Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Curtain Call Inspiration Challenge: Happy Acorns

It's time for a new challenge at the Curtain Call Inspiration Challenge: Acorns!

I was thrilled when I saw this challenge because I had a not-yet-used acorn stamp set.  It's a layered set with two different size acorns and two different looks.  I used the more graphic look on the top layer - there's another  top layer with a more realistic look.

CC Acorns

The stamp set comes with multiple stamps for Thanksgiving or giving thanks.  At the point that I was thinking about this challenge, I already had my Thanksgiving cards made - in fact, they are at the post office today.  However, my brother's birthday is the day before Thanksgiving so I figured I could use an autumn theme.  I threw in some autumn-colored patterned leaves and a big "happy" in navy blue.  To add a unique touch, I embossed lines above and below the "happy" leaving room for the bitty "happy birthday".

I hope to see you playing along with our Acorns challenge!  But first check out our guest designers:
Laurel Seabrook at Seabrook Designs
 Elizabeth Stewart at Paper Sweetness


Freshly Made Sketches vs. Clean Carpets

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

Sadly, I don't have a card to go with this fun sketch.  I took Monday off work.  My plan was to spend the morning crafting and then I had carpet cleaners in the afternoon.  But the carpet people came early so I had to quickly get my craft stuff out of the way.  Then they swore it would be dry that day.  It's now Wednesday morning and it's still slightly damp.  (Although it does look fabulous!)  My newly cleaned, dust-free, pollen-free, dander-free carpet took precedence over making a card this week!

I hope to see you playing along.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Hello Friend: Thinking of You

Last week was sneak peek week and the new November release from Taylored Expressions. One of the new sets is Bubble Greetings for which I did a sneak peek with these two cards.  Then I saw the cards my creative teammate Noriko did (here) and all new possibilities opened up for me!!  LOVE what she did.  She took the big Bubble Greetings sentiment and added a smaller sentiment across the front.  (She also turned it into a gorgeous shaker card with a colorful background - be sure to check it out and be in awe.)  Here's my take on her use of a smaller sentiment strip.

TE Hello Friend

I had a need for this card so I used "Hello Friend" and the smaller sentiment "Thinking of You" from the new set Friendly Phrases.  Noriko made a set of four cards with the four sentiments in Bubble Greetings.  Three of her cards used smaller stamps from Friendly Phrases.  For her "Thank You" she used a small phrase from In & Out Thanks.

I've been trying to branch out from my beloved Copics (mostly because I've had them for years; many of them are starting to dry out; and I've never invested in refills!)  I do have a small collection of Zig Clean Color Real Brush Watercolor markers.  I've not used them enough to be proficient - but they really are almost foolproof.  I drew a line of color across the top of each letter then used a waterbrush to pull the color down.  I struggled a little bit to begin with but while I was playing, I had various tutorial videos playing.  Jennifer McGuire has a variety.  Here's a link to her third post - under the video in the post are links to the first two videos. They are good to watch in order. Kristina Werner has at least one video in which she mentions that these pens are quite juicy and they quickly seep into some watercolor paper before you get a chance to watercolor them.  I found the same thing.  They didn't work for me on Tim Holtz' Distress Watercolor paper - but they were beautiful on Canson Cold Press Watercolor paper.  Kristina mentions Arches Cold Press Watercolor paper.

TE Hello Friend Close

I have a passionate dislike of black embossing powder.  No matter how hard I try with powder brushes or dryer sheets or any of the other miracle cures - I always have stray black marks.  But embossing is very handy with watercolor because it keeps each section confined - it's like a little dam.  So I used my MISTI and I stamped the big sentiment in regular black ink (a couple of times).  Then I did it again right over the top with Versamark and used clear embossing powder!

Thanks to Noriko for the inspiration and Jennifer and Kristina for the lessons!


Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Freshly Made Sketches: Joy

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

Cécile is a fabulously talented and creative cardmaker.  She uses our basic sketches to create utterly unique cards with special touches that I would never, ever think of - and they are always wonderful!  My card today is not remotely in the category of Cécile's creativity, but I did challenge myself to jump out of my box.  For me, that was simply using a mix of colors and patterns.


I like the crisp and clean white space on this card along with the mass of bright colors and patterns.  I'm glad I jumped a bit out of my box!!!  The tree comes from my stash of unused Christmas stuff and, sadly, this set is SO old that it's already retired (although the dies are still available).

