Tuesday, April 30, 2013

TAWS Blog Hop: Delicate Doilies

It's time for a new release blog hop from The Alley Way Stamps!!  If you started with me, head back to the TAWS blog so you can see all the fun previews and possibly win free stamps!  I so love this time of the month - there are three regular size sets and a mini that's free with a $40 purchase and they couldn't be more different from each other

Yesterday I gave you a sneak peek of a set called Bird Brain.  I put two of the wide-eyed, cute little birds on a branch.  So today I decided to go with the more elegant set - delicate doilies!  This card showcases the largest doily in the set.

delicate doilies 1
The colors for this card are from Dynamic Duos.

Then I felt bad because there were so many other cute little doilies that I hadn't shown you - plus I hadn't even used a sentiment.  So I put together this card too.  Isn't it wonderful how just a few pretty doilies makes for a very easy, yet very elegant card?!

delicate doilies 2

For this card, I used the CAS on Sunday sketch.

Next on the hop is Melissa!

There's always great give-aways at release time...here's the official stuff from The Alley Way Stamps:

TAWS Blog Hop!! Win all 3 sets!

One person will win ALL 3 NEW SETS!!  YEP!!
So if you want to be that person....
all you have to do is comment on the hop!
Here are the ways you can win.
You can pick and choose which ones you want to do...
but the more you comment, the more chances you have to win.

1. Comment on The Alley Way Stamps blog
2. Comment on the design team girls blog as you hop along
3. Post about it on Facebook or your blog
4. Like us on Facebook
(leave a separate comment for each that you do)
You have until March 30th at 9:00 PM TAWS time to leave them

This is a fun mini set that is yours FREE when you spent $40.00
or more during the month of MAY!!  Nothing to do but shop and
this little guy will be added to your package.
Our amazing DT lead Arielle really want a piggy bank and some coins,
I am so glad she did.  It inspired this cutie.
What do you think?

  • Stamps: The Alley Way Stamps Delicate Doilies
  • Paper: Stampin' Up Crumb Cake and Blushing Bride
  • Ink: Stampin' Up Calypso Coral and Blushing Bride
  • Accessories: jillibean Wood Hello Flags, Martha Stewart butterfly punch, Stampin' Up twine, May Arts twine, misc gems colored with Copics

Monday, April 29, 2013

A Bird Brain Anniversary

Hallelujah!  I turned in my final Marketing paper last night.  This has been a very, very tough class.  It seemed no matter how hard I worked, the professor did not quite like what I did.  Sadly, new classes start right away today.  But I have already decided that since the marketing class almost destroyed my desire for a second college degree, I am only taking a half load this time so I can relax a little and find my enthusiasm again (and make cards more than a couple of times a week!)

Thank you to all of you who helped with my marketing survey - it's amazing how many people across the country absolutely agreed on the pros and cons of shopping at Michaels.  And thank you to all of you who have continued to leave comments on my rare posts even though I'm not making it over to your blogs.  I am definitely reading everybody's blogs - it's been my mid-day sanity break - but I just haven't found the time to comment.

I'm so glad that the pressure is off for now - because it's release week at The Alley Way Stamps.  Check out their blog - the last few days have had previews of everything from a Yeti to delicate doilies!

Today is just as fun.  The moment that I got these stamps, I knew what I was going to do.

I've been married for quite awhile.  And at some point in the marriage, with never-ending life changes, unemployment and too much employment, teenage boys behaving like teenage boys and now college courses - you start to realize that you have spent most of the marriage looking just like this...wide-eyed, shell-shocked and more than a little frazzled!

Love Birds

Guess what?  If you head over to The Alley Way Stamps blog - you have a chance to win this set!

Tomorrow is the full blog hop with fun prizes and sneak peeks of all the sets - so be sure to come back.  (Now I have to go decide whether I am in a Yeti mood or a doily mood for my blog hop card...hmmm?)
  • Stamps: The Alley Way Stamps Bird Brain (released May 1)
  • Paper: Simple Stories Urban Traveler 6x6
  • Ink: Memento black and Copics
  • Accessories: Maya Road Wood Twigs, L'il Inkers Stitched Mat Rectangles

Thursday, April 25, 2013

CAS(E) this Sketch! with Dahlias

It's a very unique sketch this week at CAS(E) this Sketch and I LOVE it!!

How different are those staggered tags?!  I chose to use flowers and leaves, but as usual, the rest of the design team came up with amazingly fun ideas - coffee cups, cute little cars, a camera - be sure to check it out on the CAS(E) this Sketch blog.

Happy Birthday Dahlia
If you follow my blog, you are now thinking...hey, I've seen that flower in those colors!  Yes, you have. I had originally started this card with the bigger dahlia and leaves that are in the stamp set - but they were just too big for the layout.  After going to the work of die-cutting and embossing them, I most certainly was not going to waste them - so the big dahlia showed up on a card just two days ago!!
  • Stamps: Papertrey Ink Delightful Dahlias
  • Paper: Papertrey Ink Raspberry Fizz, Lucky Limeade
  • Ink: Versamark, Memento black
  • Accessories: white embossing powder, Papertrey Ink Delightful Dahlias dies, CTMH Bitty Sparkles (colored with Copics), Divine Twine Black Licorice, misc black and white gingham

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Fixing the missing bloglovin' folks!!

