Friday, December 30, 2011

Elegant Reindeer

This year I only bought one new set of holiday stamps, "North Country" by Prima. The flourished reindeer is one of my favorite stamps from the set - classic and elegant.

I love the idea of Papertrey Ink's Half & Half dies, but a) I don't own them (their international shipping is just too high) and b) I needed a wider version to accommodate the reindeer stamp. So, I created my own using my Cricut and the Elegant Edges cartridge. I really like how it turned out! The reindeer was stamped with antique gold pigment ink, then embellished with rhinestones in various sizes and colors. Papercrafting supplies may be virtually nonexistent here in China, but the one thing I can find plenty of is rhinestones!

This afternoon I'm enjoying a little post-holiday down-time, listening to the new Florence & the Machine album (so far I liked her first album better) and doing a little crafting. My tummy is full of tasty Ajisen Ramen soup, our apartment is warm and cozy, and I'm wrapped up in my favorite "grandpa sweater" sipping a cup of coffee. Yep, it's a good day.

Stamps: Prima "North Country" (reindeer), SEI (flourish), Studio G (sentiment)
Ink: Stamp It Up! pigment (antique gold), ColorBox pigment (antique pewter), Versamark
Accessories: Cricut / Elegant Edges cartridge, clear embossing powder, small corner rounder punch, adhesive rhinestones, foam adhesive

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

MFTT: Stripe-tastic!

This week's Moxie Fab Tuesday Trigger features this pic full of stripey goodness: 

I knew I wanted to replicate those bold, graphic stripes, so I rummaged through my stash till I found a long-forgotten stripe stamp. The dress and the styling of the photo seemed very "Anthro" to me, which led me down a creative rabbit-trail that ended with the idea of retro typography as the focal point for my card:

The sentiment was added with my labelmaker. I made this one as a winter holiday card, but by using a different color scheme and changing the words to "you" & "me", this could easily become a Valentine's Day or anniversary card. 

Be sure to stop by Moxie Fab World to check out the rest of the entries!

Stamps: Impression Obsession "Borders"
Ink: Stamp It Up pigment, My Mind's Eye pigment
Accessories: Cricut / Cake Basics cartridge, Dymo Labelmaker, black label tape, small corner rounder punch, foam adhesive

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Star of Wonder...


Our stockings are hung, the presents are wrapped, and our Christmas playlist has been in heavy rotation. Tonight we're hoping to stroll through the Christkindlmarkt and watch a holiday movie or two. 

Today's card features a little glitter-trick I like to use called clear packing tape. Start off with a negative diecut, then apply a strip of tape across the backside of your cutout so that the sticky portion shows through to the front. Pour glitter onto the sticky portion, press down to adhere, then shake/brush off the excess. Perfect glitter application every time!

In this case, I added a second negative diecut, cut an inch larger than the first, adhered on top of the glittered layer with foam adhesive. The completed 3-D star panel was then attached flat to the cardfront.

I'm looking forward to a nice, relaxing holiday, just me and the hubby. I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas with your family and loved ones!

Cricut / Joys of the Season cartridge, Martha Stewart "copper" glitter, clear packing tape, foam adhesive

Sunday, December 18, 2011

MFTT: And a Partridge in a Pear Tree

It's been forever since I've had a chance to play along with the Moxie Fab Tuesday Trigger, but this week's trigger was just too pretty to pass up:

I decided to create my own nature-themed card, incorporating the subtle sparkle and soft grays of the inspiration pic:

I stamped the border image onto the deer with silver metallic ink, then glammed it up with some teeny-tiny rhinestones and pearls. (Can I just say how much I love this deer diecut? I want to use it on everything!) I kept the rest of the card nice and simple. Because the front is sentiment-free, it can be used for any number of winter occasions.

Be sure to check out the rest of the entries over at Moxie Fab World!

Stamps: Walmart $1 set
Ink: Silver Metallic
Accessories: Cricut / Give a Hoot cartridge, adhesive pearls, adhesive rhinestones, small corner rounder punch, foam adhesive 

Friday, December 16, 2011

Candy-Filled Mini Tree-Box


The tree stamp from the Prima "North Country" cling set is a perfect fit for this box from the Cricut "Tags, Bags, Boxes & More" cartridge. I cut the box at 4", stamped the tree with Versamark ink, and heat embossed with Zing embossing powder. Fill with M&Ms or Red Hot candies for a quick and easy holiday favor!

