Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Freshly Made Sketches: Nautical Sympathy

It's time for a new sketch at Freshly Made Sketches! Today we have a sketch by Linda.

As soon as I saw this sketch, I also saw the card in my mind's eye.  A dear friend recently lost her father.  In a tribute to him, she posted a beautiful picture of him on a boat which she said had been his happy place.  I had all of this in my mind when I saw the sketch and I knew I could put together nautical images on a clean and fresh card to send her my sympathy.

FMS Nautical Sympathy

The nautical set is Strong Anchor from Verve stamps.  It didn't have a sympathy stamp so I used a sentiment from New Mercies.  However, it has a lovely stamp for the inside "This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. Hebrews 16:9".   He is the anchor!

To my friend: I am so sorry that you are likely seeing this on my post before you receive it.  I have no excuses for not getting this in the mail.  I've enjoyed our conversations and wish we were closer for a hug and a relaxing cup of tea on your dock.  I hope you can find time to rest and refresh amidst all of the decisions.  You are in my thoughts and prayers.


Stamps: Verve Strong Anchor, New Mercies
Dies: Verve Nautical Die Set, Taylored Expression Rectangle Stitched Stacklets
Paper: Simon Says Fog, Taylored Expressions Toffee, MME Wood Necessities
Ink: Taylored Expression Toffee, Simon Says Cobblestone and Sparrow, Versamark (with white embossing powder)
Sequins: Cartwright Clearly Beloved (from Simon Says Stamp)

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Curtain Call Inspiration Challenge: Cuddle

It's time for a new challenge at the Curtain Call Inspiration Challenge: Cuddle.

This is such a cute graphic but I went in a different direction.  I needed an anniversary card and a teddy bear just didn't work.  So my inspiration just came from the word "cuddle"! These two are definitely cuddling!

CC Cuddle

The Lattice Frame Cutting Plate comes with multiple oval dies for the inside.  I used the largest two to make a frame, then layered it up three times. This is my favorite kind of card.  Lots of details - but lots and lots of white space!

I hope you are inspired by the "cuddle" - I'd love to see what you create!


Stamps: Taylored Expressions (TE) Love is an Adventure
Dies: TE Love is an Adventure dies, TE Lattice Frame Cutting Plate
Sequins: TE Snow Flurries Sequins

CC Cuddle Copics

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Freshly Made Sketches: Happy Meow-loween

It's time for a new sketch at Freshly Made Sketches! Today we have a sketch by Rita.

I just sorted through my Halloween card stash to figure out what else I needed.  One of the big holes in my stash was a card for my youngest niece - only 9 years old.  She is just a fireball - I saw this image and I just thought it fit (not the grumpy part, but the quirky look of that cat in a tutu!)

FMS Meowloween

What I didn't think fit for her were the sarcastic sentiments in the Grumplings in Costume stamp set.  The sentiments are laugh-out-loud funny and sarcastic - but I didn't think she'd understand them, so I found a Happy Meow-loween sentiment that would work.

What's not in the picture is that I'm going to put the cat on a Mini Wobble Spring so it pops up when she takes it out of the card.  Her big sister is getting this card with a slider so I wanted some action on this card too.  I like the wobble springs but I find they just stand out too much to photograph well.

I hope to see you playing along with us at Freshly Made Sketches.


Sunday, October 8, 2017

Merry Monday Christmas Trees

I am really focusing these next two months on my stash of unused Christmas stamps.  This week the Merry Monday Christmas Challenge inspired me to focus on Christmas trees.  This card is a bit of a cheat in that the stamps are brand new - I skipped right over some of trees that have been sitting unused for years - but I love layered stamps!

Merry Monday Christmas Tree

This card also took a number of left turns!  This was supposed to be a nature card - in other words, no pink!  But without the pink, it looked too "cold" which is an odd thing to say given I've built it around snowflakes!!  I used a bit of pink and light blue to soften it.

