Thursday, October 30, 2014

Give Thanks

This week for my design team duties over at, I did another card using the Pathfinding paper from CTMH. 

I'm not much into Halloween.  My kids are grown and gone, there aren't any grand-babies, and it's just not my favorite holiday.  So I decided to go with a Thanksgiving card.  Before I go any further, I almost feel like I should apologize for how easy this card was to put together. 

Almost, but not quite. 

Because the whole point of the new Artfully Sent Cricut cartridge from CTMH is to help you create beautiful cards with ease.

This card base is from p. 34, sized to 8.5 x 5.5.  I then cut the sentiment from p. 78 of the Artiste cartridge (though you could just as easily use the one on p. 72 of Artbooking so I added it to the list of links below) from Pathfinding paper and glued one on top of the other.

That's it.  The entire process. And I think it's gorgeous.

Just wait until you see how easy it was to put together seventy-five Christmas cards!!

Until next time,

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Writer's World Wednesday - Acknowledgments

A few weeks ago, I told you about my friend Kim Woodhouse.  Hers is one of two names specifically mentioned in the dedication for Waiting on a Promise.  The other name is Gina.

Gina Welborn and I met a couple years ago when I wrote an e-mail to the American Christian Fiction Writers loop asking if there were any writers in my geographic area.  A friend of a friend put me in touch with her friend, and voila! a friendship was born.  We started meeting for coffee/tea on a weekly basis.  She was in the middle of several book contracts, so I helped her hash out some plot details.

One day she forwarded an e-mail to me.  It was from Barbour Publishing looking for novella submissions for their Twelve Brides of Christmas Collection.

(Note: this series is being published digitally, one per week, in the twelve weeks
 leading up to Christmas.  I believe the plan is to put all the novellas together 
in a collection to be published as a book next year.)

When Gina and I met later that week, she said, "You need to submit a proposal for this collection." I hemmed, hawed, and generally made excuses, but she leaned forward, stuck her finger under my nose, and repeated, "You need to submit."

So I did.  It was rejected.

However, it was the nicest rejection e-mail you'll ever see.  The editor told me my story wasn't chosen, but she had another idea and she would get back to me in a couple weeks.  I was pretty sure she was just being nice, but both Gina and Kim (who have worked with this editor before) said the editor wouldn't have said she had another idea if she honestly didn't have another idea.

Two weeks later, I got another e-mail from the editor at Barbour asking me to tweak my proposal for their Homestead Brides Collection and resubmit it.

So I did.  Three weeks later it was accepted.

There is a saying in writer circles that, in order to get published, you need to have an agent; but in order to get an agent, you need to get published.  I always wondered how someone broke out of that vicious circle.  Well, you make friends with a writer who believes in you enough to force you to submit your writing, and then you get lucky enough to be chosen.

Though, as you all well know, luck is just hard work meeting the right opportunity at a specific point in time.

Kim supplied the"hard work" part of the equation with her ongoing critiques and encouragement to keep writing; Gina supplied the "right opportunity" part by pushing me to submit.  Together, they are the reason why I'm beginning this writing journey.  And now, when you read the dedication, you'll know why it says:

To Kim and Gina (they know why)

Before I go, here's a BONUS: Gina is one of four authors in the award-winning Mistletoe Memories collection which is currently on sale in digital format for $1.99.  Get it from Amazon here; from here: or from Barnes & Noble here.  I'm not sure how long this will last, so go quick!!

Until next time,

Friday, October 24, 2014

Winter Cheer

I need Christmas cards. Lots of them. So...this week I decided to see if I could take the Color My Heart challenge colors of Thistle and Sunset from the Scaredy Cat paper pack and turn them into a Christmas card.

Kinda fun, huh?

The bears are from Polar Bear Holiday.  I used the Art Philosophy Cricut Cartridge to cut the tag and topper (p. 60).  The tag is 4" tall and the topper is 1' tall.  To color, I used Copic markers W00, W3 (bear bodies); YR12, YR18 (orange sweater); V0000, V12, V15 (purple sweater and scarf); and 0.  I created a color matching ribbon by using V15 on a white satin ribbon.

