I'm Amy, a stay-at-home mom by day and a crafter by night. After a day of chasing my kids around the house, I escape to my craft room for a few hours of creating while they sleep. Thanks for joining me in my little corner of the crafting world!

Monday, December 31, 2012

Goodbye 2012, Hello 2013!

Happy New Year's Eve!  I've been so busy with family over the holidays that I haven't spent much time in my craft room or blogging, but I plan to post some new cards later this week.  In the meantime, I wanted to take a moment to thank each of you for visiting my blog in 2012.  Your kind comments have meant so much to me, and I hope you'll continue to visit me here in 2013.  I have met so many wonderful people through the blogging world, and I continue to be inspired every day as I visit your blogs and online galleries to see your marvelous creations.  Here's to a happy and crafty 2013 for all of us!

Thanks for stopping by today.  Happy New Year! 

Friday, December 21, 2012

Last-Minute Christmas Card

Happy Friday!  I had to sneak in one more Christmas card for you.  This one is quick and easy, which is just about all I have time for right now.   I love the Christmas season and will be sad to see it end, but I won't miss the craziness of holiday preparations!

Here's my keep-it-simple Christmas card for today:

I started by making a card base from Crumb Cake card stock.  I used some dark green card stock to die cut three Christmas trees, then added some color by watercoloring over them in green.  To add a little sparkle and texture, I outlined them and scribbled over them with a clear Spica pen.  (It's hard to see the texture and sparkle in this picture.)  I stamped the sentiment in Handsome Hunter using both a pad and a marker (I didn't like the coverage I got with a stamp pad alone, so I used the stamp pad first and then filled in any light spots with the marker before stamping).  Since this is a large stamp and some of the letters had spots that still weren't as dark as I'd like, I used a blender pen to fill in where needed.  I added a background of ivory burlap, then added my die cut trees over the burlap with mini glue dots.  For a little sparkle, I added some rhinestones near my sentiment. 

I hope you are feeling the joy of the Christmas season, too.  Thanks for stopping by today!
Products Used:
Stamp: Hero Arts
Paper: Crumb Cake card stock (Stampin' Up!), dark green card stock (unknown)
Ink: Handsome Hunter Classic Dye Ink (Stampin' Up!)
Accessories and Tools: Framelits Holiday Collection (Stampin' Up!); Watercolor Crayons (Staedtler);
Spica pen (Too Marker Products); rhinestones (Zva Creative); ivory burlap

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Hay for Terry

Oh my goodness, this card was nearly my creative undoing!  Today's card is a Teapot Tuesday Challenge card, and our recipient is a fellow Teapotter's husband, Terry, who needs a kidney transplant.  We wanted to send some cheer to him during this difficult waiting period, so we needed to make masculine cards.  Our teapot inspiration this week is a western-themed teapot and our challenge was based on Clint Eastwood movies.  I didn't have any western-themed stamps, but I had this cute hay bale and funny sentiment that I wanted to use.  We also had several techniques we could choose from for this challenge, and each was a twist on one of Clint Eastwood's films.  I chose to use a "painted background" technique (Paint Your Wagon).  I also decided to add a second option and use five panels layered (High Plains Drifter). 

A masculine, cowboy-themed card?  This posed a very intriguing challenge that took me far outside of my usual box.  My husband came down to my craft cave at one point and said, "What exactly are you trying to do there?"  I tossed that card and started another.  And another.  And another.  My recycling pile was getting pretty depressing.  But then I remembered a technique I saw Sandy Allnock use on a "Stump Sandy" segment on OWHtv where she distressed a piece of patterned paper to adapt it to her card's colors.  Finally, success!  (The distressed patterned paper is what I'm calling my painted background...I know, it's a stretch!)  But then I needed four more panels and I didn't have any matching patterned paper in my stash.  I struggle with using patterned papers anyway, so this was tricky.  I used a background stamp on one layer and even used the original patterned paper, unchanged, for another layer.  I am telling you, my heart and soul went into this card last night!  I finally emerged from my cave around 2:00 a.m. and told my husband that a card had almost killed his wife.  Bless his heart, he pretended to understand!

