Saturday, December 31, 2011

Welcome Little One - January Stamp of the Month Blog Hop

Hello and welcome to January's Stamp of the Month blog hop!  This month we are featuring "Little Reminder", a set of 25 stamps available only for the month of January.  If you've arrived here from Beth's Creative Block blog, or if you're just starting out, you are in the right place.  When you're done here, you'll hop along to Shirley's Mom n Me blog.

As soon as I opened up this stamp set, I knew I wanted to make a special baby girl card for a friend who recently had a baby.  I pulled out my Sophia paper pack and some other supplies, in addition to the stamp of the month.  I found a pattern I liked in the Wishes book, and modified it only slightly for what I had in mind.  Here's how it turned out:

I used the Cricut Art Philosophy cartridge along with the stamp of the month set and the Hooray Bouquet stamp set for the circles, 3-D flowers, and leaves.  I also used a Sophia journaling spot (currently just $1 while supplies last!) on the front for a slightly different feel.  If you'd like to learn how to make the flowers I used on this card, you can watch this video I made.

Following is a list of all the supplies I used for this card.  The links will open my website in a new window, so you don't have to worry about losing the rest of the hop!

Now, don't forget to hop along and see what Shirley has in store for us this month.  Leave a comment if you have the time, and I'd love it if you'd become a follower!  Thanks for stopping by and I hope to see you again soon.

    Friday, December 30, 2011

    Super Simple Paper Scrap Bracelet

    Would you believe that this pretty bracelet is made with only 3 items?  And one of them is paper?!  This was one of my Mom's Christmas presents, and I don't think she had any idea (shh!).

    All you need to make this bracelet is paper scraps (mine are from Close To My Heart's Dreamin' paper pack), a metal bracelet blank from the jewelry department of your big box craft store (around $3-$4), and Liquid Glass/Glossy Accents (same product, different brands).

    Here's how to make it: First, measure the openings of the bracelet sections and cut or punch pieces to fit.  Squares are easiest to start with as they can be cut more exactly.  Next, adhere the paper into each section using a small amount of Liquid Glass and let dry.  Finally, OVER fill each section with Liquid Glass so that it is rounded high above the top of the section's bezel.  As it dries, it will shrink down to be slightly rounded or even with the top of the bezels.  With a small bit of practice, you will be able to get each section the same, but if they are not even you can add another layer after the first is dry.

    NOTE: if you are filling a larger or deeper area, you should fill it in layers instead of all at once to prevent cracking.

    Here's what the bracelet looks like once filled:
    And here's what it looks like once it is dried:
    If you'd like to see a more complex jewelry piece, I've got one posted over on the Cutters Creek blog today using some gorgeous Graphic45 paper.

    Thursday, December 29, 2011

    Still Time to Get Mad About You!

    Check out this sweet banner I made with the Mad About You stamp set and my Cricut:
    There are 4 stamps marked on this set with their compatible sizes on the Art Philosophy Cricut cartridge, but of course I'm sure you can find more great shapes on the cartridge to use with the sentiments.  Don't have the cartridge?  You can still cut the shapes by hand like we've been doing for years. I also cut my letters from the same cartridge.

    If you haven't yet placed your order for December's stamp of the month, Mad About You, there's still a little time left.  This stamp set goes away after 12/31, but if you contact me via email or phone I am still able to order it a few days after that.

    If you'd like more ideas using this awesome stamp set, you can check out our blog hop from the 1st of the month!

    Supplies used in this project are available from Close To My Heart:
    • Mad About You, December stamp of the month
    • Roxie Level 2 paper pack
    • Ink pads in Black, Tulip, and Smoothie
    • Sponge daubers
    • Bonding Memories glue pen (mine in the photo is an old style, so it's bigger than the current one)
    • Designer Ribbon Red Collection
    • Stamping blocks, 2"x2" and 3"x3"
    • Art Philosophy Cricut Cartridge
    I also used a 1/8" hole punch so I could string my ribbon through the hearts.

      Wednesday, December 28, 2011

      While Supplies Last

      Wow!  I just visited the online Close To My Heart ordering system, and there are even more new items in the While Supplies Last section.  Best part is, they start as low as $1 each, and up to 81% off!  Yikes!

      One of my faves is last year's "Valentine's" paper pack, Sweetheart for only $3.  (Includes 10 sheets cardstock & 12 sheets B&T patterns.)   And the coordinating MyStickease are only $2.  Lots of other little goodies are out there too.

      Don't forget, if you order $25 worth of items from the Autumn/Winter 2011 catalog, you can get that awesome Rock The Block promotion for just $15.  And I am also sending a special little something with all $25+ orders this month as well.  So, get a few new things, a few great bargains, and a great special promotion all in one order and save on shipping!  Enjoy...