I layered up a base of natural green, then I used an embossing powder that is clear with a bit of sparkle.  And then the third layer is a white powder with silver flecks.  I struggled with the lighting to capture all of this, but you can get a hint of these layers toward the top of the tree.

Thanks to Merry Monday for the inspiration!


Thursday, October 5, 2017

TE Release Day: Hope and Joy, Fun and Snow

It's release day at Taylored Expressions!!  Everything you have seen this week is now available. Have fun Christmas shopping!  Be sure to head to the Taylored Expressions blog to see more samples of the fabulous new stamps and dies (and to see if you've won a prize) - then visit the rest of the creative team for more inspiration!

I have two more cards for you.  The first is clean and simple, and embodies the true meaning of Christmas using the new Little Bits - Dove.

TE Little Bits Dove

That dove is so elegantly shaped - I wanted it to be the full focus.  I found this lovely sentiment in the previously released In & Out Christmas.

Have you ever noticed how each of us have certain colors that we gravitate towards and against?  I am always amused when a cardmaker writes that they hate a certain color and just can never make it work on their cards - but the color they are talking about is one of my favorites!  It's the same for me and I'm sure many of you would disagree with my preferences.  In greens, I can never find a way to use pastel greens or even bright Christmas greens.  I lean strongly toward more olive or natural greens.  But as I was putting this card together, my folder of Mint Julep cardstock kept jumping up and saying "pick me, pick me" and I'm so glad I did.  It was a wake up call for me to quit just flipping by certain cardstocks when I'm picking out colors for a card.  Whether or not it's one of my favorite colors - sometimes it's the right pick for a card!  (In fact, I ended up liking this card so much, I now have eight of them in my Christmas stash!)

TE Little Bits - Dove

Here's the supply list for this card and keep reading for one last peek.


The dove was the "hope and joy" and now we have the "fun and snow"!

I am a huge fan of the previously released Quick Critters Stamp & Die Combo.  There are simple little animal silhouette dies with little hearts in them - plus faces you can stamp on - and a number of sentiments.  They make me smile and they are SO easy to work with!  Imagine my excitement when this release included Quick Critters - Winter!!

TE Quick Critters Winter

I took the "quick critters" and made a fairly complex card (at least complex for me!)  They can easily stand on their own - just a quick critter and sentiment and you've got a cute card.  But I wanted to use them all.  I started with the previously released Mini Colorblock Cutting Plate and layered up three of them. There are scalloped squares that fit inside each of the windows - I left the negative of the scallop squares in the two windows with critters to give them a fun little frame. I added a glittery snowy hill in the large window and then used the snowflakes from the new Matchy Backgrounds - Holiday (sized to work with the Matchbox die but perfect for inside my window) to add a bit of snow. I dropped in a few snowflakes from Little Bits - Snowflake Confetti and a few gems that I colored pink using Copics.

TE Quick Critters Winter

Another great addition in this release is Merry Mail 1 and Merry Mail 2 that you can use to decorate your envelopes such that they are worthy of the work of art you've tucked inside!!  I used Merry Mail 2 and added a decorative address box to my envelope colored in the same colors as the card.  The colors give it the fun look - but you could just as easily go with traditional colors to match a different type of card.

TE Quick Critters and Merry Mail

That's it for now - and it's time to go shopping!!  But don't forget to pop by the TE blog for more inspiration and prizes.


TE Quick Critters Winter Copics

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

TE Sneak Peek Day 3: 12 Days of Christmas Calendar

It's the third day of sneak peeks for the October release from Taylored Expressions!!  I have a fun and very easy-to-make Advent calendar for you today.  Everything you see during sneak peek week will be available on Thursday, October 5th. Be sure to check out each of the creative team members' blogs for all of the sneak peeks - starting with the Taylored Expressions blog.  While you are there make sure you check out how you can win a prize!!

I have not been particularly good at creating 3D projects.  I can't draw a straight line, let alone cut and fold them so starting from scratch was a non-starter for me.  However, when products exist that do all of the work for you - simply cut and paste - I love doing it and I LOVE the results.  Here's my 12 Days of Christmas Advent Calendar.

