Monday, November 30, 2009

Reflections ...

I have spent the past few days in the ICU with my mom. Although she is making slow progress, we are confident that she will be out of the hospital in the next few days. I have been able to have my laptop with me, which has truly been a blessing, as I have slowed down enough to start work on a scrapbook using My Digital Studio that I hope to be able to give my mom for Christmas. I scanned a LOT of photos of Mom and Dad when I put together a slideshow for Dad's viewing last June. This has given me the perfect excuse to actually get this project completed ...

By the way, the little girl with the dolly in the picture is ME!

I have thought so much lately about all of the sacrifices my parents had to make in order to provide our family with a wonderful life. They have always been so supportive in everything we have done. I am, once again, counting my blessings and feeling so much gratitude to have belonged to such a great set of parents!!

This is a photograph of my dad when he was a baby. What a beautiful boy!! My grandmother was DESPERATE for a girl ... he was boy #4 ... she even had some little "dresses" she put him in that she bought while she was pregnant (all wishful thinking). I think they were nightshirts, pretty much. How could she NOT love this face, though??

I won't have a lot of time to make cards this week, as my time will be spent being a support to Mom as she has always been to me. I will be back periodically, though ...

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Count Your Blessings ...

... name them one by one ... these are the words to one of my favorite hymns from church. I love it because it reminds me to be grateful for all of the things I DO have ... a wonderful family; good friends; a lovely home; warm clothes; an abundance of food; an education; freedom of choice; electricity; RUBBER STAMPS! I truly am blessed. I am grateful to all of you and for the encouragement you give me in regard to my creative efforts. I am also grateful for the TREMENDOUS outpouring of love and support I received when I lost my Dad last May. You all bless the lives of so many you DO know, and even the lives of some you DON'T (at least not in person, anyway). Today I am grateful for you as well ...

I made this card for the funky sketch challenge that was posted on SCS this week (SC256). I hope this turkey makes you smile as much as he does me! (And HE is smiling, too, 'cause he didn't end up as part of today's feast!!)

Smiley from millan.netHappy Thanksgiving to all of my American friends ... and Happy Thursday to the rest of you!! Hope your day is filled with YOUR blessings and that you remember to count them ... one by one!!

Stamps: Gobble, Gobble, Autumn Days, Holiday Best
Paper: Pumpkin Pie, Close to Cocoa, Chocolate Chip, Very Vanilla
Ink: Chocolate Chip, Really Rust, Close to Cocoa, Pumpkin Pie, More Mustard
Accessories: 1 3/4" circle punch, heart punch, wide oval punch, keytag punch, chocolate chip felt ribbon, pop-up glue dots, Cuttlebug D'Vine Swirls embossing folder

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Big Ol' Merry Snowflake

I did this card for CC246 on SCS this morning ... and BOY-OH-BOY did I struggle with this color combo!!! I reaalllllyyyy wanted to make a wintry/snowy card and this combo was certainly a challenge!!

Stamps: Baroque Motifs, Short and Sweet
Paper: Bermuda Bay, Pretty in Pink, Old Olive, Basic Black, Shimmery White
Ink: Bermuda Bay, Old Olive
Accessories: Bigz Snowflake #2 die, large and small oval punches, Martha Stewart snowflake punch, clear ice rhinestone brad, silver cord, Cuttlebug Swiss Dots and D'Vine Swirl embossing folders

I have busily working on wedding announcements for one of the girl's in my neighborhood (425 of 'em!), my Christmas cards and the various projects I did for the Control Freaks Blog Tour. I am making a LOT of messes, but having a bunch of fun!! Can't WAIT to have everything done, though!!

Hugs and have a great day!!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Tour de Freaks - Christmas Style!

Here we are again on yet ANOTHER amazing FREAKY Blog Tour. Thanks for joining us! This month we are focusing on things that you can give to your friends and neighbors ... you KNOW the ones I mean ... the ones who would never even THINK about throwing out or parting with a SINGLE thing that was handmade just for them!! Soooooo....without further adieu, here is what I have come up with ...

First off, I decided to FINALLY make this "Believe" framed art gift. I swear, I have been thinking about doing this FOREVER (like, maybe SIX years!). This month's Blog Tour finally pushed me over the edge (and I'm glad, 'cause I am giving this baby as a gift to ME!! Is that bad???). It really was not all that difficult to make, and it was pretty darn fun t'boot!!

Here is a close up of a few of the letters. I wanted you to be able to see the BEAUTIMOUS Bridesmaid DSP up close and personal.