Stamp: Prima "North Country"
Ink: Versamark
Accessories: Cricut / Tags, Bags, Boxes & More cartridge; Zing! embossing powder; double-sided redline adhesive; embroidery floss 

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Modern Poinsettia


It's hard to believe Christmas is right around the corner! The past few months have been pretty busy for us; lots of business meetings, out-of-town guests, the works. We hosted a medical team from the States for a week-long project in a nearby rural province;  my mom came to visit for two weeks (her first time in Asia!); and my father-in-law was here for a month. Needless to say, there hasn't been much time for paper-crafting!

Things have finally slowed down enough for me to work on a few holiday projects. I found this great poinsettia shape on the Cricut "Joys of the Season" cartridge. The negative cutout is attached to the cardfront with foam adhesive, with some black rhinestones for added sparkle. Clean, modern, and easy to mass-produce!

Stamps: TPC Studio
Ink: Brilliance "Graphite Black"
Patterned Paper: "Happy Holidays" paper pack (Hobby Lobby)
Accessories: Cricut / Joys of the Season cartridge; adhesive rhinestones; foam adhesive

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Today I'm thankful for so many things - my wonderful husband, family, friends, this crazy adventure Seth and I get to share every single day... It's a good life!

Card Supplies:
Cricut / Something to Celebrate cartridge, small corner rounder punch, foam adhesive

Friday, August 26, 2011


It's been pretty quiet around here the last few days. Well, when I say "quiet" I mean "uneventful", because we happen to live in a pretty noisy neighborhood. The Chinese might call it 热闹 (rènào), which means "lively, bustling with noise" (with a positive connotation) - we call it "say goodbye to peace and quiet". But in a city of 23 million people, can you really expect anything different?

One thing I do love about our neighborhood is that we have so many food options within walking distance: Japanese, Korean, Indian, German, French, American, Spanish, not to mention all of the Chinese options. For lunch today we had Thai: green chicken curry, spring rolls... So good. 

The pop-up card above is the result of some tinkering around in Cricut Design Studio. It lays flat for mailing, and then the recipient can simply fold the bottom half of the cardfront at the hinge to make the words stand up. I thought about adding some masking/stamping to the letters, but then decided less is more. I already have someone in mind for this one - hope it puts a smile on their face! 

Cricut / Design Studio / Martha Stewart Elegant Cake Art cartridge 

Saturday, August 20, 2011

MFTT: Girly & Gutsy

This week's Moxie Fab Tuesday Trigger challenge was too great to pass up:

The yellow chairs, black and white rug, fisheye mirror, starburst light fixture... Oh. My. Word. Here's my interpretation:

I cut a starburst shape from a transparency with my Cricut, then glammed it up with rhinestones. (Did you notice the one pink rhinestone in the very center? Had to get that pink in there somehow!) Next, I bent up the "rays" at alternating angles to give it some motion. Here's a side view:

The black background is actually adhesive vinyl, cut with (you guessed it) my Cricut. I really like how the vinyl turned out - I'll definitely be trying this again!

Card Supplies:
Acetate transparency, black vinyl, Cricut / Design Studio / Elegant Edges cartridge (frame) / Storybook cartridge (flourish background), adhesive rhinestones, foam dimensionals

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Happy Days


This past weekend, we were geared up to bunker down in our little apartment as typhoon Muifa barreled towards us. Hubby, who spent part of his childhood in Taiwan (which averages 3-4 typhoons a year), had told me stories of taping windows, grown men being blown off their feet, and sideways-sheeting rain. Now, I grew up in the US Midwest, where huddling in a storm cellar during tornado warnings was just a part of life. But here in this mega-city of high-rises, we certainly don't have any basements to hide out in. As we went to bed late Saturday night, the wind was already beginning to gust, rattling our windows and fluttering the curtains. Imagine our surprise (and relief) when we awoke the next morning to find that the storm had weakened and changed course, leaving only some blustery winds and intermittent showers in its wake!

In honor of that happy news, I've got a little card creation to share:

That red frame? It's from the Cricut "Elegant Edges" cartridge, which has become my go-to crafting item. It's like having scores of Nesties at the press of a button. Each shape has a regular and oblong version with matching frame, plain or decorative-layer options, plus coordinating border strips and decorative-edge book pages. (You can see it all here.) A lot of Cricut cartridges are too cartoony-cutesy for my taste, but this one is a cardmaker's dream!