TE Advent Calendar with Matchies

Each one of those is a Matchbox created from the previously release Matchbox die.  New this month is the Matchy series of dies.  I've used Matchy Santa, Matchy Rudolph and Matchy Elf.  They cut out pieces perfectly shaped to make the little characters on each matchbox.  (Also new is Matchy Penguin and Matchy Snowman.)  There are all absolutely charming!!

The matchbox builds with a nice, tight fit.  Even though these hang sideways, I'm not sure there's anything that small that's heavy enough to cause the inside of the matchbox to slide out. However, I chose to make it a treasure hunt and using my computer, created 1 5/8" x 2 3/8" squares to tuck in the inside.  I gave it a little color with little candies from the new Sweet Season Stamp & Die Combo.  (Our "dancing reindeer" is one of those truly annoying Christmas decorations that dance and sing when you walk by.  We've had him since the kids were little and they will not let me get rid of him even though they are now 17 and 21.)

TE Advent with Matchies

Here's a close-up of six of the calendar days.

TE Advent Calendar with Matchies

Each piece in the Matchy's comes in their die set.  I colored the top of the Matchbox with a Copic to give them some facial color.  I didn't put Matchy's on every day because I wanted those that were there to stand out.  The other days include snowflakes from the previously released Make a Snowflake and the numbers are from a new set in the the Clearly Planned series, Candy Cane Numbers and their coordinating dies.

TE Advent Calendar with Matchies

FYI - I wandered the aisles of Hobby Lobby and found a myriad of things to use as the top hanger.  The candy cane I used is a tree decoration that hangs vertically.  I just clipped off the hanger and turned it sideways. It's styrofoam so very easy to pin on the ribbon.  But they also had dozens of small plaques that you could glue ribbons on to.  I even looked through the plant picks and the bundles of sticks.  There are so many options to put this together.  Have fun!!

Tomorrow is the big day.  We all have a few more peeks - and the release is available starting at 7 a.m. PST tomorrow!  Be sure to pop over to the TE blog for more peeks and for a chance at prizes!


Freshly Made Sketches Week 2

If you hadn't heard, the link at Freshly Made Sketches behaved badly this past week so it was decided to continue the sketch for one more week!!  Here it is...

I had had two ideas when I made my first card last week, so this was a perfect opportunity to try my second idea.  In my mind's eye, I saw a branch, a sign and a cute little bird!

FMS Bird-day

That bird is so happy but he looked a little lonely so I ended up plopping on a couple of bees.  They even have a bit of sparkle on their wings!  This is a rare card that I made without someone in mind.  Sometimes I just have to pull out my cutest stamps and make a card simply for the joy of doing it!  This card made me smile!

A big thank you to Jennifer Timko who created the sketch.  I hope you all play along (or play along a second time!!)


Tuesday, October 3, 2017

TE Release Day 2: Peace and Snow

It's the second day of sneak peeks for the October release from Taylored Expressions! It's still Christmas on my blog! Today I have a quick, easy, snowy card and an elegant, detailed Nativity scene.  Everything you see in the next three days of sneak peeks will be available on Thursday, October 5th. Be sure to check out each of the creative team members' blogs for all of the sneak peeks - starting with the Taylored Expressions blog.

My first card is extremely detailed - but not overly difficult given that all of the die sets I have used work perfectly together!

TE Build a Scene - Nativity

The new die set on this card is Build a Scene - Nativity. It is a must-have set for any cardmaker doing Christian focused Christmas cards.  I've put it on top of By the Fireside and decorated with some accessories from By the Fireside - Holidays - but this Nativity can go SO many ways (definitely check out the rest of the creative team for a myriad of ideas).  Plus realize that I've used just a few of the pieces on my card.  There are also three wisemen, two shepherds, two sheep, a stable, and an angel along with Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus.