This is my second post today.

If you chose bloglovin' as your blog reader and then transferred your blog lists from Google Reader, there were two (that we know of) great blogs that bloglovin' could not find.  You may have "lost" these blogs and don't even know it.
Always Playing with Paper - the talented Lesley Croghan and the home of Merry Monday
GIBMISS - the wonderful Sylvie who takes all of her pictures using her Gibraltar ocean view in the background!
Bloglovin' readers need to add these blogs manually.  Pop over to each of these blogs and see what you have missed.  Then copy their blog address, bring up your bloglovin' account, paste them into the blog search box and click FOLLOW.  They will be back in your list so you can read all of their future posts!!


I am hoping you can pass the above info along in your posts too.  These ladies can't notify their bloglovin' readers that they are no longer lost - - - because bloglovin' readers don't currently get their posts - - oops!  So I would like to help them out and spread the word to get them back into people's bloglovin' lists.

Feedly Tags and Follow Buttons

I've written a number of educational posts on these issues.
Click here to see each of them.

First - a quick sidetrack - if you are still trying to decide between bloglovin' and feedly - I found this article called "Bloglovin' vs Feedly: Which RSS Reader Reigns Supreme?'  It's a great article that does a good job pointing out the pros and cons of each!

I have two quick updates regarding feedly for you - both are kind of more for the advanced user!

Feedly is getting ready to disconnect from Google Reader.  Right now, they are just a front-end to Google Reader so they are using Google Reader info.  When they disconnect, they are not only going to keep all of the blogs that you read, they are also going to bring over everything you have tagged in the past!!!!  Yeah!!!

But...they do need a little help.

Tagging is a great function that allows you to mark and then keep past posts.  For example, I might tag "Christmas" or "CASE-worthy".  Those posts are automatically saved and categorized until the point that you choose to un-tag them.

What feedly needs you to do is to tell your feedly account what tags you used when you were reading in Google Reader.  If you don't remember, pop back into Google Reader (although Google has already taken away the link - just go to www.google.com/reader) and find them.  They are listed on the left column, toward the bottom with little tag symbols.

Then go into feedly,

  1. Click on "prefs" right under your name and scroll down until you see "tagging"
  2. Type your list of tags into the box using commas to separate each tag.

The exact wording with a helpful picture from the feedly blog is...

But we need your help regarding upgrading your tagged articles. We need you to go to your feedly preferences and enter the list of tags you have been using to archive old articles. We will migrate up to 250 articles per tag.
This is what my tag list looks like for example:Tag list

Sadly, one thing that is lacking right now is a feedly follow button so that the people who read in feedly and want to add you can easily just click.

(Not that it's all that hard to simply copy your blog address and paste it into feedly - but buttons are nice!)

It is fairly high on feedly's update list - but if you want to add one now, I read about a way to do it.  It's not totally clean - so you might want to wait until feedly has an official button.  If you do create your own - I promise to tell you when feedly has an official button!

  • Find a feedly graphic - I just did a Google Image search and came up with this one.  If you like it just save this one to your computer.

  • Find your blog feed address.  (I only know how to do this for blogger).  It's your blog address plus the following "/feeds/posts/default"  For example, my blog feed address is:

  • Go to your blogger/design/layout area and "Add a gadget" to your sidebar, using an "Image" gadget.
  • Add a title.  I just said "For my feedly followers"
  • Add a caption.  The one flaw in this is that it actually just brings up your blog in feedly - it doesn't add it until the click the Add button in feedly.  So I just captioned it "Then click +ADD in feedly!!"
  • Add a link.  You need to type http://www.feedly.com/home#subscriptions/feed/your feed address.  For example, I typed:
  • Add the image.  Browse your computer for the feedly graphic that you found or copied from above.
  • Save

I have re-organized my sidebar so that all of these major readers are listed.  My sidebar says:

     If you follow/read in blogger/blogspot
          This is the old "follow" button that we all already have.
     If you read in bloglovin'
           They already have a nice button.
           Just sign up for bloglovin' and find the follow buttons.
           (I don't use bloglovin', but I did sign up to get the button.)
     If you read in feedly
           I created it as above
     If you read via email
           Most of us already have it there.

I think I've covered the big ones this way!!

Hasn't this all been just a big adventure??  Not really one that I welcomed - but I have learned a lot!!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Addicted to CAS: A Big Dahlia Bday

The current challenge at Addicted to CAS is the code word: Flower.  I added a personal challenge - that I absolutely could not use some of my much-loved flowers - I had to find one that hadn't seen ink!

Happy Bday with a Big Dahlia

Now I'm not sure why this stamp had never seen ink!  I love its open and airy look.  I can also imagine it stamped on plain paper and some subtle watercoloring for a elegant look.  However, it is big and I had a really difficult time getting it to look right on a standard card.  I decided to really showcase it by cutting the card down about an inch and then letting the flower hang over the edge.  The whole thing is still just 4 1/4" wide so it will fit into a standard envelope.

