Saturday, December 31, 2016

My Favorites from 2016

As we look forward to the new year, it's always fun to review the past year.  On this blog, that means picking my top ten projects of the year.  Under each picture, I've provided a link to the original post if you'd like more information.


If you want to see some new projects, head on over to Stampin' Buds for four new cards.

Wishing you and yours many blessings in the New Year!

Until next time,

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Christmas Anniversary

Wednesday was my thirty-second anniversary.  THIRTY-SECOND!  As in 3-2.  Mind-boggling, and yet we are having more fun than at any other time in our married lives.  It truly keeps getting better and better.

I made him a card that says, "Home is wherever I'm with you."  It's an appropriate sentiment since we are running around the country doing this Army adventure together. 

If you want to see complete instructions, or get the Cricut Design Space cutting file, head on over to Stampin' Buds blog.  Oh...and it also has a link to my novella "Letters from Santa" which is FREE on Kindle today and tomorrow.

Merry Christmas from our house to yours,

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Celebrating with Free!

Today is my 32nd Anniversary and Winter Solstice (which, in Alaska, is a very big deal because we now start gaining light). To celebrate, I've put my novella, "Letters from Santa," up for free on Kindle from now through Christmas Day.  Please enjoy...and review it if you feel so inclined. 

Until next time,

Sunday, December 11, 2016

December Anniversary

Now that my Christmas cards are mailed (from North Pole, AK no less!), it was time to get a few anniversary cards done. 

I white embossed the flower and three leaves on watercolor paper using traditional colors from the Altenew Inspiration challenge.  I threw a little brown into the leaves because one of the things I've learned about watercoloring is to use a mix of colors and let the water blend them.  After the paint dried, the coordinating die cuts made cutting the flower and leaves easy!

To create the background, I stamped the pinecone and fir boughs with Versamark on Kraft cardstock. The sentiment is from CTMH stamped in Cocoa ink. I mounted the flower over top with foam tape and then decided I wanted to add a border with a white gel pen.

Chocolate sequins and white pearl accents finished the card.

I've seen so many beautiful things done with this stamp set, both in traditional colors and non-traditional ones.  I almost hate to put it away for the season.  Maybe I'll keep playing to get a jump on Christmas cards for next year. 

I also need to make one more December anniversary card for my husband.  December 21 marks our 32nd.  To celebrate, I'll be putting my novella "Letters from Santa" up for free between the 21st and 25th.  If you need some cozy reading sooner than that, this same story is part of a boxed set that includes seven stories for a dollar.  Love and Christmas!!

Until next time,

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Making Patterned Paper Pop-Sous Chef Saturday

I'm frantically working to finish up the last few Christmas cards so I can mail them from North Pole, Alaska this year.  I hope you'll come join me over at Stampin' Buds to see what I whipped up in a hurry.

Until next time,

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Merry and Bright - Blog Hops with Heart

Time for our last Blog Hops with Heart for the year: Merry & Bright.  I have two cards for you today to show how, with a little planning, you can get more bang for your buck with die cuts.

One of my frustrations with Cricut cutting is that I can't always get my placement on a top panel exactly where I want it.  If you've been to my blog much at all, you know what a "use every scrap" kind of person I am.  Since most of my paper is 12x12, and I usually cut a top panel for my cards that measure 4" across, I can fit three panels across the width of my cardstock.  With metal die cuts, I can precisely place my image in the exact middle of my pre-cut panel.

I cut the snowflake from Sea Glass cardstock, used the die cut for the Christmas card and the negative space left over for the Thanks card.

Here are both cards individually along with instructions:

After die-cutting the snowflake in the center of a 4x 5.25" panel of Sea Glass cardstock, I ran it through the Confetti embossing folder and dabbed White Daisy ink gently--really, really gently--before taking it off the folder to highlight the raised dots.  I glued the panel directly to my card base, taking care around the fragile edges of the snowflake.  Next, I stamped "so very much" in the bottom of the opening in Slate ink.  I die cut the "thanks" three times, once in silver glitter paper and twice in plain white paper.  I wanted the word to have a little extra "oomph" and gluing three layers of paper together is an easy way to pop a die cut up (and give it extra strength).

