Monday, December 13, 2010

On the first day of Christmas, my true love sent to me a partridge in a pear tree.

The Twelve Days of Christmas

To bring us through the hustle and bustle of the Holiday season, I have prepared The Twelve Days of Christmas utilizing Christmas memories from last year. I hope you enjoy learning about my family over the next few days as well as seeing all that can be created.

The inspiration for this came from a wonderful blogger, Heather; I enjoy following her blog and learning so many new techniques and ideas from her. My tree trimmings and gift wrapping were all done in an olive/celery/chocolate palate; I utilized the same with my project to finish off the theme. Please, let me know what you think.


Saturday, November 13, 2010

Dry Embossing

Another fantastic technique is Dry Embossing. What exactly is it? Embossing creates a raised image and the ‘dry’ version is accomplished by actually manipulating the paper so that there is an impression. I found an excellent instructional site for basic dry embossing techniques at Amp-Your-Stamps. This site reviews, for the most part, the basic stylus and template method of dry embossing. And though this method is very helpful at times, there have been many ‘advancements’ in the world of dry embossing.

I think the most influential of these advancements has been the onset of ‘embossing machines’ (many companies promote their own version of this) which makes the process of dry embossing a snap. For the most part, there is a pre-designed impression plate/folder which is combined with the desired paper and ‘run through’ the machine – ta da: out the other side is a perfectly embossed paper. In addition to using the pre-designed templates, custom templates can be made to suit any design need (click here to see how a daisy template was created/used).

I love the way dry embossing gives a subtle accent to a project – subtle in design, but huge in impact. Here is a baby card which was created by my sister, Rachel. I love it (I got it in a plethora of colors, but the template is the same in all of them). If you look at the picture and allow your eyes to go out of focus, then you can see that the layout/design is very basic, but the addition of the dry embossed ‘baby themed word collage’ on the background paper takes this card over the top. This is an excellent example of how dry embossing can be used to make an impact on a card.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Old accents in a new way

Who doesn’t love glitter? Though we don’t always admit it, I think we all love something with a little sparkle in it, am I right? I learned a new method which allows the most crisp strip of glitter (as seen in this card - click it to learn more): apply a section of double-sided tape and cover with glitter – discarding the excess – and there you have it.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Not Always a Card

Variety is the spice of life, right? Why can’t this apply to making/giving cards? I received this “Message in a Bottle” for my birthday and thought it was a fun play on a birthday card. How fun is that? How else can you give a “card” to someone? Leave me a comment with your thoughts.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


In our Year in Review we are officially up to date (I didn’t think we would make it). What does this mean? Well, now I can take some time and share some of my favorite techniques and projects (with some holidays mixed in as they come).

There is very little real magic in the world; I think this technique can almost qualify. What technique? The chalkboard technique! I can think of many ways in which to describe this, but I am going to stick with magic. Basically, one would stamp on one color of paper in Versamark ink and then use a sponge dauber to apply chalk to the stamped image; after completely covered, the excess chalk is wiped off. The color only sticks to the area with the ink…like magic.

This card is a navy base with the flower and leaf pattern applied and then ‘chalked-up’ with yellow, orange, brown, and green. The excess is removed, the paper is matted and added to the card and accented with stamps and ribbon, and viola…a card!

This technique is really so much fun. Click here to see how else I utilized this chalkboard technique.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Card Update

Before you will be able to understand the update, click here to learn more about this card.

There are several aspects to this update:
First, Soft Suede: yes, I still love this color; it is my current favorite brown (almost rivaling black at this point, but let’s not get carried away). I am not sure what it is about this color, but it almost transforms the colors with which it is paired…almost magical!

Second, Pattern: so, it was time consuming to make this checkerboard circle pattern, so much so that I have not decided to duplicate it. I am attempting to think of a nice occasion which would warrant this (and would be appropriate). What occasion would you think would work well with this?

Finally, The Card: as I mentioned when I posted this card originally, it was going to stay in my “collection” for a while until a super special occasion needed it. Guess What? I still have it. Now, I have to say that there were many times when I felt the card would ‘work’ for the occasion, but I just couldn’t seem to let it go. Let’s face it, I don’t think I will ever give this one away, but in the attempt to make cards which are up to it caliber, I do think I have gone above and beyond.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Office Supplies?

