Tuesday, December 22, 2015

A Card in the St. Nick of Time

Whether it's Jolly old Saint Nicholas, Santa, St. Nick, Papai Noel, Kris Kringle, Sankt Nikolaus, Weihnachtsmann, Gwiazdor (Star Man), Babbo Natale, Pere Noel, De Kerstman, Viero Pascuero (Old Man Christmas), Kanakaloka, Julenissen (Christmas gnome), Jultomten (Christmas brownie), Swiety Mikolaj, Ded Moroz (Grandfather Frost), Sinter Klaas, Papa Noel, or Father Christmas...

Santa Claus is coming to town!

Card Details:  Image and star punch by Stampin' Up, star embossing folder by Darice. 

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Cards for A, D, G, and L

My dilemma today is whether to write about the women for whom I made the cards or explain my inspiration for the design. Since I mentioned them both...

D and A are my younger daughter's church group leaders. They are twins and have committed to meeting with this bunch of girls every Sunday throughout their four years of high school. G and L have been with my older daughter for three years now. Talk about giving a mother's heart some peace of mind! I am beyond grateful both my girls have strong, faith-filled, adult women to speak wisdom into their lives when they may not want to listen to me.

Would you believe a one layer card with a floral background inspired my design? I tried covering a white card front with letters, but consistently stamping them straight on a larger area wasn't happening. I did not want to give up my idea of using last name initials as a background for a bolder, first name capital letter, so I limited the space and added layers. And, I do love a textured background. Ta da!  

Remember my blog post about fonts from January? 
Well, I am happy to end the year jamming with fonts, too.

Card Details: Alphabet stamps by Stampin' Up; Inkadinkado; and Hero Arts.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Hope for Mail Cards

Crafting, writing, and mailing Christmas cards is my standard operating procedure for the month of December, but these cards will be sent to children I do not know, because my daughter asked me if I wanted to participate with her church group in writing letters to Hope For Mail. My daughter is asking me to make cards and support one of her friends!?! Gotta say yes to that! Hope For Mail, founded by 15 year old Kate Rojales, is a non-profit organization whose mission statement is "Sending words of encouragement to families battling life threatening childhood illness in the name of Jesus." Please read in her own words (by clicking herewhat sparked her desire to share the love of Jesus all year

If you have an extra card and a couple of minutes you can share your love this season, too.
(The handmade part is optional.)

Card Details: Tree die by Sizzix; Paper by Recollections; embossing plates by Stampin' Up. 

Monday, November 23, 2015

Giving Thanks Card

On Sunday our pastor challenged us to thank someone for making a difference in our lives, so I will. Three months after we moved to Georgia I joined a Bible study and made my first friends in my new neighborhood. Each week we met at the same house, and Janet's knack for hospitality genuinely transformed my "new mom on the block" emotions to "this is where I belong" confidence. Thirteen years later we are still meeting weekly. We rotate houses now, and the group morphs depending on children and jobs, though three of us haven't missed a year. I am so very thankful for the women who have invited me into their homes and lives all these years. I hope your Thanksgiving holiday will either remind you of or allow you time with the people who define where you belong. 

Happy Thanksgiving from my house to yours. 

Card Details: House, leaf stamps, and paper by Stampin' Up; Leaf punch by Fiskars

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

A Card for Paris

After I watch more than enough of the constant news coverage, read too many posts on social media, and mull over the daily headlines, I still want to wrestle with the unanswerable questions of "Why?" and "What's next?" God is not insulted by my questions, nor do my questions imply a lack of faith, rather my questions become part of my prayers, and my prayers are focused when my hands are busy. I'm not sure if I will mail this card to anyone, but while making it I prayed for our world. 

If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Romans 12:18

Card Details: Image by Hero Arts; Sentiment by Stampabilities

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

A Card for Kind Strangers

About a year ago my car died while I was waiting to pick up my daughter from practice. It was a Tuesday night and it was cold. I assumed it was a dead battery, because I had been listening to the radio without the engine running. I had a set of jumper cables which attach to the battery of the dead car then hook up to the power outlet in the running vehicle (aka jumper cables for dummies). I asked two men parked near me if they would start their car and plug in the cable. They wanted to know as much as I did if these "user friendly" cables actually worked. When they didn't start my car, we assumed they were faulty, and one man, who lives close by, called his wife to bring his jumper cables.