New to my wishlist is the "Art Philosphy" cartridge. (Check out the handbook for this one!) It's exactly the kind of cartridge I've been hoping they'd make: clean, modern, non-cutesy artwork, with as much content as they could possibly cram into one cartridge. Images, labels, cards, tags, 3D flowers, boxes, pennants, borders, a font...  Unfortunately, it's only available through Close To My Heart as part of a (pretty pricey) bundle, which means no cheap deals online. I like it so much, though, I'm going to have to start saving my pennies. I do have a birthday coming up... Hubby, are you reading this? ; )

Card Supplies:
Stamps: Sassafras Lass "Songwriter", Stampin Up "Many Happy Returns" (sentiment); Ink: ColorBox pigment "Chestnut", My Mind's Eye "Natural" pigment palette; DCWV cardstock; Accessories: Cricut / Design Studio / Elegant Edges cartridge / Fabulous Finds cartridge, embroidery floss, small corner rounder punch, foam dimensionals

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Battening Down the Hatches

Here in Shanghai we're bracing for Typhoon Muifa, which is expected to be the worst storm to hit the city since 2005. The neighborhood guards have been walking the streets with megaphones, advising residents to take precautions, and we've received text-message PSAs warning us to beware of flying objects, flooding, and electrocution. Needless to say, we'll be spending the rest of the weekend cozied up in our apartment, watching dvds and reading a good book or two. Hmm, might be the perfect opportunity for a little Criminal Minds marathon...

Friday, August 5, 2011

Fun With Letters

Hubby and I caught an early matinee yesterday - 3D glasses, popcorn, cokes, the works. Such a fun date! China only allows about 20 foreign films to be shown per year, so seeing an American movie in the theater is a rare treat for us.

On the creative front, lately my eye has been drawn to creative typography - in subway art posters, stationery, print ads, etc. I got an idea in my head, and came up with this fun little reusable mask, perfectly sized for an A2 cardfront:

Which I then used to make this:

I sponged inside the mask using a seafoam green ink, then stamped the letters in red. I think this would also look cool with polka dots, or chevron stripes, even woodgrain - so many possibilities!

Card Supplies:
Stamps: Sassafras Lass "Songwriter"; Ink: My Mind's Eye "Natural" pigment palette, Stamp It Up! pigment (red); Accessories: Cricut / Design Studio / Martha Stewart Seasonal Cake Art cartridge, small corner rounder punch

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

CAS-ual Fridays Challenge CFC13

This week's challenge at CAS-ual Fridays is to create a 4x9" card. That's a pretty big canvas to work with! After a lot of thinking, and even more tinkering, here's what I came up with:

I created the large label shape with Cricut Design Studio, stamped the ends, then used a Cuttlebug embossing folder on the center portion. Here's a closeup of the sentiment:

I used a blender pen to color in the border around the sentiment, then finished it off with three teeny tiny rhinestones. Everything's better with a little bling!

Card Supplies:
Stamps: American Crafts "Hello There" (sentiment), SEI (polka dots); Ink: My Mind's Eye "Sundress" pigment palette, Stamp It Up! pigment (lavender), ColorBox pigment "Antique Pewter"; Cardstock: American Crafts; Accessories: Cricut / Design Studio / Elegant Edges cartridge, Cuttlebug / Seeing Spots embossing folder, small corner rounder punch, blender pen, adhesive rhinestones, foam adhesive

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Moxie Fab World Tuesday Trigger: Squares to Cherish

This week's Moxie Fab Tuesday Trigger challenge brings us this lovely inspiration pic:

I wanted to recreate those graphic layered squares, as well as incorporate the soothing colors. I started by using Cricut Design Studio to create a set of concentric medallions centered within a 4" square:

I cut the whole thing out of white cardstock, then inked and stamped away. Here's the finished product:

The only colored paper used is the gray cardfront - the rest is all just inks (direct to paper) and stamps! The layers are attached with varying thicknesses of foam dimensionals for added depth. Not bad for just a 4" square of white cardstock, don't you think?

Card Supplies:
Stamps: SEI "Bridgeport", Stampin' Up (sentiment); Ink: Stamp It Up! pigment (lavender), My Mind's Eye "Natural" pigment palette; Accessories: Cricut / Design Studio software / Elegant Edges cartridge, foam dimensionals

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

CAS-ual Fridays Challenge CFC12

I finally get to play along with another CAS-ual Fridays challenge! This week the challenge is to use a rub-on or sticker on your project. Here's my creation:

Now, I have to confess: this is my first time EVER using a rub-on on a card! I've had this one little pack of American Crafts rub-ons for years, but for some reason I've always been hesitant to break them out. Let me tell you, I'm a convert! They go on smoothly, and the coverage is superb. I'll definitely be using more of these in the future!

Card Supplies:
Cricut / Sentimentals cartridge (peacock feather); American Crafts rub-on; small corner rounder punch; foam dimensionals

Summer Show & Tell

After yet another round of VPN issues, I finally have access to Blogger again. Sometimes the restrictions here really get under my skin! Now, where were we before our unscheduled break? 