The background paper behind the tag is 2.25" x 4.25", and the top strip is however big it needed to be to get the pattern.

Except for the coloring, this was super simple to put together.  And even the coloring wasn't that time-consuming or difficult.  I could easily color these while watching TV then assemble the cards later.  I'm thinking ahead, people.  Seventy cards in a the ones I need to make for a friend as a wedding present.  She got married in May.  I'm a little late.

Just be advised that you will probably be seeing nothing but Christmas from now until the middle of December.

Until next time,

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Pathfinding Christmas

This week for my design team duties over at I'm focusing on the Pathfinding paper pack.  Like my post from October 9, I am stretching Fall paper and a coordinating stamp set into Christmas.

Pretty clever, huh?  Yeah, I thought so too, which is why I totally stole the idea from this blog post.  I once heard that the art of creativity was successfully hiding ideas you've pilfered.  I love that!  It validates my CASE (Copy And Steal Everything) philosophy...except I always like to give credit where it's due.

The main sentiment is a Hostess Only set called Be Jolly.  You can't order it directly, which is why there is no corresponding link below.  If you need a reason to host a party, I'd say this card gives you one!!

Notice the design principles I employed.  I stamped the two red hearts to create a triangle with the red "&" in the sentiment.  I stamped the three Glacier flowers in another triangle.  The leaves forming the wreath are a third triangle.  I also created a rounder feel to those leaves by curving the stamp that forms the center stem.  Gotta love the flexibility of acrylic stamps.  As for the leaves next to the Glacier flowers, the actual stamp is only two leaves.  I just stamped them twice and off-set them a skosh.

I added the hand-drawn dots after everything was glued.  The edge on the right side disappeared too much.  I could have solved that problem by foam mounting the image panel, but it's a little tough to make that fix once the everything's already glued down.  The other problem was that there wasn't any Chocolate color in the main image to coordinate with the Chocolate in the patterned paper. Then, when the outline dots were done, I needed to add some more Chocolate to the main image.  I was adding dots on top of my dots, but it pulled everything together.  I also hand-drew some white lines using a gel pen.

This would have been a fun card to sew around.  Which I just now thought of.  Doh!

I grew up in a Swedish Baptist Church.  This card reminds me of the colors and folk art of that heritage. 

Let me know if you have any question by adding a comment, and be sure to come back to see my reply.

Until next time,

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Writer's World Wednesday - Travels the beginning of the year, my travel schedule for 2014 looked like this:

Beginning of May, Paris with my daughter
End of September, ACFW Conference in St. Louis
End of December through first part of January, Christmas in Georgia

Then, in early September, my son called to see if I wanted to come visit his work building which is normally a closed facility.  Um...YES!  (See last week's post for more details.) 

Then my daughter called to say she was getting baptized and planned to schedule it around a trip my husband and son were taking together to Washington State, and did I want to come, too?  Um...YES!

Then I went to visit my son and he announced that he was taking command in November, but my husband and I didn't need to come even though the timing would let us celebrate Thanksgiving with him.  Um...NO!  We will be there and be staying through the holiday.

I'm typing this from Sea-Tac airport having just finished the trip to see my daughter's baptism.  My parents and sister-in-law came, I got to spend a full day with my best friend whom I rarely get to see anymore, I got to experience a real mall complete with paying way too much for Teavana Pumpkin Spice Brulee tea (but...oh, it's just heaven in a cup), and I got to see my daughter be baptized by my husband.  I am one happy mommy right now.

Back in 2009, our family went through several major transitions.  My son graduated from college and began his army career (May), my daughter got married (July), we moved my in-laws out of our home and into assisted living care (August), my husband started his army career (September), sold a  house (October), and moved to Colorado to begin our new phase of life (December).  It was a whirlwind.

The biggest change, though, was letting go of the expectation that my kids would be geographically close enough to celebrate major holidays and life events.  The crazy thing was that the two of them ended up in Washington State for a few years while hubby and I were in Colorado.  Then my son's career moved him to Georgia and we were moved to Oklahoma.  Through it all, we have struggled to see each other even once a year. 