After she delivered the seemingly more powerful cables it didn't take us long to figure out I did not have a dead battery, but I needed a tow truck instead. This realization made her simple benevolence have a much larger impact on me. I thought about this woman for months, and I am just certain the scenario went something like this: She is home alone on the one night of the week her husband is out with his friends. She is either going to watch her favorite show or read a good book. She snuggles up on the sofa, and then, her husband calls. He asks her to help a stranded woman and her daughter, so she hops in the car with jumper cables. Yes, she lives only a couple of miles from the park, but the way I see it, coming out on a cold night when she thought she had the house to herself for a few hours — that is a superb act of kindness.  

I emphasized this card was for the wife, because she was the one who went out of her way to help a stranger. 

Several months passed before I delivered this thank you note with gift card to a local coffee shop. (I have lots of lame excuses for why I didn't do it sooner.) I showed up at the parking lot on a Tuesday night hoping I would recognize the two guys right away. I did not, so I started asking every man with a kayak on the roof of his car, "Did you help me with my car last fall?" Turns out a bunch of guys all row together on Tuesday nights and each one knew the guy who lives just up the hill, but he was not there. As I explained the story they each said they expected no less from one in their bunch. I emphasized, however, this card was for the wife, because she was the one who truly went out of her way to help a stranger. One man promised it would be delivered.  

Card Details:  Cherry Blossoms stamp by Penny Black; Grate Effect embossing die by Spellbinders

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The Great Pumpkin Card

"Each year, the Great Pumpkin rises out of the pumpkin patch that he thinks is the most sincere. He's gotta pick this one. He's got to. I don't see how a pumpkin patch can be more sincere than this one. You can look around and there's not a sign of hypocrisy. Nothing but sincerity as far as the eye can see." – Charles M. Schulz, It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown

Linus' hope is endearing, and the thought of a sincere pumpkin patch is heartening. A place with no sign of hypocrisy and nothing but sincerity, now that's a warm and wonderful place to be. In fact, I was there this past weekend. Two sorority sisters and I spent the weekend together for the first time in over 30 years. Our days were filled with fabulous food, long conversations and the walks to go with them, an old scrapbook and the mental quest for names, and hugs that speak of abiding friendship without words.

The Great Pumpkin will surely rise from 5 Hedgerow Lane this year. 

Stamp Credit: Pumpkins and leaves by Stampin' Up. 

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

The (It's not a card) Tour of Pumpkins

Pumpkins and October go together like snowflakes and January, but how about pumpkins and July? For the last 15 years I have faithfully watched the Tour de France during the first three weeks of July. I like riding my bike, but I am not an avid cyclist, therefore it is difficult to explain in a few words the appeal of this event, nonetheless, after all these years I am familiar with the teams and the strategies, and I thoroughly enjoy the race. France's beautiful country side is a bonus, as is listening to the accents and wit of Paul Sherwen and Phil Liggett, who provide the live commentary. (They are the best sports commentators around if you ask me.)  

My pumpkin project began as a way to justify watching hours of TV every day for three weeks. Thank goodness for the DVR. I recorded the five hours of live racing in the morning, then folded and glued and watched in more manageable chunks of time later. 
Each pumpkin needs 10-12 punches.
Fold the punches and glue the sides together. 

Add brown or green ribbon for a stem.
Ya, gotta love the Dollar Tree for glass vases. 

I ended up making around 100 pumpkins or enough to fill fourteen vases. The best part was giving them all away last week. I would say July and Pumpkins went together very well this year. 


Tuesday, October 13, 2015

An Insomniac's Card

Making cards, or in this case a note pad, is my go to reaction to show someone I care. Every once in a while that includes the hunt for "the perfect stamp". With one look at this image you may wonder why I haven't worked up a halloween theme, so let me explain why this drum playing skeleton couldn't be any better.

