Mojo Monday, I knew exactly what I wanted to do...and I'm happy to say my first idea only needed one, small revision.

Here's the supply list (CTMH in italics):
  • Stamps: Lifting Spirits, Lots of Love
  • Ink: Momento Tuxedo Black
  • Markers: Copics W00, W1, W5, R39, R29, R20
  • Paper: Roxy (retired)
  • Accessories: Liquid Glass, foam tape
You can almost see the Liquid Glass on the bottom heart.  Too bad you can't tell that every, single heart has some on it.  No other explanation needed. 

How's that for simple and sweet?

Until next time,

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Holiday Baubles

I've been thinking about how to use the leftover image from my Christmas stamps.  Inspiration struck when I decided to use my scoreboard to follow CAS(E) this Sketch #56.

I used the angled attachment that came with my Martha Stewart Scoreboard to create the background and a frame around the stamp sticker.  The cardstock behind the sticker is CTMH Cranberry.

Eight cards left!  I have two more of these stickers, but I need to get my soup going for a potluck tonight.

Until next time,

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Circle Snowflake

Quick post tonight.  I still have nine Christmas cards to make and get in the mail.  I'm combining two challenges with this one.

CAS on Sunday : Christmas
CASology: Snowflake

Here's the supply list (CTMH in italics)
  • Snowflake: Art Philosophy Cricut Cartridge
  • Sentiment: O Christmas Tree (retired)
  • Ink: Encore Silver pigment
  • Paper: Outdoor Denim B&T (retired), Lagoon cardstock
  • Accessories: Lagoon Washi tape; silver cord, small circle punch (notch for silver cord), Lagoon marker, Pearl Paint
I colored the center shape of the snowflake with the marker, glued it back inside, then dabbed Pearl Paint over top and started smearing it out from the center.

Since I really want the stamp prize over at Rose Blossom Garden, I'm submitting a fourth card to that challenge: Christmas using any CTMH Cricut Cartridge.  I used my Design Studio to center the snowflake inside a circle cut and cut both at the same time.

This is my first time to do the "fit your die cut back into the shape" technique.  I've seen lots of fun things with it, though.  And I'm starting to get into the whole "off-kilter" thing that's a current trend.

Okay...better go make the husband some dinner.

Until next time,

Monday, December 9, 2013

O Holy Night

I am combining two challenges to get myself down to ten Christmas cards left:  Mojo Monday Sketch 323 and Rose Blossom Garden "Christmas using any CTMH Cricut Cartridge"

I don't usually stage my photos but thought I'd give it a whirl.  And the West Point Cadet Nutcraker is to pay homage to the upcoming Army/Navy game. 

Go Army.


Anyway, here's the supply list for the card.
  • Stamps: Verve Peace on Earth
  • Paper: CTMH Roxie (retired), Black, Vanilla, and Kraft
  • Die Cuts:  CTMH Art Philosophy (ornament) and Artiste (Noel)
  • Ink: Versamark
  • Embossing Powder:  PSX Detail Brass
  • Other:  Red C120 Derwent Colorsoft pencil, corner rounder, scallop edge scissors, Pearl Paint, glue pen (to draw string)
The process of how I did the Noel is described under the fourth card of this post from last Christmas.  I drew the string using a fine tip glue pen and poured embossing powder over top to hang the ornament.  It's a loose interpretation of the sketch.

The funny part about adding the nutcracker to my photo was that my camera kept asking me if someone blinked.  Here's hoping Navy will be "blinking" in disbelief after Saturday's game.

Until next time,

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Sparkly Christmas Snowflake Wreath

I am trying to finish up the last of my Christmas cards, so I'm joining multiple challenges to provide inspiration.   Here are the challenges:

Less is More: Colour plus Metallic
Addicted to Case: Snowflakes
CASology: Ribbon
Rose Blossom Garden:  Christmas using any CTMH Cricut Cartridge

I'm also using up lots of supplies I have lying around.  Here's the supply list:
  • Stamp: CTMH Oh Christmas Tree (retired)
  • Snowflakes:  Cut from CTMH Art Philosophy Cricut Cartridge (leftover from this project)
  • Ink:  CTMH Smokey Plum re-inker combined with Pearl Paint (leftover from this card); Colorit Platinum Pigment
  • Ribbon:  Um...maybe from Michaels.  It's a wired metallic I've had for way too many years.
  • OtherLiquid Glass (aka Glossy Accents), white sequins, white doily
I mounted the doily on cardstock then piled on the snowflakes and sequins.  I did a combination of spraying, flicking, and painting to get the variations of Smokey Plum shimmer on the wreath.  It's all from the same spray pen, though.  I promise.

Only about 15 cards left to go.  The only problem is, once I get them done, I'll have to go outside where the high today is expected to be in the teens.  Maybe I'll make my hubby do that part.

Until next time,

Friday, December 6, 2013

Snowflake Holiday Magic

This week's Freshly Made Sketch is perfect simplicity...and just what I needed to get a bunch of cards done while watching football.  I combined it with the Barn Red challenge over at Color My Heart and Rose Blossom Garden: Christmas using any CTMH Cricut Cartridge.

Now, to be completely honest, the snowflake was cut with my CTMH Art Philosophy cartridge in Cranberry and overstamped in Barn Red using the Universal Background stamp set (which is set to retire in January, 2014...whine, mope, cry).  Barn Red paper with Barn Red overstamping just doesn't photograph well.

The wired gold ribbon is so old I have no idea where it came from.  Sorry.  I adhered the snowflake to the ribbon with Liquid Glass (aka, Glossy Accents)

The sentiment is from an old CTMH Stamp of the Month (October, 2011) called Holiday Magic.  The rest of the sentiment on the inside says, "All the year through."  I love sentiments that go from outside to inside.

I fired off twenty of these during one football game.  That's what I call multi-tasking!

Until next time,

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

All Framed Up!

This week's challenge over at Heart2Heart is All Framed Up!  It was the perfect inspiration to finish a project on my Christmas list.

My parents have moved into a retirement home.  Almost everyone else there has some sort of decoration outside their room.  Not my folks.  So I decided to fix that with one of the new Décor Frames from CTMH.

I pulled some pictures off Facebook, printed them with a large border so I could trim them down to 3x3 size, and used a variety of mini-clothespins and mini-clips to attach them to the chicken wire. I am extremely impressed with how sturdy this Décor Frame is!