What an incredible blessing--despite the amount of money we are putting out for all this flying around the country--to be able to share so many experiences with my adult children this year. 

So...this has nothing to do with writing, but it has everything to do with my world.  I feel like we have turned a corner this year.  After five years, my family is beginning to figure out what it looks like to be an army family, a geographically separated family, and an extended family with/as in-laws.

Yay for us!

Until next time,

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Artfully Sent Thank You

For my design team duties over at this month, I'm featuring the Pathfiding paper with various stamps.  Today, I paired it with the new Artfully Sent cartridge to bring you this:

I'm falling in love with the ease of Artfully Sent.  The hardest thing about this card was the photography.  Well, to be honest, adding the shimmer trim had some challenges.  More on that later.
I used the trifold card from p. 34 with one small change.  I adjusted the size to 8.5 x 5.5.  It made my circle a little more oblong, but I have this weird need to make my cards end up at the standard 4.25 x 5.5 A2 size.  I need to get over that soon, but at least I always have the option to be psychotic.
There are a few details here which should be pointed out.  The first is the sponging around the circle frame.  If you've been paying attention to the supply list over the past few weeks, you've noticed that sponge daubers show up a lot.
A lot!
That's because they are a quick, easy way to add a "frame" to make something stand out.  I also highlighted the "thank" with a marker to make it stand out.  I stamped the sentiment twice in Chocolate ink, once in the center of the wreath and again on Champagne cardstock.  After I trimmed out the "YOU" part, I just glued it over top of the other "YOU" inside the wreath.
Now...about that shimmer trim.  Here's my hard-earned advice.  Don't try to do the trim in one long piece.  Line up the shimmer trim against the background panel of Champagne cardstock on the right side/back of the card by beginning at the middle fold.  Then, start again by pressing the folds flat, lining up a second piece of shimmer trim starting on the top/left side and stick it down so it lines up with you first/back strip.  Once the top/left strip is adhered, open the card and continue adhering until your two strips line up, then trim the edge of your second piece.  Here's what happens when you don't take my least here's what happened to me.
So, I fixed it by adhering two more of the gold shimmer dots over top.  What can I say, rescuing flubs is my specialty.  Mostly because I've had lots of practice.
Let me know if you have questions in the comments section, and then come back to check for my answer.
Until next time,

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Writer's World Wednesdays - Useless Research

This week I regretted that I write historical fiction.  I was privileged to tour a building normally closed to the public.  It was like being on a movie set only cooler because it was real.  Oh...what I wouldn't give to be able to use some of what I saw and learned!

I even got to take a lie detector test. There were two finger sensors on my left hand, my right arm was in a blood pressure cuff, my chest had two bands to measure my breathing, and a butt pad...yes, you read that measure whether or not I squeezed the gluteal muscles in an attempt to fool the test.  The best part was that the woman who gave me the test spent almost a half an hour talking to me about the process.  She told me the questions she was going to ask.  She told me which question to lie about. And even after all of that, I failed the test.

There were also demonstrations of codes and cyphers which were used hundreds even thousands of years ago.  While not as cool as the high-tech stuff, at least it might come in handy in some story later.


Until next time,

Monday, October 13, 2014

Wiiner, Winner!!

The winner of the books offered in this post is...

Karen Duston!!

Karen commented on my Facebook page.  Congratulations to Karen (which seems somewhat fitting since my news was about another Karen).  The books will be delivered soon!!

Until next time,

Friday, October 10, 2014

It'll be Okay!

This week for Color My Heart, we are working with Goldrush, Honey, Crystal Blue, and Pacifica.  The colors reminded me of a sunrise I saw the other morning.  I may not like everything about the climate or scenery in Oklahoma, but you can't beat their sunrises and sunsets.

I feel like I'm channeling this card; however, when something works it works. 

