THD Challenge #10: Let’s Go!

Hi All! Ready to launch into spring and a new challenge month? Pack your bags!!

I’m taking you tropical, channeling the inspiration graphic, and Ms. Keren Baker,  who is always breaking the 4th wall with her cards!  See here and her Instagram. She rocks the acetate cards.

My card is interactive, engages the acetate and incorporates the blue vase and florals in our graphic, along with the colors and geometrics.

I really tuned into that transluscent aqua vase in the photo, and my aqua vellum seemed like a perfect fit, so I cut a circle from the Gina Marie circle cross stitch die, and designed the florals around it.

You’ll likely notice my love affair with the Wild Hibiscus set from Altenew lately.  I just can’t stop stamping these images on vellum!  And heat embossing!  This time I used gorgeous colored vellum with darker ink/embossing powder! All have been fussy cut.

All have been layered on paper embossed with WeRMemory Keepers Gemstone folder— another item I return to time and again!

Here you can see the folder’s dimension better!

I adhered the little dew drops for some interest.

Below you can see the little Delicata gold butterfly, stamped and embossed on gold paper, adhered to its acetate strip.

I flicked some gold Color Shine on the card and finished with washi inside!  The sentiment is from Waffleflower— which Tonya will be getting more of in the store soon!

Come play along and let us see where the inspiration takes you!


Other Supplies:
Altenew Striped Flowers (for the leaves)
MFT Primitive White cardstock


Inspiring Sketches: Updated Photos and Design Tips!

I am sure you’ve come across sketches that have you looking at your papers and stamps in myriad ways, sketches that stretch your imagination and keep you coming back for more.

The current composition over at CAS(E) this Sketch has proved to be that way for me.  I am only too sad I stumbled across it so late in the challenge as I didn’t have the time to play with my stamping ideas. And I’ve only just realized that the challenge will close at 6AM PST, not 6PM!

Here’s Gayatri’s sketch:

The aim was to create a card that includes tags or make a tag itself based on the sketch.

I had a few more literal interpretations of the sketch on the drawing board, but for the tag I did finish, I manipulated the design a bit, tipping the sentiment on it’s side and emphasized prominent circular patterns rather than stripes, although I have worked those into the top of the tag.

Here’s what I came up with:

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I wanted a crisp, modern feel in terms of color and pattern similar to what I created on my recent Love Nest card. My tag features Kraft, Amuse Studio Wasabi for “Congrats” and Habanero for the hearts.  I just cannot get enough of this color combo!

I have also used Bazzill Swiss dot, and PTI Vellum, as well as Studio Calico patterned papers on the front, and Maggie Holmes heart paper on the back.

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TIP: When using the MFT wine tag die and layer papers, cut the top piece away from the bottom for easier folding.  As you can see here, I used the whole panel when adhering to the base, and the paper puckered a bit.  I have made a ton of these tags before, so I should have known better!  Consequences of hurrying!

I also decided I wanted to tuck my wreath in-between the layers, but decided that after I had already adhered to the back!  Lesson learned for next time!


So I toyed with the idea of putting three hearts on the label, instead of the two.  I was trying to work with design principles of odd numbers and triangular design.  I think, however, that the two hearts work better… what are your thoughts?  Too cluttered?  Want more of the white space?  Or does it add movement, draw eye?

TIP: have used the ever helpful Scotch Restickable mini tabs— they are so great for playing around with placement of embellishments.  They don’t tear paper and really work for long term mounting as well!

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Dies used include PTI Wreath, Mama Elephant Dainty Bow, MFT tag and wine glasses “Let’s Toast” dies (no longer available from MFT), and Paper Smooches “Congrats.”


If eyes aren’t too full yet, below are some other sketch-inspired cards completed last weekend, so please read on!

Another sketch I found myself coming back to was Chupa’s Sketchbook Saturday design.  I missed the deadline, but came up with some cards featuring Basic Grey’s Grand Bazaar papers and embellishments, along with a host of other manufacturer’s goodies.

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thanks bazaar

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I’ve not stamped the inside of the other card below, so it may end up being a birthday or anniversary card.


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Be sure to head over to CAS(E) for over 100 inspiring interpretations of the sketch!

Thanks for viewing!



Expectations and Aspirations

For the past month, I have been delving into Dickens’ Great Expectations with one of my students.  As a teacher and student of literature, I have read my share of ol’ Charles, but never this tome.  It would be easy to get lost here in the mists and marshes of my own ideas about the novel, but I will spare you all but one thought since I’ve got some cards waiting patiently in the wings!

