Thursday, December 31, 2015

My Favorite Cards of 2015

I love doing this post every year. As I scan though my FLICKR folder of cards, I relive so many memories. I remember birthdays and funerals. I remember friends who needed support and encouragement, and I remember friends who were celebrating. I relive the milestones in my children's life. All of this through cards that I've made.

It's been a a year of changes in my life. My oldest son graduated from high school (yes, I'm old!) and then decided to defer college a year (which was a wise decision) but actually thought he'd hang out in our home playing video games - not! I began working full-time but in an interim situation to gain experience. (I graduated with a degree in accounting a little over a year ago). I'm now looking for just the right job to begin my second career (or my third career if I count my years as mom). My youngest left the large public high school to do cyber school from home, which was a necessary but not an easy transition.  It's been busy. 

I only did about half the card posts in 2015 that I did in 2014. That's a little sad, but it also kept cardmaking as my escape - not my job. I kept the design team positions that I most loved.  I was first on board with the Curtain Call team and continue with that.  I love being part of Freshly Made Sketches - it's the nicest, most caring, and friendliest team around - not to mention great sketches. My "company" team is Taylored Expressions - their product is such a good fit for me. I've often stressed over design team commitments, but truly, working with their product is easy every single time - I love it.

I've had some of my peak cardmaking accomplishments this year.  I was published for the first (and the second time!) My first published project was in the November 2015 Happy Holidays special edition by CardMaker magazine. It was a trio consisting of a coordinating card, tag and luminary using Taylored Expressions products, focused on their Nativity Border die. I was thrilled to not only be in the magazine, but one of the trio was pictured on the table of contents page! I also had cards in the British publication Die-Cutting Essentials but I actually haven't seen that one.

Another milestone was reaching 1 million pageviews on my blog.  I know that's a fairly meaningless number with the use of things like bloglovin' and feedly - but it still brought a big smile to my face when I saw the number.  Thank you all! What means the most is how many of those viewers I feel like I know. I can't believe how much this community cares about each other - it's a wonderful place to be.

Picking cards to put in this post can be difficult. I'm always amazed that some of the cards that I like the most get very few views, while other cards that I'm not even convinced that I should display get lots of attention. I think it probably relates to the memories. The cards that I like may not be the best from a strictly artistic point of view - but I love what they remind me of. So here are my favorites for the year, picked for a variety of reasons. I hope you enjoy them too.

Products by Taylored Expressions
Sponging doesn't always work well for me, but this was an exception. I love the soft color gradient behind that beautiful tree

Heartfelt Tree

Under the Sea
Products by Taylored Expressions
I'm just tickled by that pop of orangish red on all of the pretty blue waves!

Taylored Expressions Under the Sea

Circles for You
Products by Simon Says Stamp. Done for the Curtain Call Inspiration Challenge.
Although I LOVE the look, I am not particularly good at just graphic cards. I always seems to end up with coordinating images, sentiments and die cuts. This simple card appealed to me because it didn't have a specific image - just a lot of fun circles.

Beach Balls For You

Get Well Flowers
Products by Lil' Inkers. Done for Freshly Made Sketches.
LOVE the monochromatic colors especially using that ombre paper. I was thrilled that this one just popped up on the Lil' Inkers blog.

FMS 199 Get Well Soon

Products by My Favorite Things.
A friend gave me this beautiful confetti and I wanted to show it off with these large die cuts.


Merry Wishes Rainbow
Products by Stampin' Up. Done as a guest for Merry Monday Christmas Challenge.
I'm not good at "random" but I was quite happy with this swoosh of colorful snowflakes.

Merry Monday Rainbow

Oh Holy Night
Products by Taylored Expressions.
I think this might be my favorite card of 2015. 

TE Watercolor Panel: Joy to the World

Products by Taylored Expressions.
I love every single set of Grumplings!!

TE Holiday Grumplings

Bright Spirits
Products by Paper Smooches.
It's hard to go wrong with the bold images and fun fonts of Paper Smooches!


A Jolly Season
Products by Taylored Expressions.
I'm giving myself extra points for this one because #1 - it's not just a card and #2 - I actually staged a photo!!

Gift Giving with Happy SantaGift Giving with Happy Santa

Peace on Earth
Products by Reverse Confetti.
I got more emotional making this card than I've ever gotten before - you'll have to check out the blog post to read about why.

FMS Peace on Earth

Perfect Blend
Products by Taylored Expressions.
I love these cute little dies!