The supplies are simple...two sponge daubers and the four colors in dye ink.  I started with the Honey first and worked it from the bottom edge toward the center.  Using the same sponge dauber, I topped the Honey with Goldrush. Then, using a different sponge dauber, I repeated the process with Crystal Blue and Pacifica starting from the top edge and working toward the center. To make my black tree and sentiment stand out more, I used pigment ink.  The land was hand drawn using a black marker.  The stars were dotted on with a white gel pen.

So simple and quick!

When I first got the Keep Your Chin Up stamp set (tree and sentiment), I was pretty sure I wouldn't be using the "It'll be OKAY" sentiment...and then my friend's son crashed his car.  It was bad.  And yet, miraculously, he not only survived the crash but the ensuing fire that engulfed the car.  They have a long road to recovery ahead of them, but it looks like he will have no permanent injuries.

It'll be OKAY, indeed!

Until next time,

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Home for the Holidays

This month for my design team duties over at, I'm featuring the Pathfinding paper packet with a variety of stamps.  Today, I'd like to stretch the very Fall patterned paper into Christmas using the Stamp of the Month: Home for the Holidays.

I used the Art Philosophy Cricut cartridge which coordinates with the stamp set to create two tags, one from white cardstock and one from the blue Pathfinding paper. There are lots of extra details on this card, one of which is the double matting of the main focal panel. 
Here's the card without the second matte.  I still have the paper pierced edge, the dot embossed bottom, that little edging of patterned paper (more on that in a moment), and the extra embellishments. It works, but that extra matte adds so much without adding bulk.  It's a technique to try, at any rate, if you are looking at your card and it's striking you as so-so but you don't know how to fix it.
As for that little strip of patterned paper, it came from the leftovers after cutting my tag.  Here's the shot of it straight off my cutting mat.  I trimmed off whatever would show above the Chocolate dot embossed stripe and glued it to the Glacier cardstock.
I should have sponged the edges of this little strip like I did with the tag itself, but I didn't think of it until after it was glued down.  Oops.  Live and learn, right?
The last tip I have for you is about the strings of the Baker's Twine on the two tags.  I didn't leave their flow to chance.  Those puppies are adhered with Liquid Glass where they cross and at the peak of their height.
As always, leave me a comment if you have questions about anything and then be sure to check back for answers.
Until next time,

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Writer's World Wednesdays - Big News

I have been sitting on this news since Friday, September 27, 2014 at approximately 10:05am CST.  For me, that's pretty close to eternity.  But here it is:  I have officially signed to be represented by the amazing Karen Ball with the Steve Laube Agency

To celebrate, I'm giving away a set of books.  Just make a comment and leave me your e-mail address or find my on Facebook so I can contact you if you win. 

Here's an excerpt from Karen's own website about her credentials:

During my 30 years in publishing, I've been blessed to discover several notable authors, including Francine Rivers, Karen Kingsbury, Liz Curtis Higgs, Sharon Ewell Foster, and Ginny Yttrup, whose debut novel Publisher's Weekly called "a masterpiece!" I've also had the honor and joy of working with many other authors, including Angela Elwell Hunt, Robin Jones Gunn, Kimberley and Kayla Woodhouse, Gilbert Morris, Terri Blackstock, and Lori Copeland. It's been terrific!

My head is dizzy just looking at that list of notable authors. 

I met Karen back in February of 2011, and I was immediately drawn to her infectious laugh and generous spirit.  Ever since then, I have been working toward earning a place in her galaxy of stars.  My goal now is to learn everything I possibly can from this incredibly talented woman.  I'd love to climb inside her head and simply absorb all her knowledge, but since that's not possible, I'll settle for the hard way of seeing my writing overtaken by her red editing pen.

But there is more to Karen then just her professional credentials.  She loves nature, animals, and her husband.  She makes the best coffee and hot chocolate you've ever tasted.  She sings beautifully and plays board games fiercely. Her smile lights up a room and her presence announces, "The party is now HERE!"  And she has an acerbic wit that makes me laugh out loud.

I'm proud to be her client; I am more proud to be her friend.

Until next time,

Saturday, October 4, 2014

World Card Making Day

In honor of World Card Making Day, I'm joining the blog hop over at Operation Write Home (OWH) as well as doing some homework for Copic Markers for Cardmakers, Online Card Classes (OCC).