  • Stamps: Papertrey Ink Delightful Dahlia, sentiment from Pretty Peonies
  • Paper: Papertrey Ink Simply Chartreuse, Limeade Ice, Raspberry Fizz
  • Ink: Papertrey Ink Simply Chartreuse, Versamark
  • Accessories: Papertrey Ink Delightful Dahlia dies, Lemon Tart Button, The Twinery Honeydew twine, Cuttlebug embossing folder

Monday, April 22, 2013

Sometimes in the Winds...

Only six more days and I am done with my Marketing class that is taking up so much of my time!  Yeah!!

I've also been taking an accounting class which has a fairly fun final project.  Yes, I do think playing with numbers is fun, but in this case I also have to describe a simple "manufacturing process" (the prof's example was making chocolate chip cookies to sell at a bake sale) and then follow the accounting through the process.  (FYI: what I've discovered so far in this class is that the "manufacturing process" may be simple, but accountants have managed to make the numbers part really, really complicated!)  Well...I don't bake...but I do make cards!!  So I get to describe my favorite hobby - this will be easy!!  But I am also a little nervous about gathering together the "costs" of the hobby!!

Today is my day to post over at The Alley Way Stamps (TAWS).  It's my last official April post before the countdown begins for new May stamps (countdown starts Saturday at the TAWS blog; I don't post until Monday, then a full blog hop on Tuesday).  I have really liked playing with the sentiments in Life is Short.  This one is my favorite (although I do wish that the wind would settle down a bit at my house.)

Sometimes in the Wind
  • Stamps: The Alley Way Stamps Life Is Short
  • Paper: American Crafts Soho Garden 6x6 pad
  • Ink: black
  • Accessories: Papertrey Ink Raspberry Fizz button, Divine Twine Black Licorice, Darice Butterfly on Flower embossing folder, sequins are from a mixed bag from the Etsy shop Endless Inkabilities

Sunday, April 21, 2013

A bloglovin'/Google Reader update

I've written a number of educational posts on these issues.
Click here to see each of them.

First - in answering an email question, it became apparent to me that not everybody knows what Google Reader is.  Let me tell you what it is NOT - if you are reading your blogs in blogger/blogspot - you are not using Google Reader.  Google Reader is a separate program.  So if I were you - I'd stay where you are until the dust settles.

Second, if bloggers are moving to bloglovin', you do not have to go there to continue to follow them.  Choose the blog reader that you like and that works for you - read in blogger/blogspot, go to feedly, go to bloglovin' - that's your preference - you can read any blog in the reader you choose.

Third, an important update on a bloglovin' problem:

There are blogs that can't be found in bloglovin' even though these blogs use blogger like so many of us and the blogs are found by Google Reader and feedly.  

(Some people are believing that you have to sign up for bloglovin' so that others can read you in bloglovin' - not true - so that is not the problem here.)

A blog friend reported that her blog was one that got "lost" and I got this wild idea to see how big this problem was.  I imported all of my Google Reader info into bloglovin'.  It turns out eight of all the blogs I read didn't import into bloglovin'!!.  Six of those actually let me add them manually - after I went to the work to figure out which were missing - YUCK.  But two of them are seriously broken.  For your information - because you most likely read them too - the two blogs that don't work are:

Always Playing with Paper - the talented Lesley Croghan and the home of Merry Monday
GIBMISS - the wonderful Sylvie who takes all of her pictures using her Gibraltar ocean view in the background!

FYI - if I comment on your blog with any regularity, 
you are in my list of blogs 
so I have double-checked you and you work!!

I'm not trying to insult bloglovin' because the simple fact is that all of these Google Reader replacements are frantically programming to accommodate everybody who is moving over and they are all having issues, but I am really upset for these ladies because:

Bloglovin' didn't give any warnings that they were lost if you did an import from Google Reader.  Their followers do NOT know that they lost them.  Bloglovin' really needed to say "oops...some of your blog feeds can't be read by bloglovin'".

They can't currently be added manually - you just plain and simple can't get them in bloglovin'

Bloglovin's customer service only speaks techie.  We don't speak techie.  They say the rss feed isn't working correctly and you should contact your blog portal (which they say isn't blogger???) then they say try feedburner which is another place that only speaks techie!!  (My son's high school web design teacher is trying to translate for us!)

I will let you know when there is an answer - so you can re-add these wonderful blogs and any others that might be lost.


If you have moved to bloglovin' and imported your blogs from Google Reader - I would STRONGLY recommend that you check that all of your favorites came over!!!

If you have the same experience that I did, you can add a bunch of them back to bloglovin' manually - you just have to find them first.

If you are going to check - let me give you a few tips, because I learned a lot of hard lessons when I checked my blogs this morning - it took me forever.  Bloglovin' made some strange decisions when they designed their Google Reader import:

The short version - bloglovin' does not bring all the blogs over in the same folders or under the same names that you had them in in Google Reader!!!

The details -

1. Bloglovin's first priority is "blogger-following".  Those are the people that you clicked the "follow" button on.  When you click that follow button, those blogs show up in your blogger/blogspot dashboard and you could read from there.  The problem with putting this first priority is that bloglovin' then does not import the folder that you used in Google Reader.   If you think blogs are missing from a one of your Google Reader assigned folders, check bloglovin's "blogger-following" category they may be there!!  (You can clean this up by clicking on each blog and changing its category.)

