Monday, October 30, 2017

Big Giveaway

Head over to my recently redesigned author website for your chance to win BIG!

I'll be back soon with more artwork. My parents came for a few days so I was out of town entertaining them. Today I spent all day getting my "morning" chores done to catch up from the past few weeks of craziness. Now to get my "afternoon" chores started...

Until next time,

Monday, October 23, 2017

Vines and Twine - Heart2Heart

This week the challenge at Heart2Heart is Vines and Twine. I went literal with a vine wreath and Thick Twine bow.

The wreath is from a retired set called White Pines. I white embossed it over water color paper and then started painting.

Here's a close-up to show you a bit more of the water coloring. I wanted there to be enough color behind the wreath for it to show up but also be soft enough to blend into the rest of the background. In order to make that work, I started by painting green mixed with brown all around the wreath. I then dotted higher concentrations of the green and brown in various spots. I dabbed excess color off with a clean paper towel and then let it dry. Once water colors are set, you can layer over the top of them without washing them out.

Next I flicked brown, green, and blue over the whole panel, dabbed where it was too dark, and again let it dry. The next layer was a light wash of blue. Before it dried, I flicked more green, brown, and blue wherever I wanted more. And then some more dabbing with the paper towel until I was happy. Before adding the white enamel dots and Fern Twine, I stamped the sentiment from Falling for You-Cardmaking in Fern Ink then ran it through a rectangular stitched die from My Favorite Things. I used Liquid Glass to attach the twine bow and shape the tails.

The last step was to add foam tape over the back of the water color panel and mount it over a Kraft card base.

I've been on a bit of a water coloring kick this past week. It's such a beautiful medium and doesn't require a great deal of skill. I hope you'll join us at Heart2Heart this week and show us your best interpretation of the vines and twine theme.

Until next time,

Friday, October 20, 2017

Workin' Hard AND Hardly Workin' - Blog Hops with Heart

I'm so glad to be back with Blog Hops with Heart after missing last month with writing deadlines. I've been workin' hard for months now, so it was great to take a few hours in my craft room to come up with two cards for our "Workin' Hard or Hardly Workin'" theme. I decided to do one of each. Both utilize water colors. (NOTE: italics denote a link for your shopping convenience.)

The Hardly Workin' card on the right started with a wash of colors. I began by painting clear water in a square. I added some yellow, ochre, and green letting them fade together as they dried--which was the hardest part of this entire card. I'm not patient about allowing things to dry on their own, but there's a softness to the blend of colors that's only achieved by leaving them to dry naturally. I gold embossed the flower from the Kind Thoughts Workshop Your Way and added a sentiment from a long-retired set. I then ran my entire watercolor panel through a rectangular stitched die from My Favorite things and mounted it over a card base covered by striped paper from the Enchantment Fundamentals paper pack.

The Workin' Hard card started with white embossed images from the same Kind Thoughts WYW over watercolor paper. I painted the various flowers, let them dry, then fussy-cut them out and mounted them to a card panel I'd run through another MFT die and hand-trimmed for the stitched and curvy bottom edge. After the flowers were mounted, I flicked watercolor paint in both peach and green over top of everything. I added some sequins with Liquid Glass and glued the panel to a card base with a bottom border of the same paper from the Enchantment Fundamentals paper pack. I'm entering this card into "The Card Concept: Autumn Love" challenge.

Here are individual shots of both cards:

The other thing I've been workin' hard at this month is updating my author web page: I've begun a subscriber newsletter and will be giving away these two cards as part of a promotion. Please head over there and sign up (I promise not to flood your inbox or sell your info) before moving to the next hop which is Jayma's blog. You should have come from Stephanie's blog.

My parents are arriving later tonight. We'll be seeing the sights and (hopefully) enjoying pleasant sunny days and crisp October nights. Fall is my favorite season and it's been late coming to my corner of the map. The weather turned this last week, so I plan to celebrate with the annual baking of Pumpkin Chocolate Chip muffins. YUM!

Until next time,

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Face Today with Courage

My Stronger Together stamp set arrived yesterday. It was just in time...unfortunately. I paired it with a long-retired stamp set to create a card for a friend with a family member facing ovarian cancer.

Teal is the color for ovarian cancer, so I used Peacock ink. To get the two-tone look, I added the color onto the ribbon with Sponge Daubers. These tools are a must in my opinion. I went heavier in the center and the part that goes behind the top loop of the ribbon. So easy to do and so effective. Once the ribbon was stamped, I used the sentiment from Stronger Together over top in Black ink.

The background paper is from Enchantment Fundamentals. I cut it to 3.75 x 5" and glued it to a card base. The top panel measures 2.5 x 3.75". Once all the layers were down, I hand drew the squiggly white lines with a gel pen.

To date, the Stronger Together campaign has raised over $40,000 for the Red Cross. This year has been devastating. I hope you'll join me in helping spread a little love to our neighbors all around by purchasing this wonderful stamp set. I've embedded links for all the currently available supplies used on this card, but here's the Stronger Together link again.