I hope to see you playing along with our sketch.  I love seeing all of the fun and creative uses of our sketches - I'm inspired every week!


Stamps: Papertrey Ink (PTI) Merry & Bright Additions
Dies: PTI Merry & Bright dies
Cardstock: PTI Berry Sorbet, Bright Buttercup, Black
Ink: PTI Hawaiian Shores, Berry Sorbet, Summer Sunrise, Versamark
Other: White embossing powder, miscellaneous washi tape and sequins

Monday, November 6, 2017

Taylored Expressions: Hip Hip ....meh

I am a cheerful person.  I really am.  It takes me a lot to annoy me and I rebound very quickly.  But somehow, I can totally relate to each and every Grumpling in the Taylored Expressions collection!  The instant I saw this guy from Grouchy Grumplings 2 - I imagined him with escaping balloons!

KimOCT2017Grumplings WM

I brushed on a soft background of blue.  Although Taylored Expressions has an entire die set of Balloon Strings - they were a bit too long.  (Had the grouchy hippo had any motivation at all - he could have grabbed those balloon strings!)  So I used the confetti from Little Bits - Confetti & Candle.

These guys may be "grouchy" but they sure make me smile!!


Thursday, November 2, 2017

TE Release Day: Inside Scallops

It's the big day!  It's release day at Taylored Expressions!  Everything you've seen in sneak peeks is now available - and I have a few more to show you.  Be sure to pop over to the Taylored Expressions blog for a few more peeks - and to see if you've won a prize!

Along with all of the fun new gift-giving products and tools - we have a couple of basic must-have tools.  That may sound boring - but I have to explain that I say that as the ultimate compliment.  I love trendy and unique products, but I get absolutely giddy over basics that I know I can use over and over. Products that make my cardmaking life easier - but still add style.  That's what I want to show you today.

First up are the Inside Scallop Circle Stacklets.

Taylored Expressions Inside Scallops

Isn't that a fun way to frame the bouquet of flowers??

I used the scallop die to cut directly into my card front.  Then I used a smaller sized circle from the Stitched Circle Stacklet (previously released) to cut the inside circle into an Earl Grey panel so that the scallops were highlighted.

Taylored Expressions Inside Scallops

The bouquet of flowers is from the previously released Fall Florals and Fall Florals dies.  I added a teeny tiny butterfly from In Flight Overlays with metallic cardstock and gave it some texture with the Brick Embossing Folder.


We also have a new set of rectangles - the Inside Scallop Rectangle Stacklets!!

Here's the true power of these Inside Scallop die sets.  The scallops aren't frames - they are stand alones.  I used it as a stand alone to cut into the my card front on the first card.  BUT they can be frames because they are sized perfectly to pair with the Stitched Stacklets - in this case the Stitched Rectangle Stacklet.  If you wanted to do it with the circles is the Stitched Circle Stacklets.

Here's the Inside Scallop Rectangle used as a frame with the Stitched Rectangles.  

Taylored Expressions Inside Scallops

These two cards are exactly why I call these must-have basics.  The first card is a bit more elegant with a bouquet of flowers.  This card is bright and whimsical.  The Inside Scallops add style to each one!!

Taylored Expressions Inside Scallops

The image is from the previously released B is for Birthday.  Then I added some strips from the brand new Playful Patterns - Bold paper pack!

Hasn't this been a fun and unique release?  Be sure to check out the rest of the creative team - and check whether you won a prize.  Then have fun shopping!


Wednesday, November 1, 2017

TE Sneak Peek Day 3: Notes and Envelopes

It's the third day of sneak peeks for the November release from Taylored Expressions.  This release has been all about gift-giving and fun, unique products.  Today is no exception.  Everything you see today will be available tomorrow!  Be sure to check out each of the creative team members' blogs for all of the sneak peeks - starting with the Taylored Expressions blog.

We have a fun new, oversized sentiment set that makes it so easy to create a special card.  There is also a new pre-printed product of borders that frame these sentiments perfectly!!!

Taylored Expressions Bubble Greetings

Such an easy card to make - but with the sentiment, it's big and bold and makes a statement.  The check border comes from the Boxed In Basics pre-printed doodle borders and I simply colored it in.  (There are a variety of borders the set so you can pick and choose your style.)  The Bubble Greetings stamp set includes this sentiment plus three more.  I added a few music notes and a few enamel dots  And it's done!!