Stamps: Lovely Letters, Baroque Motifs
Ink: Gold Encore, Old Olive, Real Red
Paper: Bridesmaid DSP, Very Vanilla, Brushed Gold, Old Olive, Real Red
Accessories: Movers & Shapers Holiday Windows Bigz Die, 1 3/8" and 1 1/4" circle punches, 5/8" Old Olive grosgrain ribbon, 5/8" Real Red grosgrain ribbon, gold cord, gold brads, gold embossing powder, pop-up glue dots, frame

For my next project, I make this SPARKALICIOUS snowflake earrings utilizing some shrink plastic, our FABOO Snowflake #2 die, AND some Versamark and Iridescent Ice embossing powder.

And I ALSO enlisted the help of my darling daughter, Vanna (also known in the real world as Amelia - thanks, cutie!) to help me in showing off how fun and fancy these earrings can be. What girl doesn't love a little BLING in her life, especially at this time of year?? Smiley from

Ink: Versamark
Accessories: Snowflake #2 Bigz Die, Iridescent Ice embossing powder, clear ice rhinestone brads, shrink plastic, earring findings, glue dots

At last, but certainly not LEAST, I quickly threw together this little gift bag that would be the PERFECT gift for your neighbors. Not that the bag is all that spectacular, mind you, but what I am about to reveal IS super fantastically SPECTACULAR. I have become somewhat of a legend in my neighborhood for the cookies that I give out to my friends every year ... they are called Lucky Pennies and they are absolutely DELISH!! I have been threatened many-a-year by my girlfriends that if I DON'T bring some of these cookies by they will be EXTREMELY put out. Many of them have actually admitted to HOARDING them all to themselves and NOT sharing them with ANYONE! My dad actually told me last year that they were his MOST favorite Christmas goodie (and coming from him, that was high praise, considering he LOVED goodies ... which is very bittersweet for me this year, as we lost Dad on May 30. These cookies will FOREVER put a smile on my face because of this sweet memory).

Stamps: Sweet Season
Ink: Chocolate Chip
Paper: Chocolate Chip, Real Red, Very Vanilla
Accessories: Top Note Bigz Die, Petals a Plenty embossing folder, scallop border die, slot punch, 1/4" Very Vanilla grosgrain ribbon, cello bag

Smiley from millan.netSooo....if I share this recipe with you, you have to SWEAR not to tell ANYONE I gave away my mostest secret recipe, OK?? AND you have to promise to make at least ONE batch of them this year (I should mention here that the cookies in the picture are NOT my famous Lucky Pennies, but a poor grocery-store substitute). Ran out of time to make the REAL McCoy, but if you wanna see the real deal, check out this blog post I did about them LAST December. We make over 1,000 of these cookies every year for neighbor gifts. I have lived in this neighborhood for nearly 25 years, so my list is kinda BIG!! Here is the recipe (which, I have to admit, I shared LAST year!). ENJOY!!

Lucky Pennies

2 1/4 C. all-purpose flour
2 t. baking soda
1 t. ground cinnamon
1 t. ground ginger
1/4 t. ground nutmeg
1/4 t. ground cloves
1/4 t. salt
3/4 C. (1½ sticks unsalted butter, softened)
1 C. firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 C. molasses
1 large egg
granulated sugar (for coating cookies)

In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves and salt. In a separate large bowl, use a wooden spoon to cream the butter and brown sugar until smooth. Stir in the molasses and egg and mix until well blended. Gradually stir in the flour mixture until combined. Cover the dough and refrigerate it for at least 1 to 2 hours or until firm enough to roll into balls.

Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Use a teaspoon to scoop the dough out of the bowl, then roll it with your fingertips into balls that are about one-inch in diameter. Roll the balls in a shallow bowl of granulated sugar. Place the balls on an ungreased baking sheet, leaving 2 inches between the cookies. Bake for 6 to 9 minutes or until the cookies are crinkled and set.

Cool the cookies on the baking sheets for about 5 minutes. Using a metal spatula, transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat until all the dough is used. The cookies can be stored in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 1 month and at room temperature for up to 1 week.

Special note: This is a recipe that does NOT double/triple very well. If you want to make LOTS of them, you should make a separate batch of dough each time.

NOW, head on over to the super INCREDIBLE Cindy Majors' blog to see what she has cooked up for the ones you love for Christmas!!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

It's a Comin' . . .

Okay, not only is Christmas right around the corner (AAAACCCKKK!!! How did THAT happen!), but the Control Freaks Blog Tour is on its way again. We have a TON of cool stuff in store for you to get those Christmas Creative Juices a-flowin'! Great gift ideas for friends and neighbors is our focus this time around so be SURE and come back on this Friday (the 20th) to take a peek!

This is a card I put together for SC255 over on SCS this morning. I love the look of monochromatic cards, don't you? There is something about the elegance of staying simple that has always appealed to me ...