The stamped images are from Family Photo (a hostess only set) stamped in Ponderosa Pine pigment ink and embossed with clear powder.  The letters for "family" were cut with Cricut Mini Monograms at 1" in Ponderosa Pine cardstock.  I used a glue pen to fill in the centers and poured Prisma Glitter over top.

I think my parents will LOVE this.  If they don't, I'll give them something else and keep it for myself!!

Until next time,

Friday, November 29, 2013

Oh, Burlap Tree!

In my world, Christmas decorations go up the day after Thanksgiving, so this week's Color My Heart challenge was perfect:  Cranberry and Ponderosa Pine.

All the stamps came from the Art Philosophy Cricut Bundle.  I stamped the "banner" from the swirly stamp set onto Burlap Ribbon with Ponderosa Pine pigment ink, turned it upside down and...voila...Christmas tree.  The tree trunk is the edging of the Burlap Ribbon.  I just tucked it under the tree and used Liquid Glass to adhere both it and the tree.  I also used Liquid Glass to adhere the Cranberry Baker's Twine bow.  The sentiment came from solid stamp set, again in pigment ink. 

Such an easy card.  Wish putting up my real Christmas tree was this fast!

May your Christmas season be filled with light and joy.

Until next time,

Friday, November 15, 2013

Polar Express

I love the colors for this week's Color Dare, but they make me think of Thanksgiving and I need Christmas cards...a lot of Christmas cards.  Every year I try to whittle down my list, but every year it stays around 75 cards.  I have 15 ready. 


So, I racked my brain until I could find a way to make Smokey Plum, Goldrush and Olive Christmassy.

The background doily is from one of the stamp sets that coordinates with the Artbooking Cricut cartridge.  I stamped it with Versamark ink on Kraft paper.  The rest of the stamps are from Polar Bear Holiday.  The bear and sentiment were stamped in Cocoa pigment ink.  I used clear embossing powder over the bear only because I wanted a barrier to my watercoloring.  The bear himself was colored with Copics, but the sunshine around him is Goldrush ink watered down and painted. 

To get good coverage of the Olive snowflakes on the Kraft, I used pigment ink.  It stays truer to the color when using it on a colored background.

The picture doesn't show it well, but the bear's scarf is a bit of Smokey Plum reinker, Pearl Paint and water.  I dyed the ribbon with Smokey Plum, so I had some leftover dyed water to play with.  The skates and white parts of the hat were painted with the Pearl Paint directly.

When I got done with the main card, I thought I'd add a few sequins.  Well...hmmm.  I couldn't seem to stop.  At all.


Anyway, I think he turned out really cute.  And he will certainly be added to my stash of Christmas cards.  One more down, sixty to go.

Until next time,

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Fresh Muse

My crafting mojo has been missing for days now.  Of course that always seems to be the case when I have deadlines looming in my personal life.  With a list of things to do as long as my arm, I'm staring vacantly into space hoping the craft fairy will come clean up my area and leave me a pile of finished projects.

One of the things on my to do list is to finish making Christmas cards.  I used inspiration from Freshly Made Sketches and Muse to bring you this:

Taking a cue from the design team over at Freshly Made Sketches, I was very loose with my interpretation.  I spritzed pearlized Smokey Plum onto the purple background to follow the sketch.  Then I used my finger to smear silver pigment ink over top.  That left me with too much silver and not enough purple, so I smeared Smokey Plum and Gypsy pigment ink. 

The snowflake followed the same basic inking.  First it was spritzed, patted with Smokey Plum pigment ink, patted with silver pigment, and then toped with some heavier pats with Gypsy pigment.  I have a little silver on my Gypsy ink pad now, but it's not horrible.

The snowflake was cut using the Art Philosophy Cricut cartridge, and the sentiment is from Stampin' Up.

All supplies listed with italics are CTMH.

Well, off to make dinner. Maybe the kitchen fairy cleaned and left me a delicious, nutritious meal.  Here's to wishful thinking!

Until next time,

Friday, November 1, 2013

Bit of Green Birthday

Our challenge this week at Color My Heart is Black & White with a pop of Green.  I put this card together for a very musical nephew.

Here's the supply list (everything in italics is CTMH):
  • Stamps: Universal Background, Distressed Background, Holiday Tags
  • Paper: Pear, Black
  • Ink: Black
  • Accessories: Artiste (p. 47 - notched paper, p. 36 - sentiment frame), Baker's Twine: Neutral Assortment, black sequins (Hobby Lobby)
Using Cricut Craft Room, I selected the notched paper shape twice.  Before cutting, I selected the sentiment frame shape and positioned it inside one of the notched paper shapes.  I then placed the Pear paper where it would be cut with the sentiment frame opening and placed the Black paper where the second notched shape would cut.  After the Cricut cut, I trimmed the Black paper and glued it along the notched edge.

I stamped the Pear piece with the music from Universal Background then laid it over the white card and stamped the frame from Holiday Tags through the opening.  The beauty of doing a cut out window like this one is, even if you don't get the stamped image lined up perfectly, as long as it's straight and in the vicinity of where you want it, you can adjust the piece with the window.  Love that!

The Pear and Black notched paper shape was adhered with foam tape to add dimension making sure to leave an edge so the large black sequin could be tucked underneath a smidge.  (Such a great word..."smidge") 

Once again, I must give a shout out to my inspiration card which can be found here.  Other than substituting CTMH supplies for the ones she used, my only real changes were the color of the Baker's Twine and stamping the Distressed Background image vertically along the left side of the card as opposed to her horizontal image.

Since I have two musical nephews with birthdays this month, my only real dilemma is deciding which one gets this card and which one get a different one.

Until next time,

Monday, October 28, 2013

Five-layer Fly Away

I can't believe this is my last post as the October guest designer over at Heart2Heart.  I've had a wonderful time and appreciate the H2H ladies allowing me to crash their party.  This week's challenge is Lots of Layers--at least five. 

