Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

One last Christmas card to share today (although you might still see a winter-themed card here and there - we still have a long ways to go till spring!). I bought these Studio Calico button stamps several months ago, but this is the first time I've gotten to use them. I think they'd look even better heat embossed, or covered in Ranger Glossy Accents. I can't wait to play around with them some more!

Let me tell you, I am SO ready for Christmas to be here. Today has been one of "those" days - woke up to water leaking out of the toilet tank (and I had just put one of those blue discs in, so bright blue water was staining the grout behind the toilet). Had a guy come to "fix" it, which left blue water ALL over the bathroom floor. Sacrificed some towels to clean up the blue mess, then threw them in the washer... only to walk by a few minutes later to see sudsy water all over the floor, and gushing out of the front of the washer... This was all happening mere hours before friends were scheduled to come over - so in the middle of all the chaos I was also trying to bake mini coffee cakes (from a never-tried-before recipe), make a gift tag, sign a card, wrap said cakes, and apply my makeup... Really, all I could do was laugh. Can we just skip ahead 16 or so hours to Christmas?

Wishing you all a wonderful holiday weekend (and hoping your toilets and washers are all in working order)! ; )

Card Supplies:
Stamps: Studio Calico (Buttons), Studio G (sentiment); Ink: Ranger Distress (Antique Linen), Stampin' Up craft (Always Artichoke), Ink It Up! pigment (red); Patterned Paper: Basic Grey (Eskimo Kisses); Accessories: Cuttlebug / 2x2 Scalloped Squares dies / 2x2 Circles dies, cereal box "chipboard," embroidery floss, small corner rounder punch, foam dimensionals

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Deck the Halls

Can you believe Christmas is almost here? Yikes! I still have so much to do! I made this quick card yesterday in between bouts of cleaning (my father-in-law is coming to stay with us for a few weeks, so we've been in deep-clean mode). I wanted to try out this Cricut diecut, and decided it would look even better with glitter. I used this super-easy method:
  1. Place dicut face-down on craft mat.
  2. Apply a large piece of packing tape to the back of the diecut, covering the cutout opening(s).
  3. Flip diecut back over, right-side facing up. The sticky side of the tape should be showing through the cutout(s).
  4. Pour glitter onto diecut. Cover with a scrap piece of paper and press down firmly in order to adhere glitter evenly to sticky areas. Tap off excess glitter, and voila! A glittered image without any messy glue!
I've been tagged by the super-talented Cristina to answer a few questions about myself. So here goes!

1. Four shows that you watch:
    Vampire Diaries
    Criminal Minds

2. Four things you are passionate about:
    My husband
    The NGO my husband and I work with here in China
    Creativity in all forms

 3. Four words/phrases you say a lot:
    No barking! (to our Schnauzer)
    你好 ("hello" in Chinese)
    Coffee sounds REALLY good right now!

4. Four things you've learned from the past:
    Home is relative.
    You're stronger than you think you are.
    You CAN have too much chocolate.
    Go ahead and try "it" (whatever "it" is) - you just might really like it!

5. Four places you would like to go:
    Angkor Wat

6. Four things you did yesterday:
    Started cleaning up my craft area (but then...)
    Made another mess in my craft area
    Played around with my Cricut
    Watched a movie with dh

7. Four things you are looking forward to:
    Our wedding anniversary next week (14 years!)
    Our trip to Thailand next month
    My new Cricut cartridge that's in the mail

8. Four things you love about Winter:
    Peppermint hot chocolate
    Christmas decorations
    Sidewalk hat/glove vendors

9. Tag four people to play along:

I'm actually going to leave this open to anyone who happens to read this blog. Just let me know if you answer the questions - I'd love to learn more about you! 

Card Supplies:
Cuttlebug / Woodgrain Impression Plate (Papertrey Ink), Cricut / Joys of the Season cartridge, eyelet, packing tape, Martha Stewart glitter (peridot), Dymo labelmaker, woodgrain label tape


Sunday, December 19, 2010

DIY Embossing Plates

I held out as long as I could, but with a little nudging from hubby I went ahead and opened my new Cricut. This time everything is working great! (My previous Cricut dropped dead after only a handful of uses.) 

One of the really cool things you can do with the Cricut is make your own embossing plates (aka impression plates or texture plates). It's insanely easy! First, choose your image and size it appropriately, then cut it out three times from cardstock. I cut this square image at 3 3/4" (real dial size off):

Next, glue the three diecuts on top of each other, keeping them aligned as closely as possible (I used a Zig 2-Way Glue Pen). You'll end up with one thick diecut, like this:

Once the glue is dry, your new "embossing plate" is ready for use in your manual embossing machine! Here's the stack that I used in my Cuttlebug, starting from the bottom:
  1. A Plate
  2. B Plate
  3. DIY embossing plate
  4. Cardstock
  5. Spellbinders tan embossing mat*
  6. B Plate
*I actually use two tan mats together - it works best for my Cuttlebug - but I recommend starting with just one mat. Some Cuttlebugs are tighter/looser than others! 

And here's the finished product:

See how nice and crisp the impression is? Just think of the possibilities - it's got me looking at Cricut cartridges in a whole new light!