      Sunday, December 18, 2011

      It's Time To Rock the Block With Close To My Heart

      Hello and welcome to a special CTMH blog hop, where we are gonna "Rock the Block"!  If you're just starting out, or if you're arriving here from Georgia Hauglid's blog, you are in the right place.  When you're done here, you'll move along to Sheila Bennet's blog.

      So, why the special blog hop?  To celebrate Close To My Heart's new Rock the Block promotion!  For a limited time, when you place a minimum order of $25 from the Autumn/Winter 2011 Idea Book, you can get two new products for just $15: the My Creations® Collage Cubes (a Spring/Summer 2012 sneak-peek product!) and the exclusive My Acrylix® Rock the Block E-size stamp set. That’s a retail savings of almost $30! You're going to love the Collage Cubes and the Rock the Block stamp set, which work together for interactive, 3-D fun.  And now you have 33 consultants sharing great projects made with these special products, so you'll have plenty of ideas when you get yours in hand!

      We spent this weekend traveling to visit my family for early Christmas.  Plus we had an extra trip in there for a Master's Degree graduation. (Trust me, this IS relative, I promise.)  This amount of travel with three kids is NOT fun for me.  So I decided to use these products to make some travel games.  I still have to come up with more, but these two helped keep my kids busy for at least an hour, which was a great help.

      First up, an old standby: Tic-Tac-Toe
      I used Holiday Red and Sky for this game, using papers from the Believe paper pack and some cardstock.  I cut my Xs and Os using the Art Philosophy Cricut cartridge, and I sponged the edges of everything with coordinating ink.

      I used one of the background stamps in the stamp set to add a design in Holiday Red to the pattern paper in Sky with white dots & stars.

      For my second game, I got all educational and made a Magic Square Game.  This is a math game in which the numbers need to add up to 15 in ALL directions, including diagonally.  For younger kids, they can skip the diagonal portion or they will get too frustrated.
      For this game, I used Sky and Sweet Leaf/Ponderosa Pine, again using paper from the Believe paper pack and cardstock.  I again used one of the background stamps in the set, to make the Sky on Sky dot pattern.  And I used the Art Philosophy Cricut cartridge to cut the numbers 1-9, even numbers from the Sky pattern paper and odd numbers from the Ponderosa Pine cardstock.

      Next up, I plan on adding games for longer trips.  There will be one where they try to find signs matching all of the shapes I include on the blocks, and another to find certain colors of cars.  I even had a request for a picture puzzle from one of the kids.  These are all games that don't take long on their own (depending on where we are driving), but will break up the monotony of car trips for all of us.  The great tray that the blocks come in is awesome for keeping this all together on a lap, and we just stuck the entire thing in a big ziploc bag when no one was playing.

      I hope you enjoyed your stop here.  I'd love to hear your comments on my games, and any ideas you might have for more, lol.  And feel free to become a follower or subscriber while you're here, and maybe even become a Facebook fan!  When you're ready to shop, you can visit my website 24/7, or contact me for personal assistance.

      When you're ready, let's hop on over to Sheila's blog and see what great idea she has for us this time!

      Wednesday, December 7, 2011

      Gorjuss Winter Card and a Challenge!

      It's challenge time over at Scrappy Frog's Challenge Blog!  This month's challenge is to use stitching on your project, and I decided to use some on this sweet 5"x7" Winter card:

      My main image is a Gorjuss Girls "Foxy" stamp from Sugar Nellie.  I colored it with my Copic markers to match my papers.  The other stamps are all from the Snowflakes set from Close To My Heart.  The papers are all from the Wonderland paper pack, also from Close To My Heart.  All shapes were cut on my Cricut using the exclusive Art Philosophy Cricut cartridge from CTMH.  I added machine stitching around the largest circle in coordinating thread. All embellishments are from my stash.

      Want something quicker & easier?  I have two more cards using Gorjuss Girls images over on the Cutters Creek blog today.  No stamping, no coloring, just fast!  Thanks for stopping by today - I hope to be back soon with more projects getting us all ready for Christmas!  If you'd like to play along with our stitching challenge, head on over to Scrappy Frog's and take a look at some of the inspiration from other DT members.

      Friday, December 2, 2011

      More Advent Calendar Variations

      I know, December 1st has come and gone, but I wanted to share the other two advent calendars I made for my kids to show you some variations. (And there's always plenty of time for next year, right?) As a reminder, I made these using SVG files from SVG Cuts and Make The Cut software.

      The one I showed the other day was for my 10yo daughter - she likes blue.

      Here's the one I made for my 8yo daughter:
      This one uses discontinued papers from Close To My Heart, cardstock from CTMH, glitter cardstock in Aqua from American Crafts, and more Cuttlebug/Sizzix embossing folders.

