Tuesday, October 31, 2017

TE Sneak Peek Day 2: Pitch Black Gift Set

It's the second day of sneak peeks for the November release from Taylored Expressions.  We are still all about gift-giving.  As cardmakers, we have an incredible gift to give others - a gift of cards for their own use.  It's such a personal gift and always so well received.  Everything you see today will be available on Thursday, November 2nd.  Be sure to check out each of the creative team members' blogs for all of the sneak peeks - starting with the Taylored Expressions blog.

Taylored Expressions has always had Clear Card Boxes that perfectly hold 4+ cards (depending on how dimensional they are).  Then came the Noteworthy Belly Band which perfectly wraps around the card box to give it some decoration.

I've created a gift set using those products plus a brand new stamp set that is about the funniest set I have seen.

First - the complete gift with one of the funny sentiments used on the belly band.

Taylored Expressions Pitch Black Gift Set

LOVE that sentiment.  It made me laugh out loud.  I am SO going to love making cards for my own use with that sentiment because I can think of multiple friends who will totally get it and it will brighten their otherwise "pitch black" days.

There is a card inside the box with the sentiment.  I decorated it with the Little Bits - Sun & Clouds.  (All my die decorations are previously released.) I also added a grumpy face from the Clearly Planned set - Today's Weather.  Then a few black raindrops.

Taylored Expressions Pitch Black Gift Set

The patterned paper is also new and totally exciting.  There are two new paper packs with wonderful basic tone-on-tones, polka dots, stripes, ginghams, etc.  This entire set of cards uses Playful Patterns - Bold.  I'll be using paper out of the other set in the next two days.

I can so totally relate to this next sentiment - and can't you just see the smile on the face of the recipient!

Taylored Expressions Pitch Black Gift Set

I didn't have a good "exhausted pigeon" but I found this tubby little bird from Little Bits - Birds and plopped him on a limb that I trimmed from a bigger limb out of On a Limb - Branches.

I like this next sentiment.  Sadly I've never quite found the balance - I eat the salad (although loaded with dressing), then top it off with a cupcake!!

Taylored Expressions Pitch Black Gift Set

I used Little Bits - Cupcake and I got the salad lettuce from Little Bits - Hamburger.  Hopefully you can tell that the little red things are tomatoes - I used a hole punch and cut them in half.

Finally - we have the difference between cupcakes and muffins!!

Taylored Expressions Pitch Black Gift Set

I used the Little Bits - Cupcake to create a chocolaty good cupcake!

I think this set - or any set created and boxed up in a clear card box makes such a perfect and thoughtful gift.

Head over to the TE blog to answer Taylor's Question of the Day for a chance to win one of the latest products before you can buy it. Then, be sure to check out all the other notecard gift ideas.


Taylored Expressions Pitch Black Gift Set

Monday, October 30, 2017

TE Sneak Peek Day 1: Christian Calendar

It's the first day of sneak peeks for the November release from Taylored Expressions!  This is one of my favorite releases as it is traditionally focused on calendars and gift-giving.  Both are so fun to create and to give!  Everything you see in the next three days of sneak peeks will be available on Thursday, November 2nd. Be sure to check out each of the creative team members' blogs for all of the sneak peeks - starting with the Taylored Expressions blog.

Here's January from my calendar series.

Taylored Expressions Be Still - Jan

{I have more months later in this post.}

You can see that these are new 2018 5x7 calendars.  There are also 3x4 calendars and mini tear off calendars.  I used many previously released products for my calendar - the stamp set Be Still which has 12 Bible verses, the stamp set and the dies for Flower for a Year - 12 of those too so just perfect for a calendar.  To decorate, I used the previously released Build a Scene - Calendar - 5x7 die set and the Old Rugged Cross die set.  So you might be asking, what's new?

It's the Display Easel!!!  Be still my heart - I see SO many uses for this die set.