2. Bloglovin' seems to be pulling "original" information in a couple of ways.

          a. Original blog names - if a blog has a newer name, it came over with its old name.

          b. Original folders - if you put a blog into a folder in Google Reader, and them moved it to a different folder, it comes over under the first folder.

So it's a bit of a hide-and-seek game - hopefully these hints will help!!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Get Well Quilts

When I was young, I had a "sick quilt".  It only came out when I didn't feel well.  One side was silky smooth and the other was rougher with hand-tied tufts.  I remember my mom saying that she could tell just how sick I was by which side I was cuddling with.  As an adult, I've tried to find a new "sick" quilt for my family - but it just never has measured up to my childhood blankie.

WPlus9 recently came out with a quilt-building set that I just had to have for get well cards.  This first card is a tribute to my blankie.  I am not sure that I love it as a card - but I do love it as a memory!  (Check out the little "tufts"!)

Get Well Quilt

I was inspired by the WPlus9 Mood Board.

And I used the sketch from Freshly Made Sketches.

  • Stamps: WPlus9 Quilt Prints, A Pocketful (sentiment)
  • Paper: white and Papertrey Vintage Cream
  • Ink: Stampin' Up Real Red, Gumball Green, Bashful Blue
  • Accessories: WPlus9 Pocketful die, October Afternoon button, cream crochet thread

Friday, April 19, 2013

Happy (almost) Caturday!!

It's my day to provide you with some re-inspiration for the current BE Inspired challenge at The Alley Way Stamps.  I was sitting at my craft desk - staring at this inspiration photo...

At the same time, I'm looking out the window at a very cold, snowy and windy day.  My cats love me the most on cold days (because I'm warm!!) and one cat decided to "help" me with my crafting.  She hugged my knee and cuddled in close.

At that point the lightbulb came one!  The Alley Way Stamps has a darling set of cats called Sittin' Pretty.  I could make orange cat faces!!

Happy Caturday

Happy (almost) Cat-urday!!

  • Stamps: The Alley Way Stamps Sittin' Pretty
  • Paper: white
  • Ink: Memento black and Copics
  • Accessories: Divine Twine Black Licorice

Thursday, April 18, 2013

CAS(E) this Sketch: Happy Bee Day!

This is my second post today!

It's time for another great sketch from CAS(E) this Sketch!  I love these sketches!!  I can't tell you how many times I have gone back and used older ones for inspiration (and as part of the design team, how often I have had to stop myself from using future ones!!)  If you haven't bookmarked the page with past sketches - do it now - it will be a constant source of inspiration!

Today's sketch is no different - clean and simple, but lots of flexibility...

I had this set from Simon Says Stamp at the top of my box of new stuff and I thought the little squiggly line in the sketch could be a bee's flight path!!

Happy Bee Day

I know that I am often guilty of looking at other blogs and thinking the ideas that I am seeing are so "easy" that even I could do them.  But there is rarely a truly "easy" card.  For me, every once in awhile, a card just comes together and I am thrilled.  But mostly I experience a LOT of false starts, or smudged inks or I just plain don't like what I have done.  Today was particularly bad - so I snapped some shots of all of my false starts for this sketch!!  (The feather was my original idea for the sketch and there are probably about a dozen attempts at that one alone!)

Hopefully this sketch will go a little easier for you!!!  I'm looking forward to see what you create!

  • Stamps: Simon Says Stamp Circle Friends
  • Paper: Papertrey Ink Harvest Gold
  • Ink: Papertrey Ink Harvest Gold, Memento Black, copics
  • Accessories: Martha Stewart Crystal Fine Glitter (on his wings), Tim Holtz embossing folder

Don't Lose Hope...says the little owl!

I love sentiment sets that do all of the work.  The Alley Way Stamps has a number of fun sets, the newest of which is called Life is Short.

Don't Lose Hope
This is truly a premade card - even the border!  I just added a little twine and the fun sentiment.  Then, because there wasn't any foliage above the sentiment - I saw this cute little owl from Tag-Alongs and decided he would sit up there quite nicely!!  I don't use premade very often at all - but I think the fun font and the meaning of this sentiment make the card special.
  • Stamps: The Alley Way Stamps Life is Short, Tag-Alongs
  • Paper: DCWV Chickadee Stack, Stampin' Up Bermuda Bay
  • Ink: Stampin' Up Bermuda Bay, Memento Gray Flannel, Copics
  • Accessories: The Twinery Caribbean twine, Ranger Glossy Accents (on his big eyes!)

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Glitter, Glitter...Everywhere!!

I do like a hint of glitter on a card.

I do not like cleaning my desk area and the carpet and my clothes and my eyebrows(!) after using glitter.

But the challenge this week at Catered Crop is Just Add Glitter, so I now have terracotta, turquoise and yellow glitter everythere!!

Birthday Wishes 2
Here's a close up that I didn't brighten quite so much so you could see all of the glitter!!  I actually do the clear glitter quite often.  I have all of my supplies organized by how much I use them and in the most-used drawer is a can of spray adhesive and a large tupperware of Martha Stewart Crystal Fine Glitter.  (You can get 4.5 oz. containers that last forever and nicely fill a sandwich size tupperware.)  If you ever have a panel or a die cut that just doesn't quite have the oomph that you want - give it a spritz of adhesive and drop it face down into the tupperware of glitter - just a nice hint of sparkle!

