Thursday, October 30, 2014

Dashing through the Snow Shaker Card Tutorial

When I first began blogging, I started looking for various challenges for inspiration and luckily stumbled onto the STAMPlorations blog. They have 4 challenges running every month and inspiring designs from some incredible crafters. Not to mention, they give away a snap-ton of prizes every month and you don't have to use their products to play. 

I don't go about plugging products all over the place, because I'm not on a design team (yet - hopefully someday my dreams will come true!) but I have no qualms about this one. I signed up for their bi-monthly stamp club because I fell in love with their sketchy-looking stamp designs. I received this month's set in the mail yesterday and oohed over the beauts. 

I decided to make a shaker card for the first time ever and I'm so pleased with how it turned out! I chose the sleigh from the Joyful set, inked it in black, and colored it with Spectrum Noir markers (love those things!). Then I masked the sleigh so I wouldn't get ink on it, masked the line where I wanted to snow to appear, and sponged over it with Broken China Distress Inks.

Next, I stamped some snowflakes around the edge and cut a piece of foam paper to the exact specs of my image. Since the foam will eventually be covered up with a frame, it doesn't really matter what color to choose. You can see that my snow line is very faint.

I sprinkled in some sequins - just enough to feel like snow, but not too much to cover the beautiful design of the sleigh. Over the top of everything, a piece of clear acetate was adhered to the foam frame. 

I grabbed some very festive paper and ribbon for the background, and created a sparkly frame to cover up the clashing green foam. I don't know why white space and I aren't friends, but I just can't seem to leave any on my cards. ;) I love mixing and matching patterns and colors.

One of the things I love about STAMPlorations stamp sets is that they have many sentiment builders, which are words that aren't joined together in a string but, rather, stand on their own. The Joyful set has a TON of Christmas-themed words you can use. I chose "Dashing through the snow and embossed in red sparkly powder. 

Of course when the card stands up, you can't always see the pretty sequin "snow". 

My card is inspired by the sketch from STAMPlorations challenge and the colors from Inspired By Stamping challenge.


Speaking of cool companies, I just won some stamps from Inspired by Stamping (and ordered a few extras because I just couldn't decide!) and I can't wait for them to come in the mail!! Inspired by Stamping has three challenges every month too! You have until Nov 15 to play over there and can use any product. 

I'm also going to enter this into
Simon Says Stamp Wednesday challenge - Anything Goes

Stamplorations Anything Goes challenge (you do have to use their products for this one only)

Thank you for stopping by! Please leave me a comment, or follow my blog and I will be SURE to stop by your pages, too!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Treats not Tricks!

Nom nom nom! I just made the most incredible Halloween puppy chow to put into some treat bags and give away. 

Here's my recipe:
9 C. Chex cereal
1 tbsp vanilla
1/2 C. peanut butter
1 C. semisweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 C. powdered sugar
1 C. candy corn
1 C. Reese's pieces
2 C. mini pretzels

Melt peanut butter and chocolate chips in the microwave on high for 1 minute. Stir. Microwave another 30 seconds. Add vanilla. Pour mixture over Chex cereal. Put cereal into large bag then shake with powdered sugar. Mix all of the ingredients together in a big bowl. 

I know this isn't a foodie blog, but there's a reason I'm sharing. The challenge over at Simon Says Stamp's Monday blog is TREATS! I put together my favorite treat and then embellished it with a handmade tag. 

Since {PIN}spirational put out this great image I was inspired to go with  a Halloween-themed treat:

First, I die cut a tag using my Cricut, then I ripped one of the edges and brushed with Old Paper Distress Inks. 

Next, I used a hexagonal stencil and sponged Spiced Marmalade DI. 

I crumpled the paper up and then used my ink pad to highlight the crinkles. 

I brushed over the whole card with Bundled Sage to add some green and then stamped some vines in black from Close to My Heart's Harvest Memories stamp set. Lastly, I stamped a pumpkin from the same set and sponged it with Wild Honey and Vintage Photo DIs. 

I put everything together in a cute treat bag, tied it with a bow, and now I have amazing crafty treat bags to share with my friends!

All of my colors were taken from ColorQ's color challenge this week:

I went to an early Halloween party this last weekend and I just HAVE to share my costume with you all! Even my Halloween costume was crafty!

It took me two hours to glue on all those eyeballs and I will NOT be attempting this EVER again. But I do have to admit that it created quite the splash at the Halloween party I attended. What do you think?

Sunday, October 26, 2014

I'm a Daring Diva! ~Birthday Card~

I scored a great deal the other day at an estate sale - a box full of washi tape for a measly ten bucks! Woop! Before this score, I only owned one roll of washi tape and now I have dozens to play around with. If you've never heard of washi tape, it's really a versatile product. You can incorporate it in strips in your design, layer it under card stock, or use it beneath embossing paste. It's also repositionable, so you don't have to worry about getting a perfect line the first time you press it down.