Until next time,

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Like an Artist

Fall is in the air...or at least it's supposed to be. Here in South Carolina, it's 90 degrees and humid. I guess that's why I couldn't quite go with fall colors on my sister-in-law's birthday card .

I started by stamping the front of a top folding card with Glacier, Canary, and Bashful using the Splash of Color stamp set. (NOTE: Shopping links embedded in text for your convenience.) I followed the rule of triangles and used colors that would overlap well so my splotches didn't end up looking like mud. Next I cut the left side of the card base from bottom to fold at about the 1.25" mark. Here's a look at the inside so you get a better idea of what I'm describing:
However, gluing the strip of paper back to the left side of the card was the last thing I did, so just hold on while I finish describing the process.
product imageOnce the front was done and trimmed, I added the large sentiments on the outside and inside. Both of them come from the Inspire stamp set and were stamped in Pewter ink. I was very careful to stamp the inside sentiment so it wouldn't show when the top flap of the card was down. I also stamped "never stop creating" in Pewter. This sentiment comes from the Created to Create stamp shown on the left. Before I ever used the full stamp, I did something that might horrify many of you...I cut the stamp into all its little parts. That's part of breaking rules like an artist. Just because something comes a certain way doesn't mean you have to use it like that. To get that nice, even row of this sentiment, I used my MISTI. (For things like this the MISTI, which stands for Most Incredible Stamping Tool Invented, lives up to its name.)
After I had "never stop creating" line done, I glued the piece of card front I'd trimmed off back on the left side of the card base and trimmed off the excess to bring it back to a 4.25 x 5.5 card. The final touch was to tie a White Twine bow around the right side flap and secure it with some Liquid Glass.
My sister-in-law is an artist who hasn't had much time to create while holding down a full-time job. She retired in January and then spent the next six months fighting cancer. She appears to have beaten it (halleluiah, amen!) so I wanted to challenge her to get back to painting. Everyone should do more of what makes them happy!
Until next time,

Monday, October 9, 2017


This week at Heart2Heart our theme is Be-YOU-tiful. I chose to use the Beautiful You stamp set for this watercolored card.

The stamp set comes with multi-layered images. I clear embossed the middle layer of all three floral images over watercolor cardstock. Then I painted with red, yellow, purple, and blue allowing each color to dry before adding the next. I embossed the sentiment with white embossing powder over vellum paper. There are a few ways to select only the letters you want from a sentiment. I chose to ink carefully just the parts I wanted and then brush away excess powder from whatever I didn't want.

I hand trimmed my vellum into a banner, folding the excess over the top of the 4 x 5.25 watercolored base. To secure the vellum, I sewed with a zig-zag stitch and pulled the top thread through to the backside of the paper before using a copious amount of foam tape to secure to the card base.

This is a relatively simple card, although it's somewhat time-consuming in execution just because you need to let the water coloring dry. I'm no expert at water colors, but I do know that the trick to controlling where the color goes is to "paint" with clear water first, add the color, and then leave it alone to dry.

It was my birthday on Saturday. My husband took me to a plantation near Charleston, SC with the oldest formal gardens in the US. It was a wonderful few days of unplugging and letting go of my deadlines and his class projects. Here's my favorite picture of our trip. It's the Mill at Middleton Place as seen through the branches of an oak tree dripping with Spanish Moss.

I hope you all are enjoying Columbus Day, and all of us at Heart2Heart look forward to seeing your creations this week.

Until next time,

Saturday, October 7, 2017

World Cardmaking Day

This year, World Cardmaking Day falls on my birthday. Wasn't it nice of them to plan such a great celebration just for me. LOL! I'm away for the weekend with my hubs, but I didn't want to miss this day so I'm posting the card I sent to my writing partner to celebrate the release of the first book in our Montana Brides series.

The stamps and stitched circle die cut are from My Favorite Things. The paper is retired CTMH Sugar Rush. The adorable little boa was made using "Sassy Strands" an embellishment that was retired by CTMH years and years ago. This perfect addition dressing up this pig is why I end up holding onto supplies I've not used.

This has been a big year for me both personally and professionally. I'm looking forward to what this next year brings. Happy birthday and World Cardmaking Day to ME!!

Until next time,

Monday, October 2, 2017

Time for Some Christmas Reading

My latest novella, Cinderella's Masquerade, is available now. This story is the sequel to The Gift of the Matchmaker which released last year. It follows a maid from The Driskill Hotel in Austin, TX as she falls in love with her Prince Charming.
Cinderella's Masquerade is also included in a boxed set called A Christmas Masquerade with six other stories for only a dollar more. (The Gift of the Matchmaker is included in a boxed set called Merry Matchmakers.)
All stories and boxed sets are available for free if you belong to Kindle Unlimited.
Happy Christmas reading!
Until next time,