By changing the orientation of the card, you could use a longer die-cut sentiment like "Christmas" in place of "Thanks" and stamp "Merry" in the opening.  If you're like me, you need to finish up a few more Christmas cards in the next day or two for mailing to friends and family.

I used my Cricut to cut the decorative edge top panel for this card once in Oh, Deer patterned paper and once in Slate. I did some finagling with the Artistry cartridge and Basic Shapes to make it. Here's a link to my Design Space file if you'd like to recreate it. After cutting, I glued them to the card base. Next came the two snowflakes: the Sea Glass one I cut from the center panel of the Thanks card plus a white one cut from White Daisy cardstock. 

Before adding them to the card, I painted them with thinned down iridescent white acrylic paint.  Another way to achieve this same look is to use either "Wink of Stella" or CTMH Shimmer Brush.

The sentiment is from the now retired "Artfully Sent" Cricut cartridge companion stamp sets.  I embossed it in white over Sea Glass, trimmed the edges to create the banner, and mounted it over top of the snowflakes with foam tape.  A few gold sequins later, the card was done.

I think this is one of my favorite cards of the year.  I did garner inspiration for it quite directly so, in the interest of playing nice in blog land, here's the link to the original card made by the amazing Debbie Hughes.

As always, this blog hop is a circle.  You should have come from Stephanie's blog, and you are now headed to Wendy's blog.  It's a short hop this month, so it won't take much time to get some fabulous inspiration.

Until next time,

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Thinking of You Wokshop for Sous Chef Saturday

Here's one of two cards I made for Sous Chef Saturday over at Stampin' Buds today.  I hope you'll come join the fun!

Until next time,

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Sous Chef Saturday with City Sidewalks

I went a little crazy with the City Sidewalks paper and Digital Cricut Cartridge for Sous Chef Saturday over at Stampin' Buds today. I hope you'll come see all five cards.


Saturday, November 19, 2016

Sous Chef Saturday - Thanks

I'm over at Stampin Buds again today with a CAS thank you card using lots of layers for interest.

Until next time,

Friday, November 18, 2016

Happy New Baby

Dear friends of ours just had their first grandbaby...a little girl. To celebrate, I used the soft colors from CTMH's Whimsy Fundamental Paper pack plus stamps and the Mojo Monday Sketch #474 from Verve for this adorable card:

The colors are Thistle and Slate. To color the elephant ("Emory" by Verve), I squeezed a little ink into the lids of my ink pads and used a waterbrush to fill in color.  I didn't use specialty paper, so the outline image bled a little.  MISTI to the rescue!  I simply let the image dry, put the paper back in the MISTI, and stamped again over the top to re-oomph the outline.  Re-oomph.  I think I just made that word up...and I LIKE it!

The stitched edges around the image panel, the fishtail banner and the very outside panel were done using various dies from My Favorite Things.  For the finishing touch, I added three wraps of CTMH Thistle Thick Twine (discontinued now, darn it) and tied a knot.

Time to bundle up and make a run to the post office.  It's -1 outside.  I'm not sure how the cold affects glue and foam tape, but I'm not taking any chances.

Until next time,

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Wedding Wishes

I'm over at again today with card that uses two different CTMH Cricut cartridges.

My post includes complete instructions and the cutting file.

Until next time,

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Thanks for the Lift!

Quick post today because I need to get ready for church.  I combined old and current CTMH products plus a word bubble die cut from My Favorite Things for this thank you card.

The plane and "for the lift!" come from a retired set called Lifting Spirits. I colored the plane with Copic markers, used my x-acto knife to cut some of the tiny spots and my Micro-tip scissors for the rest. (Um...what took me so long to get Micro-tip scissors???  They are worth every, last penny!)  The paper is long-retired CTMH.  It's called Heavenly Blue.  The "thanks" die cut is current CTMH.

I made two of these to thank the folks who got us to and from the airport for our big trip to NYC.  Now I need to write the notes, take a shower, and get ready for church.  Why is it that the extra hour we get for "falling back" always seems to disappear?