Seize the Birthday (a birthday card themed challenge) has a washi tape topping challenge going on and I wanted to use my tape in a not-so-conventional way. So, I created a pennant banner.

Making a washi tape banner is really simple (except for getting both ends of sticky tape to line up exactly!! Which may have led to me yelling at my roll of tape... which may have led to my boyfriend coming to check if I was ok...) It's the perfect colorful, customizable addition to a cute card. Simply choose a ribbon you like (it also looks really great with twine) and choose the types of washi tape you want to use. Fold a piece of tape over the ribbon, then line up the sides of tape (did I mention, exactly?!). Cut the ends to create pennants, and - voila!

Speaking of challenges that I adore, many of you have heard about my love for STAMPlorations and they have some amazing challenges that anyone can participate in, using any products! I love their stamp aesthetic and the owner, Shery Russ, and her design team are some of the nicest crafters I've encountered on the web. Check out their challenges!!

I'm using this sketch from STAMPloration's latest sketch challenge

I've been meaning to participate in the Diva Dare challenge over at Verve and almost missed it! It ends today at 8 p.m. MT so you still have any eensy bit of time. The lovely stamp sets that I won from a Verve blog hop came in the mail the other day, and I couldn't wait to ink them up! The stamps in this card are from the Verve Big Wish stamp set.

The Diva Dare challenge is all about raising awareness for breast cancer and I'm so happy to go PINK for a great cause!

My boss's birthday is tomorrow, and this little cutie will be sitting on her desk tomorrow morning.

Thank you for stopping by! Please do leave me a comment so I know you've been here and can visit you, too! Your comments make my day!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Having Fun with Puns - Belated Birthday Card

First of all, I want to say just how overwhelmed I am by the outpouring of support you all showed on my last blog post. It was an emotional card to make and an emotional blog post to write, but you've shown me, once again, that I am not alone.

Getting back into the crafting studio, I just wanted to make something lighthearted. Time snuck up on me this week and I completely forgot to send out a card for my grandpa's 75th birthday. Woops! 

My design aesthetic really vacillates between distressed/vintage and cute and punny. I have some great frogs...but I don't remember which company they are from (they were a garage sale find). They have some great froggy pun sentiments to go with them:

I used this awesome sketch from My Favorite Things latest sketch challenge.

I cut one-inch squares and stamped a variety of frogs, rearranging their placement with each square. Then I colored them with Spectrum Noir markers and arranged them alternately with some striped green paper. I embossed the saying with white powder and fussy cut another little frog, popping his eyes with some glossy accents.

Lastly, for the inside I used another pun. I think my grandpa will appreciate the humor, considering I've dubbed him the "King of Corn". His jokes are just terrible! For instance, this is one of his favorite:
Who is the most famous knight in Pancake Land? 

The answer to the joke is: Sir Up (Syrup... Get it?)
Like I said... King of Corn. But I love him!

I am also going to enter this into the following challenges:

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Damaged Goods ~ a personal card

Four years ago, I walked into the door of my home after visiting my parents for the weekend. I was greeted by bits of tattered cardstock and crinkled designer paper. My Cricut cutting system lay up against a wall where it had been thrown, it's handle askew. Crafting embellishments were strewn about, scattered in piles with markers and other crafting supplies.

A note had been left for me, laying on the dining room table where my crafting supplies once were: "You shouldn't have left it out. Now maybe you'll clean it up like you should have in the first place."

There have been many, many cardmaking challenges this month relating to breast cancer awareness month (which is a great cause!) but I haven't seen one yet about another issue that has its official month in October: Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

I lived for seven years in a relationship that was filled with abuse - scenarios just like the one above. I didn't realize that abuse wasn't just physical bruises... It was a willful beating down, tearing down of my mind too. I felt ashamed, tarnished, damaged. 

After that day four years ago, my crafting stuff stayed tucked away in a corner and gathered lots of dust. I was afraid to use it again because I knew I had the propensity to leave things "messy".

I haven't really talked about it publicly. And I'm still not sure that I want to... but I did want to do something to honor other domestic violence survivors and to bring attention to an issue that one in four women will deal with in their lives.

I've finally gotten back to doing something that I love - CRAFTING!! So this is my message to those of you still suffering. Maybe you are afraid or ashamed but I want you to know:

You may have started off bright and filled with fresh hope


No matter how many tears you've cried


If you feel damaged and bruised


Though you've tried to cover and hide

You still feel cracked and broken

Though your heart is crushed and faded


There is still time, there is still life to live, it's never too late to:


If you are experiencing domestic violence, reach out for help! 
Call the 24/7 confidential National Domestic Violence Helpline at 1-800-799-7233

Abuse is not just physical. It can be emotional, too! 

