Friday, March 22, 2019

52Christmas Card Throwdown: Gingerbread

I actually put a note in my calendar to start Christmas cards a month ago - but I didn't do it.  Then I saw the Gingerbread challenge at 52Christmas Card Throwdown and remembered that I have a really fun die set in my stash to cut large gingerbread men and a second set to dress them up - male and female!!  So I just made my first Christmas card of the year!!

TE Gingerbread Man

There are a lot of pieces in the dress up die set.  I relied on this post from Melody from last Christmas season to give me ideas - just scroll down to see an entire garland of gingerbread men!!  There are so many options! I kept mine super simple - I thought the card looked so fresh with the bit of blue that I didn't want him to be too decorated.  But I have to admit that I put the die set back in my to-use stash because I want to use him (and her!) again with a few more decorations!

TE Gingerbread Man Close

Here's the challenge!  It closes today so I just squeaked it in.  I'm hoping that I stay inspired to focus on Christmas.  This one was fun so I may just have to keep them coming!


Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Freshly Made Sketches: Lucky Stars

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

The timing was particularly good on this sketch.  My youngest is headed to college in just a few short months.  When my oldest went, I had made a huge number of cards to have on hand for him - cards if he succeeded, cards if he failed, cards if he got stressed or worried - or just goofy "mom misses you cards"!  But I have nothing prepared for my youngest so it's been in my head that I need to get a start on these.  When I saw the sketch - it clicked that I have a set that has 9 stars on a stamp laid out in that pattern so I don't even have to line them up!!

FMS Lucky Stars

Guess what's extra fun about this card - it's his new school colors!!  Fun story - he's going to Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois.  Guess where I graduated from many, many decades ago?  Augustana College but not in Rock Island - my Augustana College (now University) is in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.  Both of them use blue and gold and both are Vikings.  So I have throwback stuff from my school that I can wear for his school!  We didn't plan it - in fact, he's somewhat horrified that I walk around bragging that I went to the real Augustana College.  

He was heavily recruited as a lacrosse goalie.  Augie has a good Division III program which is a perfect fit for him - competitive but not insane.  I love that it's a small Christian school. He loves that it's in the Quad Cities which has about a half million people - and it's just a few hours from Chicago so he can experience true city living while living on a small, protected campus.

The border is inset.  I cut the center out with a stitched rectangle, the trimmed off the stitched part leaving a bit of a gap between the two.

TE Lucky Stars Close

Here's hoping I need many, many more of this type of card! 

FYI - this is a Taylored Expressions set and if you haven't started on Easter cards - they have a jelly bean set with the same layout (and there are others!)   I had it out to use, but I only have one more Easter card to make and jelly beans just aren't right for this one.

I hope to see you playing along with us this week.


Monday, March 18, 2019

Taylored Expressions: A Hawaiian-Themed Wedding

I have a very interesting event coming up - and I love that I can create a custom card for it that's just right.  A wonderful guy at work - a bit older - is getting married for the first time. He and his fiancee dated in college and connected again recently.  They are doing this wedding their way - a Hawaiian theme in a Colorado mountain park with a group hike afterwards and the Hangry Ohana Hawaiian Barbeque food truck for refreshments!!  LOVE IT!!

So I needed a card for them that wasn't particularly frilly but still celebrated a wedding - with a bit of Hawaiian added in.  Luckily I have the Taylored Expressions products to do it!!


I put the bright colors in the background. The great part of putting the color behind the cutting plate is that there is still so much fresh white that it is clearly for a wedding!  The color in the background doesn't need to be done carefully either.  I literally sponged on blobs - then I did a quick sprinkle of black watercolor for the texture.


To formalize it just a wee bit - I painted the "congrats" with shimmer watercolor.  I also added three little sequins - but in a bright purple!!  The sequins come from a Halloween set (linked below) that I have multiple bottles of just for these purple sequins.  I also added quite a bit of dimension - it is a very thick card but I like the substantial look of it.


I'm ready with the card.  Now I just have to figure out what to wear to a Hawaiian wedding in the Colorado Rockies that matches my hiking boots!!


Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Freshly Made Sketches: Pray Hope Trust

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

A few weeks back we had circles on a sketch and I used bouquets of flowers.  Last week we had circles and I totally stuck with circles.  This week...more circles...I did one true circle and one circular doily!!  (Close enough!!)

FMS Pray Hope Trust

This card was a struggle.  The sketch wasn't a problem and I adore the butterflies - but it had to be meaningful, yet for someone I really don't know.  That's hard.  It's a lady my husband works with and he thinks the world of her.  I've met her once while I was visiting my husband.  She and her husband have asked my husband and I to join them at their favorite brewery but we just haven't made it work. They seem very down-to-earth and I know they are outdoorsy.  I also know they are Christians. I played with a variety of options but settled on butterflies as the mood I wanted.  

Her husband just had a biopsy which did not show good results.  They haven't even dealt with that yet because the biopsy caused a major infection.  There are so many unknowns.  The sentiment on this card has become my go-to in these situations.  I have thousands of sentiments, but these three words usually say exactly what needs to be said - "pray hope trust".

I hopw to see you playing along with us this week at Freshly Made Sketches!!

Stamps: Stampin' Up Butterfly Gala, Taylored Expressions Faith in Bloom (the sentiment)
Dies/Punches: Stampin' Up Butterfly Duet Punch, Lil' Inker Designs Cover Up Die: Stitched Woodgrain, MFT Fishtail dies, Taylored Expressions Stitched Cricle Stacklet
Cardstock: Stampin' Up Daffodil Delight, Lemon Lime Twist, Neenah Desert Storm
Accessories: Stampin' Up Colored Doilies, Iridescent Sequin Assortment, Versamark Ink, Wow Super Fine Opaque Bright White Embossing Powder, Copic Markers

Monday, March 11, 2019

Taylored Expressions: And So the Adventure Begins

A wonderful co-worker has resigned and he and his wife are moving across the country.  I can't decide whether to be sad (he was always the only calm one in times of crisis and he was great at patiently explaining things), or mad (because guess who gets to work two jobs until he is replaced which is never quick in the government world) or happy for them (although it wasn't necessarily a move they chose to make - isn't life what happens when you are making other plans??!)   This is what I came up with.


With all of those mixed emotions, this was a tough card.  First I settled on a the cute little house and then I was thrilled to find the little tree with the heart. The big burst of sunshine was to make it bright and cheerful.  The sentiment was a bit harder - given even they had mixed emotions.  Instead of "good luck" or "new house" - I settled on "adventure".  The sentiment just seemed to say what needed to be said.  It's a new chapter in their lives - that's always an adventure!

Taylored Expressions: Adventure

I love how all of these products work together.  The road matches the rolling hill.  The house and the tree are the perfect size.  The car comes from a Christmas set (it comes with a little tree to put on top).  There is another car/truck die set available here - I was absolutely shocked I didn't have in my collection but I will remedy that soon!!  I love the look of traveling with the sunshine at the end.

This card is mainly just lots of dies. It's my favorite thing to do - little scenes of dies!!  I did the sunshine with the Here Comes the Sun Stencil.  I centered it by the house and brushed just a small circle of Lemon Meringue.  Then went further out (but not all the way to the edges) with Potato Chip.  I removed the stencil and gave it all a light brush of Potato Chip.  This makes the rays look like they are fading toward the edge.

I hope this had meaning to them - because I sure had fun thinking of their adventure as I put it together!


Friday, March 8, 2019

The Paper Players: Spring Fever

There was no way that I could miss The Paper Players this week.  Check out the graphic - then see the wonderful Spellbinders Small Die of the Month Club for February - Spring Flutter.

I didn't use quite the same colors although I loved them.  I squeezed this card in before work so went with whatever struck me in the small amount of time I had.  But isn't it wonderful that the die is so detailed that I can create a quick and easy card but still have lots of detail!!

TPP Unstoppable

Not many words today - I have 5 minutes to dress, pack lunch and hop in the car or I'll be late for  a meeting.  You know what the die is.  The stamp is from Simon Says Stamp You Got This.  The paper is ancient but it's Chalkboard from We R Memory Keepers!

Thanks to Paper Players for the lovely graphic!!