Birthday Wishes close

The embossing on the presents comes from an old product by Quickutz (now Lifestyle Crafts) called Goosebumpz.  They were little 2x2 impression dies.   I think they were just ahead of their time because Goosebumpz aren't made anymore - but they make so much sense with their tiny patterns and our love for embossing and diecuts.  (You can Google and find a few sources.)

Hope you pull out your glitter and head on over to Catered Crop   Be sure to head over this coming Sunday for the Quickfire which starts the second week of the challenge and shows inspiration from the design team.  There is an amazing variety of design styles in the team so I am sure we will see some absolutely spectacularly shimmering cards!!

  • Stamps: Papertrey Ink Wonderful Words Birthday
  • Paper: Papertrey Ink Terracotta Tile, Stampin' Up Tempting Turquoise, Daffodil Delight
  • Ink: Papertrey Ink Terracotta Tile
  • Accessories: Martha Stewart Crystal Fine Glitter, Martha Stewart multi-pack of iridescent glitter, Martha Stewart bow punch, Papertrey Ink birthday die, Quickutz Goosebumpz

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Celebrating with a Very Special Man

There is a very special man celebrating his 72nd birthday this week.  When his entire church family gathered to celebrate his 60th birthday, no one thought he would survive the year.  He has been fighting cancer for 12 years while still being a faithful and active church member; a caring husband, father and grandfather; and taking part in an incredible number of treatment trials that are sure to benefit tens of thousands of others.  Just this month, he was honored by the Melanoma Research Foundation with the Courage award.

Bill is passionate about his classic Porsche.  I've never seen it - so have no idea if this looks like a Porsche.  But I got this set years ago, strictly to use for his birthday and thought it was a perfect time to bring it out again!

Celebrate with Balloons

I haven't seen Bill in quite some time.  My husband and I talk about inviting he and his wife for dinner, but then there's another e-mail about him undergoing yet another surgery.  As I was making this card, I realized (as I do every year) that I might not be making another one next year.  I'm putting this in the mail - and then I'm making a phone call!!

This card plays along with this week's Just Add Ink.  

  • Stamps: Close to My Heart Roadtrip (old!), L'il Inkers Balloon Builders, misc sentiment and star
  • Paper: Stampin' Up More Mustard, Midnight Muse, Crumb Cake
  • Ink: Stampin' Up More Mustard, Midnight Muse, Rich Razzleberry
  • Accessories: L'il Inker Balloon dies, Studio Calico Wood Veneer, Papertrey Ink Woodgrain Impression Plate, May Arts twine

Saturday, April 13, 2013

WPlus9 Mood Board with Blanket Stitching

It's been a really tough week with my class work - not many posts from me!  I'm afraid it's going to be a little overwhelming the next two weeks also.  I have a class this semester that seems to be twice as much work as any other - and even putting in that much work, I can never quite please the professor - so then I work even harder!  I got up extra early to be able to make a card this morning and didn't love sitting at my craft table as much as usual because I kept thinking about the paper that I need to be writing.  But...stick with me....I just have another couple of weeks with this class!!

I had gotten some new goodies from WPlus9 - one of which is a fun Blanket Stitched Bloom set - it's not like anything else that I own - so it seemed like a great set to play with this morning!

Get Well Wishes
I was inspired by this week's WPlus9 Mood Board.

  • Stamps: WPlus9 Blanket Stitched Blooms
  • Paper: Simple Stories Vintage Bliss, Stampin' Up Regal Rose
  • Ink: Stampin' Up Regal Rose, Old Olive, Lucky Limeade, Summer Sun; Papertrey Ink Melon Berry, Harvest Gold; Memento Gray Flannel
  • Accessories: Papertrey Ink Harvest Gold button, May Arts twine, WPlus9 Blanket Stitched dies

Thursday, April 11, 2013

CAS(E) this Sketch - On the Diagonal

This is my second post today!

There's a great sketch at CAS(E) this Sketch - it's got a fun diagonal element on it!

I thought that I remembered the sketch exactly and I happily pulled out a set that I hadn't used yet - Papertrey's Mini Blooms.  I got it all done (actually I did it three times before I managed not to smudge or mess up an image) - then when I was posting it on the CTS blog - I realized that the sentiment was on the diagonal.  I know there is no rule that says you have to follow a sketch exactly - but a diagonal sentiment would have been fun!!

Hello There

I hope to see you playing along!!

  • Stamps: Papertrey Ink Mini Blooms
  • Paper: Papertrey Ink Melon Berry
  • Ink: Papertrey Ink Melon Berry, Sweet Blush, Harvest Gold, Summer Sunrise, Limeade Ice
  • Accessories: Papertrey Ink Melon Berry button, Mini Blooms dies

Party Hats; All in a Row

There is a new set at The Alley Way Stamps called Wish Big that includes big and bold birthday images - absolutely perfect for paper piecing.  I had this strange piece of paper in a 6x6 pad that I had no idea how to use - so I started stamping party hats!

Paper for Hats
Then I lined them all up in a row and added some Stickles on top for a festive card!!
Party Hats in a Row

I am playing along with this week's sketch at unscripted sketches.  I love chevrons but I thought this row of hats gave the same zigzag appearance!!

