Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year with a UDI Challenge!

Good morning stamping friends!
Call me crazy, but I am so glad to be back to blogging after taking a week off to celebrate the Christmas holiday! I've missed you! Did you miss me? :)

I hope you are planning a fun and safe New Years Eve celebration for tonight. We are having some friends over for family game night - something we've done for the last 4 years - and we'll be snacking through the night with wonderful finger food and yummy treats as we wait for the ball to drop in Times Square. What are your New Years Eve traditions? I'd love to hear about them!
Oh, and my Mom says to be sure to eat your Black-Eyed Peas on New Years Day - I don't know why, but we always's TRADITION! LOL!

So, my first day back to the ol' blog and it's a fresh UDI Inspiration Challenge. Here is the photo our challenge mom, Maria chose for us to use:

And here is my interpretation:

I actually had fun with this card - it is fun and elegant at the same time and when I went searching for a sentiment, I was pleasantly surprised to find this one which suited the 'feel' I was going for perfectly!

The card base is simply a piece of Basic Black cardstock folded to create the card measuring 4 1/4" x 5 1/2". The middle layer is Brushed Gold cardstock cut at 3 1/4" x 4 1/2" and the stamped layer is Shimmer White cardstock cut at 3" x 4 1/4".

I took out the Circle Circus stamp set - which I admit is horribly underused in my stamp room - and embossed the three different circle images using Gold Encore ink and Gold Embossing powder. Those circles just reminded me of the bubbles in the glasses in the photo.
My greeting came from the Best Wishes and More stamp set which to me, is more whimsical than elegant, but that greeting seemed celebratory and best-wishy all at the same time. (is that a word? I guess it is now! ha!)
My one regret is that I was a little heavy handed on the left side of the greeting, so it's a little thick. I may re-do this before I send it to someone! But - I know you guys will forgive me!

Both of those layers were mounted on Stampin' Dimensionals to pop it up a bit. It's a bit hard to see, but I did add some detail with the Paper Piercing tool and the Mat Pack to two of the corners. It looks nice in person, I promise!

And lastly, you can see here that I added some more embossed circles to the Shimmer White cardstock piece on the inside of the card too.

Be sure to head over to the UDI Blog for the links to the other design team members projects - I know you'll be inspired by their takes on the photo.

I'll be back later with a fun year in review post for you. I'm sure you, as I, have much to be thankful for from this past year and much to look forward to in 2010! I like to look back and remember all the ways God has blessed us each year. It reminds me that even in the tough times, He keeps us in the palm of His hand.

Stamped blessings,

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Getting Back to Work.....

Hi everyone!

I'm just popping by to let you know that I'm still here! We had a truly wonderful family Christmas celebration and I've enjoyed every minute of it! I hope your season was a blessed time for you as well - and we all have a wonderful adventure waiting for us in the new year. I don't know about you, but I'm excited about all that's to come in 2010!

I have been doing a bit of stamping the past two days and will be posting again tomorrow so check back in with me after 8 am. My camera battery died while taking way too many photos this Christmas and I didn't realize it until I went to take photos of my projects! So, if I can drag my behind out of bed on time, I'll get that taken care of and will have my post up for the UDI Inspiration Challenge for you to see.

So, goodnight for now and I'll see you in the morning!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

A Christmas Wish.........

Good Christmas Eve morning everyone!
I wanted to stop in today and let you know that I'll be taking a few days off from work and my blog as well so I can enjoy the holiday season with my family. I'll be back to regular posting next Thursday.

As I was reading my devotion this morning during my quiet time, I came across part of a story I'd like to share with you all as my Christmas wish for you and your family.
"The girls tore into their presents with squeals of delight. "Oh, Mom, I love this! Thank you!" said Abby, our oldest daughter.
"Here Mommy, take this out of the package, please!" said Hannah, our youngest.
After everything was unwrapped, we had our special Christmas morning breakfast. And then everyone had some free time before we left to celebrate with other family members.
That's when I felt it; the Christmas Day ache. Have you ever felt it? After weeks of secrets and excitement, decorating and baking, shopping and planning, I felt a tiny spark of wanting. It wasn't about the presents. Instead, the glitter of the season, the high expectations set by advertisers, the music, the parties all combined to leave me with a longing.