Here's my card:

I started with a dark brown card stock base and a piece of patterned paper.  I distressed the patterned paper with Walnut Stain and Tea Dye Distress Inks.  I stamped my image and sentiment on Classic Crest Natural White and sponged Chocolate Chip and Close to Cocoa chalks over the panel, then inked the edges with Rich Cocoa ink.  I stamped the sentiment in Rich Cocoa, but struggled find the right shade for the hay.  I finally settled on inking the stamp with Rich Cocoa then using a a clean sponge to pull a bit of the ink off (stamping off removed too much ink, so the sponge was the trick), then sponged the stamped image some with additional colors until it could pass as hay.  It's still not the color I'd like, but it will do.

I stamped another piece of Natural White with a Canvas background stamp using Chestnut Roan chalk ink.  The lighter patterned piece on this card is the same patterned paper I used for the large distressed panel, just without any distressing.  Isn't it amazing how much difference a little distress ink can make? 

We get extra cookies at the tea party if we forgot about Christmas while making the card, and I can pretty much tell you that I deserve a plateful!  The only time I thought about Christmas was when I wondered if this card would ever be finished by then!  For all of my struggles with this card, I have to admit it was one of the most fun cards I've ever made because it really required me to try new things.  If you could only see the pile of rejected card parts you would know just how many new things I tried!  This card is definitely not my usual style but I hope it will give Terry a smile.

Thanks so much for visiting today!

Products Used:
Paper: Dark brown card stock (Bazzill); Classic Crest Natural White 80 lb. (Neenah);
"Woven Natural Fibers" patterned paper (The Paper Studio)
Stamps: Hay bale and sentiment (River City Rubber Works); Canvas background stamp (Stampin' Up!)
Ink: Memento Rich Cocoa (Tsukineko); Walnut Stain and Tea Dye Distress Inks (Tim Holtz/Ranger); ColorBox Chalk Ink in Chestnut Roan (Clearsnap); various other inks
Accessories and Tools: Chalks (Stampin' Up!)

Monday, December 17, 2012

Something Has Changed...

Today's post is much different than the post I'd anticipated writing.  Today's card is a Valentine's Day card, and I'd planned to write about this romantic, sweet sentiment I found that I just knew would be perfect for Valentine's Day cards for Operation Write Home.  I wanted to share this card with you in such a different way than I will today.  But this card was made prior to the horrific events that unfolded at Sandy Hook Elementary School.  This card was made before my heart was broken.  And so today's post is not the post I'd planned to write.

I was picking up my son from school on Friday when I heard that a gunman had opened fire in an elementary school in Connecticut.  I was chatting on the phone with my sister and watching my son walk out with his class when my sister asked if I'd heard about the shooting.  She didn't have any details or know of any casualties at that point, so I pushed it to the back of my mind and figured I'd hear more later.  I got out of the car, spoke with the teacher for a few moments and walked my son to the car while we talked about his day.  It was as normal as normal could be, until we got home and I saw the news for myself.  Then nothing was normal anymore.

So while today's card was created as a Valentine, today its message takes on a special significance and reaches far beyond a sweet Valentine's Day sentiment to true, deep, devoted and determined love for all who hold a special place in our hearts:

I'm holding those I love a little tighter today.  My kids are getting extra hugs and kisses, my husband is getting extra attention, and I'm focusing on present moments instead of worrying about all the stressful parts of holiday preparations.  I'm taking my kids out for ice cream and going on "adventures" with my son.  I'm having deep, important conversations with my husband.  I'm reaching out to friends and family.  I'm holding on to those I love, and they are holding on to me.  God has blessed me with wonderful people to love, and for the moment, at least, we are here on this journey together.  I don't want to waste a single opportunity to hold them close while I still can.

If you're still reading this post, bless you!  I always provide a recipe for my cards, and today will be no exception.  Here's how I made this card:

I started with a base of black card stock and covered the front with patterned paper.  I stamped the sentiment in Memento Tuxedo Black on white card stock and adhered it to a piece of black card stock.  I die cut a scalloped border from white card stock, then adhered the sentiment panel and border to the card front.  I added some shimmer spray to the sentiment panel for this card, but I plan to make another card like this without the shimmer spray so I can donate it to Operation Write Home.  This card is quick and easy, but its message is powerful.
I am submitting this card for the current challenge at Shopping Our Stash (use a sentiment as the focal point of the card). 