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Freshly Made Sketches: Hey Sugar!

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

We seem to have had a lot of circles at Freshly Made Sketches lately!!  I've played a little loose with the sketches recently so I committed to myself that I was doing circles this week no matter what.  Since I somewhat obsessively index and tag all of my dies on my computer - I searched on "circles" and found a set called Candy Shoppe Shaker.

FMS Hey Sugar

For the two background candies - I glittered the white circle.  For the blue candy - I used foam adhesive and acrylic to create a shaker filled with some seed beads.

I tend towards lots of white space but for some reason lately, plain white seems a little stark to me. It's a mood!  Last week when the mood hit, I got out some black acrylic paint and splattered.  This week I used a stencil and some shimmery mist to add polka dots.  It's hard to even see - but it added enough to satisfy my mood!

FMS Hey Sugar Close

Personally, I'm a sugary candy person.  I won't turn down chocolate, but jelly beans or Skittles or Smarties - those are my real favorites.  So I had a great time creating these sparkly pieces of candy!  I hope to see you playing along with us this week at Freshly Made Sketches.


Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Freshly Made Sketches: Flowers and a Teacup

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

This is the second time in the last few weeks hat I'm going to have to explain my card vs. the sketch.  I'm generally a hard-core sketch follower.  I'd like to say that it's even more challenging that way - this sketch must have two circles, a square and leaves.  But in reality, I'm probably just not creative enough to be inspired vs. being exact.  Here's my card for this week.

FMS Teacup

As I was flipping through stamps and dies looking for circles and squares, I saw this set in my not-yet-used stash.  Maybe it was a creative moment (or perhaps desperation as the deadline for this card was approaching), but I instantly saw the cup as the fairly straight-edge square and the flowers as the more fluid circle.  I put one set of flowers behind the cup and one on top just like the sketch shows.  The bird really had no place with the sketch, but it was too cute not to use.  (Funny thing - another design team member used this same stamp set - great minds!!)

I placed them directly onto white cardstock and after all were adhered, I thought it was a little boring - so I held my breath, watered down some black acrylic paint and flicked it on.  This has to be the first time ever that I was successful and didn't get any big blobs.  That was a very good thing because I got the photo taken just in time to walk this to the mailbox addressed to a friend in need as the postman was pulling up!!  (Although sadly, I'm now wishing I'd taken a side-view shot before I mailed it.  I actually adhered all the elements at different depths - the teacup is a thin dimensional adhesive, the top flower is a thick one and the banner is even popped from the teacup.  It's amazing how dimensional adhesive can add so much interest to a basic card.)

I hope to see you playing along with us this week!

Stamps: WPlus9 Hello & Thanks (This set has a number of sentiments that would have worked in my little banner, but I needed a "thinking of you" so I used a sentiment from the retired WPlus9 set Love Birds)
Dies: Wplus9 Hello & Thanks, Taylored Expressions Double-Ended Flag Stacklets
Other: Copics, black acrylic paint

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Freshly Made Sketches: Happy Birthday

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

My card for this sketch is so simple, I'm almost embarrassed to show it.  But I found this very detailed and unique sentiment in my stash and decided to take advantage of it.  Sometimes I forget that every card doesn't have to be a struggle - or have a technique - or be unique.  This sentiment just needed an embossed background, a piece of festive patterned paper - done!!

FMS Happy Birthday

You have to admit that a non-crafter would have no idea how easy embossing folders and die-cutting really are!!  

I hope to see you playing along this week.  I'm fascinated to see how many people take the easy route like I did - or how many fancy it up! 

Dies: Creative Expressions Happy Birthday
Embossing Folder: Taylored Expressions Streamers
Gems: Pretty Pink Posh Sea Glass

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Happy Valentine's Day: Paper Dolls

Spellbinders Valentine Flat

The only truly fun Valentines I get to make are for my nieces.  I'm surrounded by boys and men who are about as far from mushy as it gets.  (In fact this year for my 19-year old, I resorted to a McDonald's gift card because he is currently addicted to their cheesy bacon fries - I stuck it in an envelope but I did use this set (just on the envelope, no card at all) and mashed together "this may be cheesy, I only have fries for you" + the fries.  Get it? Cheese and fries!!)  

