Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Same Card But Updated

Last year I went completely overboard with my Christmas cards. I'm not sure what I was thinking, but I must have originally been planning to send cards to an army. I made a ton of the same card. 75 of them went out in the mail to friends and relatives as intended, but that still left oodles of them in my craft room. To solve that problem, I thought I'd use them as trades at The Angel Company's Escape retreat in January. But I still came home with more than 50 of them. Were they multiplying in the dark or what?

The original card was made using Ranger's Cut n Dry Foam Pad. I put all of my snowflakes from the retired Snowflakes set on one large acrylic block and stamped it on the Cut n Dry Foam Pad. Then I added several colors of purple re-inkers. That custom pad lasted me for all of the cards I made! So that was the background. Then I used the snowman from the now retired Fun Filled Holidays set and colored him with Aquacolor Crayons and my water brush. The stars and his nose were colored with Prismacolor Pencils. Super simple! And away they went (except for the ones that stayed and bothered me because they seemed to have been wasted).

This year, with the craft show coming up, and the folks at the Art House offering to sell cards for me again, I needed to come up with a bunch of cards. So I looked at the old snowmen cards and tried to figure out how to update them into something different, but without adding too much additional work.

What I ended up doing, was cutting the front panel off all of the original cards, cutting them down by 1/4" on the top and bottom, and cutting the corners out with a corner punch. Then I added a few Crystal Stickles, and voi la! The same card but different. No waste, and I'm a happy girl.

Crafty Card Holder

What a weekend. Saturday I spent my day at the Shepard Craft show. Unfortunately, that was a bust. Not that I didn't expect it. In this economy, people are not necessarily purchasing the crafted items already made, they're wanting to make them themselves. I totally understand that. So, here's a little something that you can make yourself. It's a Christmas card holder. I want to say that I saw the concept on the Carol Duvall Show a few years ago, but I may be wrong.

I made mine with foam board, 4 pages of 12 x 12 scrpabook paper in two different patterns, adhesive, a ruler, a heated Exacto knife (using my Walnut Hollows Hot Marks Tool), but any box cutter or sharp straight blade will do, and 24 star-shaped brads.

First you want to cut two triangles from your foam board. The bottom edge will be 12 inches and the sides will be 13.5 inches.

Then you'll want to position and glue your paper onto them.

Once the adhesive is dry, you want to cut a 1/4"-wide slit from the top to approximately the 1/3rd point one one piece, and from the bottom to approximately 2/3rds up on the second. If you were to hold these up next to each other, the slits should meet.

Next, you want to make small cuts every 2 inches where the cards will go. These should alternate on each piece so that the cards don't bump into each other. For example, on one of the pieces, you want to start your slits 1 inch from the top, and make them every 2 inches, and on the other, you want to start 2 inches from the top and make them every 2 inches.

Now you're ready to assemble the tree. Simply line up each of the slits so that the tree becomes dimensional.

The final touch is to add the star brads between each of the card slits.

Now you're ready for the cards.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Broke my punch

I've been busy making Christmas cards for the Shepard Craft Fair. For one of them, I'm using up some paper I had left over from the Basic Grey Blitzen Collection. I cut the scraps I had into strips and used them on the card below. Then I embellished them with layered snowflakes made from my graduated sizes of McGill snowflake punches. I was using the small and medium sized punches and apparently punched so many times, I broke my medium size punch. I've been looking all over for one and couldn't find a replacement. So I had to get the QuicKutz snowflake die instead and figure out how to run it through my Big Shot. Worked fine after adding a few shims. Here is the result.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Reece Reindeer Christmas Card

I've been making a bunch of cards this week, first in anticipation of my Stamp a Stack yesterday and then because I'm hoping that I will be participating in one of our high school's annual craft shows. The show will be December 6th, and I should be hearing from them some time this week. So I have been and will be making up a bunch of cards, and will be posting some of them over the next few weeks.

