Thursday, December 29, 2011

Birthday Cards

A week or so ago, Operation Write Home's Stars & Stamps blog asked for birthday cards. Before LSS Pizazz It! closed its brick and mortar store, Tiffany showed us how to make adorable birthday cards using rectangles and a leaf punch. The following are cards based on Tiffany's design -- all made from scraps of designer paper, cardstock, and/or simple embellishments.

Bo Bunny's Snowfall Collection -- Yes, I know you're shocked!

Miscellaneous scraps with scoring for added texture/dimension -- perfect for kids.

Kaiser's Hippie Girl Collection -- Love the texture of this paper!

Miscellaneous scraps... scored, inked, stickled

DCWV's All Dressed Up! Collection -- glittery paper for the girlie girls in our lives.
(Could also make  lovely wedding/anniversary card. Paris, anyone?)

A more masculine color palette from Kaiser's Up, Up & Away Collection

To see more of Tiffany's designs, check out Tiffany's blog. And rumor has it Pizazz It! is opening an online store in the near future. As soon as that happens, I'll post information here.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Snowflakes of Gratitude

There are two colleagues at work whom I wish to thank for their kindnesses when I return back to work. And, I couldn't find any nicer way to do that than with handmade cards made from Bo Bunny's gorgeous Snowfall collection.

Carolyn was one of the co-organizers of this year's Craft Show. A few days before Christmas, she sent me an e-mail with an offer of cardstock that she had received from a vendor. Oh my gosh, this cardstock is gorgeous -- a great weight, a lovely warm white color, and a linen texture. And, she had about 1,000 sheets that she donated to my card-making efforts! Talk about a random act of kindness! Needless to say, Carolyn will be receiving the first card I made from her wonderful donation.

Karen was replacing her Thirty One lunch bag with one of the newer Thirty One models. As much as I'd wanted a Thirty One bag, I'd managed to resist the temptation when faced with the choice of buying card-making supplies or a new lunch bag. However, when Karen was willing to take a few cards in exchange for her old bag, a deal was brokered! So, a Bo Bunny thank you card is headed her way, as well.

The first card made from Carolyn's cardstock!

Not from Carolyn's cardstock, but still made from Bo Bunny's Snowfall papers. :)
More good news: Terri at Scrapbook Art ordered me two more packs of this paper for next season's holiday cards!

Monday, December 19, 2011

My Most Treasured Gift...

Mom loved Christmas. She lovingly created memories that have lasted a lifetime -- starting with coming home from school to freshly-baked cookies right out of the oven, culminating in the opening of that one special gift, and everything joyful inbetween.

Christmas Day 1987 was poised to be a most special Christmas. It was the second Christmas my husband and I had hosted both of our families for Christmas dinner. And, Mom and I truly rejoiced in the day's events -- cherishing every moment. As an added bonus, Mom looks radiant in our photographs from that day -- even though she usually took terrible pictures.

How could I know a life-changing moment was about to happen? How could we have known that would be our last day together? There are times that even today it's hard to wrap my mind around the fact that my mom died in a car accident shortly after leaving our house that night.

The grief was immeasurable -- as were the blessings that came into our lives through the love and kindness of family and friends. Getting through the year was the toughest thing I have ever done. I had no idea how I was going to handle the Christmas season.

And then came the gift -- a simple, heartfelt sentiment handwritten at the bottom of a Christmas card from a fellow teacher and his wife. Denise had written, "May your most treasured gift this holiday season be your memories of Christmases past."

Sadly, a colleague at work recently lost a parent. Tonight I made the card below to give to her. And, as with every Christmas card I've sent over the years to a loved one or friend who has lost a parent, or spouse, or child, I have passed along Denise's words of comfort and joy.

"May your most treasured gift this holiday season be your memories of Christmases past."
This holiday season, live in the moment, cherish time spent with loved ones, and treasure memories of Christmases past.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

2 Challenges = 1 Tutorial

Challenge #1:

The initial idea for this first card came from a post by Yolanda on this weekend's OWH blog hop/skip promoting the new OWH Hero Arts stamps.

OWH is seeking some last minute Valentine's before the December 31 deadline. And, Yolanda's second card got me thinking about an idea for a Valentine's Day card.

I must confess, however, the card took on a little life of it's own. I originally planned to do a masculine card, but ended up with a card that would be perfect for one of our heroes to send to a daughter.

Paper is from DCWV's Sweet Matstack with Glitter.
The stamp is from Snag 'Em Stamps by imagenisce.
Challenge #2:

This second card was inspired by the OWH post to create your own background paper. This was my first attempt at using one of the larger stamps. Heat embossing with metallic powder seemed like the perfect way to make the snowflakes sparkle. (Yes, I know white or silver snowflakes might make more sense, but my gold embossing powder was working the best.)