      Here's the one I made for my 6yo son:
      This one uses pattern papers from Figgy Pudding by BasicGrey, cardstock from CTMH, and some shiny foil paper I've had in my stash for YEARS.  (I don't think I will try to use the foil paper with a cutting machine again after this experience, lol.)

      Sorry for the poor photos - I finally finished these before dinner, and of course the light is not the best around here in the evening!  Hope it gives you an idea of some of the different looks you can get from the advent calendar files.  Thanks for stopping by!

      Wednesday, November 30, 2011

      Mad About You - Stamp of the Month Blog Hop

      Welcome to the December stamp of the month blog hop, where we are featuring the Mad About You stamp set!  If you're here from Sheila Bennett's blog, you are in the right place.  After this, you will hop along to Traci Pasqualone's blog.

      I love the images in this stamp set, and how well they will work with the Art Philosophy Cricut cartridge.  Unfortunately, I will have to wait to play with mine.  For the first time, I realized too late that I had forgotten to order a set in advance. :(  So for now, I will share some of Corporate's beautiful artwork with you.

      UPDATE: If you are still looking for ideas to use with this stamp set, I have some artwork posted on this entry here!

       Did you know that CTMH now includes a picture of this artwork inside the stamp package?  AND, all the directions for the artwork is available online at the CTMH website! Check them out right here! If you're ready to order, my store is open 24/7 so shop anytime on my website!

      Now, head on over and check out what Traci has made for us this month.

      Custom Advent Calendar

      As usual, I am running a little behind on my holiday crafting!  I used to always buy filled advent calendars for my kids, but apparently I have taught them well and they all hate the cheap chocolate that they are filled with.  So, this year I decided to make my own, but needed something quick thanks to my "last-minute-itis".

      Lucky for me, SVG Cuts came to the rescue!  They have a super cute SVG set for a fillable advent calendar, and it only took a few hours to put together.  (Which is great for me, because I have two more to make before tomorrow afternoon!)  I just imported the files into my Make The Cut software, and cut them out with my cutting machine - it was super quick, and it was easy to put together following the picture and the numbers on the interior boxes.

      I love all the different little details on the doors!  For some added interest, I used glitter cardstock for one of my papers, and I embossed some of the pieces using Cuttlebug embossing folders.  Here are some closeups of a couple of the doors:

      Supplies used to make this version:
      • Classic Christmas Advent Calendar SVG Kit from SVG Cuts
      • Make The Cut software
      • Wonderland paper pack and cardstock from Close To My Heart
      • American Crafts glitter cardstock
      • Scor Tape, 1/8"
      • Beacon 3-in-1 adhesive
      • Cuttlebug embossing folders, snowflake and swiss dots

      Monday, November 14, 2011

      Product Spotlight Featuring Echo Park Paper

      If you haven't yet started your Christmas crafting, this is your official notice that it's time to get going!  In the spirit of all things Christmas, I'm putting a spotlight on the Season's Greetings collection from Echo Park Paper.  This happens to be my personal favorite Christmas line this year, so it was really easy to whip up a few projects this weekend.  (And I have even more in my head, lol.)

      My first of three projects today are some Christmas ornaments.  I do something different with the kids' school pictures every year, and this year's ornaments are made from these sweet over-sized bottle caps.

      This is the "top", or outside, of the ornaments,  I covered them each with a paper and embellishments that best suited each child.  I also personalized them with their names and ages so I won't have trouble remembering what year they are.

      The left one is embellished with a snowflake brad from the Assorted Brad Pack and letter/number stickers from the collection pack.

      The center one is embellished with a wreath from the Season's Greetings chipboard and letter/number stickers from the collection pack.

      The right one is embellished with a snowman sticker and letter/number stickers, all from the collection pack.

      This is the inside of the ornaments.  I simply lined them with the same paper I used on the outside.  Then I used a large circle punch to cut out their school picture and adhered them to the centers.

      In order to hang them, I used a Dremel tool to drill a hole in the top center.  (If you don't know what a Dremel is, I suggest you Google it - it's a handy little tool for all sorts of uses!)  I then doubled some thin satin ribbon and pulled the ends down through the hole and tied an overhand knot.  I trimmed the ends then pulled the ribbon back up until the knot was against the hole.

      My second project is a clear gift pail I picked up at Michael's.  I love to fill these with matching paper shreds to hide some little gifts.  They are especially fun for kids as they try to peek through the pail to see what the gift is!

      Beautiful, even empty!  I love how the "back side" of the double sided paper shows through.  I used Scor Tape to attach everything, since it holds to plastic well, and keeps things stuck to the curved shape better than other adhesives.

      I added a thin border of black cardstock to make that poinsettia paper stand out more.  Next I cut the sentiment from the sheet of Journaling Cards, inked the edges with black ink, and matted it on some coordinating green cardstock.  I poked a hole in the corner and strung through some Doodle Twine, tying it in a bow on the front.  To complete the look, I cut a circle for the lid from the same poinsettia paper.