I wanted to see if I could stick to what has started to emerge as "my style" and keep the card feeling clean and simple.  I also wanted to highlight a trend I've noticed over the past few months to use off-centered panels.  Using the last card shown on this post as my inspiration, I combined two stamp sets from the new "Holiday From the Heart Gift Guide" to bring you this:

All supplies in italics are CTMH:
  • Paper: Sarita (diamond pattern) and Laughing Lola
  • Stamps: Lifting Spirits and Lots of Love
  • Ink: Slate and Momento Tuxedo Black
  • Copic Markers: RV69, V15, V12, RV93, V0000 (airplane); R05, R20, R22 (hearts); BG72, BG10, BG0000 (sky + star and wheel of airplane); W00, W3 (clouds); and 0-Colorless
  • Accessories: Studio G Glitter Gel and Liquid Glass
I needed to use Copic markers on the airplane because the purple in Laughing Lola is not in the regular CTMH line...and because I needed to use Copic markers, I needed to use Momento Tuxedo Black ink for the plane so the image didn't blur while coloring.  If you look closely, you will see where the lines of the clouds began to blur when I got too close to them with the Colorless Copic.  I'm not sure why the colored Copic markers didn't bleed the Slate ink but the Colorless one did.  Whatever.  The Momento ink pads have something in them that makes the Copics not bleed them out when coloring (even with the Colorless Copic).  Plus, the black outline of the plane helps it to stand out.

The plane, small cloud,  and one of the larger hearts are all mounted on foam tape, thus creating my fifth layer.  The last three hearts in the trail behind the plane were also stamped a second time, cut out, and glued down.  I painted a little glitter gel over all the hearts, waited for them to dry, then topped them off with a little Liquid Glass to give them more shine an dimension.

What a fun month this has been.  Thanks again, H2H, for this wonderful opportunity. 

Until next time,

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Thanks a Latte

Friends are wonderful things to have!  Since hubby and I started moving all across the country with this Army adventure of ours, we have said goodbye to more than just friends.  We said goodbye to hubby's white coffee supplier.  (No, it's not coffee with lots of cream, it's flash roasted coffee beans the color of sand.)  He loves the stuff.  Has one every morning.  Sometimes has one at night, too. Can't live without it.

And we're almost out.

Enter wonderful friend.  She went to the store (which is forty miles away) to pick up two more 4lb. bags and is mailing them to us.  I promised her a reimbursement check in a cute card.

I used two challenges for this card:
  1. Mojo Monday Sketch 316
  2. Less is More: String or Twine.
Please notice that knot.  I followed the tutorial on the Less is More blog and managed to make it work.  Quite proud of myself. 

Quite proud of taking a Mojo Monday sketch and giving it a CAS feel so I could submit to Less is More.

Here's the supply list:
  • Stamps: Verve Better with You, CTMH Circle Around
  • Ink: Momento Tuxedo Black, CTMH Cashmere and Twilight
  • Copics: E55, E53, E50, C00, B0000, and 0 (Colorless)
  • Pearls: CTMH Mocha
  • Paper: CTMH Wonderland

Quite proud of having a friend who loves me enough to send coffee so I don't have to put up with pouting from a caffeine deprived spouse!

Until next time,

Monday, October 21, 2013

Lace for Christmas

One of the "hot" trends for 2014 is lace, so it's great that Heart2Heart is inspiring us to use it on our projects this week.  Most of the time I glean inspiration and put my own twist on it.  Other times--like this card--are straight copies because the original is positively brilliantHere's the card that inspired mine, and here's my card:

All supplies (except as noted) are CTMH.  The word banners were made by stamping Poster Tidings (9/2013 Stamp of the Month) over a page from a book.  (One of the great/not-so-great things about being a writer is getting books to review.  I've received a few I wouldn't even donate to the Goodwill; however, I feel fine about tearing out pages and stamping on them!!)  The ink and paper colors are Hollyhock and New England Ivy.  I wanted it to look Christmassy, but I needed to use Hollyhock to coordinate with the Zipper Lace.  The tone-on-tone stamping was done using All the new favorite stamp set.

Non-CTMH supplies are as follows: white lace (Hobby Lobby); star punches (Marvy), pearl accents (Hobby Lobby).  The original card uses silver gems.  If I'd had enough on hand, I would have used them, but I think the pearls are a good substitute.  And, if you plan to copy my copy, I highly recommend the two different sizes of gems/pearls.  One size was just okay, the two sizes takes it over the top!

One caution about the sewing, if you use the zipper lace you need to be very, very careful that you don't let your needle hit the zipper teeth.  Three guesses as to why I'm giving you this tidbit of wisdom.  Do you need three?

I can't wait to see your lace creations this week!

Until next time,

Friday, October 18, 2013

Color My Snowflakes

This week at Color My Heart we are using a monochromatic color scheme with Crystal Blue and Twilight.  My card was inspired by fellow DT member, Marie, who posted this card a few challenges ago.  Here's my version:

I'm not sure you can see the two-tone stamping in the background, so here's a close up.  Using the stamp set Universal Background, I stamped the music in Crystal Blue and the words in Twilight over Crystal Blue cardstock.  I used a paper towel to lift some of the ink color before stamping so the edges blurred and it looked more distressed.

The textured panel was cut using an Artbooking overlay (p. 76 sized to 5").  It made some of the inner cuts of the snowflakes tiny, but it worked.  I've noticed a trend to use off-set panels rather than straight ones.  Since the overlay leaned to the left, I decided to follow that lean with angled paper.

The sentiment is from a retired stamp set called December Word Puzzle with the "merry" in Crystal Blue and the "Christmas" in Twilight.

I finished off the card with a triangle of leftover snowflakes and pearl accents.

One more card for my Christmas stash.  It's building, but I'm pretty sure I'll be in panic mode come November.

Until next time,

Monday, October 14, 2013

Warm Woolen Mittens

This week, the challenge over at Heart2Heart is to make a shaped card.  I'm not sure when I learned this trick, but did you know you can make a card out of almost any shape if you cut two shapes, score the top of one, and glue the scored end to the second shape?  It works!

Here's a side view so you can see what I'm talking about.

All shapes were cut using Artiste, p. 79 at 5 3/8".  To make sure the card would stand straight, I laid the bottom mitten shape on my score board with the mitten edge lined up against the board's ridge.  My score line was at the one inch line or so.  Easy-peasy!

This side view also gives you a pretty good shot of the bow I created with black shimmer tape.  Even though the tape is fairly thin, it was going to be too thick for this card.  I cut it in half lengthwise, put one half on the card front and made the bow with the other half.  Now you have to be a little finicky with this.  Because the shimmer trim has adhesive backing on it, only peel back and trim off a 1/4-1/8" piece to make a circle that overlaps at one, small point.  You will not use the full length of the leftover piece.  Peel off all the backing of what's left and wrap a band around the midpoint of your circle.  You will need to use Liquid Glass to keep the middle band from unsticking, and use it to adhere the whole bow to the top strip.