These little darlings come from the Spellbinders January Small Die of the Month Club.  It's called First Crush.  It's absolutely brilliant.  There are a number of dies that can come together in a myriad of ways - little girls, older girls, boys, different hairstyles - a classic paper doll set!  I knew it would be perfect for my youngest niece.  It might be a stretch for my oldest niece, although by the time I added earrings and cute leggings, I think it will work.  Besides I just don't have that many more years for cute girl cards so I took advantage of it this year.

Spellbinders Valentine WEB

I'm enamored of all of the little details.  Obviously the hair is different - but notice that the main hair part is the same - and that's the piece that works for a little boy.  I added ruffled sleeves to one and little socks.  One has earrings - and that piece worked for pigtail holders for the other.  Notice there are even different eyes that I think really changed the age of these sweet dolls.  I had SO much fun.  I'm not sure my nieces will enjoy receiving their cards as much as I enjoyed revisiting my childhood and playing with paper dolls!!

Spellbinders Younger Spellbinders Older

I hope your day is full of love and hugs!!  (And maybe some chocolate!)

Happy Valentine's Day!

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Freshly Made Sketches: Rain or Shine

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

Last week, I found the sketch challenging but I was inspired by it and was thrilled with the results.  I wanted so much to rise to this week's challenge.  I wanted to create a bold, graphic card - totally out of my comfort zone.  But at some point, I gave up.  I do like my card but it's definitely not bold and graphic and I'm going to have to explain it!

FMS Weather

Do you see the sketch???  The clouds and sun are the big triangle.  The umbrella is an upside-down triangle - at least for this sketch it is!!  The lightning is the stem of greenery.  Do you see it now?  Probably not!!  But at least it got me to pull out an unused set out and let it see some ink.  

I was thrilled recently when a friend was de-stashing and I am now the proud owner of a number of older Reverse Confetti sets (at least this one's not retired).  I love them all - they were all on my wishlist and they just showed up in the mail one day.  Thank you friend!

To give it interest, I did pop them at a variety of heights.  This picture shows it a bit better. The top cloud and lightning bolt are on thin pop dots and the umbrella is on thicker.  It's funny how a very simple card can be elevated with some dimension.

FMS Weather Close

I hope to see you playing along with us!!

Stamps: Reverse Confetti Weather It Together
Dies: Reverse Confetti Weather It Together Confetti Cuts

Monday, February 11, 2019

Taylored Expressions Folk Art for Three Challenges

I love challenges!  They take me out of my comfort zone and give me new ideas.  Usually, one challenge is usually enough of a challenge...but this card uses three challenges!!

TE Folk Art Spring

I actually keep challenges in a spreadsheet (I know. It's a character flaw. Don't get me started on my books, playlists and pants-that-fit-me spreadsheets.)  I knew there was a current bird challenge and I knew that with the Taylored Expressions release last week, I had some birds that I seriously wanted to use.  I flipped to my spreadsheet and right there across the spreadsheet for this week were three challenges that were perfect for my birds.

The Color Throwdown had three bright, bird-like colors.  (Although having said that about the bright colors, if you like the birds, this card by Heather Nichols using them in blues and kraft is stunning!)

CAS(E) this Sketch has three little images and I figured a birdhouse and two birds equals three!  Fun thing - this is a retro sketch with the original being from June 2013 when I was actually on the design team!  This card is what I did the sketch almost six years ago.

The bird challenge at Addicted to CAS is what started this, although in my opinion, I did kind of step over the line with this being a CAS card.  For me, CAS does not include a full background of patterned paper - it's all white space.  I do adore clean and open white space but I just couldn't do it on this card.  While I am not a yellow fan, my birds needed that warmth.  They just didn't pop on a white background.  My CAS side did come through in my choice of yellow.  I originally had the bright yellow out that I used for the birds but I ended up with a softer yellow with a subtle pattern to soften it even more. (The color still pops in the picture but trust me that this is big step down from the Lemon Meringue of the birds.)