Interestingly enough, most everyone who shared a card for this challenge had a far more involved design than this one. Since I loved the way the stamped image came out, I decided to let it speak for itself -- simply popping it with a contrasting background color and accenting it with a bow.

Unfortunately, I finished this design too late to send to OWH this season. So, a few close friends and work colleagues will be its only recipients this holiday season. But, I'm thinking it might make it my OWH shipment next year.

Snowflake background was stamped with a DesignBlock from Hero Arts.

So, have you spotted what these two cards have in common?

Yep, it's the bow. OWH's own Dixie posted a wonderful no-fail-ribbon-tutorial on a fabulous embellishment technique.  Wish I would've know about this ribbon technique earlier in the holiday season -- and very happy to know about it now!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

OWH Sketch 99

The card below was made for this week's OWH Sketch 99. I had a couple of thank you/gratitude stamps I hadn't used yet and thought they might compliment each other well in this sketch.

Paper is the Natural collection -- with coordinating cards -- from DCWV.
Smaller stamp is from Hero Arts -- and was only 50 cents at a scrapbook garage sale!
Can't remember the source for the bigger stamp.
I love the flexibility of this sketch -- and really like the way this masculine thank  you card turned out. (Even better, my husband liked it, too.)

Friday, December 9, 2011

Scattering Joy

A friend and I went to a fabulous holiday concert at Capital University last Friday night with the message to scatter joy. So, I was looking for a way to keep the spirit alive when I read the challenge on OWH's Stars and Stamps blog to make a card using OWH Sketch #98. Immediately, "JOY" came to my mind for the three squares.

This card, which I'm giving to a few friends this Christmas,
may very well make it in next year's OWH cards.
Paper is from Bo Bunny's gorgeous Snowfall collection.
Wish the Icicle stickling on the left edge,
around the blue circle, and on the letters
showed up better in the scanned image.
The sentiment came from a reading during the concert.
Sorry I don't know the author.

I have to say I loved the sketch and LOVE this card. It's one of my all-time favorites and the image shown just doesn't do it justice.

And, with this post, let the joy scattering begin!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Craft Show -- Take Two

For the sixth year, the McGraw-Hill Polaris office held a lunchtime Craft Show for employees, family, and friends. So, inbetween making Christmas and Valentine cards for Operation Write Home, I designed and made cards to sell at the Craft Show -- with proceeds to benefit Operation Write Home.

This was my first craft show of any kind and I really didn't know what to expect. I'm thrilled to report that I took in almost $300! (While I don't know for sure how much money I invested in the cards, I'm thinking $50 might be a good estimate.)


As a result, I will be able to:
  • make significant shipping donations when I send cards,
  • use even nicer paper and more embellishments, and
  • invest in additional punches, embossing folders, etc.
So, what were the secrets to my success?
  • Minimizing expenses by: sharing a table with a colleague selling cupcakes, maximizing the number of cards made from materials purchased, and using a picture/postcard display that I already had to display cards,
  • Including birthday card designs -- which went really fast -- along with holiday designs,
  • Using a variety of papers -- some feminine, some masculine, some kid-like -- for the birthday cards,
  • Limiting holiday designs to three types -- a traditional punched-out tree on Bo Bunny's Father Christmas collection paper; stamped and painted Baby Rudolphs, aka Rudy, for kids big and small; and embossed, hand-decorated ornaments with a little more artsy take,
  • Packaging each card in a clear plastic sleeve,
  • Sending a pre-event e-mail to colleagues who have previously supported Operation Write Home events, as well as to team members and friends,
  • Displaying a poster of card designs in my cubicle a few days beforehand, and
  • Reaching out to potential customers at the show as they walked by -- not hesitating to ask if they were familiar with Operation Write Home.
And, what would I do differently?
  • Not maximize expenses quite so much. I tried to use as many sheets of paper from my 6 x 6 paper pads even if the combinations were not my favorite,
  • Building on the previous statement, trusting my instincts when it comes to card design. The cards that weren't my favorite, didn't sell nearly as well,
  • and include one or two more non-holiday cards, like thank you cards.
All in all, a fabulous craft show debut -- with lots of money to put towards 2012 OWH card-making endeavors! My sincerest appreciation to everyone who supported the event.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

OWH's Sweets for Sweets Challenge

OWH is partnering once again with Archway to match sweets for sweets. Archway will send goodies to our troops for Valentine and Love cards received by December 10.

