Thursday, July 25, 2013

A Perfect Day

Today I registered my oldest son for Sixth Grade.  My baby is now officially a Middle School-er.  I always get nostalgic at the start of each school year - he starts school in a week and a half.  I realize that we're riding the downward summer slope toward fall and colder weather.  And while I always get excited about all the fun activities and holidays that the end of the year brings, there is something that's pretty sad about the ending of summer.  I love the L-O-N-G days that we get in summer.  I love being able to watch my kids playing outside at 8:30 at night in the warm summer evenings, catching frogs and fireflies.  I love being able to take the baby on a neighborhood walk and show him all the evening creatures that come out to play.

I was asked to create the following card for the friend of a family member who loves the beach.  When I saw this lighthouse stamp, I didn't see a warm summer day playing in the surf.  I saw a summer sunset full of lingering memories.

I can't tell you how much I love how this lighthouse card turned out!

I used the card pattern from our Make It From the Heart how to program.  If you don't have this great booklet, you need to get it!  It's a 48 page booklet FULL of scrapbooking layouts and card patterns (with all the dimensions given).  These days my creative time is short and therefore even more precious to me.  Having go-to patterns and layouts really helps me maximize my time.

The first thing I did was stamp and emboss the lighthouse.  Then I stamped it out on Post-it notes so I could cut out around the stamp and layer the ink on the cardstock without ruining the lighthouse.  I started from the bottom of the lighthouse and layered the warmer inks - you can really choose any shades you want, I stuck with pink and peach toned inks.  The best thing to do (I've found) is to start with the lightest shade and finish with the darkest shade.  You don't have to clean your brayer between inks, which makes the blending process easier.  But when you switch colors or if you go from darker to lighter, you really need to clean your brayer (I just clean the ink off with a baby wipe).  Then when I was happy with the way the bottom of the sunset looked, I flipped the cardstock, cleaned off the brayer and layered the cooler shades.  To finish off the lighthouse, I used our blending pen and colored in the top of the lighthouse, the roofs of the keepers buildings and the grass/stone.  The blending pen really is great for coloring if you don't have the markers.  Then I used the pink and the yellow B&T papers from our retired Mayberry paper pack to frame the picture.

I love how warm and soft the finished card is.  Not that I've ever been, but this is sort of how I imagine a Maine sunset would look behind a lighthouse. 

I've entered this card in the H2H Water, Water, Water Challenge, Happy Campers Challenge #20 - Summer and Dream it Up's Summertime, Sparklers and S'mores Challenge.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Words of Comfort

Last weekend, one of my crop sisters had to lay her mother to rest.  Even when it's expected and necessary to ease suffering (as it was in this case), it's still devastating to those left behind.

I went to my stash to get a card to send her to let her know I was thinking about her.  (Unfortunately, I couldn't make it to the visitation.)  Several years ago, the group of girls I started scrapbooking with, created a card swap dinner.  We'd get together on a regular basis and pick different themes for each swap.  I just hoarded the cards, so I was certain I had something perfect in my stash to send to her.  (We haven't done this in a while and I REALLY miss it!)

I mean, look at all those cards!  Every one of them is handmade with love and - nothing.  Not a single condolence card in the bunch - not even a "Thinking of you".  What's a girl to do??  Make one!   So I went into my other stash and pulled out all my stamps!  Luckily, I'm a card maker and I have dozens of sentiments.

Here's what an uninterrupted hour of baby-free time looks like:

I just love how this card turned out!!  

These days, whenever I'm making a card, the first thing I do is pull out our Make It From Your Heart how-to program. It's a 40-ish page booklet CHOCK FULL of patterns - complete with cutting instructions!  From a design aspect, I love having pre-determined patterns when I'm crunched for time.  It really helps me make the most of my creative time.  And I love that it's small enough to slide into my bag when it's time to get together with my girls and crop!

I used the B&T papers from our retired Moonlight paper pack.  It's Halloween-themed, but I think the muted Slate and Smokey Plum colors were just perfect for this card.  I wanted to keep the card simple so I pulled a few techniques out of my bag of tricks.

One of my all-time favorite stamps is Treasure Life.  It's a long-retired stamp set, but between the floral images and the sentiments, it is one of the most useful stamps that I own.  I used it to stamp the background image on the card.  For the stamped background image, I used Second-Generation Stamping.  If you've never done it before, Second-Generation Stamping is where you load up your stamp with ink - get it good and juicy - and you stamp the image on the paper.  Then, you reposition it and stamp it again on a different spot.  This gives you a lighter stamped image and I think it also adds some interesting dimension to the card.  (You can see above, it looks like there are floral stalks behind the darker stamped image.)  I also embossed the three floral stalks in the front.  For the sentiment on the front of the card, I used our Words of Comfort stamp set, which I corner-rounded on opposite corners.  Before I embellished the card, I edged the two B&T pieces and the sentiment with Slate ink and edged the two Smokey Plum cardstock pieces with Smokey Plum ink.  Then I finished off the card by embellishing it with our retired Colonial White Grosgrain Ribbon, Licorice Opaques and a Filigree Charm.  I used Liquid Glass to glue the Opaque and the Charm to the Ribbon and then the Ribbon to the card.  My regular ATG usually doesn't fail me, but I wanted to make sure it all stuck well.  The only thing about Liquid Glass is that you have to let it dry for a long time before touching or moving it.  I usually let my projects set for 24 hours to be on the safe side. 

I hope you like the card as much as I do. 

Monday, July 15, 2013

It's so easy

Creative Memories Scrapbookers, have no fear!  You can still use your stash and continue to showcase your adorable layouts in your Creative Memories Albums! 

Watch Shaunna Richards show you how to convert Close To My Heart page protectors so they can fit your Creative Memories albums!!

I LOVE that she took the time to figure this out!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Celebrate July 4th by giving to those who give so much!!

I've mentioned before that I spent most of my life as a "military service member support staff" - both as a child and a spouse.  That's fancy-speak for "military dependent".  Just like any indentured civil servant, these brave men and women do not do this for money or fame.  They don't do it because of any reason other than a bone-deep calling to do what's right.  To defend our freedoms and those in countries who have none.  To be there on the front line, taking the hit.  To run into harms' way so that others don't have to.  To leave this world a little better than they found it. 

I am awed and honored by the sacrifices made by these brave individuals around the world.  I don't take my freedom lightly and I am thrilled that Close To My Heart has found such a wonderful way to give back.

From June 1st to July 31st, $3 from each Courage Stamp set (B-sized, retails for $9.95) and $5 from each
Home of the Brave Stamp Set (D-sized, retails for $17.95) will be donated to the USO!  The USO is an incredible organization that supports our service members.  These brave men and women sacrifice so much and they deserve to know that we don't take their sacrifices for granted!

These stamp sets can be ordered here, but ONLY until July 31st! 

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

July Stamp of the Month

We go to farmer's markets.  While there's a wider array of veggies at the local grocery store, hubby and I prefer to give our bucks to hard-working local farmers.  The produce is fresher, grown more organically and local!  It's not covered in pesticides or preservatives to make sure it gets thousands of miles without spoiling.  Food tastes better fresh out of the dirt or off the tree.  (Baby loves peaches and learned first hand  about the differences between the canned kind and the fresh kind.  He thought it was great fun to let the warm, sticky juice dribble down his chin and arms!  He was a mess cleaning up, but he was so cute - we didn't mind at all!!)

So when I saw July's Stamp of the Month, all I could think about was our local farmer's markets! That fruit is just waiting to be colored and adorn scrapbooking pages of blond-headed babies covered in sticky peach juice. 

To add this to your own pages and projects, click here!