Until next time,

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Hello Today

All my writing deadlines these past few months means it's been a long time since I've been able to participate in card challenges. Today, there's nothing on my schedule except tea with a friend later today, so I sat down at my craft table and combined two challenges on this card:

I used sketch 261 from Freshly Made Sketches and the November 2016 Challenge from Altenew.

I started by embossing the flower and leaves from Altenew's Beautiful Day set in white detail powder over the smooth side of Tim Holtz Distress Watercolor Cardstock.  I added the pink watercolor to the flower first, let it dry, then came back in with blue watercolor.  The leaves were a single wash of yellow.  After everything was dry, I fussy cut them all out with Micro-tip scissors. 

Using a stitched die from My Favorite Things and cardstock from Close To My Heart, I framed the word TODAY and cut.  I did another cut from Pacifica cardstock from CTMH and adhered the two together.  I highlighted TODAY by painting a swish of the same yellow I used to paint the leaves.  I used more MFT dies to cut the white base panel and the "hello" sentiment (two cuts of white, one of Pacifica).  After adding the ribbon to my base panel, I mounted everything together.

Love this much I might just keep it for myself!!

Until next time,

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Sous Chef Saturday

My friend and CTMH addiction supplier consultant is getting married next Saturday. She's hoping to earn a trip to Thailand in 2017 but, in the bustle of wedding preparations and a honeymoon, she needed some help with inspiration projects on her blog.  I'm helping out on Saturdays for the next few months.

Since Shannon's last name will be changing to "Baker," she's redesigning her blog around a baking theme.  She decided that my part will be as her "Sous Chef" thus "Sous Chef Saturday."

I hope you'll head on over to her blog to see the full project and complete list of instructions.

Until next time,

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Tricks and Treats - Blog Hops with Heart

It's hard to believe we are finishing our first year of Blog Hops with Heart.  Such a fun group of talented ladies.  They have been all treats to work with.  Get it?  TREATS? don't come here for my jokes, so let's get right to my card...

I have such fun using the special features of Cricut Design Space to customize images so they do what I want.  The original image of the house is from CTMH Artbooking.

I used the "Hide Contour" feature to get rid of the outside edge and the hole punch circles. Next, I used a circle shape that comes free with DS and the "Slice" feature to round out the left side. Then, I placed it on my mat so I could cut in the center of a panel.  If you have DS, here's the cutting file. Because lining up an image exactly in the center of a pre-cut panel never works for me, I always give myself a larger panel than I need and then trim it down after I've cut the center image.

Once the image was cut, I used Liquid Glass to adhere a piece of clear plastic to the back side of the house. I stamped the sentiment (retired set called "Wicked") in black.  It's important that you stamp anything you want on the panel before you add the foam tape that creates the barrier for the sequins.  I just snipped lines of foam tape and lined up the inside edges so there were no gaps. I meant to take a picture of what it looked like before I adhered everything together, but I forgot. Sorry. 

Then came the sequins.  I used more than I thought I'd need, and I think I could have used more (however, the last shaker card I made I used too much, so...there's that to consider).  I forget where I got this package of mixed color sequins, but I love the color scheme.  I peeled off the backing of the foam tape and added black cardstock over the top. I used more foam tape to adhere the entire top panel to the card base.

I love foam tape!

Three more sequins on the front of the panel finished off the card.  Now I just have to figure out who to send it to. 

Be sure to visit all the Blog Hops with Heart ladies to see each of the fabulous projects this month.  The hop is a circle, so keep going by visiting Wendy Coffman's blog.  You should have come from Amie's blog. She also has a list of all the participants, if you end up getting lost along the way.

Until next time,

Monday, October 17, 2016

Thank You - New York

I'm leaving for New York City in a few hours.  Back in July, I won a trip for two that includes airfare, tickets to The Met, and a two-night stay.  Hubby and I decided to extend by a couple more nights and purchased tickets to see Phantom of the Opera.  I'll also be meeting with my editor who will be giving me a tour of Kensington Publishing and taking us to lunch. (I feel so swanky!)  I wanted to take her a set of note cards as a thank you. 