Stamps: Gifts of Christmas
Paper: Very Vanilla, Chocolate Chip
Ink: Gold Encore
Accessories: Gold embossing powder, Cuttlebug D'Vine Swirl embossing folder, chocolate chip satin ribbon, gold cord, pop-up glue dots

Between working on 425 wedding announcements for a friend, making 65 Christmas cards and tapping my brain for the Freak Blog Tour, I have been a little on the too-too busy side ('tis the season, right?0!! That is why I haven't been around much this week, so there ya have it. Stay tuned, as I will be sharing ALL of this stuff in the coming week or so ...

Hugs to all!!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Flights of Gratitude

Well, it was my turn to be the Limited Supplies Challenge hostess again over on SCS (I LOVE when it is my turn!!). I have been waxing all sentimental and grateful lately, seeing as it IS the season, right??? Sooooo, my challenge was to make a thank you/gratitude card with a bird image on it. What??? A BIRD??? What exactly is up with THAT??? I'm not quite sure what motivated me to do birds (maybe Thanksgiving turkeys??), but there ya have it ... Smiley from

I had a TON of fun coming up with the background panels using the "flourish-y" image from "Friends 24-7". Just got that set in the mail yesterday ... LOVE it!! Can't believe it took me so long to get it!

Happy Friday and have a fab-oo weekend!! Hugs to all!!

Stamps: Friends 24-7, Holiday Best
Paper: Chocolate Chip, Ruby Red, Certainly Celery, Very Vanilla, Naturals Ivory
Ink: Chocolate Chip
Accessories: Wide oval punch, antique brass brads, 5/8" Chocolate Chip satin ribbon, Finial Press embossing folder

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Another Peek at New Things from ISC

Here are a couple additional cards I made with my new stamps that were just released last Monday by ISC. The members of the design team were "challenged" to use this wonderful boat image side by side with itself to create a panorama ... pretty darn cool, eh? By itself or doubled up this is a really terrific image, don'tcha think???

Stamps: On the Shore by ISC
Ink: Not Quite Navy
Paper: Kraft, Bella Blue, Karen Foster, Not Quite Navy, Very Vanilla
Accessories: Twill tape, jute, paper piercing tool/matt, brad by Karen Foster, 1" scalloped square punch

And this is what I call a "quick-n-easy" card. I LOVE shaped cards. I used my Labels One Nestabilities dies to create this one. Then I just added a little texture, and image and a sentiment and VOILA!!! Easy-peasy!

Stamps: Rocks On the Shore, Mini Book Series Photo Negative (for sentiment), both by ISC
Ink: Always Artichoke
Paper: Always Artichoke, River Rock, Very Vanilla
Accessories: Small oval punch, word window punch, vanilla satin ribbon, Spellbinders Labels One Nestabilities (S4-161), Cuttlebug Mesh Texture embossing folder

Short and sweet and to the point today ... how's that???

Monday, November 9, 2009

Official ISC Release Day!!

The new stamps are here from ISC! You are gonna love what ya see, too!! Here are links to the new stuff:

On the Shore
By the Bay
Rocks On the Shore
Background Series - Netting

Stamps: On the Shore by ISC
Ink: Basic Black, Very Vanilla, various Copic markers
Paper: Chocolate Chip, Riding Hood Red, Baja Breeze, Whisper White, Very Vanilla
Accessories: Destination sticker and patterned paper by Karen Foster, twill tape, spiral clip from Hodgepodge Hardware, linen thread, 1 1/4" and 1 3/8" circle punches, pop-up glue dots

Not only are these ROCKIN' stamp sheets now available, but many of the embellishments that I used are available in this cool kit:

Travel and Escape Kit

Stamps: Rocks On the Shore, Netting, Mini Book Series Photo Negative (for sentiment), all by ISC
Ink: Soft Suede
Paper: Rich Razzleberry, Soft Suede, Very Vanilla
Accessories: Small oval punch, wine polka dot organza ribbon by May Arts, horizontal slot punch, pop-up glue dots

For more inspiration and some other really AMAZING creations using these new stamps, check out the blogs of my fellow Creative Architects:

Karen's Gallery on SCS

All this scenery makes me sad that summer is nearly over ... can't wait 'til the winter thaws out and we can all be back in the water playing again!!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

ISC Sneak Peek

TOMORROW is the day! The new stamp release from ISC for November will be available! And just to whet our appetite, here is a little peek at one of the new sets called "By the Bay."

This little scene makes me DREAD that winter is coming and I won't get to do any more boating 'til next summer!! Sad ...

More new things from ISC will be posted here over the next several days. Be sure to check back and see what's new!!

Stamps: By the Bay, Mini-Book Series Photo Negative - both by ISC
Paper: Chocolate Chip, Close to Cocoa, Creamy Caramel, Very Vanilla
Ink: Chocolate Chip
Accessories: Spellbinders Large and Small Labels (S4-168 and S4-169), 1" and 1 1/4" circle punches, hodgepodge hardware, chocolate chip grosgrain ribbon

Saturday, November 7, 2009

For the LOVE of Chocolate!

