Monday, May 22, 2017

Big announcement - joined the Tic Tac Toe Challenge Design Team

Hello crafty friends,

I am very excited to announce that I'm part of design team "X" at the Tic Tac Toe Challenge!  Please mark your calendars for June 8, 2017 for the first challenge post!  Hope to see you there for the first of many fun challenges to come!  If you'd like to check out the general rules for the challenge, please check it out here and see who the fellow design team talent is!

I will be one of the designers posting on June 8th!

Have a great and crafty week!!


Friday, May 19, 2017

I organized an independent blog hop – tips, tricks and lessons learned

Hello crafty friends,

This post is not about card making, but is definitely related.  This was no ordinary blog hop that I’m about to tell you about – it was a big leap of faith taken by 7 people who barely knew each other and had never even talked on the phone.  If you are reading this now, I will assume you have been exposed to many, many blog hops and hopefully will appreciate this unprecedented accomplishment.  However, there are also some valuable lessons we learned that I want to share.

Before I begin I must give a shout out to all the amazing women who helped make this a success (with links to their blogs of course!)

Suzanne, aka “Suzy”(the teacher and experienced industry insider)

In January 2017 I took a class from So Suzy Sessions – “How to be on a Design Team”.  One of the benefits from this class is a private Facebook group for the people who enrolled.  This is where my story begins. 

Since completing the class and hop, I have gotten to know several of the ladies through the Facebook group.  As I said earlier, none of us have met each other face to face or even talked on the phone before.  In early April I proposed doing our own blog hop as a team.  As many of you know, blog hops are frequently run by companies - whether a brand or a one stop shop selling craft supplies, stamps, etc.  New releases from stamp companies are the most frequent focus of these hops.  Another very popular blog hop “style” is a challenge blog, where people will post links to their own cards (projects) in hopes of winning a prize and/or recognition.

We had no company backing up our effort so the promotion would be entirely up to each of us.  So, the question was, how much traffic could we get without a major established brand, challenge blog or release to promote?  My friends, we decided the best thing we could do is have a purpose to the hop – we made it focused on Mother’s Day cards and released it early enough to give people time to use our designs as inspiration.  We also were highly successful in putting together a CRAZY LARGE prize package – over $200.  This is something in hindsight that we would handle differently.  I’ll get to that shortly J

The next part will probably blow your mind – most of us (6) had NEVER done a blog hop before.  We didn’t know what to expect but we felt confident enough in what we learned from the class that we could do it. 

I am not big on bragging but I have to say the response was great!  My blog was just started in January and it takes time to build a following.  The comments that were left on everyone’s blog were nothing short of amazing and supportive.  Suzanne always emphasizes that the industry is unique because the majority of the folks involved are so supportive of each other – even the owners of competitive companies support each other.  This is not the type of thing you see everyday.

What could we have done better?  

The group had a follow up call and talked about it.  These were the top 3 things that we all agreed on:
  • Using the Facebook group as the sole method of communicating was challenging – multiple threads were going and made it hard to keep up with some details.  Would have been better to have a conference call up front to discuss the details and answer common questions
  •  We all could stand to learn our blogging platforms better than we do today
  • The prize package was much larger than the industry standard – however, since it was also a great incentive to get people to visit, if we had to do it over again, we would have split it up into several smaller packages to give more people a chance to win.

What did we do right?  

We not only got our group’s opinions, but also had the input of someone who had no stake in the blog hop but was observing it from the sidelines. 

Justine Hovey gave us some great feedback:
  • The blogs as well as the cards were visually appealing
  • We fixed our one hiccup quickly the day we went live
  • Good quality photos
  • Inspirational to others in the industry
Suzanne Moore – who has owned a stamp company and has years of industry experience also shared her perspective.
  • She was amazed that with all of us newbies, there was only one hiccup in the process. 
  • She loved the shared graphic we were all using in social media accounts and Facebook groups to promote it.  Became more recognizable as it was seen across various accounts and places.  
  • We all left each other comments in support, which is also an important aspect of being part of a design team.
If you want to see the blog hop this post is about, you can relive it starting here.

Before you go, I have to say that I highly recommend Suzy’s classes.  She has the following classes (thumbnails below) right now with potentially more to come this summer.  If you are inspired by this story and want to start on your own journey to becoming more social media savvy, learn about the ins and outs of design teams, price your cards, etc., you can access her classes here.  This is an affiliate link, which has no impact on the cost of the course to you, but allows me to make a small commission if you use my link to enroll.

Thanks so much for stopping by today – if you haven’t yet, please consider leaving a comment and joining me on my other social media channels, including You Tube.



Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Ellen Hutson-Reverse Confetti May mix it up challenge

Hello crafty friends,

I was just recently in the Little Blue House - a craft shop in my local area.  It's one of the few places left where one can buy craft supplies other than what is available at the large craft stores.     They sell Reverse Confetti products there and I just had to have the Swoosh die cover plate. I loved the large swirl pattern.  The lady who helped me knows the owner of Reverse Confetti!  I learned that RC is actually located in the local area (Dallas/Fort Worth).  

 Since I also recently purchased some Ellen Hutson Essentials it is the perfect opportunity to play along in the current challenge.  At a later date I am going to try using that swirly pattern to create a really cool slider card.  

This die and sentiment set from Ellen Hutson drove this design.  Often it takes me awhile to come up with a plan but this time it came together in my head in minutes.  Seizing upon this sudden rush of inspiration I created a very sparkly card.   Starting with the die I cut one layer from a aqua colored glitter paper, then cut two more out of 110 lb cardstock to make a single stacked layer.

To create the base layer I started with a 4.25 x 5.5" piece of 80lb white card stock.  In order to stamp the sequin set I first placed the card stock in my Misti, laid the RC die on top.  I laid the sequin stamp in one of the open areas, removed the die then stamped in Versamark ink.  I repeated this process randomly placing the stamp in another open area - did this 4 times.

After heat embossing with white powder I colored each of the sequins in several different pastel colored Copics.  At first I just colored inside the stamped area, but then I colored slightly around the outside because otherwise the sequin just looked as though it disappeared against the white background.  After this I glued the die cut piece on top.  Next I added more sparkle with clear stickles.  Lately I've been drawn to use these to add a little something.  This is the first "sequin" card I've ever made without actual sequins.  The thought of that makes me smile to myself.  

The last part of this card is the sentiment.  I die cut the word sparkle 4 times, once from silver glitter paper, then 3 X from white card stock.   I glued and stacked the die cuts on top of each other. 

Next I stamped the other part of the sentiment onto plain black card stock in versamark, then heat embossed with white detail embossing powder.  I trimmed around the piece and glued on with foam tape to pop it up.  I then glued on the sparkle die cut so it overlapped a little with the black piece.  

The last step was to adhere the card front to a white A2 card base.  I was pleased to have put this whole thing together in less than 30 minutes!  

Thanks for stopping by today!  Please consider leaving a comment if you found this card design sparked some creative ideas of your own.   



Friday, May 12, 2017

AAA Cards CAS Game #89

Hello crafty friends,

This is my entry for the AAA Cards Bright & Beautiful challenge.  I used stamps from The Ton as well as a sentiment from My Favorite Things & Simon Says Stamp for the inside.

This card was inspired by my late grandmother - she had a beautiful collection of perfume bottles and as a child I was fascinated with them.

I stamped the perfume bottles with 5 different Distress Oxide inks and added hints of embellishment with stickles.  I embellished the flowers with one sequin & seed bead in the center.  I die cut the center frame with a stitched die cut frame on top of paper that had been coated (sponged) with Distress Oxide Pink Lipstick and a Spectrum Noir Clear sparkly marker to add shine.

The shaker section was kept minimal with a simple white banner for the sentiment.

Thank you for stopping by and checking out this card!

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Masculine Koi Pond Card with gel filled "shaker"

Hello crafty friends,

It feels like a long time since I last posted, but it's only been a few days.  Maybe it's because it took me longer than I thought to finish this card project and video.  I truly hope that you will find it as fun as I do.

At some point I found a post, probably on Pinterest,  where gel was mentioned as a filling for a shaker card.  If I could find the post again I'd share it, but just know that this was not my original idea.


Instead of writing a lengthy post I have a video to show the entire process of how I put this card together.  To complement the video I am listing the details for the products used and what colors were used to do the stamp layering.  All the stamping was done on Neenah solar white cardstock.

Fish #1 (underneath the pond layer)
Hero Arts inks ( this is the standard set include with the layering stamps, dies and inks if bought in a bundle)
base layer: Soft Vanilla
middle layer: soft granite
top layer:  neon orange

Fish #2: (left side)
Hero Arts & Memento inks
base layer: Hero Arts Soft Vanilla
middle layer: Hero Arts soft granite
top layer: Memento rhubarb stalk

Fish #3: (right side)  
Memento & Hero Arts inks
base layer: Memento Dandelion
middle layer: Hero Arts soft granite
top layer: Memento Cantaloupe

Water lilies:
Hero arts soft granite on the outline stamp on top of Neenah solar white cardstock

Papers used:
Tim Holtz idea-ology Paper Stash Lost and Found collection (any similar blue, green, and brown paper with a variegated finish would also work)
Light Gray cardstock - 110# lb recommended

Dies used:
Spellbinders Prizm Fern dies set
Spellbinders Shapeabilities Woodland Wreath Etched Dies
Hero Arts Koi frame cuts (part of bundled set)

Stamps used:

Hero Arts Color layering Koi - part of bundled set (used for the Koi, water liliies
 as well as the sentiment on the outside of the card)
Hero Arts Celebrate Everday sentiment set (Used "Happy Father's Day" stamp for inside of card)

Thanks for stopping by!  Please consider leaving a comment to let me know if this tutorial was helpful to you and let me know if there are any techniques you would like to see in an upcoming post or video.