Thanks for taking the time to visit and read my post today.  I hope the message of this card found its way to your heart.

Products Used:
Ink: Memento Tuxedo Black
Stamp: 7 Gypsies/Hampton Art
Paper: Solar White Classic Crest 110 lb. (Neenah); "My Heart"
patterned paper (Karen Foster Designs); black card stock (unknown)
Tools and Accessories: Big Shot (Sizzix); Die-Namics Open Scallop Edge (MFT);
Sheer Shimmer Frost Spray (Tsukineko)


Friday, December 14, 2012

Joyful Trees for Christmas

Yay, it's Friday!!  I don't know about you, but I could sure use a weekend! 

This week's Ways to Use It Challenge at Splitcoast Stampers asks us to use "fussy cutting" on a card.  Fussy cutting is cutting very carefully (usually with precision scissors or a craft knife) around an image, so it takes some extra time and effort.  I've also been a bit fascinated by a technique I've recently learned about called "inlaid embossing".  This technique involves adhering die cuts, layers, etc. together and then dry embossing those elements right into the paper.  There are so many possibilities for this technique, but for today's card I combined fussy cutting with inlaid embossing and kept my design fairly simple. 

Here's my card:

I started by fussy-cutting the trees from some patterned designer paper I had in my stash.  I tried to keep just a tiny bit of the border around each tree to help it stand out against the background.  I adhered the trees to a piece of dark green card stock in slightly uneven rows (intentionally this time!) and then ran the whole panel through my Big Shot using the Bow Strings embossing folder horizontally.  I stamped my sentiment in Pine on a piece of Natural White card stock (which is a lovely off-white color), then adhered the sentiment to dark green and kraft card stocks.  My kraft card stock isn't very heavy, so I lined the inside panel of the card with Natural White card stock to add support. 
I pulled a fiber strand from some off-white burlap I have in my materials stash and adhered it over my inlaid embossing panel. ( I love the slightly frayed look I can get from burlap.)  I attached the embossed panel to a card base made from kraft card stock.   I added some Glossy Accents to the "joy" sentiment and set it aside to dry.  I wanted this card to be understated, but just couldn't resist a tiny bit of shine!
I hope you are having a blessed Advent season  Thanks for stopping by!
Products Used:
Stamp: Naughty or Nice (Stampin' Up!)
Ink: Ancient Page Pine (Clearsnap)
Paper: Solar Crest Natural White 80 lb. (Neenah); Cutesy Christmas Trees patterned paper (The Paper Studio); dark green card stock (unknown); kraft card stock (unknown)
Other: Burlap fiber; Glossy Accents (Ranger)

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Silver Bells, Teapots and Glitter...Oh My!

Happy Tuesday!  This week I decided to join two challenges that are new to me.  The first is the Teapot Tuesday Challenge at Splitcoast Stampers.  The Teapotters are a great group of stampers who use a different teapot each week to inspire their cards, and then they send the cards off to a designated person who could use some "happy mail" that week.  This week's inspirational teapot is a beautiful silver one, and our destination for cards is the mother of a fellow stamper who is dealing with several medical issues.  She normally loves Christmas but is having a hard time getting into the Christmas spirit this year, so we are sending lots of silvery, sparkly cards with a Christmas theme (and we are asked to throw in a hint of pink if we want to really make the card special for her).  

The second challenge I'm joining is the Use It Tuesday Challenge (see the blog and challenge HERE).  This challenge asks us to use items from our stash (instead of hoarding them while daydreaming about all the Pinteresty things we could be doing with them), and this week we're asked to make a Christmas or Hanukkah card.  I have so many lovely things in my stash that really need to see some paper action, so it was fun to dig in and use what I already have.  All of the supplies used on this card are from my stash, but here are two things I was really excited to unearth from my stash to use on this card:

  • Glitter.  The real stuff you adhere with glue.  I've had a package of several beautiful glitters that I never use because of the mess (I usually use embossing powders or glitter glue).  It was really fun (and incredibly messy) to use some of the real stuff! 
  • Hot pink and white baker's twine.  I bought a sampler of several twine colors but had not found a use for the hot pink color until now.  Isn't it cute here?