I decided to add stitching to make the mitten look like one of those felt ornaments.  I think the stitch is called a blanket stitch, but it's a pretty easy one to do.  Come up from the bottom, keep your thread in front, and pull through.  Here's a photo to help you visualize.  Yes...the stitching shows through on the bottom side of the card, but if anyone dares to complain, I have two words for them.


'Cause that's what they are getting next Christmas!!

In order to keep the two mitten pieces together, I needed to stitch the top together while only stitching the top piece along the sides.  I began by poking my holes in the top piece using my paper piercing tool.  I then glued the two pieces together, re-poked holes just where the two came together, then stitched.

With all this stitching, I am linking up to CAS-ual Fridays for their challenge this week which is...wait for it..."In Stitches"!

All supplies (except the white lace) are CTMH.  The paper is from an older, retired pack called Florentine, but the current Pro Player pack has something very similar.  The sentiment is from Perfect Fit Frames-Holiday.  The white lace is from Hobby Lobby and I need to go get  more.  At least two rolls!

If you have any questions, please leave a comment.  Otherwise, I'm anxious to see what shaped cards you link up at Heart2Heart this week.

Until next time,

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Fall Birthday Wishes

It's been forever since I played along with Mojo Monday, but I'm a sucker for sketches (especially ones with banners) and I needed to make a birthday card for my sister-in-law.

This uses a hodgepodge of supplies:
  • CTMH: Pumpkin cut with Artbooking cartridge: cardstock-Vineyard Berry, New England Ivy, Autumn Terracotta, and Goldrush; metal accessories (all retired); stamp-Unscripted (frame only); ink-Garden Green, Autumn Terracotta, New England Ivy, Chocolate and Sunset; other-sanding kit, Liquid Glass, sponge daubers and edge distressor
  • Stampin' Up: Birthday Wishes sentiment
  • Copics: Y23, YR12, YR15, YR 18, E57
  • Tim Holtz: Wild Honey Distress Ink, Post Card embossing folder
  • Cuttlebug: Swiss Dot embossing folder
  • Paper Studio: thick twine (dabbed with Wild Honey Distress ink to tone down the white)
Gotta say I'm pretty happy with how this turned out.  Now if I can get it in the mail today, it might just get to my sister-in-law on by her birthday.  Wouldn't that be a surprise!

Until next time,

Monday, October 7, 2013

Little Black Dress

Well, I think I might have a new "all-time favorite" card.  The challenge this week over at Heart2Heart is "Little Black Dress" and I had more ideas than I could execute.  Here's the one I settled on (which I LOVE!):

Everything is current CTMH and comes from the For Always paper pack coordinating products.  The sentiment is actually a sticker mounted on foam tape.  I sewed the ruffles onto the cardstock to keep them secure.  There is a black grosgrain ribbon across the top of the fabric and a bow behind the sentiment which isn't showing up well in the picture.  A couple of corsage pins, and it's done. 

One of the hot trends for 2014 is "Conflicting Statements."  I love the classic black and white, the clean square along the top, and then the frilly ruffles along the bottom. new favorite.

Until next time,

Friday, October 4, 2013

Christmas Wreath Color Dare

I am trying to make up for a year's worth of procrastination and get Christmas cards done.  If I can possibly swing it, every challenge card from now until December 15th will be Christmas.  But with a Color Dare challenge of Outdoor Denim, Pacifica, and Ruby, I had to stretch to stop thinking July 4th and get to December 25th. 

The background involved several steps.  First, I dotted Outdoor Denim and Pacifica reinker onto a 3x3 square acrylic block.  I dipped my fingers in some water and dribbled it over the block to start the ink bleeding out.  I laid white, glossy cardstock over the top of the block, peeled it off, and poured kosher salt over the top.  I let it dry for a bit then used my embossing heat gun to finish the drying process.  After flicking off the remaining salt, I ran an embossing buddy over the surface and embossed Remarkable Wreath in white over the top.  The bow is stamped in Ruby pigment ink and embossed with clear powder.

Because the edges of my glossy cardstock were a mess, I cut the square out and mounted it on matte cardstock.  The blue outline is Pacifica cardstock.

The sentiment comes from A Holiday.  Although it's not in the current catalogue, it still shows as available to purchase.  Yes, ladies and gentlemen, that means everything on this card is current.  I may be running behind on my Christmas card stock, but I'm "current" here.  Works for me!

Until next time,

Monday, September 30, 2013

Happy (Neutral) Birthday

Today I kick off a month of guest designing for the Heart2Heart challenge blog.  As a former Close to my Heart consultant (and a current fabulous customer), this is one of my favorite blogs from which to glean creative inspiration.  What an honor to be chosen as a guest designer, and how fun that it comes during my birthday month.  (I am currently $49.95; the tax is getting added in about a week.)

For this week's "Neutral" challenge, I wanted to see just how many neutral colors I could get on one card overwhelming it.  Here's what I came up with:

Although I like the card, I think I'm proudest that everything on it except the mini clip is current.  Given my stash of retired stuff, that's quite an accomplishment. 

The stamp is from Jeanette's Archives and is called Birthday Cheer.  I embossed it with white powder onto vellum.  On the back side of the vellum I used a watercolor brush and ink smushed into lids to color. 
  • Stars and candle flames: Champagne
  • Cake: Chocolate (of course!!)
  • Background (upper half): Cocoa
  • Background (lower half): Desert Sand
  • Corners: Saddle
  • Paper behind vellum: Whisper
  • "2" and "U": Cashmere pigment ink embossed with clear powder; stamp set Keyboard Uppercase; the "U" is attached to the "2" with a small dot of Liquid Glass
  • Baker's Twine: Neutral Assortment
I'd say that's an impressive number of neutrals!

Until next time,

Tuesday, September 24, 2013


This week over at Heart2Heart, the challenge is to use two different alphabets/fonts.  I completely stamplifted this card using the Artiste and Art Philosophy fonts with a cork "N" thrown in for good measure:

Now, when I say I completely stamplifted this, I mean I COMPLETELY stamplifted it.  Here's the original.  Don't you just love it when fabulously creative people use stamps so similar to the ones you own that you can CASE (Copy And Steal Everything)?

Stamp set: Remarkable Wreath
Ink: Chocolate and Cranberry
Paper: Kraft and Bamboo
Accessories: Satin ribbon and button

I am thrilled to have been chosen the Top Chick of the Month over at the Heart2Heart blog.  I may not be a demonstrator for CTMH, but I love their products (and my consultant loves me)!!