The first one is this card I made for my Stamp a Stack yesterday. We used The Angel Company's Reece Soar With It paper collection and stamped the main image from their Christmas Season stamp set. The image is colored with watercolor pencils, which made it super quick and easy. I ran the edge of the red mat through one of the Cuttlebug border embossing folders and cut around the embossed edge. Then added a ribbon for a little more detail. All in all, this card is very quick to make, and you can get 9 of them from the patterned piece of Reece paper (12 if you make the patterned panel 1/2 an inch smaller).

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Beagle Welcome Cupcake Challenge

My desk neighbor at work, Angela, is helping her local shelter by fostering two beagle puppies, starting this weekend. Unfortunately, the economy is hitting our area hard enough that people are giving up their pets because they are unable to feed them. Angela's friend works at the shelter and told her that pets are coming in so fast that they are running out of room to keep them, which means that if someone doesn't adopt them, or offer to foster them, they will be "destroyed" at a faster pace.

Destroyed....what a horrible word to use with respect to helpless animals that have lead their lives at the mercy of humans, and served them well with friendship and loyalty. Although I understand the position the shelter is in, and the position of those families that are forced to give up their pets because times are so tight, it's so sad to me that it has come to this. I would consider it myself, but we fostered one dog a few years ago, and ultimately had to give him up because of complaints from our neighbors that we were violating the condo association rules. That, and we don't currently have a work schedule that would allow us to give a dog the kind of attention it would need.

Since Angela is taking on a few extra puppies, which in her heart she knows will not be fostered and returned, but will ultimately become part of her household, I decided to make her this card to welcome them, and I used Taylor's Cupcake Challenge as the template. The inside of the card says "Acquiring a dog may be the only chance a human ever has to choose a relative". The beagle and sentiment stamps are by Stamping Sensations. The dog prints are a stamp that I've had for so long, I no longer know who made it, and the darker brown background is made from brown paper with a tan core, that I put paw prints on using a Fiskars texture template and then sanded so that the tan showed through. The friends ribbon came from Target's dollar section last month. The card will accompany a matching jar of puppy treats that isn't quite finished.

I'm sure Angela will be tickled, and I'm happy to do something nice for the puppies too.

Awesome Crop!

O.K., so I'm a little behind. We had our crop for a cause a week ago, and I'm just getting around to posting about it.

We had an AWESOME time! This crop was absolutely sooo much fun. 48 croppers attended to join in the festivities and have since responded with feedback that it was the best crop they'd ever been to. We had tables set up so that there were three people to a table, with extra chairs that could be used for friends to visit in, or to store stuff that you didn't want on the table with you.

We had awesome sponsors that provided products for goodie bags and prizes for the silent auctions.

I got a steal of a deal on the Fiskars Rock-Paper-Trimmer that has speakers and plays an mp3 player while you cut. I had my eye on it when it came in and bidded my little heart out to get it, since basically the only time I actually use my iPod is when I'm crafting.

I also picked up a good deal on some Copic markers and the Copic air brush system in our Swap Shop. Which made me a happy girl.

We also had games:

and contests:

We even had a massage therapist to give chair massages.

And in the end, we raised approximately $1,200 for Southwest Community Services. It was a great event, and I thank everyone that came out, supported it, and had a great time. I thank the sponsors that helped make it so that everyone when home with a prize. And I thank Pat and Dawnmarie for coming up with the idea and working their little butts off to make it happen. Dawnmarie was our comic MC and she did a great job entertaining the crowd.

We've been invited back to host another crop and are thinking some time in February sounds good. So if you missed this one, keep your ears peeled for the next. Hopefully we'll see you there!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Fall cards

A few months ago, the Poetic Artistry Blog posted a one sheet wonder, with some cards that I thought were classically simple. I stored them in the back of my mind for a while, and when I had a chance to play today, I went and looked the post up. These are cards that I made using the same one sheet wonder (although I ended up removing the .75" x .75" square on Card #2 when I changed the orientation due to the verse I picked). It's amazing how different the exact same template can look with different color choices.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Cheers Card

Heather Scott posted her Monday challenge today, and I had a little chance to play. The nicest thing about it was that I got a chance to use up some scraps in the process. Here's my card using The Angel Company's Amelia patterned paper and Cheery Christmas Stamp set. The teal block behind the sentiment is a Ralph Lauren Metallics paint chip.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

It's Time to Party Like a Rock Star!