As I prepared my lesson on aspects of irony in the novel (not the least of which being the title!), I got to thinking about the difference between expectation and aspiration.  Expectation connotes a sense of certainty, deservedness, and righteousness. It is a passive act; expecting is waiting, or literally a “looking out for” (“spectare,” from Latin, meaning to look). In the novel, the characters’ expectations and consequent attachments to particular beliefs lead them to not only make poor decisions, but also cause them deep unhappiness. The greater the expectation, the greater the devastation!  Poor Pip!

On the other hand, aspiration, which literally means to breathe in, carries with it a more positive, and active connotation.  The Latin root “spirare” (to breathe) is related to “spiritus” or spirit.  When one aspires, one strives or breathes toward a higher purpose.  The goal or desire will not simply be had just by waiting or thinking it will be so. There is work, life force, flow and action involved!

So how does this all relate to this week’s final CASE Study design?  I approached my card with an image in my mind and an expectation that it would manifest as perfectly as I’d perceived it. I had my own great expectations for this piece.

And as a result, I experienced a deeply unsatisfying and frustrating session when I attempted to make my vision a reality.  There was no breath, and no flow.  And then there was very little time to revise.

So there my card lay as I contemplated expectation and aspiration and hyperventilation, and prepared for my student’s lesson that afternoon.

You know what they say about the best laid plans of mice and men…(Okay, okay get back on the shelf Steinbeck!)

It took until yesterday for me to be able to see the card with new eyes, rip it apart, start again, and then find something still missing after I had taken and edited all my photos for submission!  What a comedy of errors!  I was dreadfully afraid of how the image would represent over at CASE since I captured it at night under the garish glow of an overhead light!  Happily, it doesn’t look as horrible as I’d expected.  (There’s those darn expectations again!)

Joni’s Card

While I loved all of our muse Joni’s cards, this one particularly struck me in its ethereal beauty.  That breathy pink!  The layered vellum!  I remember seeing it on her site when she first posted it and I was immediately drawn to it.  Let’s take a look!


And here is the final incarnation of my card!

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I knew I wanted to follow lines of Jodi’s card, and originally envisioned the city as the centering point, with vellum and cardstock umbrellas dancing beneath just as her leaves are doing below the sentiment on her card.

However, hard as I tried, those umbrellas just wouldn’t work.  They seemed to overpower or compete with the city.  There was just no flow!  I won’t even get into how I ruined the top of that nearly completed card by smudging black ink on it.  Then I cut it too short and it was really all over then baby blue.

TIP: Make sure to ALWAYS heat set your pigment and Versafine oil-based inks!! Even if you think they have dried after 30 minutes!!!!

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I recently purchased some PTI vellum cardstock and gorgeous turquoise and silver vellum at Impress Stamps. I wanted to capture the airy feel that the vellum conveys, and so in my final incarnation, I laid a panel of the turquoise down and tried a couple of my “cloud” scraps (left over from the Avery Elle Love Notes pockets I made last week, seen here).  That seemed to work.

But when I returned to my card and saw it in pictures, it just felt off.  I kept wanting a black and white stripe along the bottom of the city, but none of my washi looked right.

So it was, at long last (11pm to be exact), the addition of baker’s twine that tied it all together (pun intended!).

CASE Close Up

Another aspect of the card that was inspired by Joni’s is the subtle, airy sparkle of my stenciled raindrops (really they represent the tears I shed and the HELL-o this card gave me! 🙂 )

I used Kelly Purkey’s stencil, Heidi Swapp’s Color Shine in White., and some masking to achieve the background.

All papers are from Bazzill– that gorgeous texture of the grey, like stone, and the crosshatched orange–delightful!

The back and inside are finished off with some coordinating orange washi.

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So in the end, it wasn’t quite the card or the process I’d planned, but I am fairly happy with the result, and I hope I’ve done justice not only to Joni’s work, but to my post as the guest designer over at CASE Study this month.  It really has been wonderful working alongside and getting to know some of the very talented ladies on the design team.

I hope I have provided you with some inspiration along the way!  I encourage you to get your CASE on and play along with us!  Check out the design team’s individual websites while you are at it.