This year the goal has been upped from 4,000 to 5000...lots and lots of love cards need to be sent homeward to carry our heroes' hearts to their families!
  • Deadline is Dec. 10th (cards can still come in til Dec 31, but will count for the match only til the 10th) and must be received on or before that day.
  • Cards need to be LOVE or VALENTINE themed
  • Cards need to meet OWH guidelines (no glitter, A2, etc)
  • Kids can send the "love" AnyHero coloring pages here or here and we'll count those too
  • Send in a packing slip with your cards with your info filled out, card count, and write "ARCHWAY" on the challenge line
So, while my mind has been drifting to thoughts of stocking stuffers and cookies for nephews, my hands have been making Valentines for our troops to send home to loved ones. The cards below were made from Reminisce paper.

Reminisce's Hearts Afire Paper

Reminisce's Flirt Paper, background texture created
with 4 layers of white tulle stapled on brown cardstock

Hoping to get a few more done before the December 10 deadline.

Friday, November 18, 2011

My First Craft Show

By day -- and some nights, I am a math content editor for a text book publisher. At our office, the Activities Committee holds an annual Holiday Bazaar for employees and their family and friends. This year, the bazaar is on December 1 and monies raised from table rentals benefit a canine rescue group.

I've decided to dip my toes into the craft bazaar world. So, after making OWH Christmas cards and before starting OWH Valentine cards, I've been busy making cards for the craft show. My goal is to raise money for OWH -- donating part of my profits for shipping and using the rest to purchase adhesives for 2012 cards.

My intent was to have holiday cards that would appeal to three distinct groups: kid-oriented, artistic, and traditional. A friend encouraged me to include a non-holiday, generic card -- which explains the birthday/celebration cards. The following are sample cards that I will be selling:

For the Kids-at-Heart: A Snag 'Em Stamps
baby Rudolph on paper from 
3 Bugs in a Rug Deck the Halls collection,
with a red stickled nose and collar and a shimmery ribbon.

For the Artistic Folks: An embossed ornament 
detailed with metallic curves and icicle stickles
with a heat embossed sentiment and ribbon
on DCWV Christmas Winter Combo cardstock matstack.

For the Traditional Folks: A punched-out whimsical tree
on cardstock, which is placed on
Bo Bunny Father Christmas Collection Paper --
with a few brads for added shimmer/dimension/texture.

Birthday/Celebration Card for Kids

Birthday/Celebration Card on paper from
Bo Bunny Snowfall Collection

Birthday/Anniversary/Celebration Card
from DCWV All Dressed Up matstack

So, wish me luck. More details to follow.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Shop Small

I just read Sandy's post on the Operation Write Home Stars and Stamps blog reminding everyone to stop by their local scrapbook store on Small Business Saturday on Saturday, November 26.

By all means, pay a visit to your favorite scrapbook store when doing your holiday shopping. While big coupons can certainly come in handy, there is no doubt that you will find something fabulous at your LSS that you just won't find in a big box, chain store.

Happy scrapping and happy shopping!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

OWH Challenge

Hi, everyone,

Sorry it's been such a long time between posts. I've been busy making holiday cards for OWH heroes -- and for a craft show at work. More on that later.

For now, I wanted to let everyone know about a challenge and opportunity.
  • Our Daily Bread Designs will be making shipping donations to OWH based on the number of cards linked to their post. (Check out ODBD Shipping Opportunity for more information!)
  • Since OWH is turning its attention to hearts and valentines, how about trying your hand at a Love or Valentine's card and then linking your card for this OBDB shipping opportunity.  

The above card was made using a stamp that must have gone with last year's We R Memory Keepers Valentine collection. (I picked it up a few months ago when scrapping with a friend.)

The patterned paper came from a bargain pack from Target. The image was stamped (and hand-drawn stitches were added) to light blue cardstock. Finally, a few gems were added to complete the look.

Since I don't have a fancy cutting machine, I traced the scalloped frame from a die cut. Then, I scanned, copied, and re-sized it using our home printer/scanner and computer.

Now it's your turn. Try your hand at a Valentine's card, and link it to the OWH post. Can't wait to see your creations! As for me, it's back to craft show cards...

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Oak Creek Printworks

Just  a quick posting to let you know about a fabulous company out of Simi Valley. I found these fabulous people online while searching for protective card sleeves. I ordered sleeves Thursday evening -- following a very helpful phone call -- and received the sleeves on Saturday. Wonderful service paired with a great product -- quite a combination!

You might want to check out Oak Creek Printworks. I'm so glad I did!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Christmas is for Kids

The last few weeks have found me making Christmas cards for OWH troops to send home to the little ones in their lives. A bunch of bright and shiny reindeer were crafted from Caboodle's Deck the Halls kit. The stamp itself is one of Imaginesce's Snag 'em Stamps. Final adornments included painting with watered-down acrylics and stickling noses and collars. Honestly, the image doesn't do justice to the way the noses and collars pop!