I have a friend who had major surgery which involved removing a rib to repair a vein. Before the surgery she and her husband hosted a BBQ and served spareribs! She used a life size plastic skeleton (aka halloween decoration) as her profile picture on her Caring Bridge site. In a shop near the hospital she found (and bought) a pale pink plate, of all things, identifying all the thoracic bones. A month before she would have walked on by, but she also has a fabulous sense of humor and knows how important it is to find things to make you laugh to keep the fears at bay. She copes with insomnia, too, and that just stinks. When I found this stamp, I stopped looking and knew, "This is going to make her laugh!" 

Praying for a friend and making her laugh are almost the same thing. 
They are good for the soul – for both of us.  

Stamp Credits: Rubber Hedgehog Rubber Stamps (skeleton); River City Rubber Works (sentiment)


Thursday, October 8, 2015

Sit on a Pumpkin Card

Goldilocks pumpkins. That's what I call these. They are not too big and not too small. They are just right for coloring. I am participating in my second 30 Day Coloring Challenge with The Daily Marker, and it is a daily challenge for me to decide what to do each day. Coloring (well) is still kinda new to me, and I'm learning a lot from the other crafters and artists sharing their work on Instagram at #thedailymarker30day3. I will practice with a variety of techniques using these pumpkins, and I will share some of them here, too. These are done with colored pencils, and I'm tickled with how they turned out.  

Know what I like even better than the pumpkins? The quote! Look what else I discovered on Instagram – #thoreaubackthursday. That's today. Check it out. 

Stamp Credit: Pumpkins by Stampin' Up. 

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

It Could Have Been a Birthday Card

Today is my mother-n-law's birthday; yesterday it was my first daughter's birthday; three days before that it was my sister-in-law's birthday; day before that, my second daughter and another sis-in-law; two weeks before that, my sister; and in between those it would have been my Grandmother's birthday. And, oh my goodness, I have a lot of Facebook girlfriends with birthdays this month. Lots of dear, wonderful women have birthdays in September. 

I love this image for so many reasons. First and foremost, I have two daughters who (thank the Good Lord) happen to adore one another. They are the reason I bought this stamp. But the reasons go beyond that. Not only did I grow up at the beach, but I lived there a really long time, too, and spent many hours on the sand and in the waves with my sister and with girlfriends. My two September birthday sisters-in-law, and my mother-in-law are talented artists, and my attempts at hand coloring or using watercolor paints always bring them to mind with hopes that their talent will rub off on me just because I married into the family.  

I really can get lost in this card, just imagining the salt air and the sound of the waves. Mostly, though, I think of the women who are in my family or who are my friends, even if their birthday isn't in September. I hope you will, too!

Stamp Credit:  Image by Stampin' Up

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Yuzen Dyeing Card

"Yuzen dyeing is one of the traditional extreme art forms in Japan from the 17th century. Yuzen dyeing is named after Miyazaki Yuzensai who was famous for his beautiful fan creations in Kyoto. By the end of the 19th century, a vast range of colorful chemical dyes came into use, and a method of stencil dyeing was developed." This blurb is from the brochure for Kyo-yuzen Workshop Marumasu Nishimuraya in Kyoto. The set up of the studio is very similar to the paint your own pottery places in the U.S. 

During our trip to Japan this summer we spent one very hot afternoon in Kyoto in this delightfully cool (both literally and figuratively) studio trying our hand at this Japanese art form. The afternoon was a testimony to the power of art to bridge cultural and language barriers as the master craftsman, Yoshio Nishimura, and his assistants oversaw our projects. 

Okay, yes, there were cheat sheets in English, but the art on the walls and the demonstration by the artist who worked with us motivated each of us to create a unique and personal souvenir. Actually it might have been the Japanese onomatopoeia our assistant used for a circular brush motion that started our creative juices flowing. 

 Homage to our time in Kyoto. I embossed the fan with a brass stencil and colored it with ink using a small dauber in a circular motion (burraburraburraburra).

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

A Card of Strength

Asking for help as an adult ought to come naturally, because we must depend on people for so long when we are young. But somewhere in the growing up process we decide that being independent trumps receiving any sort of assistance. The paradox in that thinking is how eager we are to come to the aide of someone else. We find joy in lightening a load, preparing a meal, or driving a friend. We are happy when we help other people; so why is it so hard to ask for help in return? I don't have a good answer to that question, but we should ponder it and consider sharing the love and the load.  