Card Supplies:
Stamps: SEI "Windsor" (leaf), PTI "Mixed Messages" (sentiment); Ink: Ink It Up! pigment (olive), SEI chalk (cocoa); Accessories: Cricut / Storybook cartridge, Cuttlebug / 2x2 stamps die / 2x2 sliders die, watercolor paper, raffia, edge distresser, foam dimensionals

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Quick Holiday Cards, Part 2

I'm on a roll this week! Gotta make use of the mojo while it's here, that's for sure! Today I've got two more quick holiday cards to share:

I have to say, these pics do not do these cards justice! (You can click on each for a better look.) I stamped the snowflakes with silver and copper metallic inks, and IRL they have a gorgeous glow-y shine. Maybe if the sun comes out later this week, I can try again. Anyway, the challenge over at Splitcoaststampers is to create holiday cards that can be made in 15 minutes or less, for those moments when you need a card "on the fly." Both cards utilize the same supplies, just in different ways. (I figure if you've already got the supplies out, and you have a few extra minutes, why not make two?) 

This embossing technique (used on Card #1) is a great way to add visual interest to an otherwise simple card . And since we're trying to get as much bang-for-our-buck in as little time as possible, metallic inks are a fast alternative to heat embossing. (Note: the brand I used dries very quickly; other brands can smudge if not given enough drying time.) Rhinestones in various sizes add a glamorous touch, and a corner rounder punch gives a finished look in a matter of seconds. As an added bonus, I even kept the sentiment "holiday neutral," so the cards can be used for a variety of seasonal events. So, what do you think? Do you have a go-to "on the fly" design?

Card #1
Stamps: SEI "Glitzmas" (sentiment), SEI "Alpine Frost" (snowflake); Ink: Ink It Up! (copper), SEI chalk (charcoal); Accessories: Cuttlebug / Circle Nestabilities, small corner rounder punch, rhinestones

Card #2
Stamps: SEI "Glitzmas" (sentiment, snowflake background), SEI "Alpine Frost" (large snowflake); Ink: Ink It Up! (copper, silver), SEI chalk (charcoal); Accessories: Cuttlebug / Circle Nestabilities, small corner rounder punch, rhinestones, foam dimensionals 

Monday, December 13, 2010

Quick Holiday Card

The stamping goodies I ordered last month finally made it here, so I've been spending lots of time in my craft area over the last few days. I've been planning this card out in my head for weeks, just waiting for the supplies to arrive:

Doesn't that sentiment fit perfectly in that Labels 4 Nestie? I had my fingers crossed that it would, and I wasn't disappointed. This really was so quick to make: I cut and embossed the white label, stamped the sentiment, cut a window out of the plaid layer with the next larger size label die, attached the white label directly to the colored cardfront, and attached the plaid layer with foam dimensionals. Afterwards I decided it needed a little something, so I used a Sharpie to color two clear rhinestones, which I added to the label. A fun holiday card in just a few easy steps!

One thing I've found is if you're going to create a raised window layer from patterned paper, like this one, it's best to first adhere the patterned paper to an identical-sized piece of cardstock, then cut your window. This helps prevent warping, bending or sagging once it's attached on dimensionals. I've learned that one the hard way!

Tonight I'm staying warm with a snuggly throw, some hot coffee and a space heater, knit booties on my feet and my "grandpa sweater" wrapped up tight. The Christmas tree is lit, the apartment is quiet, and I'm listening to the sound of rain and nighttime traffic outside my window... {Happy Sigh} It's a good night. 

Card Supplies:
Stamps: TPC Studio "Christmas Phrases;" Ink: Stampin' Up craft (Bravo Burgundy); Paper: DCWV patterned paper, The Paper Studio cardstock; Accessories: Cuttlebug / Labels 4 Nestabilities, rhinestones, Sharpie, foam dimensionals

Moxie Fab Tuesday Trigger: All That Glitters

I'm barely squeaking this in under the deadline for the Moxie Fab World Tuesday Trigger challenge, All That Glitters. Here's the trigger photo:

And here's my card:

I noticed that the ring had sort of a starburst pattern of rhinestones, which got me thinking of snowflakes, which led to this pattern of rhinestone-accented snowflakes. I stamped my design using two snowflakes from a Pink Paislee set, then added lots of bling. The sentiment is heat embossed with Zing! embossing powder - that stuff is awesome! I considered adding a ribbon, but that took the card in a whole different direction, so I let the simplicity do the talking. 

A couple of tips:
  • This sentiment is actually part of a longer phrase; I simply made a few strategic cuts with an x-acto knife. Since it's a clear stamp, it's super-easy to just line all the pieces back up on my block if I want to use the full phrase. Don't be afraid to perform a little stamp surgery!
  • You're going to laugh at this one, but it was a "d'oh" moment for me - don't wear colored shirts when photographing rhinestones! In my first batch of photos, the rhinestones kept coming out pink - because they were reflecting my pink shirt. Oops. 
This card also qualifies for the Simon Says Stamp Challenge: Christmas (But no Red or Green!)
It's a cold, rainy day today. I really need to run out and get some groceries, but since that would mean literally running out in the rain (no car; too close to take a cab), I'm thinking that ordering in some fried rice for lunch sounds like a much better idea. Thank heavens for delivery!

Card Supplies:
Stamps: Pink Paislee "Tinsel Town," TPC STudio "Christmas Phrases;" Ink: SEI chalk (turquoise, charcoal), Versamark; Accessories: Zing! embossing powder (white), small corner rounder punch, rhinestones, foam dimensionals

Friday, December 10, 2010

Moxie Fab Love Challenge

I made my hubby a card that just so happens to be a perfect fit for the Moxie Fab World Card Creations: Favorite Occasions Week Love Challenge (say that 10 times fast!):

Now, I know that at first glance, this isn't your typical "love" card. But there's a special story behind it. On our first Valentine's Day as a married couple, I was working as a cashier at Walmart (hubby was still in school; I had just graduated). Halfway through my workday, I noticed a small cluster of people gathering at the end of my checkout lane - people I recognized from school. The next thing I know, they're lined up in a semi-circle around me, singing an amazing a cappella version of "You Are My Sunshine." Talk about a show-stopper! It caused quite the little scene, customers and employees alike stopping to watch, while I stood there blushing like mad. Hubby had hired them to come and serenade me at work. Isn't that the sweetest? Later my coworkers told me that they could hear the singing all the way back in the shoe department. Needless to say, hubby became quite the legend at work after that!