TE Build a Scene - Nativity

I was feeling very nostalgic when I got the mantelpiece decorated.  It looked just like my mom's decorations as I was growing up.  Every shelf and open space in my childhood home was covered with Christmas decorations and about a 100 candles and then greenery wound in and out.  Perhaps a little overdone - but absolutely gorgeous!  (It made me realize why I love creating little scenes and groupings on my cards - it's hereditary!)  I ended up completing my scene just as my mom would have - with groupings on the floor and a sign of "joy"!  (FYI - the joy is actually from a frame, Picture Perfect - Horizontal - I just trimmed out the words and added a frame from Sitting Pretty. )

Also notice all the shiny parts!!  Those are cut from our new Gold Foil Cardstock and Silver Foil Cardstock.

Here's the supply list for this card and be sure to keep reading for a chance at prizes and for another sneak peek.


For my second card - I went much simpler using the Snowed In Background. This would be an easy card to mass-produce.  I chose one of my favorite bold colors to give it some pop and white embossed it all!

TE Snowed In

This background could be stepped up so easily.  Add a winter scene with dies.  Cut out the circle and do a shaker.  Sponge the background. As always - be sure to check out the rest of the design team for many more ideas.

The sentiments comes from the coordinating set Snowed In Sayings.  Each saying is done in such fun fonts!  I felt like the sentiment got a bit lost on all of that Plum Punch and big snowflakes, so I plopped on some sequins - but even those got lost.  I had already put dots of Stickles in the middle of the big snowflakes so I experimented and smeared some on clear sequins.  LOVE the results - these sequins really pop.

TE Snowed In

Be sure to visit the Taylored Expressions blog because there's a chance at prizes just for leaving a comment!! Then come back and visit all of us tomorrow for more Christmas festivities!  I've done a 3D project which isn't normal for me - but I had SO MUCH fun doing it particularly with dies that make it all so easy.


Monday, October 2, 2017

TE Release Day 1: O Christmas Tree

It's the first day of sneak peeks for the October release from Taylored Expressions!  It's time to start thinking Christmas and we have so many fun products to help you with your Christmas list!  Everything you see in the next four days of sneak peeks will be available on Thursday, October 5th. Be sure to check out each of the creative team members' blogs for all of the sneak peeks - starting with the Taylored Expressions blog.

I named this post "O Christmas Tree" because I have two very different styles of Christmas tree products to show you.  First, here's a shaker tree which is so easy to make with the new Christmas Tree Shaker dies.

TE Christmas Tree Shaker

With the shaker dies - you use the larger size to cut the base and the acrylic piece.  Then you use the larger piece with the inner piece to cut the frames.  (A little tip on these shaker dies.  Do you know those metal tabs that keep the dies together and you have to trim apart to use them?  I know that I typically trim those off.  But in these shaker dies - don't do that.  It makes it very easy to line up the inner piece with the larger piece.)

In total, this card measures 4 1/4" x 4 1/4", but I cut it a bit smaller horizontally so the tree could stick out - simply to add some fun.  Then I got really carried away - here's how the card opens:

Christmas Tree Shaker CloseUp

To do this I cut 3/8" off the right and adhered a strip of paper on the inside so it shows through. Then I used the larger tree die to cut a piece out of the front of the card.  As long as I glued the finished shaker right in that same spot - the card still opens!!

The presents are from the previously released All Wrapped Up die set.  The sentiment is new.  It's from the new Santa & Friends which other team members are sneak peeking more completely.  I so love that sentiment that I had to use it.

This release also includes two sets that help you decorate your envelopes.  I have to admit that I don't do enough of that and I don't know why.  I work so hard on the cards on the inside, I should "wrap" them better in a beautiful envelope.  I used Merry Mail 1 to create a coordinating envelope for this card.  The envelope is from the Multi-Color Pack

TE Merry Mail 1

For a limited time, earn DOUBLE CRAFTY POINTS on our Merry Mail 1 and Merry Mail 2 stamp sets! If you're not a Crafty Points member, it's free and easy to join. Just create an account at the TE webstore and you're automatically enrolled to begin earning crafty points with every purchase. You'll earn 34 Crafty Points EACH on the purchase of our Merry Mail 1 and Merry Mail 2 stamp sets! Offer valid on qualifying purchases made between 9am CST on Thursday, October 5, 2017 and 11:59 pm CST on Sunday, October 8, 2017 and only while supplies last. Crafty Points are only available on purchases made via our retail site:

Here's the supply list for this card and be sure to keep reading for a chance at prizes and for another sneak peek.