Aerosmith was the first band I ever went and saw live in concert. I've been following them ever since I was 16 and until a few years ago, I never missed a single show when they came to my area. So when Aerosmith came out with its own special edition of Guitar Hero, I knew I had to get it.

Tom went out on my birthday and picked up the game, and we've been planning a Guitar Hero party to have some of our friends come over and play (or watch as the case may be). This plan has been in the back of our minds since June. Now it's October, and we're finally getting around to doing something. Crazy huh?

Anyway, last weekend we picked a date. Since then, we've come up with all kinds of ideas for the invitations, food and decorations. I thought it would be fun to make little "tour cases" with laminated back stage passes in them, since we'll be handing our invitees their invitations. Then we took it a step further and made tour books with the story and party details inside. It's been a lot of fun, and we just finished getting all of this stuff together.

Here's a picture of all the stuff together:

And here's a close-up of the "tour case":

Here are the passes and tour booklets a little closer up:

We're even planning musically inspired food, but since some of the attendees read my blog, I don't want to spoil the fun.

So far this has been a lot of fun to plan. If you've had any parties that you've done with a theme, I'd love to hear about them.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

CROP FOR A CAUSE - November 1, 2008

If you are in the Chicago area and are looking for a fun time to get away and craft, some angels and I will be hosting a crop for a cause on November 1st. Our cause is Southwest Community Services, a not for profit agency servicing adults and children with disabilities since 1971. They provide services that empower individuals with diverse disabilities to maximize their development and independence, and we think they are worthy of support.

Our crop will be held in SCS's facility at 6775 Prosperi Drive in Tinley Park, Illinois, right off of I-80 at the Harlem exit at 191st and Oak Park Avenue. It will be open from 10:00 am to 10:00 pm. Spaces are $35 and lunch, dinner snacks and refreshments will be provided.

We will have a silent auction with some awesome items donated by local businesses and from some well known names in the stamp and scrapbook industry. We will also have goodie bags for every attendee, hourly door prizes, products available for sale, product demonstrations and contests throughout the day.

So come on out and join the fun, get some crafting done, maybe learn a new technique or use a tool you've never tried before, and support a worthy cause. Contact me by e-mail or leave a comment with your information if you want further details. Money along with our final count will need to be turned in by October 20th. So save your space now! It's going to be lots of fun!

Monday, October 6, 2008

New Store at and new banner

I've decided to take the plunge and try selling some of my items online. I just finished opening a new store at and listed three cards that have appeared on this blog. So check it out. I'm really excited about it!

Meri's Inkspirations at

I also created my own banner for the store, and thought I'd remake the one here. Let me know what you think.

Challenge for today

Heather Scott posted a Monday challenge this morning and when I saw her sketch, I immediately knew what I would create. Then I found that I had borrowed the stamp set I had in mind from a friend and had already returned it, so I had to find another image. No problem! Here's the card I made using Heather's sketch.

Heahter did say that the star in her sketch was not meant to be taken literally, but rather, used to represent a cut out/punched image, but I kind of liked the star in the design so I kept it and put my punched image on top.

This card is made using The Angel Company's Reece paper collection and the Give Thanks stamp set. I colored it with watercolor pencils and added Cinnamon Stickles as accents around the main background square and the scalloped circle. Plus some Crystal Stickles on the "star" behind the image.

Gone and back again

This past weekend, I had an opportunity to travel to Akron, Ohio to attend Rita Kegg's annual Ohio Gathering, and spend time with some awesome stampers.

We made 27 projects ranging from simple shape-cards, to books made using the Bind-It-All, and lots of things in between. I learned some great folding techniques, and got refreshed on some I already knew, but applied as something different. We also played some games and participated in some contests and had a lot of good time laughing and gabbing with others.