To make this card, I embossed a 4 1/4 x 5 1/2" piece of cardstock with a Tim Holtz embossing folder (thanks Amy!), then sponged over the raised areas with ink. I created the sentiment with label tape, then mounted the whole panel on a 4 3/4 x 6" card. Easy peasy! Really, the part that took the longest was carefully sponging the ink. The rest was cake! 

Card Supplies:
Ink: Stampin' Up (Summer Sun); Cardstock: DCWV; Accessories: Cuttlebug / Tim Holtz "Rays" embossing folder, Dymo labelmaker, black label tape

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Happy Day

Look what arrived at my door the other day - the blog candy I won from Amy Tsuruta!

It's my first ever blog candy win, and it is chock-full of crafty goodness! Even better was what came with it: an honest-to-goodness  made-by ~Amy~ card!

Isn't it fabby? Love all the machine stitching she used. Such a cheery card!

And of course with all those new supplies at my fingertips, I had to whip up a little card of my own:

That birdcage stamp was calling to me the moment I opened the box. I kept it nice and simple; the "chain" and sentiment were stamped directly on the cardfront, while the birdcage was cut out and attached with foam dimensionals. The sentiment seemed a little lackluster on its own, so I added the rhinestones as a final touch. {Happy Sigh} Don't you just love that birdcage? I'm smitten!

Thanks again, Amy, for such a wonderful prize! I can't wait to try out all the other goodies!

Card Supplies
Stamps: Studio G (birdcage), Hero Arts (All Occasion Messages - sentiment), Basic Grey (Aviary - chain); Ink: SEI chalk (cocoa); Accessories: rhinestones, foam dimensionals

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

It's Always Sunny In Here

Now this is just too stinkin' cute. I don't think I've ever seen a commercial aimed specifically at scrapbookers before, have you? Talk about a creative bunch!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

2 Challenges in 1

I've got just enough time to squeeze in one more card today; this one qualifies for the Play Date Cafe Challenge PDCC58. Here's the color inspiration pic:

And here's my card:

This also qualifies for the Simplicity OLW31 Challenge, which is to create a one-layer card using a technique or product that got you hooked on stamping. I decided to go with 2-step stamping, since the very first set of stamps I bought was a gorgeous 2-step flower set from Stampin' Up. My cardbase is textured watercolor paper; I used an edge-distresser to give the right-hand edges a faux-Fabriano look. The font combined with the bird image gives this a sort of retro 50s feel, don't you think? This would be an easy card to mass-produce, and it's nice and flat for mailing!

Card Supplies:
Stamps: We R Memory Keepers "2 Step Robin" (Vintage Blue collection), Martha Stewart (sentiment); Ink: Brilliance Graphite Black, Ink It Up! pigment (red); Paper: watercolor; Accessories: edge distresser

Wishing for Snow

I think this snowy card represents some serious wishful thinking on my part! It finally got down in the 30s last night, but our days are still hovering in the 50s; when I look out my window, I see green trees everywhere. (I'm still trying to figure that one out; they're not fir trees, just regular ol' trees, but they keep their green leaves all winter. It's a little disconcerting for this midwestern girl!) Luckily, it's been just cold enough for the sweet potato vendors to come out with their little wheeled ovens, selling roasted sweet potatoes and corn on the cob along the sidewalk. There's nothing like a piping hot sweet potato on a chilly evening - crinkly, brittle skin like old paper surrounding a creamy, sweet filling - perfect in its simplicity.

It wasn't until I was editing the photos that I realized the circle layer looks like a giant snowball. I guess I really do have snow on the brain!

Card Supplies:
Stamps: Pink Paislee "Tinsel Town," Ink: Ink It Up! pigment (red); Patterned Paper: Basic Grey "Eskimo Kisses," Hobby Lobby "Christmas 2008" paper pack; Accessories: Cuttlebug / Herringbone embossing folder / Quickutz "Rings" embossing folder / Circle Nestabilities, Martha Stewart tree punch, Dymo labelmaker, woodgrain label tape, corner rounder punch, foam dimensionals

Thursday, December 2, 2010


I find it a bit ironic that I had to purchase this "made in China" Cricut from a US website which in turn sent it to me here in - China. This thing has racked up more skymiles than most people! Alas, just because something is manufactured in China doesn't mean it's available for sale in China. Luckily, I got it for a song over at Custom Crop's Pink Tuesday sale (even with the international shipping added in I still saved money). This is actually my second Cricut Create; my first one stopped working out of the blue last year. I thought about switching to a Silhouette, but since I've already invested so much in the cartridges, I decided I'd just wait for this year's Black Friday sales to try to score a replacement Cricut on the cheap. Now the hard part is going to be waiting till Christmas to break it out!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Embellish Challenge - Noel

I thought I'd play along with the Embellish Magazine Holidays Color Challenge, which uses these colors as inspiration:

This is what I came up with:

I had a lot of fun using these colors; not ones I'd usually think to use for holiday cards. But I think they worked well, especially with the homespun feel of the stamp images. Lots of Cuttlebugging on this one - this Herringbone folder has been getting a real workout lately! It's hard to see in the pic (since it's so tiny), but the reindeer has an itty-bitty rhinestone for a nose (I colored it with a Sharpie to match the sentiment ink color). I thought it helped tie the colors together nicely. TFL!