Until next time,

Friday, September 20, 2013

Defiant Fall

It's still 90 degrees here in Oklahoma...not very "Fall-ish", but I'm defying the weather and pulling out pumpkins anyway.  And Fall colors for this week's Color Dare are helping, too.

I am also linking this up to CAS-ual Fridays Challenge: Fall Colors + at least one leaf and Inspired By: #89,

The Olive background (chicken wire) stamp is from Distressed Backgrounds set.  The border along the top and bottom of the chicken wire is hand-drawn using a coordinating Olive marking pen.  To create my leaves, I used the stamp set One Way Borders

Here's a photo of the bottom leaf pattern created by stamping the triangle border in Autumn Terracotta in one direction, then turning the stamp around and stamping it again in the negative spaces with Goldrush.

I could have cut the leaf shapes from Art Philosophy, but I just got back from another "crafting away from home" session, so my Cricut wasn't set up.  Instead, I created the pattern, stamped the leaf from the coordinating Art Philosophy stamp set on the back side, then hand cut it.  To give the finished leaves a little more definition, I sponged Autumn Terracotta around the edges.

The sentiment is from one of the other Art Philosophy stamp sets.  I stamped it in Goldrush then "rolled" it in Autumn Terracotta just along the bottom.

The jute and buttons were affixed with Liquid Glass (I love that stuff...simply love it).  This card is a little thick for the mail, so I'll hand deliver it to my sister-in-law when I see her a couple weeks after her actual birthday.

The weather is supposed to drop as of tomorrow...only 85 degrees.  For this born and bred native Washingtonian, that's just too darn hot for Fall.  Maybe I'll turn my air-conditioner down to 65 and light a fire.

Until next time,

Friday, September 13, 2013


Nothing like waiting until the last minute, right?

I made this card last weekend at my scrapbooking retreat and am just now getting around to posting it barely in time to enter it in this week's Less is More challenge.

Here are the supplies (CTMH in italics)
  • Stamps: Vintage Type (retired)
  • Ink: Ruby, Topiary, and Momento Tuxedo Black
  • Accessories: Liquid Glass (over letters), Black Shimmer tape, Tim Holtz Crinkle Ribbon, and white embroidery floss
I actually have a piece of black cardstock cut to 4"x1" and affixed the shimmer tape to the top and bottom edges.  The ribbon covered up the middle where the tape didn't meet (no use wasting supplies).

The ribbon was colored by running the Ruby and Topiary ink pads over the Crinkle Ribbon in sections, flicking a little water over the ribbon to get the colors to bleed, and pressing it between paper towels to dry.

Now, to give credit where it's due, this card was completely stamplifted from Kim Richardson's blog.  I like hers better!

Though this might be "last minute" for the Less is More challenge, I am filling up my stash for this year's Christmas Cards.  I really should be disciplined and do one a week, but...yeah.  My level of discipline only stretches so far.

Until next time,

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Noteworthy Hello

I'm away at a scrapbooking weekend trying to finish up my daughter's wedding album.  They celebrated their fifth wedding anniversary two months ago so I'm just a wee bit behind.  At some point my eyes started to blur on the photos and I decided to take a break to make a card.  This goes with OWH's Sunday Sketch:

Because I'm working with limited supplies, I actually managed to stick with only two stamp sets.  Here's the supply list (all CTMH unless otherwise noted):
  • StampsAll the Details and Geometric Backgrounds 
  • Paper: Cranberry and Ultra White
  • Ink: Cranberry, Whisper, Slate and (Momento) Tuxedo Black
If I were at home, I would have seen if some white sequins added a nice touch, but here I decided to leave well enough alone.

Hey...I just realized this can be linked to this week's Color Dare, too, since the challenge is Slate and Whisper plus one other color of your choice (Cranberry) and Black would be an added neutral.

Time to get back to wedding pictures.

Until next time,

Friday, September 6, 2013

A little "wine" with your Slate and Whisper

This week's Color My Heart challenge is to use Slate and Whisper plus any other color of your choice.  I pulled out Ruby and, after seeing this tutorial during Stamp-A-Faire, came up with this wine bottle tag:

And here's a close up of my salted flower:

I didn't have any Elmer's Glue sitting on my desk, so I used Liquid Glass (aka, Glossy Accents or Crystal Effects).  I also didn't have regular salt, so I used the Kosher kind.  I varied how much I watered down my Ruby re-inker as I dotted it onto the salt, and it really came out great.

The stamps are CTMH Unscripted (retired, flower), Art Philosophy Coordinating Stamps (current, sentiment) and Geometric Backgrounds (current, border).  I stamped the geometric border in second generation Whisper.  Even though it's the lighter of the two grays, it was still too strong for what I wanted.  The stem and leaf are in Slate, and the flower is in third generation Ruby.  As the tutorial mentions, this technique could be done without an actual image, but I wasn't that brave.  At least not the first time trying it.  I'd do it now.

The sentiment is in first, second, and third generation stamping.  I inked it up, stamped it off, inked it again two-thirds to half way up, stamped it off again, and then a third inking just along the bottom.  It's a quick way to get an ombre effect.

Although this is a really clever technique, I don't think it would mail very well.  Thus the tag (cut using Art Philosophy and mounted to a coordinating Dimensional Element).  Now I'm just waiting for an occasion to give it away.

Until next time,

Thursday, September 5, 2013

CAS(E) this Sketch Guest Designer

About a week ago, I won the CAS(E) this Sketch challenge with this card.  That means I get to be the guest designer for this week's sketch (and, more importantly, got to see the sketch in advance).  Yeee!!!

That half-circle shape just screamed doily to me, so I found a retired sentiment from Stampin' Up! that matched the length, embossed it in white, and sewed the trimmed doily underneath.  Very simple, yet I really like how it turned out.

I also chose the sentiment because it will go in my stash of cards for Operation Write Home.  If you've not heard of this organization, they collect hand-made cards and send to deployed soldiers.  The soldiers can then write letters home to their friends and family.  As you can imagine, "I miss you" cards are always needed.  With both my husband and son in the Army, it's a cause that is near and dear to my heart.  If you'd like to get involved, please be sure to read the guidelines so we keep our heroes safe.

Can't wait to see what you all come up with this week.