      My final project is a clearly fabulous Christmas card!

       You may wonder why this card looks a little "different".  Well, it's because this is NOT your ordinary card.  This is a clear card, cut with my Cricut from a Clear Scraps Acrylic Sheet.  I cut this one using the card on the Thanksgiving cartridge. (If you're cutting with a Cricut, be sure to test - I needed to multi-cut 4 times on mine with a deep cut blade set at 6 and Max Pressure.)  Here's a view where you can see a little better how the whole clear thing comes in to play.

      The key to clear cards is layering, so the outside pieces cover the  inside pieces properly, and add dimension. I used Liquid Glass from Close To My Heart as my adhesive.  It dries clear and is much less noticeable through the clear card than other adhesives.

      I started with the inside front of my card.  I adhered a strip of red snowflake paper to the inside front bottom edge and trimmed it by hand after the adhesive dried.  I also adhered a snowflake Journaling Card to the upper left of the inside.  On the outside front, I adhered the rocking horse from the Layered Chipboard on top of the Journaling Card.  Lastly, I wrapped the entire front of the card with some green ricrac from my stash.  In order to keep the hills & valleys matching, I extended the ricrac off the edge of the right side somewhat.  I then added a Craftwork Cards CANDi near the end.

      Here you can see the inside of the card, and the matted sentiment I chose to hide behind the embellishments on the front of the card.  I started with the outside back of the card.  I covered the entire back with the striped paper using the Liquid Glass.  Then I moved to the inside back.  Checking against the card front, I adhered a strip of green cardstock across the entire width.  Next I cut a blue mat 3" x 4", the same size as the journaling card on the front.  I lined it up with the journaling card and adhered it on top of the green strip.  Finally, I added my sentiment using stickers from the collection pack.

      You can check out the entire collection here - I'm sure you'll love it as much as I do!  I hope you liked today's projects.  Leave a comment and let me know what you think!  I'd also love it if you become a follower or follow by email.

      Thursday, November 10, 2011

      Laundry Room Decor with Cricut and More

      I have a sweet little how-to for you today, related to this beautiful project:

      Don't you want one for your house?!  This turned out even better than I expected and I just HAD to share it with you.  However, since I based this on a class from Michael's, I can't share the full instructions with you.  I do highly recommend you check for the "Paper Crafted Gift" class at your local Michael's and sign up (it's probably billed/displayed as a Christmas project).  It is well worth the $25 fee - you just need to buy a certain frame, and you can either buy your materials or bring them from home.  I can tell you that I used my Cricut Art Philosophy for the flowers and Make The Cut software for the words.

      If you happen to live in the SW Chicago-land area, I teach this class at both Orland Park (on LaGrange) and Tinley Park (just off I-80) stores, and have plenty of additional ideas for it I am happy to share with you.

      Now, here is the focus of my post today:

      I know, we've covered these rolled roses before; that's not what we're here for today!  (In case you missed the rolled roses video, you can find it on my YouTube channel with this one.  Do you notice those pretty leaves peeking out from behind the flowers?  Would you have guessed that I cut those from the same Art Philosophy cartridge as the flowers?  Oh, and they are SO easy!  Check out this short video to see how I make them.  (And I apologize for my assistant interfering, but that's what happens around here.  And just be glad I didn't actually USE the Cricut during the video...)

      Don't forget, the leaf and pretty 3-D flowers are just a few of the cuts available on the awesome Art Philosophy cartridge!  If you are interested in buying it, I would greatly appreciate your business.  In addition to the 3 stamp sets and 3 sheets of Dimensional Elements that come with the cartridge, I send you a free Petite Perks mini stamp set for purchasing.  Also, through November 30, I am offering a free "A Holiday" stamp set (or other "A" size stamp set of your choice) when you purchase Art Philosophy.  This stamp set also coordinates with cuts on the cartridge, so it's a great little addition to your collection.  You can shop here anytime, or ask me about hosting your own online gathering so you can earn Hostess Rewards (only $150 in orders gets you started) or even earn a 50% off your own cartridge (1/2 price items begin at $250 in orders).

      Thanks for stopping by today!  If you like what you see, I hope you will become a follower or follow by email.  You can also subscribe to my newsletter (on the left) to find out about personal specials like this any time I offer them.

      Monday, October 31, 2011

      Just the Ticket! - November Stamp of the Month Blog Hop

      Hello and welcome to the stamp of the month blog hop.  This month, we have over 50 talented consultants sharing ideas for our Cherish the Day stamp set.   If you've come here from Jen Rubio's blog, you're on the right track.  If you want to move along, Doreen Guilfoyle is up next in the lineup.