Card Supplies:
Stamps: Martha Stewart; Ink: ColorBox pigment "Chestnut," Ink It Up! pigment "red;" Patterned Paper: DCWV; Accessories: Cuttlebug / Herringbone embossing folder / circle Nestabilities; rhinestone, Sharpie, corner rounder punch, foam dimensionals

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Decorating (& a Card)

Hubby and I made a quick trip to Ikea yesterday; I spent the evening putting this together:

They're just two little cheap-y desks (we're talking US$15 each!), but they fit the space perfectly and go with the rest of our dark furniture. Up until now this little nook off of our living room had just been wasted space; I thought it would be nice to make it into a little informal work area. (DH and I have large desks set up in our home office/spare bedroom.) Turns out it's quite cozy!

I also have a quick holiday card to share. This one uses patterned paper from a stack I bought at Hobby Lobby a couple of years ago:

I just love how bright and cheery the paper is. I ended up going with a tall & skinny design; the finished size is 3 1/2 x 8". The letters were cut from dollar store adhesive fun foam with a Cuttlebug alphabet - it slices right through, easy as pie. Makes me wish I had more alphabet dies!

Well, off to finish dinner. We're having curry tonight! Yummo!

Card Supplies:
Patterned Paper: Hobby Lobby "Christmas 2008;" Accessories: adhesive craft foam, Cuttlebug / Red Tag Sale alphabet / circle Nestabilities / Herringbone embossing folder, corner rounder punch, button, foam dimensionals

Sunday, November 28, 2010


This Thanksgiving season, I'm thankful for so many things. These are just a few:
  • VPNs that let me access this blog (and everyone else's!)
  • International flat-rate envelopes, and the crafty goodies that fit inside them
  • Western toilets
  • Eggcrate mattress foam
  • My own two feet, that have carried me more places than I ever dreamed possible
  • My husband, Seth, who I fall deeper in love with every day

 I hope you've all had a wonderful holiday weekend!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hubby and I have had a wonderful Thanksgiving. It's always a bit strange on holidays, as right now we're 14 hours ahead of US Central Standard Time  - our Thanksgiving is drawing to a close while our friends and family in the US are still in bed! Today we headed out to the same restaurant as last year for a fabulous three-course meal with turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, veggies... 

So, so good. Definitely better than the Thanksgiving meals we've tried at various fancy hotels. And for dessert later on tonight, we have some Starbucks' pecan tarts waiting for us in the kitchen. (Hubby is a southern boy, so it wouldn't be Thanksgiving without some pecan pie!)

Speaking of food, I still haven't told you about that luncheon I went to, have I? First of all, you have to know a little bit about my friend. She's a little ball of energy: always on the go, always on the phone with this person or that person, talks up a storm and never takes no for an answer. She has far greater confidence in my Chinese language ability than she should, and while our conversations always start out nice and slow, just a few sentences in and she's rattling away a mile a minute, while my head is spinning just trying to keep up. So, a few weeks ago, she says she wants to invite me to have lunch on a certain day in November. She says there are going to be a lot of ladies there, and she has a certain number of people she can invite, and she wants me to be her guest, yadda yadda... Now, at this point, she starts to lose me on what the luncheon is actually for. But I tell her sure, sure, I can come; it sounds like fun. A couple of weeks later, my husband is talking with her and tries to get a few more details. He finds out that there are going to be about 200 women there, and it's a luncheon where they're going to demo some health and beauty products. Oh, now I'm starting to get a better picture, I think. I've been to something similar before, where they let you try some innovative skin product, and then try to sell it to you for an arm and a leg. But she's assured him that I'm not obligated to buy anything; it's just for fun. Okay. 

So, on the appointed day, I make my way out to the address I've been given. It's a hotel banquet hall; the concierge at the desk tells me to take the escalator upstairs. As I reach the second floor, my stomach sinks. The foyer is crowded with women in sequined gowns, velvets, stilletos... I'm in a casual black dress with a grey pullover sweater and knee-high black boots. Ack! So underdressed! I'm also the only foreigner in a sea of Chinese women. And of course my friend is nowhere to be seen, and isn't answering her phone... After several minutes of standing awkwardly by the entrance while everyone else gives me the once-over, my friend finally appears. She's all decked out in a gorgeous embroidered red qipao with a fur capelet, her gleaming dark hair freshly cut in a '30s bob - the quintessential Shanghai girl. Stunning! (Why, oh why didn't she tell me - or Seth - that this was a dress-up event?) 

Once inside the banquet hall, I realize that there is a stage/runway set up - and that they've moved me from my friend's table at the back of the room to a table front and center, right at the end of the runway. Umm... I take my seat between two middle-aged, obviously wealthy Chinese women, whom I've never met. Awkward! Luckily, the food begins coming soon after. What follows is 2 1/2 hours of food, interspersed with entertainment (drummers, acrobats, break dancers) and awards for the host company's top sales-reps. Just as the final dish is (finally) brought to the table, the fashion show begins. (Oh, did I mention that this company sells not just health and beauty products, but a full line of shapewear as well? As in, girdles, thigh slimmers, all forms of Spanx-style garments. See where this is going?) The lights go down, and the models begin to walk the runway - yep, in their shapewear. But this isn't Victoria's Secret - think "flesh-colored, full-coverage, sucks it all in and gives you abs of steel" shapewear. Altogether so NOT what I'm expecting!