I even saw a demonstration on stamping on photos that may have changed my purist attitudes about how the picture should be the sacred focal point of a page and shouldn't be altered with ink applied to it. We'll have to see how that goes. I'll have to start with baby steps, but I did take some pictures that I've earmarked just for stamping on. So check back to see if I've actually taken the plunge!

Tom's Birthday cards

As you probably know by prior posts, last week was my husband's 40th birthday. Here are two of the cards he received from my awesome stamping friends.

This one is from my friend Pat and incorporates Tom's love of music.

And this one is from Dawnmarie who used the Freaky Tiki guy she got from Rubbernecker Stamps when I was with her at the Expo.

Both of them are awesome cards, and based on Tom's comments you'd think he was a stamper himself. Well... maybe not, but you can definitely tell his appreciation for the stamping arts is becoming more developed. Good to see I've made some sort of impression on him ;)

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Stamping Withdrawals!

While I had a good time with my husband at Kohler, I did have a small period of time where I went through some stamping withdrawal (which was quickly overcome by an infusion of chocolate and caramel!)

However, as soon as I got home, Tom needed to run an errand, and I got to make one card while I moved clothes from the washer to the dryer.

Here is the card I made at a co-worker's request for a wedding she is attending soon. She likes cards that have movement of some type to them, so I decided to make a shaker card. I used a 12 x 5 1/2 piece of paper and scored it every 4 inches. I embossed the middle panel (that would end up being the front of the card) with the Love Language Cuttlebug embossing template. I punched a hole out with my scalloped square and stamped some doves from The Angel Company's retired Wedding Wishes set on acetate. I colored the doves with Souffle pens and filled the shaker section with wedding confetti that I picked up in Target's dollar spot last year. I ran a ribbon around the card and tied a heart shaped tag with "It's Your Day" stamped on it into the ribbon. Then I folded the left panel (with a piece of paper that matched the ribbon adhered to it) behind the center to cover the ribbon and foam for the shaker part of the card. I added some Stickles to the wings of the Doves to give them a little sparkle.

I'm hoping my co-worker will like it.

The American Club

This weekend my husband and I went away to Kohler, Wisconsin to spend the weekend at The American Club for his 40th birthday. He had been reading about The American Club somewhere years ago, and said that someday he wanted to go there. I tried to think of a bunch of things to do for his birthday, but finally settled on asking him what he wanted to do (how novel). Since we'd had this in the back of our minds for a while, we decided that Tom's birthday would be the perfect occasion, and away we went.

The American Club is supposed to be very cool in that it's right across from the Kohler factory and every bathroom in the hotel is different. While we would have loved to have had a room with it's own steam room/shower, that was a bit out of our price range, and we settled for an average room upgrade, which was actually it's own suite (sweet!) and had a HUGE whirlpool tub that I took full advantage of.

The hotel is very old and is set up so that all rooms look out over various courtyards filled with beautiful flowers and foliage.

It's also next door to the Kohler Waters Spa that boasts all the regular spa amenities, but also has some unique water treatments (that we didn't take part in) and various steam rooms, saunas, pools and hot tubs.

We spent yesterday checking out the Kohler Design Store that had every kind of kitchen sink, bathroom set up and water decoration imaginable, including the tub that is filled by water pouring from a hole in the ceiling. I just had to stick my hand under that spout, just like everyone else did! It was a lot of fun to see all the kinds of things that are out there for kitchens and bathrooms, even if most of them are things I probably will never have in my home (like the toilet that had a blue light under the rim and wafted warm air across your bum when you sat on the seat).

It was a really great trip and we had a lot of fun. It'll be a memorable birthday for Tom.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Card Candy

I know I've talked about Card Candy before, but I don't think I've ever posted any pictures. Card candy is something that Rita introduced to us at Diamond Island this summer and it's addicting. Basically, card candy is anything made from layering various punched out paper layers, some raised with pop-dots, accented with stamped and colored images and Stickles.

