Thursday, November 29, 2007

Just for fun!

I've been putting off getting a package to our daughter, Karen, at Patrick Henry College in VA. Our oldest daughter attends Houghton college, which is only 45 minutes away, so we see her Sundays. Karen is not into decorating by any stretch of the imagination, but she loves frogs (toads are close enough!), so I threw this ornament together last minute just for the fun of it. I'd had the watercolored toad image from last year's cards, so I just needed to cut it out & glue on google eyes. I had one circle the right size already cut, and a cute little Christmas skunk stamped and colored for this year, that somehow never made it onto a card. I'm so glad I save everything, lol!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Noel ... again???

I save anything I stamp and decide not to use at the time, or have made duplicates of, into a couple of plastic drawers. Christmas, however, is in a separate folder. Well, in cleaning out my folder from last year, I started to toss a scrap away that I did not like, when I realized I had also stamped on the other side. It was the noel image that I have already used in two different ways, but the holographic embossing looked so sparkly and bright, I decided to make it into a card (it is much crisper than the scan shows it to be). After figuring out the layout, I could not find anything that satisfied to put beneath the noel. I looked at brads, buttons, etc, but nothing worked. I finally decided velveteen bows might do, but I didn't have any, and the thought of making my own seemed too much. I glanced at my punches, and noticed a little bow punch that I have never used (I don't even know where it came from!). I had no clue if it would punch through velveteen, but obviously it could. The bows did not look right, however, until I thought of poking brads through them. They looked odd to me at first, and frankly, not my style. But, as you see, I went ahead and attached them!

Now I really, really am done with my noel stamp! :-)

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


Have you encouraged anyone today?

I'm in the middle of writing someone a thank you for a note of encouragement she recently sent me. As I thought about why her letter encouraged me, I realized that she probably did not expect it to have the impact it did. Not only did she bless me, she gave me something to think about in an area of my life that has been lacking lately. I am grateful. I've read it several times now...

If you haven't written anyone lately, I hope you will today. Or tomorrow. If you're waiting until you have time to make the person on your heart a really nice card .... don't. Just grab a piece of lined paper from your desk and scribble out that encouragement that your friend, spouse, child, or neighbor needs to hear.


Monday, November 26, 2007


This is my last journal, I hope, for the rest of the year. I was needing a break from making Christmas cards, and as I browsed through my stamps, this peacock feather, from Eureka, caught my eye. I used opalite inks with it, and it really looks dramatic. Scanning does not do justice to embossed images or opalite inks, so it looks a little dull. But, even looking at in person in the wrong angle of light makes the jewel colors of opalite look matted and dull. :-/

For Unto Us

This is the card my friend chose from my music-themed Christmas cards I designed for her. The design she chose last year had the same scripture, so I was a little surprised she chose it!

Now I'm technically done with Christmas cards, though I have a few new stamps yet that I haven't used, so I know that I will make a few more anyway, and be ahead for next year! :-)

The background was done with alcohol inks (wow, hope I can replicate the same look for my friend!!!), the scripture is from Biblical Impressions. The background text stamps are from Eureka or Biblical Impressions, the music from Merry Stamper.
Note: The inspiration for this design came from Barbara Nick, who posted in the Stubby Stampers' gallery.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Silent Night

...and another music themed card for my friend to choose from. Silent Night from Eureka, music from Merry Stamper, and text from Biblical Impressions. My scanner makes the embossing look multi-colored, but it is silver. :-)

Friday, November 23, 2007

A child is born

I worked at a department store for a few months before our first child was born, and I remember a lady who came up to the register with a load of Santa and infant Jesus decorations. "I just love these Baby Jesus things," she gushed. I smiled at her excitement, but as she talked, I realized that to her, "Baby Jesus" was only that; a wee babe born at Christmas. It was as if she did not connect Him to the fully human, but fully God, Savior of the world. The One Who died on a cross out of love for her, for me, for you.

I designed this card with hopes that the chosen scripture, "For unto us..." would bring the strains of Handel's Messiah to mind, remembering that the infant born in the manger was Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace...

Music background from Stubby stampers, small music image from Merry Stamper, infant (designed by Jacki at Card Castle and scripture from Biblical Impressions.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

smARTworks challenge

I was so glad when my friend Trish posted the smARTworks weekly "tea party" (read: challenge). I don't know what it is about a challenge, but it always inspires me. I've been working on music-themed Christmas cards today, and when I saw Trish's card, I knew exactly what I wanted to do with my carolers stamp from smARTworks! So thanks, Trish!

The poinsettia is from Eureka, and the music notes from Merry Stamper. The hymn background is computer generated.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Joy to the World!!!!

Joy to the World, the Lord is COME!

This Christmas hymn never fails to fill me with joy and gratefulness that God humbled himself to become like us, so that He could rescue us!