Until next time,

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Plum Crazy for You

According to a magazine I get, two of the hot trends for Fall are "conflicting statements" and lace.  And apparently purple is hot, too.'s my "trendy" card for Dynamic Duos: Plum plus Your Choice:

The delicate lace and modern "potty people" (CTMH Sightseer) are my "conflicting statement", then there's the lace itself, and finally Smokey Plum paper and pigment ink (CTMH) embossed in clear and a Cotton Candy punched heart (paper CTMH, punch ?) smeared with Glitter Gel (Studio G) and sealed with Liquid Glass (CTMH).  As this is going in my stash for Operation Write Home, I couldn't have any glitter that would flake off.  The word border is from a retired CTMH set called Soul Mates.

I feel so fashionable.  Now, if I could just do something about my wardrobe.  Sigh...

Until next time,

Monday, September 2, 2013

Seriously Love You

Quick post today.  I started out thinking I was going to do something for the OWH Virtual Card Making Party and it sortof morphed.  Okay...not sortof, totally morphed, which made it useless for OWH.  Anyway, I used this week's Color My Heart challenge with Sky, Sweet Leaf, and Buttercup.

The stamp set is from the Home Décor set.  I have a Christmas gift planned with the rest of the set, but the stamps are just too cute to keep tucked away.  The B&T is old CTMH.  The hearts were punched, smeared with glitter gel, then topped with Liquid Glass to keep the glitter from flaking.

Told you this was quick!

Until next time,

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Quilted Color Throwdown

Card number two for the OWH Virtual Card Making Party combines OWH Challenge #1: Sketch with this week's Color Throwdown.

(Update:  Ooops!  Just linked this up to discover that it was supposed to be a Christmas/Winter themed card using the OWH Sketch.  Oh well...)

My colors are all CTMH: Cotton Candy, Sunset, Blush, Sweet Leaf, and Buttercup

I used a CM punch for my inch squares.  To make sure I had them on straight, I drew a couple lines on my 4"x5.25" panel.  The horizontal line was at 3.75" and the vertical line was at 2".  I put down my middle Sunset polka dot piece first and worked out from there.  This pattern was just begging for some top stitching and a custom dyed ribbon using Blush re-inker and Tim Holtz Crinkle Ribbon.

Since this is for OWH, I stamped "Miss You" from Verve's Friendly Phrases in Momento Tuxedo Black.  I inked right over the top of my stitching and it worked fine.  Whew!!

Really happy with how this turned out.  Off to see what's next on over at the OWH party!!

Until next time,

Happy (Krafty) Holidays

This weekend is the OWH Virtual Card Making Party.  I am joining the fun with the O-W-H challenge (use colors/techniques that begin with O, W, and H) and combining it with CAS-ual Fridays: Kraft+sentiment challenge.

Here's how I fulfilled the OWH challenge:
  • Olive, Off-the-Edge, Odd number of accents
  • White embossing, Watercolor, Washi tape
  • Hollyhock, Happy Holidays, Hemp
Pretty proud of myself for coming up with three of each!

All stamps and ink are CTMH, Washi tape was purchased at Hobby Lobby, and the hemp was purchased so long ago I'm not sure where it came from...probably Michaels.  I touched up the center of the flower with Copic markers.  You can color directly onto embossed images, but you'll want to run your marker over scratch paper when you're done to clear off any residual white.

I'm guessing this won't be my only post for the day as OWH has just posted a third challenge for the day...and I've not done the first one yet.

Until next time,

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Hearts and Prayers

For about a week, I have been putting off this card.  It's for a friend who lost her twenty-year-old son ten days ago.  He left for his Sr. year of college and, three days later, died in his sleep.  There are no words.  There just are no words.

As I've followed her updates on Facebook, she mentioned that her son liked bright colors.  I pulled out some older Art Impressions stamps for this:

No challenges today, but here's the supply list:
  • CTMH:
    • ink: Pansy Purple, Cocoa, Pacifica, Sunset, Honey, and Topiary
    • paper: Pansy Purple, Honey
  • Fiskars: Deckle Edge Scissors
  • Art Impressions stamps: D-1737 (flower pot), F-1723 and AA-1510 (green vines), AA-1366 (yellow flowers), AAA-1368 (blue flowers), AAA-1376 (orange flowers), and AA-1373 (purple flowers)
  • Stampin' Around: Sentiment
  • Sizzix: Embossing folder
  • Hobby Lobby: lace and watercolor paper
These images were designed to be stamped on watercolor paper then brushed or dotted with water to bleed the ink and create the illusion of a hand-painted scene.

I'm still struggling with what to write in the inside.  Again, there just are no words.

Until next time,

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Twisted hello

Popped over to CAS(E) this Sketch to discover I'm last week's winner for this card.  What a fun surprise! 

Today's card combines the Less is More: Washi tape challenge with CAS(E) this Sketch #42 and a little trick I learned from my fellow DT member, Amie, about wrapping twisty ties with Washi tape.

Stamp is CTMH Word Bubble (part of the Artiste Cricut bundle). I inked it up with Outdoor Denim pigment ink (also CTMH) and embossed it with clear powder.  It's mounted on a chipboard piece which is included in the Artiste bundle.

The Washi tape was purchased at Hobby Lobby; the twisty ties are green and came from my local grocery store.

I'm also going to link this up to an older Heart2Heart: Sentimentally Yours challenge. grocery store is going to wonder what happened.  I'm guessin' a few more might have an unexpected shortage of twisty ties soon.

Until next time,

Friday, August 23, 2013 of a kind.

Color Dare #57 is Monochromatic with Pacifica and Sky.  I didn't start out wanting to make a Christmas/Winter card, but I love how this one turned out!

To see what I did with the leftover image, go to yesterday's Heart2Heart post.

Here's the supply list and details:
  • Snowflake:  Art Philosophy cut (p.30, Decorative Layer-Shift) at 3.5 inches.  Positioned paper to cut only three quarters of image.
  • Paper: Sky
  • Ink: Pacifica, Versamark
  • Stamp set: Snowflakes
  • Embossing powder: Bridal White (old CTMH)
With a little pre-planning, I lined up my paper so the image would cut part-way off the page.  (This has become a favorite technique.  I used it on this Color Dare card, too.)  Lining things up is easy for me using my Design Studio.  It's a software program which is practically identical to the online Cricut Craft Room.  I had to pay for my software; the craft room is free.  I highly recommend getting an account because it will rock your world!  So much more you can do!!

Once the image was cut, I backed the white cardstock with Sky cardstock (full 4x5.25 sheet because my white was not a heavy enough weight--stupid Walmart ream).  I then took the snowflake image and used the "direct to paper" technique with my Versamark pad to completely cover the image.  After pouring and shaking off the Bridal White embossing powder, I very carefully picked it up by the edges and heated just the bottom.  I let that cool a bit (five or six seconds) then used a pair of tweezers to hold onto the bottom/heat-set part and heated the rest.