Amy Wanford
Clare Buswell
Debby Hughes

Jeanne Jachna

Maureen Merritt

Silke Ledlow

Tasnim Ahmed

March Guest Designers: 

Sarah Gough

Here’s a sneak peak at all the cards I created based on Joni’s design.  I will be back tomorrow to talk process and products, and since it’s all about Seattle, I’ll also share some details on an awesome new coffeeshop we discovered this weekend!  And a lil’ something about Stamp Nation!

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May you aspire in your creative endeavors this and every week!



Lucky & Charmed

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I don’t know about you, but I ate a lot of Lucky Charms cereal as a kid.  Never a big fan of milk, I typically preferred dry cereal and have consumed my fair share as breakfast or snack through the years. Favorites were always Apple Jacks, Frosted Flakes and Cocoa Pebbles (the only one I truly loved with milk, since it was chocolate by the end of the bowl!).  I particularly loved those little single serving boxes you could by in an 8-pack.

As for the Leprechaun variety, I loved to eat those sugary little oat and marshmallow charms one by one out of the bowl or box.  Now, my teeth hurt even thinking about it.  But those cereals of the 80’s sure were fun.

So, as I was thinking about St. Patrick’s Day (which for me is one of those holidays that just slides by, barely registering in my peripheral vision), and what an unlucky day it turned out to be (maybe I should have worn green and thought better of ol’ St. Pat), I figured focusing on something positive and creative might turn the woeful Monday it was around!

And thus, I came up with this delicious little love note!

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In the version above, I adhered a grommet to the (3-leaf!) clover and slipped it onto the baker’s twine.

In another version, I attached the clover to the front of the pocket, as in pictures below.

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So how did it all come together?

Well, I’ve had the Avery Elle Love Notes Die set for months now, just sitting there lonely as a cloud, so it was time to put that to use.  The Penny Black sentiment from Kind Words was not only obviously ideal for St. Pat’s Day, but it fit perfectly within the width and length of the pocket/tag.  LUCKY indeed.

I purchased the Lifestyle Crafts St. Patrick’s Day die (2009) ages ago on clearance at Impress.  I loved the horseshoe and clovers large and small, of course, but the set also has a beer glass and little foam topper die, which are ideal for making my beer-related cards and tags.  So despite my lack of interest in the holiday, the die set was a must-have!

Since I was lucky a few months back and won a $25 gift certificate to PTI, I finally put that to use, and among other treasures, just received their glorious vellum cardstock and that adorable Framed Out Heart die.

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Now I did a little research into the Lucky Charms, as I wanted my charms to be as authentic and colorful as possible!  So a little history: Lucky Charms debuted in 1963, and Lucky the Leprechaun was born in 1964 (Happy 50th birthday cavity-causer!!!). Initially, the cereal only included green clovers, pink hearts, orange stars, and yellow moons (totally trippy!); in 1975, they added the blue diamonds, and in 1983 purple horseshoes.  As with anything, the cereal has seen a lot of changes over the last 30 years.  Many of the original charms have been gone through phases of combining, replacement, and reinstating.  The pink hearts are the only charm to have endured.  How sweet.

vintage lucky charms box

Want to learn more?  Click the picture above for a magical ride to General Mills!

How did I get my little moons, and heart, and diamonds, and stars??

Well, the diamonds are a pretty awesome discovery.  See this amazing Simon Says Stamp Mod-Window Die?

*Simon Says Stamp MOD WINDOW Craft DIE s212

Well, those little shapes are just perfect for many uses, like my blue diamonds!

The moon is cut from an ANCIENT punch that just about broke my hand; I have had that punch and all my celestial-themed stamps since the early 90’s when I loved everything sun and moon.

The little hearts and stars are die cut from Lawn Fawn’s die set “A Birdie Told Me” and Stitched Journaling Card.

*Lawn Fawn A BIRDIE TOLD ME Lawn Cuts Dies Lawn Cuts Dies, Stitched Journaling Card

The paper colors and textures are just good enough to eat, right?  Bazzill!  I can’t get enough of that green.  Since I was using Vellum for the front of my pocket, I decided to finish the edges with washi, as gluing with vellum is tricky, and the vellum is thick, so I wanted to make sure my pocket stayed together!!

There it is!  Let’s have one more look, just for luck!  Ahh, the sweet pink heart remains!

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Well, this little love note made it into the hands of my love and he was charmed indeed.
I hope you found some love and luck this St. Patty’s Day!  Make sure to stop by here tomorrow, Thursday, for the new CASE Study reveal!  Week 3 is going to be magically delicious!