This card uses mostly retired CTMH products with the new Flower Market Cricut cartridge.  The paper colors are New England Ivy, Petal, Twilight, and Heavenly Blue over Timberline woodgrain; the twine is Glacier; ink is Pacifica and White Daisy; and the sentiment is from the Artistry Cricut cartridge coordinating stamps. The banner was cut using MFT's stitched die cuts. The flower centers are from Altenew's Vintage Flowers.

I'm entering this in Heart2Heart's Woodgrain challenge.

Time to finish packing...and the laundry.  Which I already did this afternoon before hubs came home and informed me he needed his jeans washed.  Yeah...they were on the floor in his office instead of three feet out the door in the laundry room or in our bedroom inside the hamper. It's a good thing I'm in such a good mood about this trip or I might just leave him behind.

Until next time,

Friday, October 14, 2016


I am waiting for edits to come back on my last story of the year.  Yes, folks, after four straight months with deadlines, I'm down to edits on the last one!!  I also just received my author copies of my latest release called The Blue Ribbon Brides Collection. To celebrate, I spent some time in my craft room with  my Cricut and CTMH Flower Market and Artistry cartridges to make invitations for Thanksgiving dinner.

This used a boatload of supplies, all current CTMH.
  • Paper: Goldrush, Tangerine, White, Poppy, Ruby, Fern, New England Ivy, Chocolate, Desert Sand, Champagne (Since that's 10 paper colors, I'm linking this up to Heart2Heart's "Perfect 10" challenge)
  • Ink: Cocoa, Saffron, Ruby, Glacier
  • Stamps: Coordinating sets from Flower Market (pattern on the acorns), Thinking of You Workshop Your Way (flower centers), With You (sentiment)
  • Supplies: Sponge Daubers, Microtip scissors, Liquid Glass, Glue Pen
  • Embellishments: Poppy Thick Twine
 Here are a few process pictures:


I hand-drew a mask on a sticky note, cut it out, and covered the center of the pumpkin. I used Cocoa ink to LIGHTLY sponge around all the edges.  I switched out the masking to sponge the center with Saffron ink, then went over the Cocoa sponging with Saffron to blend.

I added centers to many of the flower cuts using the Thinking of You Workshop Your Way stamp set.  I purchased the Workshop kit almost exclusively because I wanted to use the small flowers included in it as centers for the new Flower Market cartridge.  (Sorry for the blur on the hydrangea photo.)

Because the trillium cuts were so small, I left them on the mat so they didn't fly away on me while I stamped.  Note: The trillium flowers are not all the same size, so be sure to select the correct size of the Tangerine cuts that back this and fill in the center.

The sentiment is part of the With You stamp set. I used my Micro-tip scissors to cut the "Count your Blessings" stamp in two so I just had "Blessings", and then bent the stamp to follow the curve of the banner.  Below shows how I trimmed off part of the banner and also shows you another sentiment option from the Flower Market trio of stamp sets that come with the cartridge.

I finished it off with a bow in Poppy Thick Twine using Liquid Glass (magic in a bottle) to shape the tails.  Here's the finished product again, this time with the above sentiment (and without the bow so you can see a bit of the layering better):

If you have Cricut Design Space and own the Flower Market and Artistry cartridges, here's the cutting file.  I strongly recommend using a German Carbide, I take that back...don't even bother cutting this unless you have a German Carbide blade.  I also recommend you don't go much smaller than this size. It will fit into a 5x7 envelope if you are careful about positioning the center wheat stalk so it doesn't stand too tall.

To make this into a card, I simply cut the background pumpkin shape a second time, scored it, and glued it to the back only at the top portion.

If you are going to stamp the inside with a sentiment or invitation, might I recommend that you do your stamping BEFORE gluing it to the front. Yeah...ask me how I know that one. I didn't bother to hide the bits of wheat stalk and hydrangea flowers that showed through. I figure, if someone is going to get upset about a little crafty goodness showing through, they don't deserve something this great.