Now I have a different type of Christmas tree using the Block Party - Christmas Trees which simply cuts a row of trees across the card - but is made extra special by the trees in the Spirit of Christmas stamp set that are sized to fit these trees.

TE Block Party - Christmas Tree

This is such a quick and easy card and so easy to mass produce.  I simply gold embossed the tree and the sentiment and added a shiny star.  I also wanted to try a red version.

TE Block Party - Christmas Tree

I used different trees and I had planned on using different sentiments from the set but I liked the way this one wrapped around the star.  Did you notice the star??  It's cut from the new Gold Foil Cardstock (it also comes in silver).  I used the star from Christmas Tree Stacklets which is the die set that matches all the different sizes of trees in Spirit of Christmas.

Be sure to visit the Taylored Expressions blog because there's a chance at prizes just for leaving a comment!!  Then come back and visit all of us tomorrow.  My cards are at both ends of the spectrum - another quick and easy card with using a snowflake background - and I have a very detailed nativity card.


Sunday, October 1, 2017

Curtain Call Inspiration Challenge: Iced Coffee

It's time for a new challenge at the Curtain Call Inspiration Challenge: Iced Coffee.

I just couldn't do it.  Iced Coffee is not natural.  When I grew up back in South Dakota, strong black HOT coffee was practically mother's milk.  Iced Coffee is just not right.  I drink hot coffee in the dead of winter and on the hottest summer days.  So I had to compromise for my card - it has coffee and it has icy snowflakes - I hope this works!!

CC Iced Coffee

This is a pretty self-explanatory card.  The sentiment is from a fabulous winter set from Paper Smooches called Winter Sampler.  It has a wide range of fun sentiments for all occasions. Since I started with Paper Smooches stamps, I pulled out my Cozy Coffee die also from Paper Smooches.  I love this die because it gives you the ability to add a variety of papers.

I have definitely needed my HOT black coffee these last few months.  My husband had his second foot surgery about 6 weeks ago.  Foot surgery sounds so minor but it was a five hour surgery and he's been off his feet since then.  I've had to "feed and water" and entertain him for weeks.  Good news #1 - my office is 3 miles home so it's quite easy to come home multiple times to "feed and water".  Good news #2 - with these two surgeries to correct some extreme genetic issues - our hope and prayer is that he won't be in constant pain and can begin leading a normal life again after a decade of searching for answers!   

My job has been interesting with multiple resignations in my already small department.  No work-related reasons, for instance, one quit so she and her boyfriend could spend two years sailing around the world.  We aren't replacing anybody until after budget season so we're all doing multiple jobs (because for some strange reason employees like their salaries and bills need to be paid).  Good news #3 - I've gained knowledge and experience that would have taken years to gain which has already made me better at my actual job and will help me in the future.

My last child at home is a senior and the college hunt is well under way.  Both he and my husband are terrible procrastinators so I finally had to crack the whip.  He and I doing four college visits in multiple states this coming month (since my husband can now "feed and water" himself but can't drive or fly).  GREAT news #4 - my youngest son is absolutely blossoming.  The poor guy was dealt a raw deal with some fairly serious anxiety issues that he's been working at for years. He's also not a scholar.  But his ACT scores were shockingly high and he's a state-ranked lacrosse goalie - so he's a hot commodity (at division 3 schools).  We've been telling him and his therapist have told him a million times that he's a great kid - but having colleges interested in him has made it real.  

So now that you know more than you ever needed to know about my life - what I really wanted to do is to say "thank you".  I love this crafty blogging community.  I make some time each and every day to read blogs. The fabulous cards and all of your stories is my moment to take a deep breath and drink a HOT coffee before I face the rest of the day.  Thank you!  Right now taking time to leave comments for you is not in my schedule - but know that I still love all of you and I'll be back!!