This card includes one of my secret fascinations (ok, it really isn’t a big secret): office supplies. I love office supplies; I could spend hours just walking around Staples or Office Depot or OfficeMax and loving every moment of it. Why do I enjoy them so much? Honestly, I don’t really know. I like seeing the variety of design as well as the plethora of different styles.

And in this card is a nice gold paper clip. I love it!

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Can I take credit?

It is difficult to give credit when one doesn’t know to whom to give it. I don’t believe that I have seen this pattern on a card before, have you? I know that I have seen the background style before, but I cannot recollect where or when. Does anyone know? Is it a painting? Is it…ugh…I have no idea.

Regardless, I really like this card. One reason is that each truly is unique. Each card can be different: more/less lines, more/less color, etc. – the same basic plan, but different. Do you like cards like this? It is time consuming, but I think it is worth it.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

What a Challenge

This was a fun challenge for one of my card clubs last year. We were given a set of paper scraps and needed to turn it into a card (to be given to the Ronald McDonald House Charity). Click the picture to learn more about my challenge.

I like this card because the layout works for just about any theme: change the stamp and the ribbon and you have a completely different card. I really love when you find a "go to template" to which you can turn in a pinch.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

The best laid schemes...go oft awry

Robert Burns could not be more correct; I had a plan – a plan with a map – and it just didn’t come to fruition. I was on a roll with my posting and had my Year in Review all organized – organized, but not written yet. Then, life happened and I got behind again.

After much thought I decided that instead of being so far behind, I would take a day and just catch up on our Year to date. So, I hope you are ready for a long one:

Here is a fantastic birthday card for a young boy; it was actually from my nephew just to say hello, but I think it could work for so many different “boy” occasions. I love how the corrugation of the brown paper helps to drive home the ruggedness of the card.

We have come to the late Summer/early Fall on our trip; about as late as you can get in summer before fall begins is my anniversary with my wonderful husband. In order to commemorate that wonderful day, here is a cute gift bag. This would be great either as a favor or as a holder for various treats or gifts. (On a personal note...and to show-off/brag a little…I have the best husband in the whole world.)

And now it is fall!
I have to admit: when I first saw this card at a crafting event I attended recently…I wasn’t too thrilled about it. However, the more I look at this card, the more I love it. There were many steps (many messy steps) to this card and it isn’t one which one would want to make in mass quantities, but how it finished, I think, really dazzles. There is sheen, sparkle, accents, ribbon, paint, sponging, spritzing, and so much more that help to put this card over the top. In the end, I think I love it.

Daisies, as you know if you are a loyal follower of my blog (a gigantic thank you to you, by the way) are my FAVORITE, but closely second are sunflowers. My two favorite flowers for my two favorite seasons; I think that sunflowers are the ‘daisies of the fall,’ but that is just my opinion. Here is a beautiful card I received from my sister (which I will NEVER give away….). There is nothing fancy about this card – it is all about the sunflower – and I love it!

Ah, when and how did my owl fetish begin? Well, that is a long story my friend and I do not think that this is the most appropriate outlet for it. What I can tell you, making a long story very short, is that it was initiated by my good friend, Falisha, and the need for baby shower favors for her sister. This owl is the result of that need (click the picture to learn more); the ‘tummy’ is a candy cup and is filled with Reece’s Pieces. All I have to say is that once you get on the ‘Owl Train’…it is hard to get off!

This is a little out of order, but oh well. I needed to make a card for my card club which utilized punches. Click the larger picture to see how I was inspired to create this Owl Mask card. I suppose you could ask, “Which came first: the owl mask card or the owl obsession?” And to that, I do not have an answer.

What a transition: Fall to Owls to Halloween…perfect (my lit professor would be so proud)!

I love this card, and honestly, I can’t really tell you why. Maybe it is the eyes…all of them! They are so goofy and fun that the fact that the card is covered in spiders doesn’t even bother me…how can they…they have the cutest eyes. Thanks, Rach, for this adorable card.