Monday, May 1, 2017

Winner of Mother's Day Blog Hop Giveaway

Happy Monday everyone!

On behalf of myself and all the ladies who put the fun and fabulous hop together, we wish to congratulate the winner.

Drumroll please...................


Congratulations to Jessica!!  Please contact me by May 5th (Cinco de Mayo!!) via my email form on the blog so that I can get the information we need to get your prizes to you.

Thanks to everyone for playing along with us and all the wonderful comments you've left for me and the other ladies.   If you aren't subscribed, please consider doing so with all of us - I imagine there will be lots of inspiration to come!!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Monthly magazine feature – April edition

Hello crafty friends,

This is take 3 on my monthly feature where I create a card (or more) from the included stamp sets or other goodies the company has added.  

This set is very much a Spring theme that can extend beyond Easter.  Do you know a gardener?  This set has the cutest stamps to create a garden scene.  If you are into scene building, this is the type of set you would love.  Creating scenes are not my typical “thing” but I wanted to do at least one card like that.

This involved a “lot” of masking so it requires some patience, but the result is so worth it.  I considered lots of possible ways I could have colored it and decided to watercolor with the new Distress Oxide inks to get a shabby chic look and feel.  I am posting some pictures of the process of masking since I did not create a video for this post.

You have to plan out the order to stamp in so that the images appear in front of or behind the desired object correctly.  You have to stamp the item that will be in front first, then mask it before stamping the image that will be "behind" it.

I messed up on the hydrangea but fixed it by stamping it again on a separate sheet of paper, then fussy cutting it out to place on top of the pot.  The first picture shows all my prepared masks.  I stamped with Hero Arts charcoal ink so the outlines were not stark black.

Before coloring the stamped images, I put the masks on all of them so I could add the background color.  For the sky I used a piece of cardstock torn unevenly (shown in the picture below) and applied blue china ink with an ink applicator tool, moving the cardstock periodically to leave some white spaces for clouds.

For the grass I applied the Distress Oxide Peeled Paint ink with an applicator tool, then stamped with the grass stamp over it to add the grass blade detail. 

Here's the extra hydrangea I had to create to fix my earlier mistake in stamping

Now here is the photo with most of the coloring done except for the hydrangea.  The wheelbarrow and flower pot were colored with the Barn Door Distress Oxide and the watering can in a combination of the Iced Spruce Distress Oxide and the Charcoal Hero Arts ink.  I also used the charcoal color to color the wheel of the wheelbarrow and the handles.

I stamped the sentiment in the same dark gray ink.

Next I die cut two fence pieces to layer on top of this panel.  I added foam adhesive tape to pop them up.

Instead of layering the card on top of another piece of cardstock I decided to take the card base in a mellow peachy orange color and die cut a rectangle out so it would frame the watercolor panel.  Once I glued the panel on the inside of the frame, I added another piece of white cardstock behind it to hide the watercolor bleed through.  I used the Misti to help me determine placement before running through the Big Shot.

Card #2 – The spinner card
Anyone who has seen the majority of my work will know I truly love interactive cards… a LOT.  So the first card in this post will be the redheaded stepchild to me, but I try to love all my cards equally.

One of the first things I noticed about this set was the bunny stamps – they included the front and back view so of course I thought it would make a great spinner.

I kept the rest of the card simple.  To create the window I die cut a circle from my oh so favorite Die-namics circle STAX set from the card base (a white A2 sized base from 110# white cardstock).  Next I cut a panel from a pretty pastel paper with teapots on it a ½ smaller than the base and die cut a circle from it to line up over the card front.

Spinner piece:

I stamped the bunnies with black ink, then added a little bit of color with a light gray SN marker around the edge and some pink to the inside of the ears.  I fussy cut the images and before gluing together, put glue on the back of one, laid white thread across it, then pressed the other bunny image on top. 

To attach this to the card base I added two strips of double sided Be Creative tape at the top and bottom of the opening on the inside of the card base.  I laid the thread and bunny piece across the window so the thread would be glued to the trips of tape on the inside.  To cover up the strings on the inside front panel, I had another white panel ready with the circle die cut out. 

Inside of card:

I added a circle die cut of a coordinating paper so that it would be visible “through” the die cut window.

I added the die cut fence pieces onto the bottom part of the patterned paper to finish off the card as well as some lilac colored Nuvo drops.

If you haven't checked out my Instagram account you might wish to so you can see the bunny doing it's spinning action.  It's really cute!

Thanks for stopping by today.  Please consider leaving a comment to let me know what you think about these cards.  I always love reading your feedback.