Don't think of it as asking for help, but rather you are giving someone the opportunity to spread their joy. And you might give her a idea for a blog post, too. 

Stamp Credits: 
Background stamps by Impression Obsession; Silhouette Women by Hero Arts; Sentiment by Stampabilities

Sunday, August 30, 2015

An Inspired Card

Sometimes you need a break, and then, sometimes, that leads to needing inspiration. I can thank my daughters for both in this case. Summer is such a wonderful time to let go of requirements and deadlines. Those come upon us soon enough when school starts, which it did four weeks ago. It's been during these four weeks, that my one dear daughter has been wondering when I'm going to blog again. She's threatened to unfollow me if I don't do it soon. I just love her for that.  

Summer heat and humidity also make me put off yard work. The yard has needed weeding, and I was waiting for rain to soften the ground so I could pull up a dead bush. Thankfully this happened last week, before my in-laws visited. (Yay!) My other dear daughter doesn't read the blog at all, but she did go to Home Depot with me and picked out flowers. I just love her for that.

So, with the yard work complete, and memories of family time tucked in my heart, I have plenty of inspiration for the season ahead. Thank you, girls. I love you for that. 

Friday, July 3, 2015

Birthday Card and Dinner

When someone asks me about our trip to Japan the first thing that comes to mind is the food.  Everything was delicious and fresh. We looked forward to our meals as much as any other part of our sight seeing day. That is very indicative of our family's nature. We like to cook; we like to eat; and we like to discover local fare wherever we travel. Several of our meals were served "family style" or were simply designed to be shared. We loved eating this way, because it's an added bonus to being with Uncle Mike and Aunt Robin who don't live near us.  

Okana-minyaki dinner. A specialty in Hiroshima. We called it "the fried pancake" dinner. It was so much better than that sounds, because the only thing that makes it a pancake is the shape. Think stir fry cooked in one piece on a hibachi grill. We shared three: veggie, seafood, and pork. Though it is prepared in the kitchen, it is served off a hot grill table. This small restaurant on a side street was recommended in the Lonely Planet travel guide. We might have passed it by otherwise. (Yes, we left our name and date on the wall, too.)

Our Shabu Shabu dinner in Tokyo. It is similar to fondue.  Two broths are served over a flame. Plates of thinly sliced beef and pork are brought to the table, and we helped ourselves to the salad bar to bring our choice of vegetables to cook at the table, too. What makes this different from a fondue restaurant in the U.S.? You select the amount of time you plan to eat, either 90 minutes or two hours, and they keep bringing the food. (Great shot of the girls with Uncle Mike, Aunt Robin, and the food.)

Happy Birthday, Uncle Mike.  We wish we could take you out for Shabu Shabu. 

Thursday, June 25, 2015

"Domo Arigato" Card

"He looks just like Grandpa!", said the girls practically in unison. As we ate lunch with Uncle Hal and his daughter Naomi, the girls picked up on his mannerisms that reminded them of their Grandfather. Still, at the age of 91, there is no denying that Uncle Hal and my father-in-law Bob (fifteen years his junior) are brothers. Their smiles capture your heart quickly, and you can't help but marvel at their good health. 

Uncle Hal and his seven siblings were born in America. He served in the U.S. military during WWII in spite of his family being forced to live in an internment camp in Arkansas. Upon release from the camp, Uncle Hal was stationed first in Europe. When I researched American soldiers of Japanese ancestry, I discovered his regiment is recognized as the most decorated unit for its size and length of service in the history of American warfare. (That statement deserves to be pondered.) He was later sent to Japan as part of the occupying forces, and the fact he spoke Japanese was an asset. It was in serving the local people devastated by the effects of the atomic bombs that he met his wife. He served our country in two more wars, and then settled with Aunt Fumi near Tokyo. His daughter Naomi is an English teacher, who is proud of exacting proper pronunciation from her students, especially those tricky "r"s. To say I am happy our girls met their Uncle Hal and Cousin Naomi in Japan is an understatement, but this blog post will end up way too sentimental if I attempt to include words like: heritage, significant, proud, and once in a life time.