Here are the little birds again.  I did cut their little perches separately and I cut the birdhouse in black and trimmed off a piece for the roof.  I wanted an itty-bitty friendship sentiment and found it in an entirely different set, Laurels.

TE Folk Art Spring Close

I love the Scandinavian Folk Art look and am thrilled that there are more in the collection with more to come!  Check out the new release category at Taylored Expressions to see what's new.


Thursday, February 7, 2019

Taylored Expressions Release Day: Easter Joy

It's the big day!  All of the Taylored Expressions products that you've seen through sneak peek week are now available - and I have a few more to show you. Be sure to head over to the Taylored Expressions blog for a few more peeks - and to see if you've won a prize!

There are two wonderful new sets of Christian sentiments - perfect for Easter.  This card uses Words of Faith - Easter.  

Taylored Expressions Words of Faith - Easter

The sentiment isn't the only new item on this card.  The base color is Peaches n' Cream.  I embossed the sentiment with Rose Gold Fine Detail Embossing Powder - it's a lovely match.  The Petite Scallop Rectangle Stacklets is also new.  The cross is the previously released Old Rugged Cross which comes out for my cards every single Easter! I gave it a little texture with the Woodgrain Background.

Taylored Expressions Words of Faith - Easter

The floral border along the bottom isn't new - but I'm stretching it.  It's In Season and was actually part of a calendar release.  It's an accent with the Walnut Wood Calendar Stand to add seasonal decoration to your calendars - it includes all four seasons.   It doesn't stretch all the way across a card, but I love it on these smaller panels.

This is the supply list for this card but keep reading for a final peek.


Another new beautiful sentiment set is Handlettered Easter along with a beautiful background for it - Pretty Posies Background.

Taylored Expressions Pretty Posies

I've used more new colors on this card Raspberry Sorbet and the leaves are Spearmint. Such an elegant combination.  The flower is the previously released Scribble Flowers and I used leaves from Bloomers Greenery - both have the same open look as the background.

Taylored Expressions Pretty Posies

No more chatter from me - the TE store is open!


Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Taylored Expressions Sneak Peek 3: Llamas and Cacti

It's day 3 of sneak peeks for the February release from Taylored Expressions and I'm stepping away from Easter sneak peeks to some charming critters and fun cacti. Everything you see this week will be available on Thursday, February 7th. Be sure to check out each of the creative team members' blogs for all of the sneak peeks - starting with the Taylored Expressions blog.  

You cannot tell me that these guys don't make you grin!!

Taylored Expressions Look Who's Talking

I love the critters from Look Who's Talking.  There's also a bear, a rat(!) and a moose along with the perfect sentiments for each in that really fun font.  Obviously I used the llama (alpaca? - I don't know the difference) multiple times.  I differentiated them with wool colors and face colors then I plopped on some hats and bows.  (FYI - the sentiment uses the Banner Stacklets 1 die but I cut part way, flipped it and cut the other side.)

Taylored Expressions Look Who's Talking

This is going out to my son for his 23rd birthday.  He's at college and has a good group of friends to celebrate with.  He and his friends are still young and wide-eyed so I definitely envisioned them as I was making this card!

Here's the supply list for this card.  Keep reading because I have another sneak peek and a chance to win prizes!

Remember that the new links won't work until Thursday.

Taylored Expressions is celebrating Release Week with a a giveaway during each day of sneak peeks! Visit 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! 

Another new set this release is Can't Touch This - LOVE the name since it's a set of cacti!  It's a great all-around set because with the great detail on each cactus they can stand alone and be quite nice - or you can add their faces and they are very cute!

Taylored Expressions Can't Touch This

The coordinating die set also has a sombrero and a variety of pots so I "planted" my cacti and dressed them up for a party.  I used a birthday sentiment but there are a variety of other options such as "pretty fly for a cacti" - fun!!

Taylored Expressions Can't Touch This

There's a special deal with this set.  Check out the fabulous stamps and dies - and you get a freebie with the bundle!!

Tomorrow is release day!  I'll have a few more peeks focused on Christian Easter sentiments.  Head over to the TE blog for more sneak peeks, then be sure to come back tomorrow.

Remember that the new links won't work until Thursday.