Thank you SO much to all of you who have replied to my Michaels survey.  I have SO much great information.  By the time I am done with my marketing plan for my class, Michaels will want to hire me.  Of course, they will need unlimited financing to make all of the changes that I am going to suggest that they make - but that's their problem!!  I will be working on my report over the next two weeks - so if you have anything you want to add about Michaels (see yesterday's survey), I would love to hear from you!

  • Stamps: The Alley Way Stamps Wish Big
  • Paper: American Crafts My Girl 6x6 pad
  • Ink: black
  • Accessories: Stickles in Yellow, Cotton Candy, Baby Blue and Fruit Punch

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Survey for my Marketing Class

As many of you know, I am in the middle of getting a second college degree!  I am preparing ahead for a final project in my Marketing class.  Marketing has been HARD.  I just don't think in that way.  I'm taking it online and one of the requirements is to participate in a discussion board each week.  I've gone back and forth with the professor in a discussion on how Starbucks has convinced people to pay that much for foam and a squirt of coffee.  I finally threw up my hands and said I did not know.  He replied with a fairly huffy "Well...I guess you'll never be a marketer."  I'm debating about replying with a snide "and that would be why I am an accounting major".  But so far I'm demonstrating restraint.

However, I am going to need a little help getting through this class with this professor.  And I'm asking you for a few minutes of your time.  My final project due in a few weeks is to write a marketing plan.  We are to choose an established company, gather all the existing facts, and then create a plan.  I selected Michaels Arts and Crafts.  I picked it because I regularly scratch my head at the fact that financially, they are the top craft store.  The store in my town is small and cluttered and, although I do wander in every so often with my coupon, it is not my first choice.  However, I was visiting my hometown of Rapid City, South Dakota, and that Michaels is gorgeous and it was busy.  I'd shop there.

So, I want to ask you a few questions.  You can reply to this post or, if you'd rather, e-mail me at sing.email@comcast.net.

If you don't have a Michaels any where near you - you can stop reading here because you can't answer my questions!!

If you do have a Michaels and you have a few minutes, could you answer any or all of the following?

How would you describe the average shopper at Michaels?

Do you shop there?

- If not, why?  And what could they change to get your business?

- If you do shop there:

   1. What do you like about Michaels, e.g. their products, their coupons, etc.

   2. Do you view your store as older or is it one of the newer, open stores (if you can tell)?

   3. Do you shop in any departments besides cardmaking?

   4. Official press releases from them promote their "specialty" stores, e.g. The Crayola Store, Chef Duffs baking shop, Little MisMatched etc. I have to admit to being unaware of any of these promotions (except for their partnership with Martha Stewart in scrapbooking, but Martha has branched out to most stores now). Have you heard of and/or used any of their specialty items?

   5. What could they do better, for example, in my case, they just need a bigger store - everything is so cluttered, that even new product seems cheap and dingy - it's just an impression, but that's OK.

I so appreciate any help you could give me!  Thank you!

Monday, April 8, 2013

A Teeny, Tiny Little Mouse

One of the new sets from The Alley Way Stamps includes this cute little mouse.  I really wanted to use him but I just wasn't having any brainstorms.  So, as usual, I started flipping through the current challenges.  First I saw Freshly Made Sketches - and it was a great fit because the cute little mouse comes with a tag and the sketch includes a shape in the corner!!  But I was still stuck.  Then I got to Inkspirational and saw the colors were "slate" (a mouse color), "pink" (a nose color) and "banana" (a perfect accent).  I so love challenges!!

Tiny Mouse

I am guessing that the good people at Inkspirational had thought they would see a little more pink on the cards.  But I have to tell you that originally I only had a pink nose.  Then because it just didn't seem like enough for the challenge, I came up with the idea of dots so one could be pink - and I LOVE them!!

My plan for this is a baby card - but my husband just snorted when I said I was adding something like "Welcome, Little One" - he didn't think anybody would want to welcome a mouse!!  Then I suggested a cute sentiment from a different TAWS set.  The set is All About You and the sentiment says "Everything little thing is going to be alright."  My husband snorted twice at that and said that no one with a mouse wanted it be alright.

So I have absolutely no idea what this card will be used for!? 

But that little mouse is still pretty darn cute!

  • Stamps: The Alley Way Stamps Tag-Alongs
  • Paper: Stampin' Up Bordering Blue (long retired) and a long-ago pattern in So Saffron
  • Ink: Memento black and Copics, Stampin' Up So Saffron
  • Accessories: Timeless Twine Cape Cod, white Candi Dots colored with Copics

Saturday, April 6, 2013

It's FUSION time!!

If you are a bloglovin' user - be sure to read to the bottom of this post.

There's an amazing new challenge hosted by the amazing duo of Jackie Rockwell and Lesley Croghan who between them have started so many top challenge blogs, it's hard to list them all - CAS(E) this Sketch, Dynamic Duos, Muse, Freshly Made Sketches - and more!!

This challenge is called Fusion and you can use the sketch, the inspiration or both!  If this week's combo is a good sample of what's to come - this is going to be FUN!