The card says "Domo Arigato" (Thank You) and so does my heart. 

Friday, June 12, 2015

Souvenirs That Will Be Cards

It's Friday, and I am almost on a regular schedule. On Monday our family returned from a vacation in Japan. Everything about the trip was fascinating and unique. The girls and I met family for the first time (Uncle Hal and Cousin Naomi); tasted new foods (ate every bit actually, because there wasn't a food we didn't like); traveled by Shinkansen (the bullet train); visited temples and shrines; hiked up and down mountains; petted bunnies and deer; marveled at the even flow of commuters traveling on foot, by bike, in a car, on a bus, metro, or train. It did take us three days, however, to remember to walk on the left side of the sidewalk!

I enjoyed everything about Japan - in the city and the country. The mountains reached out of the ground with curves and crevices not seen in the U.S. Seeing women and men in kimonos and yukatas never got old, neither did eating with chopsticks. This summer I will share a few stories here along with cards inspired by the trip. 

Yes, the Land of the Rising Sun is also the original home of Washi paper and tape, and that's a stamp of "happiness" on top. Literally! 

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Farewell and Fare Well Card

Nothing like a good romp through the Thesaurus to get you thinking. Do I want to say "Farewell!" or "Fare well!"? Synonyms for the latter are prosper, succeed, prevail, and flourish. I looked up "farewell" (noun and verb) and read these words: leave taking; parting; adieu; send off; go one's way; get under way; and sally forth. That last one is fun, but we are saying good bye to Sara Beth not Sally. 

Saying good bye to a friend who is moving is never fun, but sending her off is usually a blast! We shopped for just the right gift with a Georgia flair, so Sara Beth will remember us in her new state. We gathered to eat and talk and laugh, so she is full both body and soul. We sat her down and prayed over her, so she knows she is covered in God's love and ours.

And, we signed a card, so she has our words to take with her. 
Farewell and fare well, Sara Beth!

Card Details:  I embossed the image (The Artful Stamper) on watercolor paper with watermark ink and clear embossing powder; painted with water color paints; embossed the tree again with green ink and clear powder; colored the tree top with water color pencils and used a blender pen; cut out the tree top and adhered to the first tree with mounting tape; added blue pearls to flower centers; printed verse and used the labels die cuts from Stampin' Up. 

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Cards for Kiev II

My husband left for Ukraine this afternoon with Global Leadership http://globalleadership.us. Earlier this week he asked me to make him a card he could give to Alex with a note of encouragement, and I also made a set of cards for Alex to use personally.  Here's why – taken from the latest GL newsletter. 

 "Alex is a newly appointed Federal Director representing President Poroshenko in a particular district. He has 135 government people he oversees, among whom are 26 mayors. His task is putting together systems to dislodge corruption and make being corrupt more difficult. He says he wants to teach them "servant leadership". His task is to behave so differently they will begin to catch what it means to lead honestly. Historically they expect the status quo, but Alex is breaking with tradition the moment he's sworn in.  His second day on the job Alex had all 135 come to work wearing their "dirty clothes". He joined them and they walked the streets all day picking up trash and cleaning up the debris. Later in a meeting he told them they will continue to clean up the debris of corruption and get rid of it. A very creative way to make a point. Alex said the best way to teach servant leadership is to be a servant leader."  

I am very excited for the Global Leadership team this week as they have the opportunity to  interact with Alex and his 135 civil servants. I pray someday they all come to embrace that title. The message on the card is Psalm 106:3. 
"Blessed are they who maintain justice, who constantly do what is right."

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Ninja Card

Okay, so it's not a card with a black hooded ninja wielding a sword to slice a birthday cake, but after a week of spring break with my husband's family (and my sister) it seems appropriate to present a card with the Hattori family crest. I had the stamp made by Paper Angel Rubber Stamps  http://www.paperangel.com/store/home.html; I ordered one of their gift kits and sent a black line print of the crest for them to make my stamp. I use it often as a hallmark on the back of my cards. Now here's what I've learned from my brother & sister-in-law. 