I learned a cool trick on sewing.  You can pull the thread through from the front to the back by "picking" at the last stitch.  Tape it down in back, and the thread won't come loose.  (If you are sewing all the way around, just line up your last stitch with your first and they'll both be hidden.)

My favorite thing about this card is how the sentiment echoes the single snowflake.  I already know who this card will go to, but it might be good to wait until it's no longer 95 degrees outside before sending it.

Until next time,

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Making Spirits Bright

This week at Heart2Heart, the challenge is "Sing a Little Song for Me".  I decided to use the negative space leftover from tomorrow's Color Dare card with a Christmas song lyric sentiment to bring you this:

Go to this post if want sizes, page numbers, etc., but the quick version is it was cut using the Art Philosophy cartridge.

To get the snowflake off the Cricut cutting mat, I followed someone's idea (and if it was yours, please comment because I'd love to link through to you!!) of using liquid glass on the paper still stuck to the cutting mat, pressing your card/scrapbook page down, letting it sit for about ten minutes, then carefully peeling it off.  Brilliant!!

The sentiment is from a retired set (December Word Puzzle) which I have pulled out more in the last six months than the rest of the six years I've owned it combined!

I'm also linking this up to the Addicted to CAS: Holiday challenge

I'm really not sure if I like this card or the one I'll be posting tomorrow better.  In any event, my stash of Christmas cards is beginning to grow.  Hopefully that  means I won't be quite as overwhelmed come November.  Yeah...probably not.

Until next time,

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

A Friend...

Told you these fun glasses would be making another appearance...just didn't expect it to be twice in the same day. Freshly Made Sketches is celebrating their 100th post with a "retro" sketch.  It's their 1st sketch!  Goes to show that a good sketch never goes out of style.

CTMH supplies are as follows: Sarita and Laughing Lola paper, Card Chatter-Focus on a Friend stamp, notched paper behind sentiment from Artiste (p. 47).  Other supplies are: Glasses (LaPetites sticker), white gel pen, Momento Tuxedo Black ink, white embossing powder, Versamark clear ink, black sequins.

The only thing I changed about the sketch was moving my sequins to the other side of the card.

I think this might be the last post for the day, but you never know.

Until next time,

A Friend is One Who Knows You

Quick post today to play along with a couple challenges.  First, here's my card:

Are those glasses just the cutest thing, or what?

Here's another photo that includes the package.  I was so excited about them, I bought two at Hobby Lobby last week when they were 50% off!!

The challenges I'm entering are:
1.  CAS(E) this Sketch
2.  Dynamic Duos: Lt. Aqua and Black with option of embossing.

I tweeked the sketch by making the card a vertical orientation rather than horizontal; and I used a raised, shiny sticker rather than stamping/embossing a raised, shiny image. 

All other supplies are from CTMH.  Stamp is from Card Chatter--Focus on a Friend, ink is (retired) Breeze. The inside sentiment says, "and loves you just the same."

With seven more pairs of glasses to go, you can bet you'll be seeing more of these!  Like this one. :)

Until next time,

Monday, August 19, 2013

Enjoy the Ride

I have  several anniversaries coming up, and one of them is for in-laws who enjoy riding bikes together.  I thought this would be perfect.

I especially like it because I can use it for the following challenges:
Here are the supplies I used:
  • Paper: CTMH Chantilly (Buttercup and Pear--which is from the zip strip and then hand cut into grass) and Dotty for You (retired)
  • Stamps: CTMH It's Your Day (retired)
  • Ink: CTMH Slate
  • Glitter: Studio G Glitter Gel
  • Sequins: White colored with Copics YR15, BG78, and YG63
I also used Copic W5 to edge the circle for some definition.

Lots of things to get done today, so I'm off.  Enjoy your day...and always enjoy the ride.

Until next time,

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Embossed Scene

Lately I've been missing my beautiful Pacific Northwest.  Although Oklahoma is greener this Summer than last, I miss Evergreen trees.  So I decided to make a small scene using this week's CAS(E) this Sketch.

Here's a list of the supplies:
  • Embossing Powders: Tim Holtz Distress Powder (Walnut Stain), Verdigris (Wandakins-a LSS out of business now), PSX Topiary Tapestry, and a bottle labeled "Lt. Blue Sparkle" with nothing else on it which makes me think I might have mixed it myself several years ago.
  • Stamp: Card Chatter-Birthday (CTMH)
  • Glue Pens: Chisel Tip Glue Pen (CTMH) and a Tombow Glue Pen that looks like a ball point pen.
  • Edge Distressor (CTMH)
  • Ink: Cocoa (CTMH)
Although the picture doesn't show it well, the trees are about six layers of embossing.  I started with the Verdigris, added thin stripes of Topiary with the ballpoint glue pen, added thicker stripes of Topiary with the chisel tip glue pen, covered the whole tree with glue and sprinkled a fine layer of topiary over it all, covered it again and sprinkled with Verdigris, then covered it once more and sprinkled more Topiary as the final layer.  It helps to have the overhead fan going while sprinkling layers.  It really gives you a nice, fine layer.  (It also gets embossing powder a hundred places other than the image, but that's why God invented vacuum cleaners and rags, right?)

The ground also has a few layers.  I started with the Walnut but didn't get good coverage, so I went back over it.  As I was working with the Topiary, I thought, "Why not?" and added a few swipes over the top.  Some of the Verdigris and Blue Sparkle got on the brown as I was doing those layers, but I didn't stress.

The edges ended up with places where the embossing powder didn't cover.  This is why God invented the Edge Distressor.  See...there is always a way to creatively cover up what, at first, looks like a flub.  Ask me about the inside.  Yeah...  Major flub which is now covered with lots of stamped Evergreen trees.

Despite the flubs and the sparkles, I think this will be a great card for my outdoorsy nephew.

Until next time,

Friday, August 9, 2013

oh, hello

No stamping on this one.  I used the Art Philosophy cartridge for this week's Color My Heart card with Laughing Lola paper.  Since Heart2Heart decided to do a challenge making the sentiment the focus, I've linked it up there, too.

I used the "weld" feature to create the sentiment, then cut a the three purple letters separately using the "flip" feature to make sure the letters were identical.  The white dots were added with a gel pen, the sequins were colored with Copics to match the paper.