I am so thankful for my family and friends who supported me during a difficult time in my life. If you know someone who is in an abusive relationship, reach out with support. They may not be ready to talk, or listen, or take help, but maybe one day they will. 

For my fellow crafters - would you consider making a card and spreading the word? It would mean so much to so many. Purple is the official color for domestic violence awareness. 

Challenges for this card:
A Blog Named Hero - Recycle it (My heart is made with an old paper bag)
Eclectic Ellapu - Purple Team - Texture

Monday, October 20, 2014

Washi Tape and Thank You Notes

One thing my collection always seems to be lacking are thank you cards. Whenever I'm feeling down, I make a thank you note and think about who I can mail it to. This accomplishes two things: 1) I get to have crafting therapy and 2) I get to reflect on all the good things that have happened so I can figure out who to send my card to. By the end of my taping and cutting frenzy, my smile has been restored. 

After being gone from the office for a conference for 3 days last week, today was particularly draining to play catch-up. Consequently TWO thank you notes will be mailed off tomorrow! Hooray!

The first will be going to the conference coordinator, who helped make my travel plans and took care of logistics - that job must be very stressful with all the little details to manage! Most likely much more stressful than mine.

These are the sketch challenges that gave me some much needed inspiration. The first is Mojo Monday and the second is Retro Sketches

I wanted to play along with the Mixed Media Card Challenge's theme  "Vintage". To me, there is a certain shade of pink that just screams vintage. Add a little pearl embellishment and you get the feeling of "Breakfast At Tiffany's" on a card. To create the polka dots near the sentiment, I sponged Distress Inks (Tattered Rose and Milled Lavender) through a stencil and then shaded the edges with Old Paper. I embossed the sentiment and flower in Pirate Gold.

This card is also going over to the following challenges:
Simon Says Stamp's Monday Challenge - "Anything Goes" 

The second card will be going to one of the foundations that helped to fund my presentation at the conference. For this card, I wanted to play along with Craft Hoarders Anonymous Challenge "Layer It". 

One thing I have been hoarding is washi tape - mostly because I just don't know how to use it very well. I was at an estate sale a couple months and scored an entire bag of it for $10 (which is a steal!) I haven't played around with it yet, and the Retro Sketches sketch inspired me to try to create a background with it. 

I began by splattering my card with shades of pink Distress Inks and then used a bunch of light and dark pink washi tape over that. I left the edges ragged because I liked the look of that best. For my next layer, I cut a couple of dies using my Cricut and then stamped over the center with a background stamp. I put the Thanks die over a piece of vellum, because otherwise it just faded into the background. Lastly, I added some enamel dots. 

I've only used a fraction of the washi tapes in my bag. Since they were purchased at an estate sale, I'm going to enter this into A Blog Named Hero's challenge - Recycle It.  Here are some of the pinks! I just can't wait to use more. 

And my smile is exactly where it should be.

If you'd like to give me another smile, leave a comment below! They make my day and then I can visit your blog, too!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

A Frozen Hello!

I'm finally back from West Virginia and, after a 12-hour snooze and plenty of coffee, I couldn't wait to get back to my crafting room! I've missed having ink on my fingers! 

I had so many blogs to read through and challenges to catch up on, but the sketch this week at Freshly Made Sketches caught my eye.

I recently won the Lawn Fawn stamp set "Critters in the Arctic" and it was waiting for me upon my arrival. One of my favorite things is a stamp set with puns and this one sure delivers. Plus the little creatures are just so adorable! 

"Make your Mark" just happens to be the weekly competition at Addicted to Stamps and More. I colored the walrus up with some Spectrum Noir Markers and fussy cut a winter hat to give him an extra flair. He just makes me smile! The strip of teal is actually washi tape with just a little bit of bling added to it. 

Behind that, I added some vellum. The background was created by layering the same dark teal vellum behind a piece of white polka-dotted vellum. It creates a simple snow-like effect. Since vellum is the theme over at Addicted to CAS and it's everywhere in this card, I think it will make the perfect entry to their competition. 

For those of you who have been following my blog, my presentation went well! I didn't faint and I met with a lot of lovely people, but I'm happy to be back home and back to blogging. 

Thank you for leaving your comments so I can come visit you, too!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Traveling Fool - O is for Old-Fashioned

So there I was. Staring at a key which apparently had no home in the car. I searched for a keyhole. I rattled the steering wheel. I checked by the cd player. Nothing. Finally, I had to get out of the rental car to ask the attendant if I was crazy. Apparently, the car was from the future because it didn't require a key to start, just the press of a button. Say what???