The Hattori name goes back to early Japanese history and culture. Hattori Hanzo became a famous samurai and ninja elevating the Hattori name to great prestige after reportedly saving the life of the Tokugawa Ieyasu then helping him become the ruler of Japan. More recently, the name was associated with the commercial success of the Hattori Seiko company; also the running shoe and apparel company Saucony named a minimalist shoe Hattori. The most name recognition here in the U.S. is from the Kill Bill movies and Hattori Hanzo the sword maker. I have not seen the movies, but people tell me he was a memorable character, and there's actually a real Hattori knife maker who makes very expensive and collected knives today. 

Hattori is also a very common Japanese name which could be from two words meaning "cut" and "cloth". My father-in-law likes to joke that the crest was just the sign hanging over the laundromat or tailor's shop. Common or honorable the simplicity of the crest can infiltrate any card - like a ninja. 

Card Details: Completed size 5"x 5" square; heat embossed crest with gold detail powder; frame die by Cheery Lynn Designs; origami paper in background. 

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Cards Blossom

Today is the twenty-eighth day of The 30 Day Color Challenge by The Daily Marker thedailymarker.com and I have participated every day on Instagram. I've used watercolor paints, colored pencils, watercolor pencils, chalks, pastels and markers. I am better at some techniques than I am at others; somedays I completed detailed cards, and other days I colored something quite small but felt the same sense of accomplishment.  

I want to thank Kathy Racoosin of The Daily Marker, the creative force behind this challenge, because not only did she daily offer me an art piece to learn from, she made the time to recognize everyone's posts. Even though my girls teased me by saying, "Mom, she did that for everyone.", I know Kathy's remarks made my day a little cheerier. (She even wrote two different comments for the same little hedgehog, when I accidentally posted it twice. That's nice!) During this challenge I have discovered quite the assortment of crafters and bloggers to follow. I have been encouraged by their compliments and inspired by their talent. It's been a lot of fun! 

With only three days left I am trying to go out with a bang, or at least a bloom. 

Card Details: A2 size card;  Flower stamp and sentiment are by Stamping' Up.  I first colored the flower with markers and then added colored pencils for details and depth. Leaves and yellow border punches are from Martha Stewart.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Cards for Kiev

Stamping 101 could have been the title for today's blog, because I spent the morning with my friend Carolynn James preparing small samples for beginner stampers. Carolynn and her husband Jesse run an organization called Global Leadership. http://globalleadership.us  They work with American business men and women who volunteer their time to conduct business/leadership seminars in Ukraine. Their goal is to provide quality instruction and practical guidance in business development and community leadership. Carolynn and Jesse have been going to Ukraine since 1997. My husband and I went with them in 2011 and 2012, and my husband went twice last year.  There is a great joy in maintaining international friendships and an undeniable hope in the people we have met in Kiev and Odessa.  

Global Leadership will be returning to Ukraine in April, and though I cannot go on this trip, my heart will go with them - in a box of crafting supplies. Carolynn and I are putting together a box of simple card making essentials to be shared in informal settings with the women after the seminars or hopefully at the coffee house opened recently by friends of theirs. As we all know, there is something wonderful about giving your hands something creative to do, that makes it easier to share the words in your heart.  

I LOVE how much fun I had making the most basic of samples using one stamp, and I noticed, to my delight, the bottom card is in the colors of the Ukrainian flag. I hadn't planned that - though I should have. I will update you later on the card making in Ukraine. 

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

A Pot of Gold (and green) Card

Happy St. Patrick's Day. I saw someone use four hearts together to create a shamrock, and I thought I would give it a try. Keeping with the 30 Day Color Challenge from The Daily Marker (thedailymarker.com) I decided to color my hearts instead of using various green paper. I expected to whip out this card in no time, because I knew exactly what I was going to do.  

I embossed, colored, and cut out the hearts. I discovered then these long hearts don't really make good shamrocks, because they don't meet in the middle the right way. Hmmm... what to do? Fill the pot! I decided I did need a background, and embellishments are always a nice touch. One and a half CDs later I have my completed card.   

They may not be shamrocks, but they sure do look cute – kind of like heart cacti.  