I have to give a shout-out to Marie Flayer for sending me the Laughing Lola paper.  It's always nice to have friends who help you out in a pinch.

Until next time,

Thursday, August 8, 2013

More Sympathy

Most of the time, I create cards using challenges because I can always put them in my stash for later if it's not something I can use right away.  Today, I need a sympathy card and none of the challenges were "speaking" to me.  What was speaking to me was purple.  So I used a double vellum technique I learned at Summer Card Camp 2 for this:

The background stamps are CTMH, the sentiment is Stampin' Up.  All of them have long retired.  Also from CTMH:  Slate ribbon, white waxy flax, Pansy Purple and Petal ink, Mirror Platinum embossing powder.

The sentiment says, "What the heart as once owned and had, it shall never lose ~Henry Ward Beecher".  In one, short sentence, Beecher sums up both the joy and pain of loss while managing to convey hope. 

Until next time,

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Summer Card Camp 2 Wrap Up

What is true of clothes is also true of embellishments; keep them long enough and they will come back in style.  Unlike clothes, however, embellishments won't taunt you about how much weight you've gained in the intervening years. 

I like embellishments better.

Anyway, back when I first started crafting, the "in" thing was ric-rack.  Now it's chevrons.  Potato, potaaahto.

I used sketch #2 and the final color combo.  The top/small ric-rack was done by running an ink pad over white, wetting it down to get it to spread into the crevices, wiping off with a damp rag, and then letting it dry. 

All supplies are CTMH, though everything but the sentiment is retired.
  • Stamps:  Just a Number (sentiment), Friendship Blessings (flowers)
  • Embossing powder: White, Buttercup, Baby Pink
  • Ink pads: Sunflower (over white ric-rack), Sorbet (sentiment)
  • B&T paper: Baby Pink
  • Gem: Clear (colored with YR18 Copic) might want to measure your ric-rack before you cut it.  Just a thought.  My stitching around the edge doesn't quite get the short end.  Yeah...  This is why God invented TAPE!

Now it's time to head to the pool to see if I can keep my current wardrobe from taunting me.

Until next time,

Monday, July 29, 2013

Photo Editing with Picasa

One of my DT buddies from Color My Heart asked me to do a quick tutorial on photo editing.  If you are interested in making your pictures look better but haven't got the skill (or money) to get a professional program, I encourage you to download Picasa.  Here's the link:

It's free and takes about two minutes to download.  Once you have that done, come back here and we'll work this thing together.

One of the great things about Picasa is it will automatically pair up with picture/albums you already  have on your computer.  You don't need to separately load them to edit, and once you save your work, it updates the photos in your personal library, too.

The left side of your first screen will look like this:

The buttons on this screen which are in constant use are "Straighten" and "Crop".  When you click "Straighten" it will give you grid lines over the top of your photo and slide bar along the bottom.  As you slide the bar from L to R, your photo will tilt.  The grid lines will help you line up your photo.  This is great because sometimes I have to lean at a funny angle to get the photo of my card without hindering the light.  I just leave myself some room around the edges (because that's why God invented the "Crop" feature) to straighten it out.

The "Crop" feature will give you a drop-down menu for the size of the finished photo.  For cards I intend to link up to challenge blogs, I use the "Square/CD" option.  That way I end up with a final photo that fits those little pictures.  Once you choose the final photo size, place your cursor on the picture of your photo (which I'm not showing in these photos because I want you to see the icons clearly), click and hold your right mouse button, and drag the cursor to the size you want.  There are stretch buttons which will also be available to use as you fiddle with this.

Then I click the "I'm Feeling Lucky" button.  This doesn't always give me a better photo or get me where I want to go, but it's a good start.  Sometimes it's absolutely brilliant and does everything I need it to do with one click.  (The reason I don't start with this is because Picasa will "undo" in the order of your edits.  Straighten and Crop are non-negotiable.  If I can't get those to work, there's no point in going further.)

The second tab takes you to a screen that looks like this:

I am constantly fiddling with the light because, even if I get good natural light, my photos start out looking like this:

Now, before we go any further, I should show you my lightbox.

Oi!  Didn't realize my footie socks were there in the picture.  Well...this is how I live.  I think shoes are torture, and socks are a close second.  I don't know how many pairs of shoes I have kicked off under my desk at the moment.  I'm afraid to look. 


My paper is beginning to warp so I'll need to replace it, but as you can see, I cut a box, lined it with 12x12 cream paper, and set it near a window.  Voila, cheap and easy lightbox.

I encourage you to play around with these slide buttons even if "I'm Feeling Lucky" seems to have done the trick.  Also, be sure to test out the "Color Temperature" feature because warming up photos (slide to the R) is almost always a good thing.

I'm going to switch to the last tab, because it has the "Boost" feature on the top left.

To repeat, my usual method is to begin by straightening and cropping my photo.  I then try the "I'm Feeling Lucky" feature.  Sometimes I undo it, but sometimes I keep it and then do some more fiddling.  (There are no hard and fast rules so I actually started by hitting the "Lucky" button, then cropping, but you get the idea.)

Then comes "Boost" because it accents the colors.  Again, there is a slide bar so don't be put off by the first thing that shows up when you hit boost.  I often slide it to the L until there's almost no boost at all, but your eye will tell you when.  If this doesn't work, I undo "Boost" and go fiddle with the light and color temperature, then come back to boost and try it again.  None of these steps are hard and fast rules.  As you play with the features, you will start to get a feel for what they do and which ones to try first depending on your picture.

If I get one I really like, the next thing I'll do is "Sharpen".  It's on the third tab, top left.

Again, this will give you a slide bar.  I have learned not to go past the half-way mark on this because, as it sharpens the edges, it will make your photo grainy.  When you post a photo on your blog in "X-Large", those grains are annoying.  However, very few photos don't benefit from some sharpening. 

And last, but not least, is the Vignette feature.

The first screen it gives you will have a black outline.  If that doesn't float your boat, click on the "Vignette Color" and you will get a whole slew of other color options.

I chose gray for this photo.  As you hover your cursor over each color, it will show up on your photo.  Once you click the color, it will take you back to the screen which allows you to adjust the size, strength, and fade.  If none of the colors given make you happy, you can hover over the box with the rainbow of colors and a whole new box will appear. 

If you are so inclined, there are a number of other features including the option to add text (first tab), which is great if you intend to post to Pinterest, Splitcoast Stampers, or other online albums because you can add your name and blog address right onto the picture.

But I think you will agree that the difference between this...

...and this worth the effort.

Until next time,