The image is from the homework for OCC.  I colored him using the technique where the image is filled with Colorless Blender before adding light colors, in this case W00, W3, and W5 to the main body (spots in concentrated W5 outlined with W3), and C00 on the snout.  The nose is tip-to-tip blending with R01 and E04; the tag is tip-to-tip blending with YR12 and E35; and the collar is R22, R24, and R27.  I also used the R22, R24, and R27 on the sentiment banner and to color the pearl accents.

The heart background panel and sentiment stamp are from the new CTMH Artfully Sent Cricut cartridge set.  The standard image creates a card with the hearts forming a cut-out front. I unlocked the sizing and adjusted the measurements to 8 x 5.25.  When the card was cut, I used my paper trimmer to cut it into two panels of 4 x 5.25, and used what would have been the back of the card base as the underneath panel for the die cut hearts.  The red card base is from some pack of paper that's been sitting in my stash for so long I have no idea who made it or the color.  Sorry.

I love how this little guy turned out!  The colors are more of a Valentine feel, but he could be sent to a loved one - young or old - any time of year.

Until next time,

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Blessed Beyond Measure

Today starts my term as a designer for Shannon Buck over at  Shannon is both my friend and my CTMH consultant.  Over the years, she has gone above and beyond to supply my stamping addiction many times.  I'm thrilled to be able to return the favor in my small way.

Today's card uses the new Beyond Measure pumpkin and Pathfinding paper. 

There were a few steps to this card, so here come the pictures!  Let's start with the background.

I saw this technique a while back, and I can't remember where.  There is no intricate measuring here.  I took a piece of paper and trimmed it to 3.75 inches by...oh...maybe 4.9 or 5 inches.  Something like that.  I laid it on my paper cutter and angled it a little this way then a little that way.  I cut the Champagne paper to 4x5.25 and, when I was done cutting the patterned paper, started at the top, gave myself about 1/8 of an inch in between pieces, and then trimmed the bottom piece of Pathfinding so it ended up 1/8 of an inch from the bottom of the Champagne cardstock.  I'm sortof mathematically challenged when it comes to measuring, so this system works for me.

However, you will also notice that I offset the background panel.  It's not perfectly centered.  This is to give you another option in case you try my technique and it doesn't work for you.  You can always disguise an imperfect measurement by placing it off-center (or at an angle).  I added my Bronze Shimmer Trim, folding it over the top, and glued the whole thing onto a Chocolate card base.

The pumpkin was stamped in Autumn Terracotta, rolled in Sunset, and then rolled again in Barn Red just along the bottom.  Then I took some Barn Red from inside my ink pad lid and used a paint brush to color the stem.  When that was done, I cleaned off my pumpkin stamp and re-inked it in Versamark.  I stamped over top of the image I'd already done once.  Using Clear Embossing Powder, I covered the image then heat set it.  Before it cooled, I covered it with powder again and repeated this process until I had three coats of embossing powder over top of the pumpkin. 

Between the original overstamping being slightly off and the natural build up of the multiple layers of embossing powder, I had a bit of an overlap on parts of the image.  I used a sponge dauber to add Barn Red over top to get into wherever there were holes in the embossing.   I used the same process to stamp the leaf from Lifetime of Happiness using Olive ink for the leaf and Barn Red over top again.  I then trimmed out both images.  Before I added the leaf to the top of the pumpkin, I cracked the embossing powder by bending the pumpkin this way and that.  As you can see, the pumpkin looks rather warped. did I get the pumpkin to lie flat on the card?

Foam mounted tape and lots of it!!  There is a time to be stingy and a time to be generous.  This is the time to be generous...really, really generous.

You will also need to use a strong adhesive to get the leaf to stick to the top of the embossed pumpkin.  I used Liquid Glass.  Love, love, LOVE that stuff!

For you regulars, today's card is the one I was making when I used the leftover Barn Red on my dauber to start the sponging process on this card.

That's all for today.  If you have questions, please leave a comment and be sure to check back for an answer.

Until next time,