I absolutely had to make a card for my son before he got up this morning and headed out to take a big test that he is very nervous about.  So I was tied into a masculine card and couldn't use the flowers in Lesley's photo - but I did use two of the bright colors!

Your Best Game

I thought the graphic squares gave a video game impression, thus the sentiment.  Hopefully my son is not so literal that he things I'm actually talking about a "game"!?

The interest in this card does not show up well in the photo.  Here's a close-up of the dimension.

Your Best Game closeup

I am definitely looking forward to being a regular player in this challenge.
  • Stamps: Papertrey Ink Square Prints, Boy Basics Game On
  • Paper: Papertrey Ink Smokey Shadow
  • Ink: Papertrey Ink Smokey Shadow, Poppy and Orange
  • Accessories: misc square punches and various heights of pop dots
Now a totally different subject.  As I have been posting about Google Reader, etc., a number of people have come to me for help and advice.  I love that because I am total geek and I love trying to track things down.  

First - I have written so many words, that I think I have not effectively communicated something very important.

If you didn't use Google Reader to read your blogs, 
you are absolutely NOT affected by its loss.
You will NOT lose followers.
You do NOT need to add anything to your blog.
Your blog will go on as usual!!!

But one of the recent problems shared with me is concerning - hopefully just a little concerning, but I really don't know....


A fellow blogger was getting reports that bloglovin' users were not getting her blog updates and she came to me wondering what she had to sign up for at bloglovin' so that people who read her blog could keep reading her.  The answer is "nothing".  

Bloglovin' is used by readers of blogs to collect a list of their favorite blogs and then bloglovin' nicely tells them when those blogs have a new post.  It absolutely doesn't matter whether their favorite blogs are signed up for bloglovin' or not.  That's a definite fact and proof is that I signed up for bloglovin' to test this lady's problem and the day I signed up, I already had 69 people following me there - I did NOT need to be in bloglovin' to collect those followers.

But there appears to be something broken in bloglovin'.  When people try to add this lady's blog, it says NOT FOUND.  I am very concerned about people who simply moved everything all at once from Google Reader - I don't know if they even got a warning.  All I know is that her blog didn't make it over.  There is nothing unique about her blog - she uses blogger, and Google Reader and Feedly find her - I don't believe the problem is at her end.

Even more concerning is the fact that they have a problem form specifically for this issue - so it is NOT a one-time thing.  And what really annoys me, is that I submitted her blog as a problem days ago and I still haven't heard back.

I'll let you know when I finally hear - but in the meantime, if you have moved to bloglovin' - you really might want to check that all of your favorites are still there.


Keep in mind that Google Reader users are moving by the millions to other blog readers.  Feedly reports 3 million new users in 2 weeks.  These blog reader companies are scrambling.  Not to mention the minor little detail that none of them will actually work when Google Reader dies as they were developed as a pretty front-end to Google Reader, using Reader's functionality - they have just a few months to program it all.  We have to have a little patience.  Feedly is pumping out updates as fast as they can.  They aren't all good - I'm definitely having some visual hiccups on my iPad Feedly after the last update. 

But knowing this doesn't help my friend with her bloglovin' problem.  We have to figure out how to get her in and then the bigger task is how to let people know that bloglovin' lost her!!
I'm hoping it is all working for you!!

{There's a label on my sidebar near the top of the list - Feedly/bloglovin/Google Reader - that yu can click on if you want detailed information}

Friday, April 5, 2013

BE Re-Inspired with TAWS

Last week was the start of a new BE Inspired challenge by The Alley Way Stamps, with this sweet collage of images.

It's my job this week to RE-Inspire you so that you play along.  If you don't have any images by The Alley Way Stamps, they have made digi freebies for you here.

In general, I am a fairly rigid challenge player.  This photo has pink and yellow and it has polka dots - so that's what I use.  But not today.  I'm not even sure that I can tell you what happened - I was looking for pink and yellow papers; I stumbled on this piece of floral; and it was utterly perfect for my image of the card.  So I truly was inspired, I'm just not sure you can tell!  (It does have the natural look of the spring scenes and the wood table!!!)

Winds of Change
  • Stamps: The Alley Way Stamps Life is Short
  • Paper: Stampin' Up Sahara Sand, Pebbles Walnut Grove (floral), Simple Stories Snap Color Vibe (stripe)
  • Ink: Stampin' Up Early Espresso
  • Accessories: Taylored Expressions Silhouette Stems 3 die, Stampin' Up Early Espresso Taffeta, Martha Stewart butterfly punch

Thursday, April 4, 2013

CAS(E) this Sketch! Get Well

This is my second post today.  
"Something wonderful"is just a post away.

First...I just have to say that I have a problem with the sentiment "get well".  It just seems so demanding..."get well - now!"  As if the recipient has a choice??!!   So I was cringing the entire time I was finishing this card, but I painted myself in a corner with that tag.  I needed a get well card but I didn't have teeny-tiny, less demanding sentiment.

OK...now that I got that off of my shoulders...it's time for a new sketch at CAS(E) this Sketch!

So many options!!  If you check out the design team, you will find that some used the tag - but you'll also see butterflies, vases and a few streaks and blobs of paint.  It really is quite amazing to see how a group of people use a sketch.  That's why I also love when you play along because I get to see them all!!