Okay, I'd better go back to work on my edits.  Story is due on Monday and then the hubs and I are off for our big trip to NYC.

Until next time,

Monday, September 26, 2016

So Sorry

My last two deadlines of the summer are squeezing hard, but I simply had to play along with Mojo Monday today because Lori Techler's card was perfect to CASE (copy and steal everything) for friends who just lost their precious dog, Lucy.

The dog was cut from the Animal Kingdom Cricut Cartridge and colored with Copics. The paper, shimmer trim, and twine are from CTMH, as are the dog paw and sentiment though long retired. The stitched circle, tag, and square border are all dies from My Favorite Things.

Really gotta buckle down now, so...

Until next time,

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Floral Hello

I'm taking a short break today because my latest CTMH order came a few weeks ago, and I simply couldn't wait any longer to play with the new Flower Market Cartridge.

I used Fern, Saffron, and Poppy, the colors from this weeks Color My Heart, and the "Stitched" challenge from Addicted to CAS

I cut everything from the Flower Market cartridge in white, except for the small leaves which were cut in Fern. I used sponge daubers to add the different colors to all the cuts then used the "Thinking of You" Workshop Your  Way to add Poppy centers to the smaller flowers. If you own the cartridge, here's the cutting file.

The center panel was cut with MFT Stitched Rectangular dies. I sponged Saffron and Fern over top then flicked watered-down Fern with a paintbrush then stamped the sentiment in Fern. After accenting various bits with a white gel pen, I glued down the flowers layers and leaves.

If I were doing this over again, I would use a darker color as the center of the Poppy sponged flowers.

Since it's always important to play nice in blog land, here's a link to the original blog post. The picture of the card is gone now, but I wanted to give credit where credit is due.

Until next time,

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Hey There, Pumpkin

I'm watching the Seahawk game. (A girl has to have her priorities even under writing deadlines!) It's 10-12 Hawks with 31 seconds left.  Because I tend to get...shall we say excited over these games, it's always good for me to have something to do while I watch.  I decided to play along with Color My Heart again this week.

I cut the pumpkin (Artbooking cartridge) four times and stamped it in Peacock, Fern, Desert Sand, and Eggplant. I cut out the individual sections and layered them over top of the Peacock pumpkin. I cut the coffee cup (Artistry cartridge) from white and Desert Sand at 2.8" tall.  I then used the "Slice" feature to cut the bellyband image out of the center of the coffee cup, deleted it, and cut the leftover in white again. I stamped heart in Eggplant using one section of the pumpkin, then glued both the heart and the cup top onto the first one and added a bow of white twine.

The background panel was run through the embossing folder before stamping the sentiment.  This only works if you have a MISTI so you can stamp three times to get the impression all the way into the crevices.

Hey...HAWKS WIN!!!

Until next time,

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Friend Tree Thanks

Hubby and I were invited out to dinner last week.  It was a great time of food and fellowship, and a wonderful break from my writing deadlines.  I wanted to send a special thank you to our hosts, so I pulled out a recently retired set from CTMH called "Friend Tree" and combined it with this week's Color My Heart challenge.

I had to fudge a little on the colors since I sold my Pear stamp pad.  This used Fern instead.  I stamped the trees in Black Momento ink on Tim Holtz Distress Watercolor paper cut to 2.75x4, let it dry, then wet my paper with clear water in the shape of the tree and dotted reinker in Fern, Sorbet, and Pomegranate, letting them swirl and bleed into each other.  I then stamped the sentiment, a hostess gift set also from CTMH, in the corner. I cut a black panel 1/8 inch larger than the watercolor paper, glued them together, mounted it with foam tape, and accented with gold sequins.

Back to the grindstone for me.  Two writing deadlines by October 3, and my parents arrive tomorrow for a week of vacation. 


Until next time,

Friday, August 19, 2016

Love Wreath

Quick post tonight as I'm on deadline three of four in as many months, but I missed my best friend's anniversary. Color My Heart to the rescue as well as a couple of retired stamp sets and...

I used the Florence paper pack colors of Flaxen, Peacock, Whisper, Saffron, Ruby, and Poppy.