I let the longing lead me to worship the Baby in the manger, just like the shepherds did so long ago. In Luke 2:15, after the angels made their stunning appearance and shared the glorious news of the birth, the shepherds said to themselves: "Let's go.....and see." After they found Jesus and worshipped Him, they went into the village and told everyone what they had seen.
And so, like the shepherds, He bids me: Go and see. Go and tell. "

Reading this story has reminded me to share with you the best news of all time, the greatest Christmas gift ever given:

At this Christmas season, let's try to remember that real love isn't found in a brand new car, parked in the driveway and gift-wrapped with a bow. Real joy isn't found in a diamond ring from a store. Real peace isn't found in the glitter and sparkle of the season. All of these things leave us wanting. Instead, our pangs of longing, our ache for real love, real peace and real joy are satisfied only in Jesus.
Let your Christmas longings bring you to the Baby in the manger and the saving grace that only a relationship with Him can offer.
Go and see, then go and tell. And all who hear will be amazed.
He is the best gift of all!

From my family to yours -

we wish you a Christ-filled season of love, joy and peace!
Merry Christmas
from the Merriman Family!


Monday, December 21, 2009

The Same.....But Different!

Good morning everyone!
I don't know about you, but we are finally digging out from that monster snow storm we got over the weekend. Hopefully you are in a warmer clime and enjoying your days leading up to Christmas shovel free!
I do love having the snow on the ground for a White Christmas though - I just need to get all my STUFF done, kwim?

Anyway, enough chatter.....
Don't know if you remember this card below, but I designed it a few months back for one of the Stamping 411 Sketch Challenges. My regular stamp campers liked it so much that they requested it for WOW! Christmas card class.

Well, I cut way too many pieces for that class and had a lot of the Elegant Eggplant, Brushed Gold and Very Vanilla pieces left over.
So, what do you do with leftovers? Make HASH! hahaha, ok, no, not really!
You design a new card!

I needed one last card for my last card class of the year last week and this was the perfect thing! (Ignore the purple smudge on the front - it wasn't there before class, but when things get taken out of the plastic envelope mayhem and foolishness occur!)

This card uses the tree from Snow Swirled and the greeting is from Berry Christmas, all stamped in Elegant Eggplant. The punches for the greeting are the Large Oval and the Designer Label. I used Elegant Eggplant Narrow Grosgrain and of course some Dazzling Diamonds glitter on the tree. It's topped off with a Gold Brad and that was that!

I made a similar version for some of my downline Christmas cards as well as another one that I'll show you tomorrow. It's a remake too!

Have a warm Monday! It's going up to 30 degrees here today from a low of 11! WooHoo! And we are headed to the rink so Emma can skate in her ice show that was supposed to be yesterday - yay, more cold weather! :)
Good thing I have my fuzzy boots!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Aftermath - Snownami 2009!

Wow, what a difference a day makes!
This is the gorgeous scene I woke up to this morning, looking off my deck towards the sun rising over my neighbors yard.

Yeah, I know, it's an awful lot of snow - about 20 inches to be exact - but it sure is pretty right now.
Somewhere to the left of our charcoal grill are two of my large planters - yes, I'm sure they are there somewhere....

The front of my house after the plow came through one time. You can't tell it, but there is snow all the way up to the doors of Mark's police car.

Here is my intrepid shoveling hero now,
I think he'd rather be inside with Buster stretched out by the fireplace.

Isn't he the handsome guy?

I finally ventured outside for a while this morning. Good thing I got these cool boots at Founder's Circle this year! They are tall enough to not get snow down inside them.

Of course I am wearing 2 pairs of socks - my toes get cold!

Yep, that snow is pretty high! At least Emma has snow pants.

They've come in very handy the past two days....

It's hard to build a snow cave without them!

Last night everyone was piled up on the couch all comfy, cozy.

Not sure who looks happier in that picture Mark or Susie!

Or this one - the fireplace sure is warm..
But Buster just wanted some love..........

I hope your snow days are as relaxed and fun filled as ours. Enjoy the down time, Christmas is just 4 days away!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Snow-nami 2009!