I also took the same stamp in a different direction.  Just as simple - but the sentiment keeps it fun and bold.  This is the new Playful Patterns - Savory paper set - my all-time favorite color scheme!

Taylored Expressions Bubble Greetings

I love products that can take on so many different looks!  Here's the supply lists for these cards but be sure to keep scrolling for a chance at prizes and another sneak peek.

SUPPLY LIST (first card)

SUPPLY LIST (second card)

Before I go on to the next new product, don't forget that Taylored Expressions is celebrating Release Week with 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!

Whenever I receive a card and the envelope is decorated, I'm smiling before I even open the envelope.  Taylored Expressions knows this and has come out with a variety of products that allows us to add that special touch.

The Scalloped Envelope Liner die cuts patterned paper into the perfect shape to fit inside their A2 Envelopes (which come in various colored sets even though you'll only see white in my samples).  Last month, two stamp sets specifically for envelopes were released - Merry Mail 1 and Merry Mail 2. This month the line has expanded with a non-holiday set called Snail Mail.  Each set has a variety of stamps to decorate or to add address boxes, etc.  I went back to Merry Mail 1 to create these Christmas envelopes.

(Just to be totally clear - there are two envelopes in each photo.  One is flipped to the front so you can see the stamped images and one to the back so you can see the liner.)

Taylored Expressions Merry Mail 1

I added a splash of color with the new patterned paper from the Bold pack, then the sweetest little dog - even if he is chewing the mail!!

For the second envelope, I used paper from the Savory pack.  Then that fabulous long sentiment and two trees.  (BTW - the new non-holiday set mentioned earlier has a long sentiment like this that says "snail mail" - LOVE these!)

Taylored Expressions Merry Mail 1

The third envelope goes back to Bold paper.  I just had to use that charming bird image. My original thought is that one of those birds would be really cute sitting on the address, but I quickly realized that with my terrible handwriting, showing you one that I had actually addressed would be a negative distraction from the fun stamp!!  So I ended up doing a variety of colors across the bottom.

Taylored Expressions Merry Mail 1

Tomorrow's the big day!  I have another sneak peek and then you'll have to head first to the TE blog to see if you've won a prize and then to the TE store!!


Curtain Call Inspiration: Cider

It's time for a new challenge at the Curtain Call Inspiration Challenge: Cider.

I adore the warmth and tart-sweetiness of a good apple cider!  I can't think of many better moments in life than to sit on the deck, wrapped in a blanket, a warm cider in hand, watching the leaves fall and the geese heading south.  I know that sounds a bit overboard - but I like it better than spring rain and summer flowers.  (Although sunshine on fresh snow comes very close!)  So I was thrilled to combine fall colors and apple cider.

CC Cider

There's a lot of companies represented on this card.  The Coffee Cup is Simon Says Stamp.  It's one of my favorite coffee cups because of its shape and the little heart.  The apples are from Taylored Expressions.  It's the Apple Stacklets set.  I've never actually used this smallest one before.  There are six progressively bigger apples in the set and as they get bigger, there are stems and even seeds (in the separate die set Apple Stems and Seeds).  The stitching on the edge is Avery Elle's Wonky Stitches.  Then I found just the right sentiment in Papertrey's Pumpkin Patch.  I don't often use this many companies at a time because as my collection has grown I have to narrow down the choices on each card or I get overwhelmed!  (I's sad.)  I found sticking with a company helps narrow it down.  But this came together quickly and easily because they all were favorites!

I hope to see you playing along with our Cider challenge.


Stamps: PTI Pumpkin Patch
Dies: Simon Says Coffee Cup, Taylored Expression Apple Stacklets, Avery Elle Wonky Stitches
Patterned Paper: Echo Park Fall is in the Air 6x6 Pad
Other: Echo Park Fall is in the Air Enamel Dots

Freshly Made Sketches: Happy Happy Happy

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

This week, I needed a masculine birthday card. I started with balloons - didn't seem masculine.  I went to a fall leaf which had potential but needed a good woodgrain for the background.  I was browsing my paper stash and saw this fun piece.  Then the leaf seemed too detailed.  Here's what I ended up with.  Isn't the creative process a crazy ride at times?!  (And now I have lots of balloons and leaves to use with future cards!)