So here is my shimmery, glittery, Christmasy card:
I wasn't sure if I would like silver on silver, but the sparkly glitter pulls so many other subtle colors that I think it works.  It's hard to see in the picture just how shiny my ornaments really are, but just imagine preschooler-playing-with-glitter sparkly and multiply that by 10!  I also had difficulty getting "true" colors photographed on this card.  The sentiment panel is white (it looks a bit green on my computer screen, but it's actually stark white) and the baker's twine is hot pink and white (no red or green on this card, per Teapotter instructions!).
I started with a Basic Black card stock base and a piece of silver shimmer paper.  I die cut three circles from heavy white card stock, then covered them in silver glitter glue to create an extra-sparkly glue base for my glitter.  I added glitter and used my heat tool to speed up the drying process (I should really learn to be more patient, because the heat tool pretty much blew that glitter from here to eternity).  I added more glitter and silver glitter glue and attempted to find a modicum of patience. 
Meanwhile, I added hot pink and white baker's twine to my silver panel and stamped my sentiment in Memento Tuxedo Black on heavy white card stock.  I adhered the sentiment piece to a larger piece of black card stock.  I carefully (oh, so carefully because that darned glitter was still wet) adhered my ornaments to the silver panel with dimensionals.  I pulled the ornaments' edges forward slightly to keep the paper from buckling from the glitter glue and to give the ornaments a bit more distinction from the background.  I added my sentiment panel to the front and adhered a piece of white card stock as a liner for the inside.  Then I set it aside to dry and did a happy dance that I finished another card without completely smudging the glitter glue!
Here's a tip: If you're using a lot of glue of any kind (in this case, glitter glue), it helps to use a heavy weight card stock.  I've found that lighter weight card stocks will buckle more than the heavier card stocks.  This card stock held up really well to my multiple layers of glitter glue.
Do you want to know what a craft room looks like after a messy crafter uses this much glitter?  No, trust me, you don't.  It's really too bad I do my stamping in the middle of the night, because there was so much glitter on me by the time I was done that I looked all glammed up for a night on the town! 

Thanks for joining me for a bit of sparkle and shine today!
Products Used:

Stamp: Polar Bears (Stampin' Up!)
Ink: Memento Tuxedo Black (Tsukineko)
Paper: Basic Black card stock (Stampin' Up!);
Classic Crest Solar White 110 lb. card stock (Neenah); Shimmer Matstack (DCWV)
Tools and Accessories: Nestabilities Standard Circles Large (Spellbinders); Silver Glitter Glue (Studio G);
Silver Holiday Glitter (Sulyn Industries); Stampin' Dimensionals (Stampin' Up!); baker's twine


Monday, December 10, 2012

Two Snuggly Snow Friends

Happy Monday!  We finally had a cold snap where I live, so I was inspired to make another snowman card.  This time I have two snowy friends wrapped in a hug.  I think this is such a sweet image!  It is a large one and I think it's perfect for a one-layer card.  This card is my submission for this week's "Let it Snow" challenge at ABC Challenges (you can see the challenge HERE).  One-layer cards are fantastic for mailing (no bulk! no extra postage!) and they can be completed quickly (if you're not constantly getting interrupted by kids or a husband...). 

Here's my card:

I started with Neenah Classic Crest Solar White 110 lb. card stock.  This is a heavyweight card stock that holds up well to multiple layers and also to watercoloring.  I stamped my image in Memento Tuxedo Black, then grabbed my favorite watercoloring crayons.  I prefer to dip my brush in water and then pick up the color from my crayons rather than coloring directly on the paper.  This method allows me to control the amount of color I put down, layer the colors, and also use different sized brushes so I don't get stray marks outside the lines (hopefully).