      I am loving this set of 44 stamps - I've got ideas for almost every month of the year already!  The first project I knew I needed to use this for is a birthday card for my hubs.  His birthday is early in December, and I know if I don't get one done by early November, I will wind up scrambling at the last minute as I get all caught up in holiday stuff.  This stamp set was just the ticket for an addition to a manly card.

      I began by making a 8" x 3.5" card base from our Kraft cardstock, and added pattern papers from the Lucky paper pack.  I cut ticket shapes from my papers using the recommended 1" ticket from the Art Philosophy Cricut cartridge.  (Don't let the ticket shape be your last stop, though - these stamps would be great on several of the tag and other shapes from the cartridge.)  I stamped the main ticket using the December and 6 stamps, and embossed them with Outdoor Denim embossing powder.

      To complete my card, I also used a bracket from the Milepost Shapes package, a Foundry Ribbon Slides (turned over "backwards"), and ribbon & a photo turn from the Sunset Mini-Medley.  I distressed the Milepost Shape using both Outdoor Denim and Olive ink pads.

      Now all I have left to do is create a great little gift certificate for him from the kids & me, and sit back and let his birthday roll around!

      Now, be sure to head over to Doreen's blog and see what she made to inspire us this month!

      Thursday, October 27, 2011

      Mini Christmas Gift Tin with Echo Park Paper

      So, the other day I was trying to be productive and clean up the scrap room, so I can really dive in and get some projects done for Christmas gifts.  As I was putting things away, I happened to see laying on the desk a hinged-lid bandage tin and a Tim Holtz knob.  Laying right there next to each other, they called to me to make something with them, so of course I did!  Here it is:

      LOVE it!  I was totally inspired by the Season's Greetings collection from Echo Park Paper.  As soon as I pulled out the papers, I knew the poinsettia paper was the one to use.  So, to make my tin coordinate, I lightly sanded it down then sponged some parchment colored paint on to the areas that would show.  After it dried, I adhered the paper using Scor Tape.  My sentiment on the front was from the sticker sheet, but since I wanted to put it over ribbon I stuck it to chipboard first and cut it out to give it some dimension.  I inked the edges of it and the green border sticker using black ink.

      Here are some more detail shots:

      The black gingham ribbon is from my stash.  The poinsettias are from Making Memories - I added some yellow brads from my stash and blinged them with Yellow Stickles from Ranger.

      The knob was added by marking my center, then punched it with my Crop-A-Dile.  The tag is from the sheet of adhesive chipboard shapes, and I just left the backing on the base piece.  I then tied it to the knob with some Doodlebug twine.  The clear adhesive gems are Bitty Sparkles from Close To My Heart.

      Here's one last view from the top:

      This is the perfect size for a special gift card or an earring box.  I wish I could tell you where to geet your own tin, but I have been pretty unlucky in locating a source (mine came from a warehouse-type sale).  If you have kids in your house, an alternative is buying tins of novelty bandages that come in tins.  Of course, these will all require sanding and painting for most projects.

      Thanks for stopping by today!  Hopefully, I will be posting more soon with the ramp up to Christmas I have a great excuse to find time to craft!

      Sunday, October 16, 2011

      A Cricut Thanksgiving

      Welcome!  I have another Cricut project for you today, using one of my favorite seasonal Cricut cartridges.  The Thanksgiving Mini cartridge is useful for all kinds of goodies.  So far this month I have made a pretty garland and some Thanksgiving helpers, and I'm sharing them all with you here.

      First up, my leaf garland.  I have a grapevine tree in my kitchen; it's a bit like a Christmas tree made of grapevine, but it stays out all year long.  I just got it last year, so I am slowly adding to my stash of decor for it to wear.  This year I made a garland of leaves using the leaf cut on the Thanksgiving cartridge.

      Using my Gypsy, I hid all of the interior cuts on the leaf so I was left with just an outline.  I then copied it multiple times on my virtual mat so I could cut several at once.  I pulled a variety of papers from my stash in Fall colors, including some colored vellum, some suede-finish paper, textured cardstock, and some American Crafts glitter paper in Leaf.  (I used a stamp pad to ink the back side of the glitter paper in case they flipped over some.)  After the leaves were cut, I used various colors of Stickles to add some swirly veins to the leaves.  Once the Stickles were dry, I punched holes in all of the leaves, then tied them onto some hemp cord a few inches apart. Then all I had left to do was wind it around my tree!

      Next are my little Thanksgiving helpers.  Did you know that this cartridge comes with napkin ring and place card designs?  (In fact, the place card is useful for any occasion as it has a simple flourish design.)  Here's the napkin ring and place card design:

      To fit my paper napkin & plasticware, I cut my napkin ring at 1", but I would definitely go larger for a cloth napkin or larger paper napkin.  They are easily joined together at the back with Scor Tape.  I cut the place card at 2.5", as well as the place card layer.  I cut the layer from black CS and adhered it to the card, then added Stickles to it.  I used Distressed Stickles in Scattered Straw, Spiced Marmalade, and Fired Brick.