Card Details:  Finished folded card 5"x 5"craft cardstock; heat embossed all hearts (Stampin' Up) with gold detail powder and colored with water base markers (SU); stamped pot (Stamp It!) with brown ink; wood grain embossing folder (Lifestyle Crafts); pearl embellishments. 

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

A Color Challenge Card

I have been participating in the 30 Day Color Challenge set out by The Daily Marker. http://www.thedailymarker.com  It's only day seven, but I have had a lot of fun and have felt very challenged. You see, I took up stamping as a hobby because someone else did the art work. I viewed my card making as a mini layout; I focused on matching inks and papers and the placement of the elements. Any coloring was simple, like spring flowers and... well, just spring flowers.  

Over the years I have broadened my scope and have tried to copy techniques I see in magazines or on-line, but coloring is still out of my comfort zone. When I think of coloring I think: shading, hues, pallets, painting, ART!  I've had no training in art. This challenge has helped me loosen up, and lately I've been thinking coloring is FUN! 

The quote reads, "There is a calmness to a life lived in gratitude, a quiet joy."
I am thankful for the challenge. There is a quiet joy in coloring, too.  

Card Details: Finished card 5" x 6 1/2" folded red cardstock; feathers and adobe (Stamp A Mania) are heat embossed with cinnamon spice embossing powder (Stampendous!) on watercolor paper and colored with a brush using ink from water base markers.  Sentiment (Stampin' Up) stamped in brown ink. 

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Three Solid Cards

Hmmm... where to begin? I had it in my mind that I was going to create three cards with this big stamp and describe how each one is suited to the person receiving it. But then I started to work on the third card. It seemed to have a mind of its own, and my idea was no longer apropos. Seriously, if you were the recipient and read that your card took longer than the other two combined, because it just wasn't coming together, how would that make you feel? Of course, I would not tell you, but because it happened that way, this blog is now simply about the cards. Or maybe it's about my stubborn fixation on a design.

I knew what I wanted to do with all three cards. A big solid stamp is fun to color with markers. Three shades of blue scribbled on the rubber gives the appearance of texture when stamped, and the imperfections in the image are deliberate. It's quick and fun.

A big solid stamp is also perfect for using gold leaf flakes with sticky embossing powder.  Again, texture is king, and I don't use the gold leaf often enough.  It's simple and elegant.  

Let me say unequivocally, I really like how my third card turned out. It had a couple of starts and a few re-mounts, but I was determined to use this big solid stamp as a background. The sentiment on the card is one of my favorites, and because it is large, as word stamps go, it needs a big background. All the elements keep one from taking over.  It's balanced.  

What's that saying?  Third time's the charm. 

Card Details: Finished card size is 4 1/4" x 5 1/2" for first two cards. Third card is 5" x 6 1/2". 
Big solid flower, heart swirl background, and small sentiments by Stampin' Up; Love & Romance by River City Rubber Works. 

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The Jazzercise Card

Why would I make a Jazzercise card? Because I can. That's what makes this hobby so much fun. If you have a reason to celebrate, you can design a card for it. The Roswell Jazzercise Center, where I exercise, is in the midst of their 35 Day Challenge – take 30 classes in 35 days. This challenge is perfect for February when the dreary weather can sap your mojo, and it's been even more fun with the instructors participating, too. I made this card to encourage everyone at the center who is aiming to meet the goal and win the cool t-shirt. (I know.. the things we will do for a free shirt.)

Sophia Loren's full quote is "Exercise makes you more graceful. When you exercise you walk as if you own the street –– with pride and fluidity." Some versions of the Proverb say "she laughs at the time to come". Put that all together and you're looking at serious mojo. 

Whether it is Jazzercise, yoga, boot camp, your favorite class at the gym, a long walk, swimming laps, or running miles, exercise is good for you. Heart and soul. 

Card Details: Folded yellow gold cardstock 5 1/2" x 8 1/2"; printed paper layered on grey cardstock; stamp dancer (Judikins) and "mad woman" (River City Rubber Works) on grey cardstock and printed paper; fussy cut dresses; print words from computer.  Paper credits: Stamping' Up and Recollections. 
Background stamp credits: girlfriends and "a fun time" sentiment (RCRW); "fresh" and dots (SU); "Friend" (Hero Arts); girl outline (The Creative Mode). 