I hope to see you play along with our Iced(?) Coffee challenge!


Stamps: Paper Smooches Winter Sampler
Dies: Paper Smooches Cozy Cups, Taylored Expressions Stitched Rectangle Stacklets
Cardstock: Taylored Expressions Toffee and Cookie Monster
Patterned Paper: Fancy Pants True Friend
Ink: Versamark and white embossing powder
Sequins: Fancy Pants True Friend Confetti

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Freshly Made Sketches: Warm Thoughts

It's time for a new sketch at Freshly Made Sketches! Today we have a sketch by Jennifer Timko!

It was a cold and rainy weekend as I was working on this.  Since my husband refuses to turn the furnace on until November (if I'm lucky) and I woke up to a 53°F house - the fireplace was on much of the weekend also.  I hate to admit it - but it was wonderful!!  Fall weather has begun and I adore fall.  So clearly I was going to go for a fall focus for my card.

FMS Warm Thoughts

I love the crisp weather and the frost on the bright fall leaves - so I representing that on my fall cards with bright colors on white.  The leaf was from a panel I did when I got my first Distress Oxides.  I've kept every practice panel just in case they come in handy - and this one did!  I played around with some right autumn plaids for the my background strip but I ended up keeping it neutral too.

It's truly a fun sketch - I hope to see you playing along!


Stamps: Hero Arts Coloring Layering Fall Trees (sentiment)
Dies: Taylored Expressions Mega Leaves, My Favorite Things - one of the Fishtail sets, Stampin' Up Layering Circles Framelits
Paper: Kaisercraft Base Coat 6 1/2" pad
Inks: Distress Oxides (I did this panel when I first got the inks and I cannot remember which colors they are), Versamark with WOW! Opaque Bright White Super Fine embossing powder
Sequins: Hero Arts Ombre Sunshine

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Freshly Made Sketches: Iconic Birthday

It's time for a new sketch at Freshly Made Sketches! Today we have a sketch by Jen Mitchell.

I need a birthday card to give to my sister-in-law tonight!  She's not a girly-pink kind of person so I went for richer colors.  This cupcake with the sentiments right in it, plus their coordinating dies, made it all come together easily.


Then I got it all done and realized that the cupcake isn't currently available.  Sorry!!  It was a party favor during Taylored Expression's 9th birthday last week.  BUT...I'm told that it will be available for purchase sometime in the future so keep watching!

Hope to see you playing along!


Stamps: Taylored Expressions Iconic Wishes Birthday Stamp & Die Combo (available in the future)
Dies: Taylored Expressions Stitched Rectangles Stacklets
Patterned Paper: Simple Stories We are...Family 6x6 pad.
Ink: Taylored Expressions Chocolate Truffle, Cookie Monster
Embellishments: Taylored Expressions Enamel Shapes in Lemon Meringe, Cooke Monster and Cherry Pop

Friday, September 15, 2017

Curtain Call Inspiration Challenge: Hang Out

It's time for a new challenge at the Curtain Call Inspiration Challenge: Hang Out.
Be sure to check out the rest of the design team on our challenge blog and our guest designer, Jen Shears from Jen Shears Designs.

I was inspired by the bright colors and all of the open white space - even within the pattern on the pink pillows.

CC Hang Out

I love that flower!  It's actually an overlay to a card-size cutting plate that say "With Sympathy" but I think it works perfectly well on its own.  The kraft cardstock was inspired by the carpet.  I'm not 100% sold on the blue enamel dots - I wanted so badly to tone them down, but they are really a perfect match for the blue in the inspiration photo so I left them.

I hope to see you "hanging out" and playing along with our challenge!


Stamps: Taylored Expressions In & Out Birthday, Striped Background (in Versamark on the kraft)
Dies: Taylored Expressions Blooms Overlay
Cardstock: various - to match the inspiration photo
Other: Doodlebug Glitter Sprinkles Blue Jean