The hymn was "miniaturized" by photoshop. The stamps, embossed in gold and painted with Twinkling H2Os, come from Biblical Impressions and Eureka.
I was planning to play with my new stamps from Stubby Stampers and smARTworks today, but a friend called last night to ask if I would make her a set of music themed Christmas cards. Thanksgiving, when we'll drive past her house on the way to family, is the only chance I'll have to show her anything, so music is my focus today and tomorrow...

Monday, November 19, 2007


I absolutely love caroling, especially with a large group of people who love to harmonize! So when I saw this stamp at smARTworks, I had to get it! This card is of course, for my card sets; I am looking forward to doing a little more with it on a "regular" card. I embossed the snowflakes in white, but they look a little odd in the scan. They are a simple white, and add texture rather than color to the card!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Clear stamping

Well, I finally did it! I entered the world of clear (or acrylic, or polymer, depending on your choice of label) stamping with this set that I've been dying to purchase for forever! I'd been searching high and low for unmounted rubber flourish stamp, but been completely unsuccessful. This set was exactly what I was looking for, but I just did not want to experiment. In fact, someone offered to sell me their set awhile ago, but I just couldn't bear the thought of wasting my money if I didn't like them. But, while having to place a small order, and having a free shipping offer if I spent a certain amount, I spied the set, and decided to be brave!

So, am I a convert? Am I going to buy only clear from now on and ditch my rubber? No way!!! I admit to loving how precisely I can place the stamp, knowing it will go exactly where I want it to, but I don't think they stamp quite as smoothly as rubber. I did, as suggested on Gingerwood, stamp in versamark ink first, and I think that made a difference, because the one I did not do that for did not stamp as well. They're a little harder to wash; they don't stay on the mount when I use scrub pads to clean them. I tend to create a mess when stamping, as I am usually working on several cards at once, and clear stamps on clear mount are just easy to miss when doing a visual sweep across the counter. Still, they work fine enough for me, and while I still prefer rubber, I won't be so reluctant to order clear again.
This card is for my card sets, but I'm not real happy with it because the middle circle is not completely on the card. Should I have placed the square shadow stamp to the left, instead of center? Skipped the middle joy altogether? I had a little bit of doubt when I designed it that it was "right," but I was so excited about using my flourish stamps I went ahead and did them all anyway! It's not the first time I've been stubborn about making a design that really needed to be set aside for a day... anyone relate?

Friday, November 16, 2007

Wise Men

I realized several things when making this card:

1. When embossing with silver on dark card stock, there is almost certainly going to be a fine dust wherever embossing powder has been. This may or may not be an advantage. My husband pointed out that the "dust" on my first card would be nice where the sky was, adding to the starry sky look, but shouldn't be where the wise men were. Could I fix that? So, when pouring the powder, I tilted the card "upside down" to pour on the powder making sure to start no higher up than the very edge of the scripture reference, and it worked nicely (though you can't see it with a scan).

2. I stamped the wise men with versafine, right over the embossed scripture. Stamping it first, no matter what ink I had tried before, resulted in embossing dust covering wise men. If you try this, note that the ink will appear to not be covering the embossed image, but the ink will be there nonetheless, and it will not dry, as I found to my dismay. I had been so careful that the white underside of the two-sided cardstock not touch anything on my counter, but at some point I had several of the cards on top of each other ... where they happily removed the "invisible" black stazon on the scripture of the card below. I was not having one of my "brighter" moments, and I could not figure out what had happened when I went to fold the cards later on. (Embossing this cardstock temporarily warped it, so the cards were spread out to "flatten" again.)

3. A little chalk on the edges of the wise men and camel (if you look closely you can just make it out) give the sense of the light of the star lighting on them. It doesn't need to be super precise to the outline, and can easily be smudged in if too much chalk has been applied.

Thursday, November 15, 2007


Continuing to work on card sets...
I use this same layout for a card set each season. I stamp the element three times with my castaway pad (it bleaches out the color) onto Arcobellano paper, then restamp in color, deliberately off-center. Then I stamp it three more times and emboss, and emboss the thinking of you with the same powder. For fall I used a leaf stamp, for summer, a dragonfly. Different colors and embossing powder for each.

I bought a craft iron to use with the castaway pad, but it does not get hot enough, so I rely on a regular iron. The little iron is nice to have for ironing ribbon, so I'll hold on to it.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

It's all in the paper!

I have discovered that people enjoy even the simplest of designs if the paper is right. This card is as basic as it can be, but the wonderful earthy look of the paper spruces up the card nicely (sorry, our family loves puns!).

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Noel - again!