So far my summer has been filled with things like yummy food:

Colorful art exhibits:

And stunning views:

Can't wait to see how the rest of the summer unfolds!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Mustache Love

Wow, so is anyone else having issues with Blogger again? I had to clear my cache and delete my Blogger cookies before it would even let me log in. Grr!

My facial-hair-sporting hubby is coming home tonight after being away on a week-long trip, so here's a little card I made in his honor:

Hee! I added some "texture" to the mustache by inking up the stamp, then pressing it against an uninked woodgrain stamp before stamping onto cardstock. What can I say - I love mustaches, I love woodgrain, why not put them together? The rectangle is debossed into the cardfront using this technique. A pretty simple card, but sometimes the simple ones are the most fun!

Card Supplies:
Stamps: My Cute Stamps "Mustaches", Hero Arts "Designer Woodgrain"; Ink: ColorBox pigment "Chestnut", "Roussillon"; Accessories: Cuttlebug / Rectangle Nestabilities, foam adhesive

Monday, May 23, 2011

Pinwheel Bouquet

The challenge photo over at Play Date Cafe this week got the wheels in my head turning:

I had some older My Mind's Eye patterned papers that I knew would be a good match for these colors. And I'd been wanting to try out the pinwheel from the Easter 2010 Cricut cartridge...

Aren't those pinwheels fun? Here's a closeup:

Putting those leftover disposable chopsticks to good use!

And the matching card (with super-cute mini pinwheel):

Wouldn't these make great party decorations? They were such a blast to make - I'm just itching for an excuse to make more!

My Mind's Eye patterned paper; Hero Arts "Everyday Sayings" stamps (sentiment); My Mind's Eye "Natural" pigment ink palette; Cricut / Mother's Day 2010 cartridge (pinwheel) / Easter 2010 cartridge (starburst seal); Cuttlebug / Seeing Spots embossing folder; brads; chopsticks (as pinwheel sticks)

A Look Back: China Travels

We had barely been in China for a month when we were given the opportunity to participate in a three-week English seminar in northern Shaanxi province. We stayed in the small village of Ansai (安塞), which is famous throughout China for its waist drum dance

(image source)

The dancers wear oblong drums at their waist, each hand holding a drumstick with a trailing red streamer. 

(image source)

Every evening we could find men and women, young and old, gathered in the center of town to practice. It's a joyous, energetic dance, full of leaps and kicks, driven by a pulsing beat drummed out in unison. As a spectator, one can't help but be captivated by the pounding rhythm, the buoyant steps, as the drumming reverberates throughout your entire body. 

We were lucky enough to be there while the local elementary school was performing for a national news broadcast. It was raining off and on, but that didn't dampen their spirits one bit!

Check out those high kicks! Ah, to be that limber again...

The pic above is one of my favorites - my husband snapped it while the children were taking a quick break.

Of course, mere words and pictures can't capture the intensity of this dance. After a little searching, I managed to find this video:

I hope you enjoyed this little glimpse of China!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Regal Thanks

Playing along with this week's Moxie Fab Tuesday Trigger, Some Royal Fun. Isn't this the cutest trigger pic?

I immediately knew I wanted to mimic those fun little flags, as well as the black doodle-style accents - and of course the jewels!

I stamped the black flourish images onto light blue cardstock, then added a few accents with a white gel pen. However, it all seemed a little too busy, so I added a layer of velum to tone things down. (Velum is really hard to photograph, btw!) Next I rounded the edges, then diecut the banner and its outline frame. A sentiment in a whimsical script and some subtle bling was all it needed! 

This card also qualifies for the CAS-ual Fridays CFC3 Challenge: to use bling on a Clean And Simple card:

Be sure to head over and check out both of these challenges!

Card Supplies:
Stamps: Amy Butler (flourish), Hero Arts "All Occasion Messages" (sentiment); Ink: black pigment; Accessories: Cricut / Design Studio / Mother's Day 2010 cartridge, Signo white gel pen, vellum, small corner rounder punch, adhesive rhinestones, foam adhesive

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Dear Doilies

You know, when we first moved to China back in 2004, cardmaking was a lot more basic than it is now. Dry embossing was done with a light-box, patterned paper was reserved for scrapbook pages, and I had never even heard of a stamping blog. I came overseas with a stack of colored cardstock, a handful of Stampin' Up sets, and the four SU color-families of dye ink cubes. My, how things have changed! 