      When we celebrate at my parents' house, there are usually over 40 of us with an equally large amount of food.  It gets hard to keep track of what everything is, so I thought the place card would also make a great way to label the various foods:

      Using my Gypsy again, I hid all of the interior cuts on the place card layer.  I copied it to a second one then resized the copy slightly smaller to fit inside and joined them together.  Then I selected the pie cut and fit it into the place card layer cuts and welded it there.  I also cut the pie layers at the same size as the pie.  After adhering the various layers to the place card, I dressed it up a bit.  I again used the Scattered Straw and Fired Brick Distress Stickles on the pie, and I added Frosted Lace Stickles to the steam.  I plan to make more with some of the other cuts on the cartridge to take with me so everyone can label their not-so-obvious dishes!

      Friday, October 14, 2011

      Christmas Cards with Cricut and Copics - feat Echo Park Paper and Graphic 45

      Wow, I can't believe it's been two weeks since I posted!  We've had nasty colds making the rounds at our house keeping me busy... anyway, this month on the Cutters Creek blog we are featuring die-cutting.  So I decided to bust out my Cricut Expression.

      One of my favorite things to do with my Cricut for cards is to make nice mats or frames for images.  So, I thought I would show you one of each on some Christmas cards I made.  Just a quick note: I use my Gypsy for this purpose, but if you have Design Studio or Cricut Craft Room, you can use them in the same manner.

      First up, an elegantly simple card using papers from Graphic 45's Christmas Emporium paper pad.
      5x7 card base

      I started with a kraft card base.  I chose my design from the "Santa Express" sheet of images, cut it out, and measured its height & width.  Using my Cricut Gypsy, I chose a frame I liked from the Elegant Edges cartridge that had a similar height/width ratio. (Remember, Kim can special order just about any cartridge you want!)  I then "unlocked" the height and width fields so they wouldn't adjust together.  I then adjusted the height and width independently until the inner opening of the frame was approximately the same size as my cutout design.  (Slightly larger is great!)  I then cut the frame using some coordinating cardstock.

      I then cut a 4.5"x6.5" mat from the green side of the "Merry and Bright" sheet.  I distressed the edges of all of my papers and my card bases using a sponge tool.  I adhered the green paper to the card, then layered on the frame using the ASI Kool Tak clear foam squares.  Next, I adhered the cutout design within the frame.  Finally, I added a touch of Polar White Flower Soft to my holly for added dimension.  VERY easy!

      My second card takes a bit more time, but totally worth the effort for its beauty!

      5x7 card base
      I began with my vintage Santa stamp.  Mine is from Close To My Heart.  Using the transparent ruler in my Cricut Tool Kit, I measured the approximate size of my stamp image.  I then chose a doily mat I liked from the Elegant Edges Cricut cartridge, and used my Gypsy to resize it until it was an appropriate size for my image, and cut it out.

      I stamped my Santa image with Memento Tuxedo Black, colored it with Copic markers, then added his hat band and pom pom using white Liquid Applique sprinkled with clear glitter.  Note: to get this effect, sprinkle the glitter while the Liquid Applique is wet, then let it dry for a couple of hours before you heat it with your embossing gun.  I then distressed the entire image by sponging on some distress ink.  I also used the ink on my Doodle Bug twine so it would match better.  I stamped a small holly image on scrap as well, and colored & cut it out to use as an accent.

      I used papers from Echo Park Paper's Season's Greetings 6x6 paper pad to create my background.  I used a brick Texture Fades embossing folder to create my accent piece on coordinating cardstock, then added additional dimension by distressing with multiple colors of ink.  I edged all of my paper pieces in black ink, since my image was stamped in black - it helps tie everything together.  I assembled the card, and popped up the image using the Kool Tak clear foam squares.

      If you're interested, here's a list of specific Copic colors used in the Santa image:
      E000, E00, E11, R20, R24, C2, Y17, YR04, YG63, G99, R29, R35, R39, and 0 colorless blender

      Friday, September 30, 2011

      Fast & Simple Christmas Cards - Stamp of the Month Blog Hop

      Welcome to the October Stamp of the Month blog hop!  This month we have over 50 talented consultants sharing ideas with you for this month's beautiful stamp set.  If you have arrived here from Kami's blog, or if you are just starting out, you are in the right place!  When you're done here, you will continue on around the circle to visit all of the great artwork, starting at Traci's blog.