The crowning moment (for me) comes as the models are demoing how the shapewear can be worn under activewear (do people really do that?). Six women, strutting down the runway in hoodies, thigh slimmers, and tennis shoes, jauntily carrying badminton rackets, followed by a tall, athletic man with sculpted cheekbones and feathered hair, carrying his own badminton racket and wearing nothing but tennis shoes and a thigh slimmer. It's all I can do not to start giggling out loud.The runway ends right at my table, and he's standing there posing with his badminton racket, turning this way and that - this guy is in Spanx, people! How can he keep a straight face? Somehow I manage to keep it together until it's over - but I laugh the whole way home!

It just goes to show you, when it comes to living overseas, never assume you know what to expect in a given situation - you just might end up spending the day eating roast duck with wealthy Asian women while watching male models strut around in shapewear!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Peaceful Pigeons

Since switching almost entirely to clear stamps about three years ago, I've somehow managed to only buy a few Christmas/winter sets, mostly small cheap sets like Studio G. How is that possible?! I'm trying to remedy that this year, although I'm afraid my purchases won't reach me in time to do much holiday crafting (I'm having some things sent to my stateside in-laws so they can compile everything into one flat-rate package and send it here). At the moment, I'm making good use of what I've got - these particular stamps were put out by Walmart a couple of Christmases ago; I think they were around $2. At the time, my hubby was traveling around the state on business, and he would stop at various Walmarts trying to find them for me. Yep, he's the best!

I used a square Nestie to emboss the cardfront (following these steps), and left the Nestie in place while I repeatedly stamped the light blue background image. The rest is pretty self-explanatory. I was really pleased with how well these cheap-y stamps worked; I used a white eraser to "prime" the stamps, and had no trouble getting a clean imprint even from the detailed birds. (Oh, and in reference to the title, I know they're not supposed to be pigeons, but "peaceful doves" just doesn't have quite the same ring, now does it? wink )

Next post  I'll tell you about my recent "luncheon" experience - it's a doozy!

Card Supplies:
Stamps: Walmart; Ink: ColorBox pigment (Robin's Egg), Ink It Up'! pigment (red); Accessories: Cuttlebug / Square Nestabilities, rhinestones, foam dimensionals

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Mod Monochrome Holidays

It's been a crazy-busy week; we had guests in town, which meant lots of eating out and lots of shopping (for the ladies, that is). I did, however, squeeze in time to make this super-quick card using my favorite Slice design card, Fa La La. I cut the reindeer head at 3 1/2", then lightly sponged the edges with ink for a little contrast. I added a rhinestone nose, and attached the head to the cardfront with foam tape. You could whip up a whole set of these in a rainbow of colors in no time flat!

Edited to add: I forgot to mention that to get the cleanest looking cut possible, I actually flipped my cardstock over and cut the "backside" - so in this case, the smoother side was facing up on my glass mat as I cut. After the image was cut, I peeled it off the glass mat, flipped it over, and adhered it so that the textured side was facing out. It helps hide some of the little imperfections that occur in corners as the blade lifts and lowers. Hope that makes sense!

Card Supplies:
Ink: Palette Hybrid (Vintage Cream); Cardstock: American Crafts; Accessories: Making Memories Slice / Fa La La design card, rhinestone, foam tape

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Enabler Alert! Wednesday Only!

For all you Cosmo Cricket lovers out there, check out these digital downloads from Jessica Sprague's One Buck Wednesday:

Yep, that's right- today only you can download these for just $1each! Awesome, huh? What are you waiting for? Go, go now! (I am in no way affiliated with Jessica Sprague or Cosmo Cricket, just an equal opportunity lover of yummy patterned goodness!)

CAS93 - Simple is Best

Whew! We finally had a day with a few minutes of sun, so I was able to snap some card pics. This one is for the Clean and Simple challenge over on Splitcoaststampers; it's a sketch challenge this week. I pared the sketch down to the bare bones - rotated it 90 degrees, left out the layer, and used the sentiment as the vertical element. 

The first thing that popped into my head was a dangling ornament, so I cut a 3 1/2" shape with my Slice, and added a center that I cut and embossed with a Nestie. Stamped the sentiment, adhered the ornament with foam dimensionals, and rounded the bottom corners - easily a 10-minute card (at best). I thought about adding something, maybe a few rhinestones, but then I decided simple was best. Yep, this is definitely putting me in the holiday spirit!

Card Supplies:
Stamp: Studio G; Ink: Ink It Up! pigment; Patterned Paper: DCWV; Accessories: Making Memories Slice / Fa La La design card, Cuttlebug / circle Nestabilities, corner rounder punch, foam dimensionals

Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Cream in my Coffee

Oh my word, have you seen the new coffee set that Papertrey is releasing this month? LOVE!  I'm dying to get this set (and the original coordinating set) from PTI. I love the fact that they have a solid "filler" stamp for each outline image, and decorative stamps so you can customize your cups. Plus, they have a die for the cups! Santa, are you listening?

Seeing their projects inspired me to pull out one of my coffee sets (yes, I have a few) and play around. I really like the sayings in this particular set, but as a whole it's only so-so. I had to perform major stamp surgery to remove some obnoxious "steam" lines that were coming out of each cup; I didn't like how they dipped down into the cups. They made it so that if you wanted, say, a green outlined cup, you'd have to have green colored steam. And that just makes me think of toxic coffee, which is never a good association to make.