In addition, the shipment that will go out on Monday will include more colorful penguins from this year's Jillibean Soup Christmas collection. A little stickling added some pop to snowflakes, tree stars, and tree ornaments, as well as to the backgrounds of the last two cards.

Just a reminder about using glitter, glittered paper, and stickles. Operation Write Home asks that glitter never be used. When using glittered paper or stickles, please be sure that the glitter does not rub off. Even the tiniest speck of glitter can be detected with night vision equipment.

Please go to OWH Card Guidelines for more information on guidelines on cards being made for Operation Write Home.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Falling for You Snowman

I'll admit I have Christmas cards on the brain. So, the OWH challenge to do something round  at Robyn's Fetish meshed with my earlier VCMP "Falling for You" challenge. And this little snowman came to life.

There are a couple of things I love about this card.
  • It was my first time to use the heat embossing technique I learned in a card-making class.
  • The card combines two of my loves: card making and painting.
The circles forming the body and the snowflakes were punched from a metallic-like, textured, light gray cardstock. The sentiment was embossed with EK Success silver embossing powder. Since I have a rack full of acrylic paints from my tole painting days, the following paints were used to bring out this little guy's personality.
  • Light Ivory for the spattered background,
  • Midnight Blue and French Grey Blue for the shadows on the right side of his body,
  • Light Ivory and Warm White for the highlights on his left side, 
  • Sand for his arms,
  • Burnt Orange and Heritage Brick for his nose, and
  • Soft Black for his eyes and buttons. 
Not bad for a first combination painting/card making effort. I'm thinking future Falling for You Snowmen cards should be on darker blue cardstock -- with a more gray/ivory/white embossing powder. But, all in all, I'm pretty pleased with the way this little guy turned out.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A Whimsical Ornament

The card below was inspired by three separate Operation Write Home posts: this week's Stars and Stamps challenge to "do something round" from Robyn's Fetish, the Virtual Card Making challenge to do a paper piecing card, and Sandy's blog post about strip cards.

I played with a number of paper combinations before I came up with this one. The patterned paper is from Caboodle's Deck the Halls kit and the sentiment is a Best Creation's peel-off-sticker. Finishing touches include a hand-drawn hook, a shimmery ribbon, 4 gems, and a little stickling. The natural affinity for odd-numbered things entered into the ribbon/ornament/sentiment arrangement, as well as the choice of 1 and 3 gems. I went with 1 gem at the top -- with the larger bow -- and 3 gems at the bottom -- with the smaller sentiment -- as a way of striking a balance of elements. Finally, the 3-D glue dots nicely raised the ornament, but created a shadow when the card was scanned.

I'm thinking this would make a nice card for family and friends since my cards for OWH have already been planned out -- and in some cases, completed. However, if I manage to master the fork bow, a few of these might make their way into my next OWH shipment.

This card's design is a little out-of-the-ordinary for me. I'd love to hear what folks think about it.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Scrapbook Art

July 30 was a wonderful day for Central Ohio paper crafters! That was the day that Scrapbook Art, one of their favorite scrapbook stores, reopened  after being sold by its original owners to one of its staff members.

Soon after SBA hosted our McGraw-Hill card-making party for Operation Write Home, Caron and Amy -- who were huge supporters of OWH -- sold the store to Terri -- another huge supporter of OWH.

Today is another big day for SBA. It marks the day that the store's new Web site goes live! Take a few minutes to make a virtual visit.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

A Few Cards for Family and Friends

Inbetween autumn and Christmas cards for OWH, I took a short break to make a few cards for family and friends.

The Halloween card materials were included in a wonderful package from that had: Matilda 6 X6 papers from Cosmo Cricket, 5 coordinated ribbons, and black rhinestones.
Of course, the two ghost cards are going to nephews. The thing I was most excited about was that I was able to print the sentiment (in Chiller font) directly onto 6 by 6 papers. This opens up a whole new world of possibilities...

Pumpkins were cut from one of the pad's papers. Candy corn stickers came from Creative Memories. Stickles added a little sparkle to the ghost and pumpkins.

This Good Luck card will be going to a friend at work who has accepted a position with another company. (My only consolation is that she is so excited about this new opportunity.) The paper is from SEI's Moonshine collection. The card is adorned with Prima Festive White flowers that were transformed using pastels and small metallic brads.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

OWH VCMP Challenge #9 -- Any Hero Card

I was checking the first VCMP challenge of the day before watching the 9-11 Remembrance Coverage this morning when I read the challenge to make an Any Hero card. What a perfect challenge to honor our servicemen and women -- especially today.