Good morning everyone!
Don't you just love this photo of my house? Mark took it last night so we'd have a photo of it all lit up for the season. We are pretty low key with our decorations - believe me, our neighbors take care of the carnival, kwim?
So anyway, this was taken about a half-hour before the snow started falling gently in our area.

THIS is my house this morning at about 10: 30 am.

I think I woke up on a different planet!
Our local news is asking for people to send in names for this storm - which happens to be the worst since 2003! Some of the names are the "Shopper Stopper Storm", "Snowtorious S.N.O.", "Snow-pocalypse", but my fave is my post title today "Snow-nami 2009"!
You know it's a bad storm when the weatherman calls it "crippling". And we've just been 'upgraded' to a Blizzard. Hmmm.....think I'll be in my jammies for a while today!

Here is a pic of my deck looking out across the alley.

Mark is doing his best to keep a path open for us to get down off the deck (very important for the dogs so they can take care of business if you get my drift!)
But, it's snowing so fast and hard that there is another inch and a half built up in just the hour since this picture was taken!

It sure LOOKS pretty in this picture looking out towards my other neighbors yard.

But Mark says this shoveling business is for the birds!
This is my front stoop before he got it uncovered...

His work car is buried from the road side from the drifting - you can't even see the street. He's supposed to go to work tonight to work all night, but if we don't see a plow in here today, he won't be able to get out......

Of course, Emma can't wait to get out in it - her boots just aren't cooperating!

Susie, our snow-lovin' dog is whining because she can't get out the front door to be with Mark. Look at the snow up against our front door. Our stoop is 6" high, and there is another 6" drift up against the door.

And this is what Buster thinks of all the snow excitement.....

I think I like his attitude! Just bring on the hot chocolate!

I hope you are enjoying your Saturday wherever you are and whatever the weather is!
I'll post more pics later!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Stamping 411 Saturday Sketch Challenge #SSC130

Question: What could be better than a snowy Saturday morning the week before Christmas?
Answer: Not MUCH!
Unless you also have the fabulous new Sketch Challenge from the queen of all sketches - Selene - at the Stamping 411 blog!
Here is our fun sketch for this week:

And here is my interpretation of it:

This card did NOT come together at ALL like it started! I was headed towards bright, fun colors with one of the single stamps that is retiring next month and somehow ended up with a birthday card for my Dad.
I'm not even gonna begin to try and explain that thought process, but here we are, so I am gonna explain the card, ok? Ok!
(By the way, you should know that as I type this post, IT'S SNOWING OUTSIDE!!!!!!)

Here are my card layers and measurements:
Folded card: Very Vanilla cut at 5 1/2" x 8 1/2", folded to make card sized 4 1/4" x 5 1/2" (sponged edges with Chocolate Chip ink)
Green layer: Always Artichoke cut at 4" x 5 1/4" (run through the Big Shot with my Texturz Plates, then sponged with Always Artichoke ink to give it depth.)
Layer 3: Very Vanilla 3 1/4" x 3 1/2" (sponged with Chocolate Chip ink)
Layer 4: Merry Moments DSP 3" x 3 1/4" (sponged with Chocolate Chip ink)
Layer 5: Very Vanilla 2" x 3 1/2" (sponged with Chocolate Chip ink)

I chose Lovely as a Tree - a classic - for this project. Love this evergreen stamp! I inked it up with Stampin' Write Markers - Chocolate Chip, Garden Green, Always Artichoke and Handsome Hunter then huffed on it to make sure the ink was wet before I stamped it on my cardstock. I then stamped it twice inside the folded card to decorate the inside a bit. It is very soft and pretty on the inside, but I couldn't get a good photo of it because the card wouldn't stand up for me - hummph! So just use your imagination about how that part looks, ok?

Here is a close up of the left side detail:

Since I opted to turn the sketch on it's side, I was able to easily use the sentiment area for an embellishment instead. So, I cut a short piece of the Chocolate Chip Striped Grosgrain ribbon and frayed it on three sides. It was attached to the back of Layer 3, which was then attached to Layer 2. I used my Mat Pack and Paper Piercer to make 3 evenly spaced holes for the Vintage Brad accents. What did I EVER do without that Mat Pack? I know, my holes were uneven and crooked!