To add depth, I inked up the white space around the image and the card edges with Memento New Sprout using the "direct to paper" method.  I used a dew drop pad because it works really well for getting the ink into small spaces.  Rather than put a sentiment on the front, I can add a sentiment inside for a holiday or leave it blank to make a nice note card.  Since I colored this one in red and green, I will add a Christmas sentiment inside before mailing it.  I could easily use other colors and create a winter-themed friendship, birthday or love card.  This stamp is quite versatile!

This is a large cling-mount stamp, and since I recently purchased a Fiskars Stamp Press I thought I would give it a try on this card.  I have to say that I love the press!  It allows me to line up my stamp exactly where I want it on the page and helps me put down an even layer of ink with a large stamp.  It also works well for using several small stamps at once to make a scene.  I hadn't bought one sooner because I kept thinking it was unnecessary, but after reading several reviews and watching videos online I decided to give it a try (thank you, 50% off coupon at Michaels).  This tool was definitely worth the money! 

It's beginning to look (and feel) a lot like Christmas around my neck of the woods!  I hope you, too, are enjoying the blessings of this Advent season amid the hustle and bustle of holiday planning.

Thanks for stopping by!

Products Used:
Paper: Classic Crest Solar White 110 lb. (Neenah)
Ink: Memento Tuxedo Black, Memento New Sprout (Tsukineko)
Stamp: Jumbo Snowfall Pair (Stampendous)
Tools and Accessories: Watercolor Crayons (Staedtler); Stamp Press (Fiskars); watercolor brushes and water

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Holly Jolly Sparkly Snowman

Whew!  It's been several days since my last post but I finally have a new card to share with you. This card was so much fun to create!  I started with an idea in my head that actually worked out on paper, which is always exciting!

For today's card I decided to CASE (Copy and Share Everything) some ideas I saw recently and use them to make an original card.  I saw a project on Splitcoast Stampers that used embossed circles for a snowman's body (see the project HERE)  and I really liked the idea of embossing a snowman.  I also saw a card that used a swirled embossing folder with glitter glue (see it HERE), and I was inspired to add Stickles to my embossing.  This week's Try a New Technique Challenge at Splitcoast Stampers asked us to make our own snowmen, so I used these ideas to create this sparkly, swirly snowman card:

I tried photographing this many times and just couldn't get a picture of the whole card that really shows the sparkle on the snowman as well as the embossing on the blue piece, so here are a couple of close-ups:

I started with a Neenah 110 lb. white card base and added a piece of wintry patterned paper to cover the card front.  I die cut 3 circles from Whisper White card stock, then embossed them with the D'Vine Swirls embossing folder.  I created a hat from black card stock and attached it to the "head" of the snowman.  I stamped my sentiment on Whisper White in Versafine Onyx Black and heat embossed it with clear embossing powder, then attached it to a piece of black card stock.  I cut a strip of blue card stock and embossed it with the Swirls, Ribbons and Snowflakes embossing folder, then cut the end to a point.

Once I had all the elements cut and stamped, I attached them to the card front.  I carefully applied Star Dust Stickles directly from the bottle to the raised embossing on the snowman.  I wanted to add some dimension to the snowflakes on my blue piece, so I added Stickles to the centers.  I quickly decided I didn't like the way that looked, so I added tiny pearls to the centers instead. 

I set the card aside to dry overnight (and somehow managed not to smear my Stickles, which was quite a feat for me!).  I had so much fun with this card that I will probably make a few more using different backgrounds, colors and embossing folders. 

I am also entering this card for the Paper Players #124 Challenge (snowman cards) and the ABC Challenge #7 (holiday cards with bling).  Thanks for stopping by today!

Products Used:
Stamp: Merry Merry (Recollections)
Ink: Versafine Onyx Black (Tsukineko)
Paper: Solar White 110 lb. card stock (Neenah); Whisper White card stock (Stampin' Up!); Arctic Wishes Matstock (DCWV); black card stock, blue card stock (unknown)
Tools and Accessories: Circles #2 die (Sizzix); D'Vine Swirls embossing folder (Cuttlebug); Swirls, Ribbons and Snowflakes embossing folder (BasicGrey/Sizzix); Big Shot (Sizzix); clear embossing powder (Mrs. O'Leary's); Star Dust Stickles (Ranger); tiny pearls (Zva Creative)