      This month's stamp set, Holiday Magic, is a set of 18 fun stamps you can use to create artwork that is sweet & simple or elegant & ornate.  To be honest, I was in a bit of a time crunch this month (really nothing new), so I wanted to make something fast & simple but still beautiful.  And, for me, it's always a plus if I can use mostly scraps when making cards.   I came up with two card designs, both starting with a 5x7 card base made from Kraft Cardstock.  Here's card #1:

      For this card, I started with my paper scrap from the Typeset paper pack.  To coordinate, I stamped my sleigh in Juniper on a Colonial White scrap, and stamped the sleigh runners in Cocoa directly on a Twilight mat.  Then I cut out the sleigh and adhered it using 3-D Foam Adhesive Tape.  I distressed the edges of the mat slightly with the Cocoa ink & adhered it to the card.  I added a strip of Twilight ribbon and I was done.  Easy peasy!

      For card #2, I stamped the "script" tree twice directly on the Kraft base using Olive ink, then stamped the tree trunks using Cocoa ink.  I stamped the other tree in Olive on a scrap of Colonial White and cut it out.  I decided on placement, and stamped a trunk for it directly on the card base (again in Cocoa).  I adhered the final tree using 3-D Foam Adhesive Tape.  My strips at the bottom are a leftover piece from the Elemental paper pack and Tulip cardstock.  My sentiment is stamped in Tulip on Colonial White.  Another fast & easy card.

      Used on both cards, cardstock is located here, stamping blocks are here and ink pads are located here.

      I can see making several similar cards for easy mailing and a quick completion of my card list.  To see the exact items I used, just click the links.  It will open in a new window (all items in the same window), so you don't have to worry about losing your place in the hop; it will still be here!  Now, when you're ready, let's head on over to Traci's blog and see what she has come up with this month.

      Wednesday, September 28, 2011

      I'm a Real Witch Today! - with Echo Park Papers

      There are still a couple of days left in Echo Park Month at Cutters Creek, and today it's my turn to share again.

      Want to know how I made this?  Head over to the Cutters Creek blog and check it out!

      Friday, September 23, 2011

      Sweet! - A Cutters Creek/Echo Park Blog Hop

      Hello and welcome to the Cutters Creek Blog Hop!  This month we are all using Echo Park Paper products, which you can find in the store right here.  If you've arrived here from Mandie's blog, you're in the right place; if you're just starting out, you may want to go start the hop over at the Cutters Creek Blog and work your way back through the list.  When you're done here, you'll move along over to Deanna's blog, where I'm sure she has something awesome cooked up for us!

      If you get lost along the way, here's the complete lineup:
      So, for my project today I whipped out a 2-page scrapbook layout using the Country Drive collection kit.  Be sure to click on the picture to see it larger!

      FYI, in case those two little girls with my two big girls look familiar it's because they're Mandie's.  I figured she wouldn't mind my sharing pics of her kids on the 'net since she does!  Anyway, I of course started with a sketch for my layout (this one's from one of Scrapbook Generations Publishing's books) and changed things up a little to make it work for what I wanted.  I used the letter stickers in the kit for my title, and simply matted the large word 1) to draw more attention to it and 2) because the large letters were the same color as my cardstock background.

      Yet again, I inked the edges of my small squares of paper with coordinating ink.  Not only does this add dimension, but it also helps disguise any place where my cuts may not have been perfectly straight.  The little raspberries are cut from the paper with strips of various patterns on it - I cut the entire strip, then cut squares from it.  The squares are popped up on foam adhesive.  My "lacy eyelet" border was made with a Fiskars punch.  I used skinny 1/8" ScorTape to adhere both this border and the narrow strip of striped paper.  (Psst, I love the 1/8" for stuff like this!)

      This is my journaling block.  I will fill it out later - I don't like to journal under pressure, and since I just finished this today, well...  I made the banner piece look more "flag-like" by placing a small piece of foam adhesive under part of it.  This little bit of dimension makes it feel like it's waving in the wind!  Finally, I added a couple of raspberry stickers from the kit to tie in with the raspberry squares in the border strip below.

      I hope you enjoyed today's project, and would love it if you become a follower or subscriber.  Don't forget to hop along to Deanna's blog next.  When you're ready to shop, be sure to head on over to the Cutters Creek store and browse the Echo Park Paper selections, as well as all the other goodies that Kim has stocked!

      Friday, September 16, 2011

      Visit Illinois - the Prairie State: 50 States Blog Hop

      Welcome to the 50 States Blog Hop! This hop was inspired by our host Shawnee's journey across the United States as she traveled with her family to their new home. The United States is truly beautiful with many wonderful places to visit and see.

      If you've hopped along from Mississippi, then you are in the right place!! If you are just joining me from your dashboard or happened along from somewhere else, please be sure to CLICK HERE to start with the first state in the union, Delaware, because you won't want to miss out on any of the fun (or any of the blog candy!!)...