Taylored Expressions Blender

Love You a Watt
Products by Taylored Expressions.
LOVE the colors and patterns bursting from that cute little light bulb.

TE Love You a Watt

Farewell 2015!!

Welcome 2016!!

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Happy Birthday Erik!

My youngest son turns 16 today.  Wow. I'm old!

Here he is recently when he made me hot tub in the morning to celebrate the first snow. It was bitter cold with blowing snow - a truly miserable experience.  (He has his head turned so the pelting ice crystals didn't hit him directly in the face.  Don't feel too sorry for him - I'm the idiot standing in my swimsuit taking a picture!)

He loves new food experiences. (He'd had crawfish before - although it's not particularly common in Colorado!)

Here he is over the summer. He woke up at 5:30 a.m., wandered out to the hammock and slept for three more hours!!

He keeps us on our toes!!

But he really hasn't had the best year in his life. Just teenage stuff - but it has him down (you couldn't pay me enough to go back to my teenage years).  So I wanted to make a birthday card that was also encouraging.  

A Million People

The sentiment is an in/out set and the inside says "That makes you one in a million".  I think it's exactly the message he needs right now.

I started out with some clear sequins - like sun spots in the sky - but then realized that my 16-year old male would be offended by sequins!  I had these wooden stars on my desk needing to be put away and I'm glad they were there - because I love the look!

We don't have huge plans today.  We do have tickets for the entire family and a friend of his for Star Wars tomorrow.  He and his big brother went on opening night but could only get first row tickets in a small theater. This time, we have decent seats in a huge theater with the reclining seats and restaurant service.  I'm excited!  (I'm old - so I still remember seeing the very first Star Wars way more times than I care to admit.)  Then he's hauling a second TV to the family room and he and his friend are doing side-by-side "XBoxing" for the rest of the night with promises from the rest of the family to stay out of his way and not complain about the extended XBox time!


Both stamp sets are retired Stampin' Up - the balloons are from Patterned Play, the sentiment from One in a Million. The paper is Crushed Curry. I used Distress Inks to sponge the colored strip - Spiced Marmalade, Mustard Seed, Fossilized Amber and Bundled Sage.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Punny Love - I Love You a Watt

Christmas is over - sad, but also a bit of a relief when it comes to cardmaking.  I do love making Christmas cards and you'll probably see some on my blog as soon as January as I get a head start for next year. But it is a very nice change to pull out different colors and different images.  I went as far as possible with this card - yellows, grays and a light bulb!!!

TE Love You a Watt

I just recently got this Ray of Sunshine Cutting Plate (planning ahead so I can CASE Jen Shult's amazing Easter card.)  But I didn't want to use it for just one Easter card and I knew that I'd love it with this little light bulb!

TE Love You a Watt

I coated the light bulb with glossy accents. Then I added a variety of yellow, grays and patterned paper to make my rays.

It was a little fiddly to cut all of those rays (I'm cheap and I didn't want to cut entire pieces of cardstock to get just a few rays), but it was fun!!


Friday, December 25, 2015

Glory to God in the Highest

Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace,
goodwill toward men.
Luke 2:14

May you have the gift of faith, the blessing of hope
and the peace of His love at Christmas and always.

Peace on Earth


I have used the retired Stampin' Up colors Lucky Limeade and Coastal Cabana as two of the snowflakes.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Share Joy with...JOY!!!

The current Share Joy Challenge includes a sketch and a tic tac toe!

This was one of those cards that just kept changing.  I started all white, with snowflakes and a few swooshes of watercolor and ended up with this snowy church scene in blues and krafts!

Christmas Joy

The turning point on my card was remember the frame with "Joy" and envisioning a joyful scene behind it. I love the Night Before Christmas border and I've used it on other cards, both in full and cropped down just to see the church. I quickly decided that the watercolor swooshes such as on the sketch were just too much for my little church.  I did add a small forest of trees in a nod to the sketch.  That's why I like sketch challenges so much. Without the inspiration of the sketch, I probably would have stopped at the framed church, but I really like the dimension the forest gives it.

I also used the tic tac toe - glitter, no patterned paper and twine!

I did "share joy" with this card but you have to be a little careful around Christmas to give away surprises - so you'll just have to trust me that this one has been mailed off!


I used some heat 'n stick powder and some Martha Stewart Fine Crystal Glitter to "frost" the scene.