So, I've made my first Any Hero cards using a digital stamp -- another first -- and K&Company Americana paper. The card shown is an example of one of my more feminine versions.

Next, the hard part.... finding just the right words to express my gratitude... and my prayers and wishes for their safety.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

OWH Birthday Bash -- Falling For You

Welcome, card makers!  And, Happy Birthday, OWH!

So, what do you think of when you hear the phrase, "Falling for You"?
  • Perhaps your thoughts go to the holidays and a wintry card of falling snowflakes.
  • Maybe you picture a romantic, "falling in love" card with valentine hearts and Cupid's arrows.
  • Or, maybe you visualize something totally quirky, like a monkey slipping on a banana peel.
The phrase came to me when I was making autumn cards for OWH.  With college football games on tv, a nip in the air, and papers of orange, yellow, and rust all around me, falling leaves just felt right. 

"Falling for You" was made using leaf stickers from Reminisce's Harvest collection, paper from Creative Memories' Bountiful designer print pack, and a computer-generated sentiment (Mistral font on white paper rubbed with pastels to soften the paper's appearance) -- with a taupe-colored ribbon for extra texture and shimmer.
Now it's your turn to make the phrase your own.

No rules -- other than using the phrase "Falling for You." -- and no time limit. And, apologetically, no candy. This is my first time hosting an OWH event. I'll know better next time. :)

Can't wait to see what everyone creates! Happy scrapping to all and thanks for stopping!

(BTW If you have a minute, please check out the May posts about an amazing OWH card-making event in Central Ohio.)

Colorful Penguins for VCMP Nontraditional Christmas

Found the Jillibean Soup's Christmas Eve Chowder paper at my new favorite scrapbook store, Scrapbook Art is Lewis Center, OH.

It seems a perfect fit for this challenge -- as well as the Garanimals challenge.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Autumn Cards for OWH

Printed papers, border stickers, and leaf stickers from Reminisce's Harvest collection were used to create the following cards that will be making their way to OWH this coming week.

Reminisce materials were paired with other papers to create the following cards.

While holiday-themed cards are always appreciated, deployed troops often request general-interest cards, such as seasonal cards without sentiments, birthday cards, missing you cards, and thinking of you cards. I'm hoping these autumn cards are just right for any fall occasion, including Thanksgiving.

These gorgeous Reminisce papers and supplies were purchased at the newly reopened Scrapbook Arts in Lewis Center. Central Ohio paper crafters are thrilled that one of our favorite stores is back!  I can't wait to start making Christmas cards from the papers I picked up there this past week.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

General Theme Cards for OWH

I've been working on general theme cards for Operation Write Home, including the Birthday and Miss You cards shown below.

My thanks to Tiffany, formerly of Pizazz It and now on the design team for the newly reopened Scrapbook Art, for the birthday card design. The card's components are so simple -- 12 rectangles and 9 leaf punches! Simply round the corners of the icing rectangle and you're all set. (Using a ribbon in place of the middle rectangle between the cake and the icing is also very cute.)

I love the simplicity, yet unmistakeable message, of this birthday card. And, I also love that it can be so easily tailored to suit a guy or gal. Paper choice allows for showcasing favorite colors or favorite things, such as a love for chocolate or a passion for doggies/kittens. The card pictured above was made from KaiserCraft's Hippy Girl Collection.

The Miss You card is yet another design from the Mind's Eye Stella Rose collection. What I love about this card was the pairing of brown and black, which makes for a gender-neutral card that can easily be sent to a fellow.

For this card, I tried several different techniques. The first was pressing the formerly brown leather tag face down on a black ink pad to better blend with the patterned papers. I rubbed the edges of the card with a charcoal pastel and blended the pastel to fade in towards the center of the card. Using the pastel seemed to add a little more depth as well as subtly accentuating card edges. When all this was done, the card still needed a little something -- and that something came in the addition of black photo corners. All of these elements seem to have come together to create a really aesthetically pleasing card.

Next post: autumn cards for OWH

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Summertime Invitation

The following card was made to invite friends to a late-summer potluck.

The layout is Operation Write Home's challenge sketch #60. The horizontal strip measures 5 1/2 inches by 1 3/4 inches, while individual squares are 1 inch by 1 inch.

The patterned paper and circle embellishment are from Jillibean Soup's Watermelon Gazpacho Soup line. Final details include gold Straight 'N Narrow ribbon from Michael's, stickled dots, and desert sand inked edges -- all of which were included to add a little pizazz and texture.