Here is a recent addition to my Halloween card collection. I just made this card recently at my Stamp Club. See if you can guess what I love about this card….

Go ahead…just try.

I am waiting….

Ok, let’s see if you were right: patterned paper, layering, accents, more layering, punches, coloring, and ribbon. How’d you do? I knew you would get it!

This card was designed by Sharon – it is adorable!

I was able to attend a crafting event at which I made so many Halloween treats: several different candy holders and the most amazing spider out of punches!!! I love them all!

Have I mentioned how much I am obsessed with punches? Maybe once or twice…? Maybe a zillion times…? Well, here is what gave me a big jump start: aren’t these treat bag amazing? Gretchen designed these and they are made completely out of punches (click the picture to learn more): a circle here, a modified oval there, and a corner for good measure. These have to be my favorite Halloween find ever!

(This section was supposed to post on Halloween Day…it is a bit late now, but I think you will get over it).

Happy Halloween! All of the other pictures lead up to this amazing card. I call this Frank Picasso: it is my take on Frankenstein’s Monster with a Picasso edge. I hope you all had a wonderful Halloween (and if you need more candy, then stop by…we have a TON left over)!

Whew…I think that is about it…. We should be all caught-up; let’s see how long this lasts.

Until next time!

Friday, October 22, 2010

A little Fishing never hurt anyone...

...and if it did, then I don't really want to hear about it.

This fish inspired card is great...if I do say so myself. I love all the different aspects of it: vellum, brads, piercing, crystal effects, and utilizing my CraftRobo! Click on the picture to learn more.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Purple Paradise

These types of cards seem to be everywhere...and then they go away for a while, but resurface when another "flower" holiday rolls around. I had never made one before, nor did I have any desire to make one, but found the pattern for these roses and was looking for a reason to use it. I love the way they look; they are a bit tricky, but well worth it if it is for someone/something you love. Click on the picture to learn more about this card and the reason behind making it.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

He's the Man....

Father's Day Time!

As with my previous post about Mother's Day, I think Father's Day Cards are/can be taylored for specific types of fathers: simple, a little fancy, or over the top.

This card by my sister is great. What do I love about it? What gets me everytime is the image itself: that little bear cub thinks he is so clever and sneeky - and what is usually a Kick Me sign is actually a cute appreciation sign. Adorable.

I was able to make this card in my W'ink club. I love the monochromatic design and its simple lines and style (and sponging, embossing, and a little ribbon really helps to put it high on my list).

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Revisiting the Woods

This card just makes me happy.

Once in a while I make a card which makes me stop and reflect: I think about the recipiant and the purpose of the card. On many occasions I realize that the card "works" for it's purpose, but once in a while I cannot get over myself - as is the case with this card. Even now, over a year later, I can't even believe that I made this card let alone how perfect is was for the recipiant. Click on the picture to learn all about this card and the purpose behind it.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Summer in Fall

We have reached the Summer in our review of the year and what says "summer" like a vase of fragrant flowers? I really enjoyed this card from my W'ink Club; I like how the patterned paper works with the image. With this card I also learned a technique using water color crayons differently than I had previously.

Hello Summer!

Friday, October 15, 2010

[Insert paper cutter/embosser brand name here.]

Regardless of what brand you use, don't you just love how there are so many options available for creating texture, pattern, shapes, and design? I do, but that is probably because I am a succor for it all: a little bumpy here, some shapes over there, something I didn't have to cut out myself in front, and some punches to top it all off!

I made this mini note card box and coordinating note card at a recent event and think it is adorable. The lattice paper was embossed, the flowers were cut and embossed, the sentiment was cut and embossed, and the circles were punched - add some ribbon and a bit of layering and adorable little gift box and card.

As I mentioned, it doesn't really matter what you use (I have a Cuttlebug and a CraftRobo, but who's keeping track) as long as it works for you. Enjoy them (And if you ever want a demonstration, then let me know and I will show you why I think they are amazing!)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

A third of the way through...