This is so me and my hubby; I always have the pretty little coffee cup, and he always has the biggest cup he can find.  I wasn't even a coffee drinker until after we were married; I finally caved to the peer pressure (his whole family are huge coffee drinkers). Now my day isn't complete without at least one cup of coffee, most times two!

The patterned paper for the blue mug has orange rings around the white polka dots; I used that color for the large mug. The background panel was double-embossed, first with the Herringbone folder, then with the Houndstooth folder. I think it gives it a cozy feel, like a warm afghan or a snuggly sweater. Nothing beats a hot cup of coffee and a fuzzy blanket on a cold morning!

Speaking of coffee, Seth just surprised me with a donut and a cup of coffee from Dunkin' Donuts! Gotta go!

Card Supplies:
Stamps: TPC Studio "Coffee Cafe;" Ink: Stampin' Up craft "Not Quite Navy," ColorBox pigment "Roussillon," "Chestnut;" Patterned Paper: My Mind's Eye; Accessories: Cuttlebug, rectangle Nestabilities, Herringbone embossing folder, Houndstooth embossing folder, foam dimensionals

Friday, November 12, 2010

A Funny Story and a Card

Taking a cab here in China can be quite the adventure; you never know quite what to expect. One day you'll get a driver who has Formula One racing aspirations; another day you'll get a driver who wants to spend the whole ride practicing his English. On yet another day, you might find yourself with a driver who has no idea how to even get you to your destination. The other night my husband was coming home late, and his cab driver happened to be playing a John Denver tape. Now, Chinese love to sing. Karaoke clubs are everywhere. We've even come across people crowded around portable karaoke machines on the sidewalk. It's a serious pastime. So there Seth is, sitting in the backseat of the cab, while the driver is bellowing out the chorus to "Leaving on a Jetplane" in broken English. At first, Seth just listened good-humoredly, occasionally humming a bar or two. But after a few more songs, he and the cabbie were belting out "Country Roads" together at the top of their lungs, flying through the streets of Shanghai. The cabbie proceeded to tell Seth that he LOVES American music, and that Seth is the first American to actually sing with him. He's had a Japanese passenger sing some songs with him, but never an American. He was quite tickled. I tell you, my hubby has the most interesting cab rides!

I also have a quick card to share today. These 2-step stamps from We R Memory Keepers have a cool retro-graphic feel that I just love. (You can see how I used the bird set here.) This one was a simple design that came together pretty quickly - I cut and embossed a white circle with a Nestie, then stamped my images; adhered a piece of patterned paper to an identical-sized piece of cardstock for stability; cut a circle window out of the patterned paper layer with the same circle Nestie; tied on the raffia; attached the patterned paper layer to the cardfront with foam tape; and  glued the circle with image into place. I'm trying to use up more of my patterned paper; I've acquired quite the little stash!

Card Supplies:
Stamps: We R Memory Keepers "2 Step Berry" (Vintage Blue collection), Biblical Impressions (verse); Ink: ColorBox pigment "Chestnut," Roussillon;" Patterned Paper: K & Company; Accessories: Cuttlebug, circle Nestabilities, raffia twine, foam dimensionals

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Thinking of Fall

Can you believe Thanksgiving is only two weeks away? I stopped by the import store the other day, and noticed they had gotten their frozen turkeys in. Unfortunately, at almost US$100 for a smallish turkey, it looks like we're going to pass on fixing our own. Another restaurant Thanksgiving it will be!

It struck me the other day how few autumn-themed stamps I actually have. It's strange, considering it's my favorite time of year! I have a few Halloween stamps that I bought last year, but no pumpkins that aren't jack o' lanterns; only two leaf stamps, and not a single Thanksgiving sentiment. What was I thinking?! However, I was looking through some of my older Christmas stamps, and found this:

But wait, that's not really a medallion stamp. That image is actually made up of these three teeny little Martha Stewart stamps:

I was inspired by Betsy Veldman's beautiful card, here. My card is nowhere near as intricate as hers, but I really like the way it turned out. To frame my medallion, I did some cardfront Nestie embossing (Nichole Heady has a great tutorial here.) I added two different sizes of rhinestones (colored with a brown Sharpie) for some extra oomph. Who knew I'd be able to make a fall card with Christmas stamps?

Card Supplies:
Stamps: Martha Stewart "Christmas Tree" (acorn cluster), Martha Stewart "Holiday Accent" (single acorn, starburst), Hero Arts "Everyday Sayings" (sentiment); Ink: ColorBox pigment "Chestnut;" Accessories: Cuttlebug, square Nestabilities, rhinestones, brown Sharpie, foam dimensionals

Monday, November 8, 2010

Damask # 2

Well, I couldn't resist making one more card for Moxie Fab World's Diggin' on Damask challenge (scroll down to see the first one). Since I already had the basic supplies out, this one came together in a snap!

I cut out my butterfly with that same 3x3 cuttlebug die, this time using an old cereal box for "chipboard." I stamped the butterfly with a damask border and adhered it to my cardfront with foam tape, stamped the sentiment (those Hero Arts sentiment sets really are handy!), added my rhinestones (again, colored with a black Sharpie), and done! This time I left the corners as-is; I felt the clean angles of the font looked best mirrored by the nice sharp edges of the card. Now for the life of me I can't decide which card I like best!