Taylored Expressions Display Easel die set

FYI - I attached an extra piece of 1x3 cardstock across the two base legs to widen and stabilize it.  I was worried that with the bigger calendar it wouldn't be stable particularly if I bumped my desk.  (Yes, I'm keeping this one for myself! But I'm already thinking of friends and family who will be getting a calendar set also.)  I also added another piece below the shelf to keep it sturdy.  The calendars are printed on sturdy cardstock and I didn't want to take any chance of the easel drooping!

You definitely need to pop around to the other blogs so see all of the uses for this easel.  You will see watercolor panels and you'll see smaller calendars with a different way to build the easel.  You'll also see the new stamp set.  (Grumplings fans, get excited - we now have Calendar Grumplings.)

And to add to the excitement...For a limited time, earn DOUBLE CRAFTY POINTS on our Display Easel die! 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 74 Crafty Points on the purchase of our Display Easel die! Offer valid on qualifying purchases made between 9am CST on Thursday, November 2, 2017 and 11:59 pm CST on Sunday, November 5, 2017 and only while supplies last. Crafty Points are only available on purchases made via our retail site: www.tayloredexpressions.com.

I am a huge fan of inspiration on my calendar so I can feel positive and motivated each time I check the date.  I am thrilled to continue with the Be Still and Flower of the Year set.

While January was cool and frosty, February uses the "love" theme and a bouquet of Valentine flowers.

Taylored Expressions Be Still - Feb

On each month, I used stencil brushes to add a soft glow behind the cross.  Then the crosses are cut out of woodgrain cardstock.

March is always a problem for me.  March happens to be the snowiest month where I live so I'm still thinking frosty thoughts. I stayed with cooler colors, but still used soft flowers.

Taylored Expressions Be Still - Mar

I looked up Easter before making March and April since it can fall in either month.  Did you know it falls on April Fools Day (April 1st) this year??!!  The Old Rugged Cross die set also comes with the cloth to drape over the cross for Easter.

Taylored Expressions Be Still - April

I have the rest of the months to do but you can see how well it all works together and is then displayed on the easel!

Tomorrow I'll have another idea for gift-giving using just about the funniest stamp set I have ever seen!!  Don't forget to pop over to the Taylored Expressions blog.  Taylored Expressions is celebrating Release Week with a giveaway during each day of sneak peeks! Answer Taylor’s Question of the Day for a chance to win one of the latest products before you can buy it!


Taylored Expressions Be Still Calendar

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Freshly Made Sketches: Peace

It's time for a new sketch at Freshly Made Sketches! I am thrilled to be the creator of this week's sketch!  I hope you like it.

This was the rare time that I hadn't created a card first before I submitted a sketch.  That made me really nervous.  I am so visual - until I see a completed card, I don't have much faith in a my own sketch.  But surprisingly for me - this came together quite quickly!

Freshly Made Sketches: Peace

The first decision in this sketch is where to put the sentiment.  Outside of the panels?  At the bottom of the large panel? Focused in the square?  I went with none of the above and put it sideways on the rectangle.  This was only because I had a large set of small dies that I hadn't put away yet, they fell and spilled out of their container when I was trying to get to something else - but instead of grumbling, I had a light bulb moment!  I'll take inspiration in any way it choose to come.!

Freshly Made Sketches: Peace

I found a simple set of snowflakes of the right size that would layer.  As many snowflake dies as I have, this was actually difficult.  It seems I tend toward fairly intricate snowflakes - but I just wanted simple layers.  I found an older set and layered it in white, Coastal Cabana, silver glimmer and then the part that looks blurry in the photo is vellum.

I pulled out Crumb Cake for the frame and am still slightly uncertain about this decision.  I wanted neutral - I thought white would get lost and, although I love grays, I thought it would look too cold!  So I warmed it up (odd thing to say about a snowflake) with some kraft.

I hope to see you playing along - I LOVE to see the incredible variety of cards that come out of a single sketch.


Dies: Tim Holtz Block Holiday Words, MFT Let It Snowflake
Cardstock: Stampin' Up Crumb Cake, Pool Party (with the older patterned paper), Coastal Cabana, Vellum
Embellishments: YNS Gumdrops Magical Pastel

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.