FMS Happy Happy

The "happy" comes from an older die set from Papertrey Ink called Tipped Tops.  I have to laugh at myself every time that I use it.  The main point of the die set is three large dies to cut angled panels.  There's a couple of "happy" dies tucked in - probably because there was room for them in the set.  But have I ever used any of the angled panels - nope!  I love the font and look of this "happy" die so I have an entire set because I liked one die.  

I'm excited to see what everybody does with this sketch!  It's wide open for creativity - enjoy it!


Stamps: My Favorite Things Label Maker Sentiments
Dies: My Favorite Things Label Tape, Papertrey Ink Tipped Tops
Paper: Kaisercraft Base Coat 6 1/2" Paper Pad and various cardstocks to match
Other: Studio Calico Wood Stars

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

TE Sneak Peek Day 2: Pitch Black Gift Set

It's the second day of sneak peeks for the November release from Taylored Expressions.  We are still all about gift-giving.  As cardmakers, we have an incredible gift to give others - a gift of cards for their own use.  It's such a personal gift and always so well received.  Everything you see today will be available on Thursday, November 2nd.  Be sure to check out each of the creative team members' blogs for all of the sneak peeks - starting with the Taylored Expressions blog.

Taylored Expressions has always had Clear Card Boxes that perfectly hold 4+ cards (depending on how dimensional they are).  Then came the Noteworthy Belly Band which perfectly wraps around the card box to give it some decoration.

I've created a gift set using those products plus a brand new stamp set that is about the funniest set I have seen.

First - the complete gift with one of the funny sentiments used on the belly band.

Taylored Expressions Pitch Black Gift Set

LOVE that sentiment.  It made me laugh out loud.  I am SO going to love making cards for my own use with that sentiment because I can think of multiple friends who will totally get it and it will brighten their otherwise "pitch black" days.

There is a card inside the box with the sentiment.  I decorated it with the Little Bits - Sun & Clouds.  (All my die decorations are previously released.) I also added a grumpy face from the Clearly Planned set - Today's Weather.  Then a few black raindrops.

Taylored Expressions Pitch Black Gift Set

The patterned paper is also new and totally exciting.  There are two new paper packs with wonderful basic tone-on-tones, polka dots, stripes, ginghams, etc.  This entire set of cards uses Playful Patterns - Bold.  I'll be using paper out of the other set in the next two days.

I can so totally relate to this next sentiment - and can't you just see the smile on the face of the recipient!

Taylored Expressions Pitch Black Gift Set

I didn't have a good "exhausted pigeon" but I found this tubby little bird from Little Bits - Birds and plopped him on a limb that I trimmed from a bigger limb out of On a Limb - Branches.

I like this next sentiment.  Sadly I've never quite found the balance - I eat the salad (although loaded with dressing), then top it off with a cupcake!!

Taylored Expressions Pitch Black Gift Set

I used Little Bits - Cupcake and I got the salad lettuce from Little Bits - Hamburger.  Hopefully you can tell that the little red things are tomatoes - I used a hole punch and cut them in half.

Finally - we have the difference between cupcakes and muffins!!

Taylored Expressions Pitch Black Gift Set

I used the Little Bits - Cupcake to create a chocolaty good cupcake!

I think this set - or any set created and boxed up in a clear card box makes such a perfect and thoughtful gift.

Head over to 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. Then, be sure to check out all the other notecard gift ideas.


Taylored Expressions Pitch Black Gift Set

Monday, October 30, 2017

TE Sneak Peek Day 1: Christian Calendar

It's the first day of sneak peeks for the November release from Taylored Expressions!  This is one of my favorite releases as it is traditionally focused on calendars and gift-giving.  Both are so fun to create and to give!  Everything you see in the next three days of sneak peeks will be available on Thursday, November 2nd. Be sure to check out each of the creative team members' blogs for all of the sneak peeks - starting with the Taylored Expressions blog.

Here's January from my calendar series.

Taylored Expressions Be Still - Jan

{I have more months later in this post.}

You can see that these are new 2018 5x7 calendars.  There are also 3x4 calendars and mini tear off calendars.  I used many previously released products for my calendar - the stamp set Be Still which has 12 Bible verses, the stamp set and the dies for Flower for a Year - 12 of those too so just perfect for a calendar.  To decorate, I used the previously released Build a Scene - Calendar - 5x7 die set and the Old Rugged Cross die set.  So you might be asking, what's new?