Here's my card.  The tag became a fence, but I did also add a little tag on my fence!

Get Well

Hope to see you play along!

iPad Users: The iPad/iPod tab at the top of my page has been updated.  Mostly just removing a lot fo clutter so it's much easier to use now!

  • Stamps: Papertrey Ink Little Bitty Bird and Little Bitty Bird Additions, Tiny Tags II
  • Paper: Papertrey Simply Chartreuse, Summer Sunrise, Berry Sorbet, Simon Says Stamp Woodgrain Cardstock
  • Ink: Papertrey Ink Simply Chartreuse, Smokey Shadow
  • Accessories: Papertrey Ink dies: Little Bitty Bird and Little Bitty Bird Additions, Tiny Tags, misc leaf punch, Doodlebug Designs twine, white embossing powder

Something Wonderful with twine

The current challenge at Catered Crop is "Twine Love" and I do love twine!  It's so versatile - for my card today, I let it take center stage to highlight this "wonderful" sentiment!  But it works just as easily to tie a button - or to add a simple strip across a card for that little accent that makes it perfect.

Something Wonderful
Catered Crop

If you have not played along, Catered Crop is a great challenge.  It runs for two weeks.  On the first week, Linda has a Pinterest inspiration board for the theme, so you can get lots of ideas just by seeing what she has pinned.  (This week's twine board includes bacon out of twine!!?)  But if the inspiration board isn't quite enough to get you started, on the second week, the design team posts their take on the challenge.  So you get LOTS of inspiration out of a single challenge!
Pinterest: Twine Love
And something wonderful has happened for me - I get to start designing for them!! You'll be seeing lots more from me - and I hope I inspire you to check it out and play along!

The sentiment is from a new set by The Alley Way Stamps - I love what it says.  This set is full of unique sayings that are different from anything that I already own.

And, yes, this is two days in a row that I jumped on the sequin trend!!

iPad Users: The iPad/iPod tab at the top of my page has been updated.  Mostly just removing a lot of clutter so it's much easier to use now!

  • Stamps: The Alley Way Stamps Life Is Short
  • Paper: white
  • Ink: Memento black
  • Accessories: The Twinery Tangerine and Caribbean, Timeless Twine Lemonade Yellow, Sequins are a mixed package from the Etsy Shop Endless Inkabilities, Stampin' Up diagonal score board

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Cheer UP with Casology

There is nothing new about this card - you've definitely seen it all before because I jumped on every trend out there.   Die cut letters on a shelf, baker's twine, scallops and even sequins!  The only thing that I didn't use, that I would have used had I owned what I thought I owned(!), is a wood veneer arrow for the up part.

I am playing along with this week's CASology Cue Card: Up.  I was a little worried about whether the sentiment was obvious, so I asked my fairly clueless husband and he didn't even hesitate before he said "cheer up...but it has too much bling" (that's his usual analysis of my cards - my clean, simple, basic cards!!)  I also added a little scallop to the "shelf" because I am always inspired by the challenges at Less Is More!

Cheer Up

I really wasn't going to jump on the sequin trend.  I had myself totally talked out of it when I realized that the stores/brands carrying the really nice sequins had each color bagged separately.  I would have had to spend $60 and owned about 5,000 sequins to get a complete collection from any of these stores - because, you know, I have to have complete collections!  I do like some of the cards that I have been seeing, so I popped into Etsy and found some collections of iridescent, metallic and satin sequins at Endless Inkabilities - just enough in a bag so that I could play along with the trend!

iPad Users: The iPad/iPod tab at the top of my page has been updated.  Mostly just removing a lot of clutter - but it's MUCH easier to use!

An Amusing Google Reader Update:
Just a reminder that I defined the situation here (no, you won't lose your followers) and I gave a tutorial on Feedly here (my choice for a Google Reader replacement).

Feedly is now saying they have 3,000,000 new users.  Wow!  And the other service being used by cardmakers is bloglovin' - you can't read card blogs without seeing the button popping up.

It really makes me wonder what Google was thinking when they canned the Reader.  And I'm not the only one who thinks that.  Last week, Google announced a new note-taking tool called "Keep".  Tech bloggers and news people are warning against it.  One headline said "Google Keep just went live, and watching the media warn people about it is remarkable".  Other techie people have said it might even be better than what's already out there, but they say "fool me once, shame on you.  Fool me twice, shame on me" - they won't use it because they had been Google Reader users and no longer trust Google.

The big flaw that Google missed is that they not only annoyed a legion of crafts and cardmakers (!), they killed something that was used loyally by techies and journalists - the same people that they need to promote their products.  One techie blogger said, "It's a public relations nightmare that I'm sure is being discussed in a dimly lit office right now."

(This all has nothing to do with cardmaking and I'm sure none of you care - but I'm currently in a marketing class - and this whole move violates Marketing 101 - so I have been following in fascination!  Thanks for listening!)
  • Stamps: none!
  • Paper: Papertrey Hibiscus Burst CS, Simple Stories dsp
  • Ink: none!
  • Accessories: Papertrey Ink Headline Alphabet and Get to the Point dies, Trendy Twine Tinkled Pink, Stampin' Up scallop border, sequins from Endless Inkabilities