Card Supplies:
Stamps: American Crafts "Thanks" (Letterbox collection), Hero Arts "All Occasion Messages;" Ink: Brilliance "Graphite Black;" Accessories: Cuttlebug / 3x3 butterfly die, cereal box, adhesive rhinestones, black Sharpie, foam dimensionals

Masked Damask

Have you seen the current challenge over at Moxie Fab World, "Diggin' on Damask?" Damask is one of my favorite patterns to play with, so this challenge was right up my alley! I decided to change things up a bit by using a mask to create a stamped shape on my cardfront, rather than use a shaped piece of patterned paper. I decided a damask butterfly would be elegant but fun:

To make the mask, I used a 3x3 cuttlebug die with some very thin cardstock (if your cardstock is too thick, you'll have a hard time getting a crisp outline when stamping over the edges of the mask). 

This particular die has a pair of antennae that I don't really care for; to remedy that, I simply used an x-acto knife to cut a V-shaped notch continuing with the curve of the wings, dissecting the antennae from the rest of the body. After removing the butterfly body, I taped the antennae securely back into the mask, like so:

I used a Zig 2-way glue pen to trace around the backside edges of the butterfly outline and at the four corners, and set aside to dry for a temporary adhesive. I then lined up my mask on my cardfront, made sure all the edges were securely adhered, and started stamping. I stamped the center damask first, then worked out from there. Easy peasy! After I finished stamping my butterfly, I carefully removed the mask, stamped my sentiment (clear stamps make lining things up so easy!), and added two rhinestones for balance. (Here's a secret: I didn't have black rhinestones in the right size, so I used a black Sharpie to color two clear jewels. Shh, don't tell!)

The mask can be saved and reused for future projects. You can add even more depth to your masked image by first sponging inside the mask with a lighter ink, then stamping on top with a darker color. A big impact in just a few easy steps!

Card Supplies:
Stamps: Prima "Cantaria," Hero Arts "Everyday Sayings;" Ink: ColorBox pigment "Roussillon," Brilliance "Graphite Black;" Accessories: Cuttlebug / 3x3 Butterfly die, small corner rounder punch, adhesive rhinestones, Zig 2-way glue pen

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Vintage Charm

When I was growing up, my Austrian grandmother always had one of those vintage-style tea towel calendars hanging in her kitchen - the kind with European folk motifs like flowers and cottages and quaint little couples. Always the current year, always clean and crisp. The moment I saw this bold flower stamp, I was immediately reminded of those colorful calendars. Cosmo Cricket papers and a little distress ink add the perfect vintage feel - a fun little homage to bygone days. {Happy Smile}

Card Supplies:
Stamps: Craft Affair by Hampton Art "Fabulous Flowers," TPC Studio (sentiment), Martha Stewart (leaves); Ink: Ink It Up! pigment (red, olive), SEI chalk (cocoa), Ranger distress (Antique Linen); Patterned Paper: Cosmo Cricket "Early Bird;" Accessories: Cuttlebug / rectangle Nestabilities, small corner rounder punch, foam dimensionals

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Fun with Cork

For months now, I've been wanting to try making my own cork diecuts - but China's lack of craft stores put a bit of a damper on that idea. I finally found a set of cork placemats at Ikea - they looked a little thick, but I figured it was worth a shot. It worked! I cut off a small strip with scissors, then ran it through my cuttlebug with a 2x2 cuttlebug die (between two B plates). It cut like butter on the very first pass! 

Don't those leaves look great? I love it when an idea works out. 

On a side note, it's getting harder and harder to find diet coke around here! My friend down in Shenzhen (a city in southern China) said they've phased it out completely there and replaced it all with coke zero - I'm afraid that's what they're doing here. Coke zero's just not the same!

Card Supplies:
Stamps: Hero Arts "All Occasion Messages;" Ink: Stampin' Up craft "Close to Cocoa;" Patterned Paper: Miss Elizabeth (Dollar Tree); Accessories: Cuttlebug / Forest Branches embossing folder / 2x2 Leaves die, corkboard, raffia, foam dimensionals

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Belated Boo & Comfort Foods

As I was putting away my Halloween decorations (all two of them, lol), I realized I had never shared this little "Boo" banner. I actually made it last year, but somehow forgot to take pictures till now. I cut the base from a cardboard box using an exacto-knife and a metal ruler; the letters were cut from kraft cardstock with my Slice. To make the letters sturdier, I cut out two of each and glued them together. The layers were adhered using lots of foam tape for extra dimension. I really went to town with my distress inks on this one; I don't do that often, but I have to say it was a lot of fun!

Yesterday I had salisbury steak on the brain. Back when I was in high school, every Thursday was "salisbury steak day" in the cafeteria - you either loved it or hated it, and it gained quite the cult following. To me it became one of my favorite comfort foods, especially in the fall - that rich gravy, a side of creamy mashed potatoes... heaven. Today at lunch I was still craving it. Alas, I didn't have the ingredients on hand to make my own - but then it hit me: Swedish meatballs might do the trick! And Ikea just so happens to have a tasty little Swedish meatball plate with mashed potatoes and gravy and a dollop of lingonberry sauce on the side. I wouldn't even have to cook! So off to Ikea we went. Oh my, it was good. So good that I even brought home a bag of frozen meatballs and a jar of lingonberry jam. 


Project Supplies:
Stamps: Studio G (spiderweb); Ink: Ranger Distress Ink (Walnut Stain, Tea Dye, Black Soot), black pigment; Accessories: cardboard, Cuttlebug / Distressed Stripes embossing folder / Rectangle Nestabilities, Making Memories Slice / Just Chillin' Teen design card, Crop-A-Dile, ribbon, foam dimensionals

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

World Expo 2010

We finally made it out to see the World Expo before it ended; boy was it crowded! Over 760,000 visitors that day. The blue character below is Haibao (海宝), the mascot of the 2010 World Expo. His name means "treasure of the sea." If you look closely, you'll see that he resembles the Chinese character for "person": 人. 