It's the Display Easel!!!  Be still my heart - I see SO many uses for this die set.

Taylored Expressions Display Easel die set

FYI - I attached an extra piece of 1x3 cardstock across the two base legs to widen and stabilize it.  I was worried that with the bigger calendar it wouldn't be stable particularly if I bumped my desk.  (Yes, I'm keeping this one for myself! But I'm already thinking of friends and family who will be getting a calendar set also.)  I also added another piece below the shelf to keep it sturdy.  The calendars are printed on sturdy cardstock and I didn't want to take any chance of the easel drooping!

You definitely need to pop around to the other blogs so see all of the uses for this easel.  You will see watercolor panels and you'll see smaller calendars with a different way to build the easel.  You'll also see the new stamp set.  (Grumplings fans, get excited - we now have Calendar Grumplings.)

And to add to the excitement...For a limited time, earn DOUBLE CRAFTY POINTS on our Display Easel die! If you're not a Crafty Points member, it's free and easy to join. Just create an account at the TE webstore and you're automatically enrolled to begin earning crafty points with every purchase. You'll earn 74 Crafty Points on the purchase of our Display Easel die! Offer valid on qualifying purchases made between 9am CST on Thursday, November 2, 2017 and 11:59 pm CST on Sunday, November 5, 2017 and only while supplies last. Crafty Points are only available on purchases made via our retail site:

I am a huge fan of inspiration on my calendar so I can feel positive and motivated each time I check the date.  I am thrilled to continue with the Be Still and Flower of the Year set.

While January was cool and frosty, February uses the "love" theme and a bouquet of Valentine flowers.

Taylored Expressions Be Still - Feb

On each month, I used stencil brushes to add a soft glow behind the cross.  Then the crosses are cut out of woodgrain cardstock.

March is always a problem for me.  March happens to be the snowiest month where I live so I'm still thinking frosty thoughts. I stayed with cooler colors, but still used soft flowers.

Taylored Expressions Be Still - Mar

I looked up Easter before making March and April since it can fall in either month.  Did you know it falls on April Fools Day (April 1st) this year??!!  The Old Rugged Cross die set also comes with the cloth to drape over the cross for Easter.

Taylored Expressions Be Still - April

I have the rest of the months to do but you can see how well it all works together and is then displayed on the easel!

Tomorrow I'll have another idea for gift-giving using just about the funniest stamp set I have ever seen!!  Don't forget to pop over to the Taylored Expressions blog.  Taylored Expressions is celebrating Release Week with a giveaway during each day of sneak peeks! Answer Taylor’s Question of the Day for a chance to win one of the latest products before you can buy it!


Taylored Expressions Be Still Calendar

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Freshly Made Sketches: Peace

It's time for a new sketch at Freshly Made Sketches! I am thrilled to be the creator of this week's sketch!  I hope you like it.

This was the rare time that I hadn't created a card first before I submitted a sketch.  That made me really nervous.  I am so visual - until I see a completed card, I don't have much faith in a my own sketch.  But surprisingly for me - this came together quite quickly!

Freshly Made Sketches: Peace

The first decision in this sketch is where to put the sentiment.  Outside of the panels?  At the bottom of the large panel? Focused in the square?  I went with none of the above and put it sideways on the rectangle.  This was only because I had a large set of small dies that I hadn't put away yet, they fell and spilled out of their container when I was trying to get to something else - but instead of grumbling, I had a light bulb moment!  I'll take inspiration in any way it choose to come.!

Freshly Made Sketches: Peace

I found a simple set of snowflakes of the right size that would layer.  As many snowflake dies as I have, this was actually difficult.  It seems I tend toward fairly intricate snowflakes - but I just wanted simple layers.  I found an older set and layered it in white, Coastal Cabana, silver glimmer and then the part that looks blurry in the photo is vellum.

I pulled out Crumb Cake for the frame and am still slightly uncertain about this decision.  I wanted neutral - I thought white would get lost and, although I love grays, I thought it would look too cold!  So I warmed it up (odd thing to say about a snowflake) with some kraft.

I hope to see you playing along - I LOVE to see the incredible variety of cards that come out of a single sketch.


Dies: Tim Holtz Block Holiday Words, MFT Let It Snowflake
Cardstock: Stampin' Up Crumb Cake, Pool Party (with the older patterned paper), Coastal Cabana, Vellum
Embellishments: YNS Gumdrops Magical Pastel