I am currently bored in a hotel room in West Virginia, which is beautiful, by the way! The lush, rolling hills and fall colors drastically differ from the flat, windblown landscape of North Dakota. I called my boss and told her I might not come back! I'm presenting tomorrow at a rural health conference (gulp*) here. Unless I die of nerves tonight...

I remembered that I had some pictures on my phone of some cards I could share with you, so I thought I'd do that to prevent myself from dwelling on my impending doom.

The challenge at Simon Says Stamp is "O is for...." and my O is for Old-Fashioned, because it uses an old-fashioned car on an old-world map. I'm sorry about the not-so-great photo, but  I was in a hurry to pack and only had brief time to whip something up. 

I made my own background, so I could participate in the Craft-room Challenge's "Make your Own Background" theme. I had lots of fun creating this, and wish I had thought to get a close up photo because the background so pearly and beautiful. The creative crafters at the Craft-room Challenge have some GREAT inspiration cards so go check it out!

For the left half of the card, I dipped my background into blues and then inked the old-world map stamp (from Northwoods Rubber Stamp Co, I believe) with some Perfect medium. Then I brushed over it with blue Perfect Pearls. I then stamped the image a second time using Distress Inks Vintage Photo. 

The right half of the card was made using Tim Holtz's "The Journey" stamp set. I stamped a ticket in the background with old paper and then embossed the car with a brown powder. This card opens in the center, for a really cool layout. (again, forgive the rushed photo)

In order to keep it closed, I glued on two tickets and used an Xacto knife to create a closing slit. 

One other thing I'd like to ask of you lovely folks is this: My Aunt Jerrie started her own blog because she wanted to participate in Jingle Belle's Pink Christmas charity challenge. Here's her card

Now the thing about my Aunt Jerrie is, she's LEGALLY BLIND! Yes, you read that right. I've mentioned before about how my family has played such a role in my love of crafting and Aunt Jerrie is no exception to that rule. She has the best sense of humor and the most beautiful cardmaking aesthetic. Her eyesight has gotten progressively worse, but she keeps on crafting. She uses magnifying glasses and other tools to be able to see. As she says, "Hey, I might color outside the lines and my paper might not match exactly, but I don't let that stop me".

It would mean so much if you could go cheer her on with a comment! Here's her blog:

Last, but not least, I'm debuting a new 'do. I ditched the blond and decided to go back to my natural roots. Unfortunately, my hair dresser went way darker than my natural color. I was shocked to see almost black! After recovering, I realized I don't hate it. What do you think?

I adore reading through your comments and hope to return the favor on your blogs, so drop me a line to let me know you've been here!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Burning Paper Bags! FIRE!

So there I was. Burning bits of paper bags in my basement. No, I'm not crazy, I just had an idea and had to try it. Do you ever have something in your crafting room that has been sitting there for years without being used? For me, it was a stack of brown paper bags that I promised myself over and over again I would do something with. 

Today was the day. 

The challenge over at the Mixed Media Card Challenge blog is "vintage". Those paper bags seemed like the perfect medium to create a vintage feel. I didn't start with fire, actually, I started by scraping some crackling embossing paste over a paper bag and letting it air dry. Once dry, I sponged it with some Weathered Wood Distress Inks to create a background sheet. 

Honestly, I think this would make a great effect for a Halloween card... Maybe next week? It's perfect for this card, though, because it gives it that vintagey peeling paint effect.

I decided to play along in the Fusion Hardwood Floral Challenge, because they had a great inspirational image this week and in Create Something Crafty's One Card, One Stamp Set challenge.
Luckily, I have STAMPlorations's Bloom Sketches stamp set, which matches the Fusion image perfectly!

I was really inspired by the daisies on Deepti's card. She created this GORGEOUS watercolor effect. Go check it out! To try to achieve similar results, I embossed some of the daisies in an opaque white powder on a piece of paper bag. 

 Then I painted them with Twinkling H20s. The finished daisies were really lovely because the paper bag peeked through and created a more delicate almost petal-like effect. I also created another panel by embossing some of the other flowers from the same stamp set and painting them with blue H20s. 

To create a more vintage feel, I brought on the fire! I burned one edge of the panel (and set off the fire alarm - woops!). I Xacto knifed some places for the daisy to stick into the blue flowers and then I put it all together with some twine and ribbon. 

I can say that this was definitely a process and I didn't know if it would all come together in the end but it finally did! And I used those stinkin' brown bags in three different, but equally gorgeous ways!

I'm also going to enter this into the STAMPlorations Anything Goes never-ending challenge. STAMPlorations has some great challenges where you can use any kind of stamps that you want, but this particular challenge is for the crafters who want to ink up STAMPlorations stamps. For every 50 entries they get, they will be giving away free prizes.

Your comments make me smile throughout my day, so don't be shy! Drop me a line so I can visit you, too!