Now, I'll let you in on a little secret - my love affair with the CAS (Clean And Simple) style really stems from the fact that I don't have access to a lot of the products available in the States. I have to work at making as big of an impact as possible, using fewer supplies. Of course, I've grown to love the challenge it presents! I try to purchase products that can be used in a variety of ways, that give the biggest bang for my buck - like my digital die-cutter. Have I mentioned how much fun I'm having with this thing?

For this card, I manipulated a tag image in Cricut Design Studio to make it "fatter", then cut an identical tag a smidge larger to create a shadow layer. Some stamping, some inking along the edges, foam adhesive to pop the top layer, and a little paper piercing on either side - put it all on a woodgrain-embossed panel, and you've got yourself a card! 

Well, I'm out the door to meet hubby for Indian buffet. Thanks for stopping by!

Card Supplies:
Stamps: My Mind's Eye "Gertie: Girly", American Crafts "Sing Along" (sentiment); Ink: ColorBox pigment "Ochre", "Chianti"; Accessories: Cricut / Design Studio / Sentimentals cartridge, Cuttlebug / Papertrey Ink "Woodgrain" Impression Plate, paper piercer, foam adhesive, small corner rounder punch, adhesive pearls

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

I've Missed You, Interwebs!

Our home internet connection is up and running again, thanks to a new ISP! Woohoo!

(Oh, and yes, that is a view from my sixth floor apartment, and yes, that is a man dangling by a fraying piece of rope to wash the windows. Aren't you glad you don't have his job?)

Monday, May 16, 2011

CAS-ual Fridays Challenge CFC2

 So glad I get to play along with this week's challenge over at CAS-ual Fridays! My style is pretty CAS (Clean And Simple), so this new challenge blog is right up my alley. This week's challenge is to incorporate buttons and twine (or embroidery floss) into your design. Here's my card:

I hope they don't mind that I went with button stamps instead of actual buttons! I pierced holes in the center of each button, then threaded them with embroidery floss (can't have naked buttons now, can we?). 

Entries are being accepted until 11:59 pm EST on Wednesday, so there's still time for you to link up your own creation!

Card Supplies
Stamps: Studio Calico "Buttons", My Mind's Eye "Hattie: Remember" (label), Hero Arts "All Occasion Messages" (sentiment); Ink: My Mind's Eye "Sundress", "Natural" pigment palettes; Accessories: embroidery floss, foam adhesive

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Moxie Fab Tuesday Trigger: Skirting the Issue

I finally found time to play along with this week's Tuesday Trigger over at Moxie Fab World. Here's the inspiration pic:

Ardennes Skirt from Anthropologie

The horizontal stripes across the pleats immediately made me think of chevrons, and those soft sherbet-y colors were too perfect not to use:

I used the same DIY embossing plate technique from my earlier post to create the debossed frame. Next, I cut an additional (single-layer) frame to use as a mask. The single layer allowed the mask to fit down into the debossed groove, flush with the rest of the paper. Once the mask was in place (held down with a few dots of temporary adhesive), I went to town, sponging the entire cardfront with creamy taupe ink and stamping those colorful chevron stripes. Click on the pic for a larger image!

The flower was made by stacking several flower diecuts (every other layer stamped with polka dots), with a grouping of adhesive pearls for the center. A playful sentiment with additional pearls (colored with a Bic Mark It) made the perfect final touches.

Head on over and check out the rest of the entries - there's still time for you to link up your own creation!

Card Supplies:
Stamps: American Crafts "Hello There" (stripes), "Sentiments: Large", SEI "Bridgeport" (polka dots); Ink: My Mind's Eye "Sundress", "Natural" pigment ink palettes, Martha Stewart palette (pink); Accessories: Cricut / Storybook cartridge (frame) / Don Juan cartridge (flowers) / Fabulous Finds cartridge (label), Cuttlebug, adhesive pearls, Bic Mark It, foam adhesive

DIY Debossed Frame

I guess I've got royals on the brain after all the recent festivities - I'm sure I'm not the only one! I was playing around with some diecuts and decided to make another DIY embossing plate. (Very easy: diecut three identical shapes and glue them all together, stacked, to make one thick piece.) I ran it through my Cuttlebug using this sandwich:

From bottom: 
  • A plate
  • B plate
  • tan embossing mat (I use two together)
  • cardstock (face up for debossing, which I did for this card, or face down for embossing)
  • homemade embossing plate
  • B plate
Love the big impact such a simple technique can make!

Card Supplies:
Stamps: Pink Paislee "Queen Bee"; Ink: ColorBox pigment "Surf"; Accessories: Cricut / Storybook cartridge, Cuttlebug, adhesive rhinestones