Smiley from millan.netWe are fortunate to live in the oldest neighborhood in Salt Lake City. The reason I say that is because (a) all of the houses in our neighborhood are individually unique and cool looking, and (b) we have city ordinances that allow our neighborhood to not only have homes, but ALSO small business intermingled here and there. Hence, just two short blocks from my house is the most WONDERFUL little family-run chocolate shop! YUP! You heard me right! CHOCOLATE!! In fact, son #2 spends hours a week schlepping hot chocolates, hand-dipped chocolates and ice cream confections . . . but I digress . . .

Steve, the owner, asked me to make some gift cards for the shop. He wanted me to keep them relatively simple so that they could be relatively, um, how shall I say this? Relatively AFFORDABLE. Soooooo ... here are the cards I came up with (they all measure 3" x 3")! LOTSA pictures .... I know, I know .... but I couldn't stop myself!!

Card #2 (Don'tcha just LOVE the swirly-twirly background??? Used the Storybook cartridge on my Cricut to make that!)

Card #3 (More swirls, but of the embossed nature this time. Why is it that chocolate always makes us think swirly???)

Card #4 (I decided to do something a little more generic with this one. ANYthing made with Pocket Silhouettes is good!)

Card #5 (VERY simple card on this one ... I like the yummy colors, though!)

Card #6 (Thought we needed something a little more seasonal, so this is what I came up with for THAT!)

All in all, I made 60 little cards (10 of each!). I thought they turned out adorably (yes, I DO think I'm cool from time to time!)! Here is the little basket I put them in. I hope that they sell and I can make MORE of 'em!!

I am pretty much listing the supplies for ALL of the cards together, but I have tried to keep them in "order" from 1-6 (except in the cases where I have duplicated something I already used). Post a comment if you have any questions (y'all are pretty smart, though, so I am sure you can figure most of this out!)

Have a happy chocolate-y day!

Stamps: Oh So Sweet (VERY old SU set from 2003), Great Friend (sentiment only), Sweet Sampler, Pocket Silhouettes, Autumn Days
Paper: Close to Cocoa, Garden Green, Whisper White, Real Red, Chocolate Chip, Pretty in Pink, Soft Suede, River Rock, Rich Razzleberry, Very Vanilla, Melon Mambo, Basic Black, Old Olive
Ink: Chocolate Chip, Real Red, Garden Green, Pretty in Pink, Rich Razzleberry, River Rock, Basic Black, Melon Mambo, Old Olive, Pumpkin Pie, Ruby Red, More Mustard
Accessories: Cuttlebug Swiss Dots embossing folder, silver brads, Crystal Effects, Cricut Storybook cartridge, chocolate satin polka dot ribbon (Papertrey), Cuttlebug D'vine Swirl embossing folder, 1 1/4 circle punch, 1 3/8 circle punch, scallop circle punch, Cuttlebug Tiny Bubbles embossing folder, 5-petal flower punch, 1/2" circle punch, scallop punch, word window punch, wide oval punch, 1 3/4" circle punch, double scallop corner punch by Marvy, Melon Mambo polka dot ribbon, 1/4" black grosgrain ribbon, paper piercing tool/mat

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Falling Into Fall ...

Smiley from millan.netEven though we have ALREADY had a little bit of snow, the colors outside are still SPECTACULAR! And, oddly enough, the weather is supposed to be nearly 70 degrees today and tomorrow!! Unbelievable!! It'll be back down to 50 degrees by this weekend, so I fully intend to enjoy the next few days ...

I did double duty on this card. Two challenges in one! TLC245 - Double Embossing and CC243 - Neutrals with a POP! I have to admit that it took me several attempts (like, FOUR!) to get the embossing background panel right. I kept forgetting steps and had a hard time tweaking the stacks that I put in my Big Shot in order to make this work. I also had to take MANY photos of this to get the embossing to even show up in them!! Sheesh!! What is up with THAT??

So, that's it for today ... enjoy the weather no matter where you are!!

Stamps: All Holidays, Autumn Flourish (by Flourishes)
Paper: Chocolate Chip, Very Vanilla
Ink: Chocolate Chip, Pumpkin Pie, More Mustard, Creamy Caramel, Really Rust, Old Olive
Accessories: Alpine felt chocolate chip ribbon, Sizzix Damask embossing folder, curved rectangles (mega) Nestabilities (S5-006), pop-up glue dots

AND SINCE I HAVE BEEN ASKED A COUPLE OF TIMES ... here is a link to the TLC (TLC245) over on SCS on how to do the blank or double embossing. Several people on the thread gave alternative ways that they made it work for them as well:

Double or Blank Embossing