We used card candy as our make and take at the St. Charles Scrapbook Expo, and it was such a hit that we'll be using different designs for our make and take at the Rubber Stamp and Scrapbook Expo next weekend. We'll also have some stamp sets available at the Rubber Stamp and Scrapbook Expo that lend themselves really well to making Card Candy: Christmas Circles, Sweet Goodies, Christmas Minis, Wee Ones and Food Family & Friends. And if you buy and of these sets at the show, you have the choice of purchasing an add-on pack that comes with two bottles of Stickles, kits to make two different card candy images using the stamps, plus a photo for reference. There is a different add-on pack for each stamp set. Here is a sample of one of the card candies that will be available with the Christmas Circles add-on pack (it was one of our most popular from the last show).

Card candy can be used for all sorts of things, images on cards, embellishments on scrapbook pages, decorations on gift wrapped packages, or tags. Here's a card I made using our Angelee paper and the card candy principle.

Last weekend I went to Target and found some Mickey Mouse Ears silhouette punches in different sizes. I used them to make these card candies with magnets on the back for my sister to decorate her metal door with when she goes on her Disney cruise in a few weeks. They're a little blurry because my camera couldn't focus on the detail well enough, but my scanner was putting too much shadow around them because of the pop-dotted layers. Hopefully you get the idea.

Hopefully these will give you some ideas.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Spooktacular Cupcake Challenge

Well, take a deep breath....this is the first weekend that is basically free, smack in the middle of 8 busy ones. So I took advantage of the time to play today, before the next wave of weekends out of town breaks.

Earlier this week I had actually stamped and colored some images from TAC's Spooktacular stamp set that I ordered a couple of weeks ago. I made this card first with one of the images, teamed up with the Cuttlebug Spiderwebs folder that I got last weekend and some torn pieces of orange paper.

I still had a few other colored images left over, so I decided to use one for Taylor's weekly Cupcake Challenge. Still needing to play with my new Cuttlebug folders, I decided to use both Spiderwebs and Pumpkin Harvest on this one. I added them as textures to the background too.

This was before I went for my dentist appointment this morning. And when I came home, I got a wonderful surprise in the mail....the Trick or Sweet stamps I purchased from Taylored Expressions on Wednesday night arrived. So of course I had to break them out and ink them up too. Here's the card I made for the cupcake challenge using the Pirate Cupcake from Trick or Sweet, the skull and crossbones from The Angel Company's Playful Pirates set for the Jolly Roger and the Cuttlebug's Skeleton Scroll embossing plate. Drum roll please - this is the first time I've been able to use a cupcake stamp for Taylor's Cupcake Challenge since I started following it.

I thought it would be fun to give the card some extra dimension by curling the Jolly Roger up so it looked more like a real flag and stuck off the card a bit. You can see the detail of the dimension with this picture.

All of these cards were a lot of fun to make. I really enjoyed my day of play.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Diaper Wreath

O.K. I'll try to make my absence up to you. Here is one of the projects I worked on while I was gone. It's a diaper wreath for my friend Leah, who's having a baby in the next few weeks.

To make the wreath, you need a wreath base to wrap the diapers around, approximately 20 diapers (Size 2 - so that they won't be needed immediately and the wreath can be enjoyed for a little while), a package of small clear or white rubber bands for hair, curling ribbon and a few goodies such as bottles, teething rings, pacifiers, stuffed toys, etc. to embellish the wreath with.

For mine, I ended up using 16 Winnie The Pooh Huggies diapers, a wire wreath form from Michael's floral section, and Goody hair bands that came in a pack of 52.

Making the wreath itself, took approximately one hour and pretty much consisted of me taking the diapers right from the package and folding them around the wreath. When you take them out of the package, they're naturally rectangular in shape, so there's no need to spread them apart any further, they simply wrap around the wreath form with very little work. You hold the diaper ends together at the top (one should be on either side of the wreath) and slip a hair-band over them, to hold the diaper in place. Continue working your way around the wreath adding diapers and pushing them together snugly until the whole wreath form is well covered. Once the entire wreath is covered, take your curling ribbon and tie it around each diaper, covering the rubber bands. Then curl the ribbon with your scissors. Use some of the ribbon to tie the toys, bottles and teethers on in a few spots as well. And that's all there is to it.