I started with the Remarkable Wreath set as my base (in Flaxen and Whisper), then added flowers and berries from the White Pines set. For the flower centers, I used metallic gold thread. Love how they add so much glitter and texture.

Okay, that's all for now.  I probably won't be back for another few weeks as I hunker down to finish these last two stories.

Until next time (whenever that may be),

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Seeing Stars

My sister's birthday is July 4th. When I first started making cards, I always made her a red, white, and blue card that doubled as an Independence Day one.  A few years ago, I decided to go against that idea and make her birthday cards with no patriotic connection.  This year, because Blog Hops with Heart chose "Seeing Stars" as their theme, I decided to edge my way back toward a bit of patriotism without being overt.

Since I've got four writing deadlines in four months between July and October, I'm stealing inspiration wherever I can find it.  This card came from the second card shown in this blog post. I used three different CTMH Cricut cartridges to create the tag, star, "happy" and a stencil for the background:
  • "happy" - Artbooking
  • tag and silver star - Art Philosophy
  • star background - Artistry
If you own all three of these cartridges, you can use my DS file which I've linked for you here.

Because I want to use the stencil over and over, I cut it from thin plastic.  Someone posted the suggestion to purchase cheap, plastic dividers for notebooks when school supplies went on sale. I don't remember who that person is, but she's a genius!!  And I think school supplies are either already on sale or about to be, so stock up. When you cut, set your pressure for "cardstock" and do a trial run. If it doesn't cut all the way through, dial up your pressure a bit and try again. I have an Explore machine and set my dial between "cardstock" and "fabric."

Here are the other CTMH supplies I used:
  • Paper: "Zoe" paper pack, Sorbet cardstock (comes in "Zoe"), Black and Gray Glitter paper pack
  • Ink: Black and Glacier
  • Stamps: "Finding the Words" (Birthday)
  • Accessories: Glacier Thick Twine, Grey Enamel Gems (includes black, white, and grey gems in three sizes), Round Sponge
All these products are currently available, but most of them retire on August 1.

The only non-CTMH thing is the ribbon.  I can't remember where it came from because, frankly, I buy ribbon and hoard it for years.

My sister loved the card. Either that or she loved that I asked her to be my "back up" in case my husband can't accompany me on the trip I won to New York City. I told her she only got the spot if she promised not to pray for any calamity to overtake hubby. Of course, she immediately started texting me with small, easily recovered from calamities: vertigo, minor ear infection, sprained ankle...

Yeah...not so sure she was a good choice!

You, however, can make a good choice by continuing along this hop. Your next stop is Stephanie's blog. If you get lost along the way, you can always go to Kelly's blog (the one directly before me and our host this month) for a complete list of all the participants.

Yes, friends, make good choices!

Until next time,

Sunday, July 17, 2016

A Note for Monday Mojo

It's time to get ready for church, but I can't resist popping in to show you a card I made using this week's Monday Mojo sketch.

A package of crafty goodness in the form of stitched die cuts from My Favorite Things arrived in my mailbox yesterday, so I spent the day playing. I started by pulling out one of my favorite stamp sets, "Take Note" from Verve.

I began by embossing the two envelopes in clear powder. I did a wash of color over my entire area then spent a long time deepening the color around the envelopes with more and more blue then a bit of black in the corners. Once that was done, I flicked some color over the entire panel and set is aside to dry (my least favorite part of making any card).

After cutting the fishtail banner (MFT Diecut) in Heavenly Blue cardstock (retired CTMH), I stamped the sentiment (Verve "Take Note") in Pacifica ink (CTMH).  Once the watercolor panel was dry, I used two more MFT Diecuts - "Inside&Out" Circles and "Blueprints 21" (4x5.25 rectangle).  I glued the watercolor panel to a 4.25x5.5 panel of Heavenly Blue cardstock, wrapped the sentiment banner around the entire cardfront, then glued everything to my cardbase.

I accented with some white sequins and a red glittery heart that I toned down with a dark blue-violet Copic marker.

Time for church!

Until next time,