      There is an AMAZING Grand Prize Package for one LUCKY hopper (winner chosen by Rafflecopter)!!  To be entered to win, please do the following:
      So what's the Grand Prize???
      Cricut Cartridge - Destinations, beautiful handmade flowers from Shannon at Creative Chaos Flowers, and a $20 Gift Certificate to Scraptastical Kreations.
      Now on to my state and my project....

      I live in Illinois, and although I live in the far reaches of "Chicago land" now, most of my favorite places are in other parts of the state.  One of my absolute faves for taking the kids is Starved Rock State Park in Utica, IL, and it just goes to show that the term "Prairie State" does not necessarily apply.  Here's a layout of one of our trips there:

      I started my layout with a sketch pattern in the Magic book from Close To My Heart, adding a couple of the tricks in the book for getting additional pictures on your layouts.  Check it out:

      Notice the tags attached to the outside of the left sheet protector and the Flip Flap mini protector open on the right sheet protector.
      The pattern papers, stickers, and chipboard embellishments are all by Scrapbook Customs (which I purchased from Memories & Beyond in Downers Grove - and yes, they have all 50 states!).  In addition to the sketch book, all of my cardstock, brad, and the Flip Flap also came from Close To My Heart. My borders and large tags were all cut with the Cricut, using the Art Philosophy cartridge collection exclusive to Close To My Heart.  FYI: bonus until the end of September, make any CTMH purchase of at least $75 and get a FREE double size stamp set with your order.

      I have some great BLOG CANDY for you myself!  I am giving away three great paper crafting publications - Paper Creations (Fall 2011), Scrapbooking & Beyond (Summer 2011), and Cricut Cards - an over $30 value.  It's simple to win, just be a follower (or email subscriber) and leave a comment.  (Not required, but I would love it if you go "like" my Facebook page as well - I have giveaways coming up over there as well!)  All comments entered before Midnight Central Time on Sunday night are eligible to win.  I will announce the winner Monday.  I will try to contact the winner as well if possible, so if your email is not on your Blogger profile be sure you leave it for me!

      Now you can hop to the NEXT STATE IN THE UNION!!  Remember to leave a comment on each state to be eligible for the GRAND PRIZE!!

      50 States Hop


      Thursday, September 15, 2011

      Birthday Party with Art Philosophy Cricut Cartridge - September Product Spotlight Blog Hop

      Welcome to our Close To My Heart Product Spotlight Blog Hop! This month we are featuring our brand new exclusive Cricut cartridge, Art Philosophy. If you are just starting out, or have arrived here from Carol's blog, you're in the right place. When you're done here, you will head over to Jena's blog and see what she has created for us.

      Using the Art Philosophy cartridge, Roxie papers and coordinating cardstocks, and only those stamp sets that come with the cartridge, I created the basics of a birthday party that any Teen/Tween girl is sure to love.  (Psst, this 41-year-old Mom loves it too - too bad my birthday is past!)  I also added some Opaques in Pearl and Licorice, and Glitz in Stardust.

      There are even more great stamps and cuts included in the collection to add more to this party!  There's a great banner you can cut in a large size along with the included font, and a coordinating stamp for cutting a smaller size that would look great decorating the side of a cake or on a scrapbook page of the event!

      Here's a fun invitation made with a cartridge cut that has an opening cut into the front.  The details are stamped on the inside of the card.  With this card cut at 8.5" wide, it's a perfect invitation size, AND it happens to fit the invite stamp perfectly.  I kept the embellishments simple to make it easier to mail.

      Of course a birthday wouldn't be complete without a card for the birthday girl.  This is made with the same cut as the invitation, but in a larger size.  This is an approximately 5x7 card, with the opening cut the perfect size for the larger shaped stamp.  All of the roses are from the cartridge as well, and super easy to roll up!

      I thought this cute little box would make a nice take-home for an extra cupcake.  Now, if you buy big bakery cupcakes, you're going to have a problem with the icing.  But if you go for the homemade variety they should fit fine.  Otherwise, for sure a couple of minis should squeeze in there nicely.  The ribbon ties it closed and makes it quick to open as soon as the snack attack hits.  This ribbon is from the Designer Ribbon Pink Collection.

      This is my favorite part!  Can you just see this sweet little bag filled with lip gloss, nail polish, and other assorted girly treats?!  And I just love the way that pleated ribbon looks on there!  This one is from the Designer Ribbon Red Collection.

      If you're ready to move along, head on over to Jena's blog any time!  Before you order, be sure to drop me an email - I'd love to help you get some things free, and maybe even get your Art Philosophy cartridge at half price.  My recent hostess took online orders only, received $120 in free product, and got three items (including her Art Philosophy cartridge) at half-price.  Let me show you how!

      Thanks for stopping by - I'd love to hear your comments.  If you like what you see here, I'd also love it if you became a follower or email subscriber.
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