  (Image from

The Expo was divided into two sections, one on each side of the river; we kept to the west side, which was comprised of Asian/Middle Eastern countries' pavilions. The lines to get into each pavilion were incredibly long; some of the more popular pavilions had waits of over 7 hours!  We managed to visit two: the China Pavilion and the Israel Pavilion. At the Israel Pavilion (one of the shorter waits) we stood in line for over an hour and a half. When we finally got inside, we were corralled into a planetarium-like room, to be greeted with a (very) brief video presentation extolling the country's various technological innovations. Then the lights came back up, an exit door was opened, and back outside we all went. Um, yeah, not exactly what we were expecting. 

This is the line we waited in for the China Pavilion. We were all headed towards the opening in the back center of the picture, between the blue mural on the left and the white umbrella on the right. We had already moved quite a bit forward in line when I took this picture - there were scores more people behind us. It was a long line.

The China Pavilion (below) is one of the few structures that will be kept permanently after the end of the Expo. Inside were intricate walk-through exhibits from each of China's twenty-two provinces, which visitors could view at their own leisure. Definitely worth the time spent waiting in line.

We ended the day with some Sri Lankan street food, which was quite tasty! We tried fish balls, marinated chicken wings, and samosas. Unfortunately, it was dark by the time we ate (and we were sitting outside), so I didn't get any pics. Just believe me when I say it was all really good! 

Unfortunately, there was no time to see even half of what we would have liked. After spending the majority of the day doing nothing but stand in line with crowds of people, we were ready for some peace and quiet. Around 6 o'clock we called it a day and crowded onto the metro (with what seemed like half the city) to make our slow way home. All in all, I think the day was summed up quite perfectly by the saying going around Shanghai, "不去世博会后悔, 去了世博后悔一辈子!" which roughly translated means, "If you don't go to the Expo, you'll regret it; if you go to the Expo, you'll regret it even more!"

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Moxie Fab World: Tuesday Trigger

I may have mentioned, somewhere along the way, that fall is my favorite time of year. The weather, the smells, the decorations, the clothes... oh how I love a soft, cozy sweater! So when I saw that this week's Tuesday Trigger over at Moxie Fab World was this gorgeous Anthropologie sweater, you know I had to play along!

The texture caught my eye right away, and I wanted my card to have a similar appeal. I also wanted to amp up the "autumn" feel, as well as the homemade-chic details. A slight tweak of the colors, the felicitous discovery of the PERFECT sentiment, and here we are - all the things I love about fall in paper form:

I had a light-bulb moment by embossing my cardstock with two different embossing folders - first with a Cuttlebug "Herringbone" folder, followed by Quickutz "Rings." I was really pleased with the way it turned out - I was afraid too much of the detail would get flattened by the second embossing, but it held up pretty well! 

The felt leaf was cut using a Cuttlebug 2x2 die, and the window and label were cut with Labels 9 Nesties. I have to say, this has turned out to be one of my favorite fall cards yet!

Card Supplies:
Stamps: Hero Arts "Everyday Sayings;" Ink: SEI "Cocoa" chalk ink, Stampin' Up "Creamy Caramel;" Accessories: Cuttlebug, Cuttlebug 2x2 Leaf die, Cuttlebug "Herringbone" embossing folder, Quickutz "Rings" embossing folder, Labels 9 Nestabilities, felt, corner rounder punch, button, embroidery floss, foam dimensionals

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Pumpkins, Pumpkins, Pumpkins!

The days here have turned deliciously chilly, the kind of weather that simply must be accompanied by lots of hot coffee and pumpkin bread. I broke out the can of Libby's pumpkin puree I've been hoarding since my last trip to Hong Kong; oh my, was it ever worth it! (Fun Fact: Over 80% of the world's pumpkin is canned at a factory 10 miles away from my Illinois hometown!) 

Continuing with the pumpkin theme, I came up with this fun little trio of cards. The jack'o'lantern stamps are all from last year's Studio G fall release; I combined them with some SEI polka dot stamps and an Ellison tag die to create my own little Halloween tags. Here's a closeup of card #1:

Card 1 Supplies:
Stamps: Studio G (pumpkins, sentiment), SEI "Mimosa" (polka dots); Ink: black pigment, Brilliance Graphite Black, Ranger Tea Dye distress; Paper: My Mind's Eye; Accessories: Cuttlebug, Swirls embossing folder, Ellison Scallop Tags die, corner rounder punch, Dymo labelmaker, foam dimensionals
Card #2:

It's hard to see in this picture, but the black layer under the tag was stamped with small polka dots using black pigment ink. The keyhole shape was created by centering a 2" strip of cardstock inside a circle nestie and cutting.

Card 2 Supplies:
Stamps: Studio G (pumpkin), SEI "Mimosa" (polka dots, small and large); Ink: black pigment, Ranger Tea Dye distress; Paper: My Mind's Eye; Accessories: Cuttlebug, Swirls embossing folder, Ellison Scallop Tags die, Circle Nestabilities, corner rounder punch, foam dimensionals
Card #3:

Card 3 Supplies:
Stamps: Studio G (pumpkin), SEI "Mimosa" (polka dots), Making Memories "Spellbound" (sentiment); Ink: black pigment, Ranger Tea Dye distress; Paper: My Mind's Eye; Accessories: Cuttlebug, Swirls embossing folder, Ellison Scallop Tags die, corner rounder punch, foam dimensionals

Even though I used  the same basic supplies for each card, I was able to create three very different looks. So fun!