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The Synesthesia Card

Synesthesia affects only two percent of the population. It is defined as an extra connection among parts of the brain related to individual senses. People with synesthesia associate colors with numbers, letters, sounds, or emotions. This goes beyond the cliches of being "green with envy" or "feeling blue", nor it is not an occasional connection. I asked my middle school daughter if she knew this word, and she said yes, because she read a short story in her Language Arts class titled "Pain is Orange".  I'm impressed. 

I do not fall into this remarkable two percent group, but I have a friend who does. Her connection is between colors and numbers. Her favorite color is blue and her birthday is on the 14th of February.  So guess what color she associates with her birthday?

Happy Birthday, Gail, from one of the other 98%. 

Card Details: Finished card 5 1/2" square; white cardstock covered with party hat paper; white square is stamped with stonewash ink (Adirondack) using Batik Pattern (Impression Obsession) background stamp; over stamp 14 Blueprint (Tim Holtz/Stampers Anonymous) with grey ink (Stampin' Up); die cut with Pierced Squares (Spellbinders); layer with grey cardstock and blue mulberry paper, cut out 14 from mulberry paper; stamp HBD (Hampton Arts) in grey ink on pink paper; later with grey, adhere with mounting tape. 

Monday, February 9, 2015

A Reel Card

Happy 50th Birthday to my dear sweet husband. I can't wait to see his expression when he opens this card.  It's always fun (because it's so rare) to have a stamp just for his cards. This reel looks like those among his fishing gear; plus I used green ink - his favorite color. It's a winner all around.  

Robert loves to fish with his Dad and brother, and since the reel is a better image than a lot of the "masculine" stamps I own, I will use it for them, as well as, for future OWH cards. Yes, the challenge is to use the same image with a variety of techniques. I will do just that, and post them here – next year on his birthday if not before. 

In fact, if he didn't love to fish, we might not have married. Robert said he moved to Virginia Beach (where we met) in order to fish more. Hmm... I think I have an idea for an anniversary card...

Card Details: Folded card 4 1/4" x 5 3/4" vanilla cardstock; reel (Deep Red Clingstamps); HB (Stamping' Up); olive green chalk ink (Colorbox); olive and gray cardstock (SU); printed origami paper (Sterling Innovation); Washi tape (Wamon).

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

My First OWH Cards

Operation Write Home is an organization that supports US armed forces by sending blank handmade greeting cards to deployed units for them to write home on. Here is the link to their website: http://operationwritehome.org

Since 2007 OWH has sent over three million cards. Does that number blow you mind like it does mine? Three million cards were made by hand. That's a whole lot of stamping and crafting! I found out about OWH in October and feel a little like I'm arriving late to a party, but since our armed forces are serving all over the world and will be for some time, I know it's not too late to get involved.  I grew up in a military family, and I am very excited about using my hobby to thank our heroes for serving our country. 

My first batch of cards is going in the mail to OWH by the end of the week. I have had a good time creating the designs; minding the details; and praying over the senders and recipients. 

Stamp Credits: 
W Card - Stampin' Up; Hampton Art Stamps
Car, Reel, Thank You - Deep Red Clingstamps; Stamping' Up
Ice Cream - Stampin' Up; Craft Smart
Banners - Recollections; Craft Smart

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Crisp Crane Card

Can you say that title three times fast? I found this card and its twin last week when I was going through a box of envelopes. My gut reaction was "Ooh, I like this one." That may sound silly, but I probably made this card five years ago, at least.  It was a wonderful little surprise and it made me smile all day.

Of course, if I had taken a photo of the card when I made it, I would know the year and month, but those dates aren't nearly as important as why I made the cards. That is what I do remember, and the verse explains what I wanted a handful of ladies to know. "Let us not give up meeting together... but let us encourage one another –" Hebrews 10:35

Last week I didn't just happen upon a couple of old cards, I encountered a sweet memory. 

Card Details: 5" square folded white cardstock; stamp cranes (Judikins) on peach marble cover paper in rust pigment ink and heat emboss with clear detail powder; print verse from the computer in matching ink color; layer on rust paper and adhere with mounting tape.