Can you believe that we have made it a third of the way through the year already? That's right; in our trip through the year we have come to May - Mother's Day to be exact. Here are a couple cards which help celebrate mothers.

This first card is adorable. I think that it is fun and whimsical and would be perfect for any mother - especially those who may not be your 'cookie cutter' type of mother. The pearls on this little lady have a bit of glitter in them and I love how a typically masculine color palate is transformed to make this a successful card.

Switching gears, this Mother's day card is completely different in both style and target audience; it is more your typical occasion card with some flowers and such. I have to admit, it was a challenge to get it made (how it resulted in looked was a far cry than the idea at the begining), but I think that it was a great card to give to my mother and to my mother-in-law.

Click on the larger two photos to learn more about these two projects.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Arbor Day!

I feel that this has become a lost holiday. I don't do much to celebrat it, but I am going to take this opportunity to share a few tree-inspired cards.

I just love this stamp set; it is simple and basic, but it is relatable to so many different occasions. In this example, this set is used in a Spring setting with this bird and house. What else do I love about his card? Soft you love it too? I think this is one of the better new colors that Stampin' Up! has introduced in a while. With this card I learned a new technique: stamping with bleach (the flowers on the back moss piece). I think it turned out rather nicely; click on the picture to learn more.

Here is another use for that same tree stamp; this time it is more of an early Spring or Fall setting. In this example, it is used in its bare form which I feel adds to the misty/foggy feel of this card. What else do I love about this card? Well, I am glad that you asked. The front panel of this card (the landscape scene) is a plain white pice of paper. That's right! Through sponging and the help of some carefully shaped stencils, this scene came to life. Click on the large picture to lean more about this exciting process. I have been tossing around the idea of putting together a tutorial on this card; if you are interested, then leave me a comment. If I get some interest, then I will create one.

My final tribute to Arbor Day comes in the form of a birthday card. I was inspired by a similar idea in the Stampin' Up! catalog, but pt a little "Nichole" twist on it. I utilized some colors which I felt matched the recipiant of this card as well as didn't make it too girly (which is good since it was for my brother-in-law). I used a hodgepodge of the Circle Circus stamps heat embossed with white on various colors and then punched with coordinating circles. A strategic tree trunk makes this tree "so freakin' cute' if I do say so myself (Suzanne, that's just for you). And to top it off, a creative fold and closure makes this card one of my favorites!
Happy Arbor Day everyone!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Who is in the mood for something free?

What would be better to celebrate the end of Spring in our review of the year then with some free and exciting crafting supplies? Um...nothing!

So, without further delay, here is what you need to do to be entered into the drawing for a wonderful crafting package (paper, accents, stamps, accents, ribbon, and some other items I want to keep a surprise):

1. Become a follower of my blog (over on the left side) if you are not already...and if you are then yippee: one less thing for you to do!

2. Leave a comment to this post with the answer to the following question: As I posted before, daisies are my favorite flower; from what movie is the following conversation:

Person #1: I love dasies.
Person #2: You told me.
Person #1: They're so friendly.

That is all you have to do: two little a follower and identify a movie quote. I will draw a name from the correct responses on Saturday, October 16th.

Good Luck (especially to all you fellow daisy lovers)!

Spring is in the air...

I have a very large Mulberry tree in my front yard which means I know exactly when it is Spring; I get to be woken up by the "lovely" sound of birds chirping! All joking aside, I do love the sprintime: lighter coats, sunnier days, and the possibility of open-toed shoes. And ot make it even better, Spring brings the arrival of my favorite flower: the daisy. It is true - dasies come in all sorts of colors, sizes, and types, but my favorite is the "vanilla" version: the simple, basic, "Plain Jane," white daisy. Give me a yellow center with long white petals and I am in heaven.

I was so excited when I got to make this daisy card in my Stampede Card Club. It utilizes a custom debossed daisy pattern which is accented by a little sponging (daisies and sponging...I am in heaven)! Click on the card to see how Sharon, the designer, describes this project.

The other card features another sprintime flower: the tulip. I think this card is a double-spring-wammie since the tulip is formed by utilizing a wing from a bird punch - see, double springtime! Click on the card to learn more about this card.