I'm back to making card sets, which I try to keep simple, with no layers or embellishments. It's fun to see how differently the same stamps can appear. This is the same stamp used on the Nov 6th entry. My scanner never does a good job with gold embossing, the actual card's colors are much more vibrant. I used Twinkling H20s which give a rich, sparkly look to the image.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Melting organdy ribbon

I love this technique: it not only adds flair to an ordinary tie, but also takes care of dealing with frayable edges at the same time. Making sure to cover up the part of the ribbon I did not want to curl, I used a heat gun to bend and curl the ribbon. You can also direct it to some extent; using a long implement, you can hold the ribbon to position it a little.

Friday, November 9, 2007

"It is well with my soul" journal

I was waiting for the SALT challenge this week to decide how to design my next journal. I love the theme, "From the Hymnbook", and did not need to think at all about which hymn I would choose. I love the lyrics, by Horatio Spafford, and the inspiring medley, composed by Philip Bliss. This is my first real attempt at collage, and while I was not satisfied even before permanently attaching everything, I finally realized I just don't know what I'm doing yet, but as I continue studying the techniques of others, I'll figure it out! :-) I like "space" in my designs, my favorite cards on many blogs will be ones that are simpler and not full of images, so perhaps that's why collage is such a challenge to me, lol!

The sheet music is from Stubby Stampers, the music notes from Merry Stamper, the cross, Peace, and "river" design are from Eureka. The bottom half looks blurred, due to the imbalance the "nails" created in the scanner.

Inside the back cover I posted the story of the author, Horatio Spafford. It's a truly amazing story if you do not already know it.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Fifth, optional, workshop card

Trying to be sensitive to those that might not really be into Christmas, I made a fifth card as substitute. I'm not sure where the snowflake is from, but the text is from Biblical Impressions.

The background is from the blue glossy in my Nov 2nd post. The flakes were embossed with white craft ink and SU winter white embossing powder onto white vellum. I also tried it on blue dark blue vellum, which worked fine as well. The blue gloss cardstock is especially slippery, so I did not want my workshop ladies to risk ruining their cards with messy flakes. The background is silver.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

4th workshop card

This card was a bit too time consuming for a workshop, so I would never do it again. :-/

I stamped pine-needles from Biblical Impressions over the alcohol-inked panel with Stazon Green. The text is also from Biblical Impressions, and the ornament is from Eureka. I used a slot punch after stamping the image with versamark, on the top of the ornament (where the hook is attached). Then I used a versamark pen to fill in the space and embossed in gold. I glued all but the top to the panel, so that the hook could be easily inserted.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Third workshop card

Ah, a simpler card! If I had duplicates or triplicates of all my supplies, I would have started with this card, then worked up to the fifth card (skipping the fourth card altogether, instead of having the option of choosing two out of the three Christmas/winter themed cards). But I have cards being worked on simultaneously because of supply limitations.

Anyway, the stamp on this is from PSX.

Second workshop card

This is a more vivid mix of alcohol inks; I wanted a "fruity" look for the harvest theme! After cutting the alcohol ink panel diagonally, I stamped the text on one diagonal, using Stazon Ink. Glossy cardstock is slippery, so it's important to be careful when stamping on it. the grapes were stamped with ordinary black dye ink, and colored in with markers.
Stamps are from Biblical Impressions.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

First workshop card

I felt so badly ... my cards were too time consuming for the women to finish. They were all new to stamping, and there were eight, which is quite a few when they are beginners. The workshop was held through the local art center, and was not inexpensive, so I feel doubly bad. Most of them were amazingly gracious about it, and I hope I haven't scared them away from stamping!

The featured technique was polished stone. I applied the inks in stripes across the felt pad, and the alcohol in striped as well. The cardstock on this is sort of "half glossy", more of a matt finish, but slippery like glossy, and works as well as glossy. The moose, from Biblical Impressions, was chalked.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Not all glossies are alike!

I am really seeing a lot of differences in the various glossy cardstocks I use. Some make colors look very vivid, others are dull or alter the shades. Some take heat embossing, others bubble. For a workshop I am doing tomorrow, I have been using alcohol inks, and have discovered that even colored glossies differ. The black from yesterday's post took the alcohol inks well. When I tried the same effect on blue, however, the blue came off of the cardstock, and left white specks. In all honesty, I didn't get it at first; I thought perhaps there was left over silver from a previous use. At any rate, as you can see, the effect is rather neat. The upper panel looks a bit like a gentle snow fall, the other, like a blizzard.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Workshop: polished stone technique

I am doing a workshop with alcohol inks on Saturday, and tonight I finally got a chance to prepare. Actually, it's more like I finally got a chance to play! It's nearly midnight, and I haven't completed a single card since I started four hours ago ... I'm having way too much fun!

This design took me completely by surprise. I decided to see if the inks worked on black glossy, but it really did not ... until I added gold fixative. Then wow, what a difference! It still seemed a little dark, so I added one more drop of gold directly to the paper. Then I paused, and watched it spread. What a perfect moon! If you can see by the scan, there is an odd "aura" around the moon, but I don't think that hurts it. Sort of like Saturn's ring(s).