Now for a gander at the sentiment:

Now, ya'll already know that I save everything! And I just so happened to have an old tin of Aged Copper Hodgepodge Hardware in the waaaay back of my accessory cabinet. So, I took a scrap of Very Vanilla cardstock and stamped the greeting from On Your Birthday in Always Artichoke, then I markered up the little branch and pine cone, stamped off once and added it as an accent by the words.
This was punched out with the Large Oval Punch and mounted up on Stampin' Dimensionals behind the copper Hodgepodge Label Holder. That piece is attached with Mini Glue Dots.

So, there you go - you've gotten to see my Dad's birthday card a full month before he will - do ya think he'll like it? I think so, but mainly because Dad's are pretty easy to please and since he loves me a lot, he will like what ever I give him.

Hey! Since today is a SNOWY Saturday for a LOT of you - I know you East-coasters are reading this - YOU should play along with this great sketch this weekend! Just upload your creation to your blog or online gallery and link it back to Stamping 411 using the Mr. Linky widget provided there. We LOVE to see how you interpret the sketches each week and we LOVE to pick our top 5 cards for our showcase each Friday! Who knows, you could be next!

Ya'll have fun stamping today - I'm going to be playing in the snow a bit, drinking some hot chocolate by the fireplace, wrapping a few Christmas gifts and making my homemade White Chocolate Cranberry Biscotti. Does that sound like fun?! Well, come on over! :)

Stamped Blessings!

Blogger Challenge #130 - Sketch Challenge

It's Friday morning - and it's THE Friday morning before Christmas! Just think, next Friday, you will most likely be sitting in the midst of discarded wrapping paper, shredded ribbon, sleepy spouses, excited children and the prospect of a (hopefully) wonderful homecooked meal to look forward to.
Makes you just want to go stamp something doesn't it?!

Well, for today's Blogger's Challenge, our challenge Mom Lisa gave us a great sketch to work with - it's at the bottom of this post for you to see. That sketch, combined with a fabulous Color Challenge over on our Stamping 411 blog was all the inspiration I needed to sit down and make this card in just 1/2 hour! What do you think?

Yes, I know! I've used my soon to be gone, favorite flower stamp set Garden Greetings again! It's retiring on January 4th along with the greeting set I used here - Really Retro. Hence the greeting I chose for my card.... 'miss you already.....' sniff, sniff!

My card itself is a piece of Certainly Celery cardstock folded to make a standard card size at 4 1/4" x 5 1/2". The next layer is Garden Green, cut at 4" x 5 1/4". I ran it through my Big Shot with the new Perfect Polka Dots embossing folder - believe it or not, it's the first time I've played with my new Occasions Mini stuff! I've been so busy, it's all still sitting in the boxes on the floor of my closet.......

The next layer is Certainly Celery cut at 4 1/2" x 3 1/4". It also got a run through the Big Shot, but with the Texturz Plates! I then sponged some Certainly Celery ink on top to accentuate the subtle embossing.

My stamped layer is Whisper White cut at 2 1/2" x 2 3/4". I used the medium and small flowers from the stamp set and collage stamped them in Certainly Celery ink and Garden Green ink. I stamped two extra medium flowers and trimmed them out with my Paper Snips, popping them up on Stampin' Dimensionals. All of the celery flowers got Real Red Brads in the centers. This entire layer was popped up on Stampin' Dimensionals too.

I added some Real Red Striped Grosgrain ribbon to the left side for that element of the sketch and made a little bow which is attached with Mini Glue Dots.

As you can see, in place of the three elements at the bottom, I chose to put my greeting there. It's stamped in Real Red on a Whisper White scrap and punched out with my Modern Label punch.
This was such a fun card to make and like I said earlier, the sketch, combined with the color challenge made it so easy for everything to come together! Here is the fun sketch we all received:
Thanks so much for stopping by to say hi today! Now if you have time, be sure to check out all the other takes on this sketch by clicking on the Blogger's Challenge link in my sidebar. I know these ladies will have come up with some fabulous creations for you!
Be sure to come back tomorrow and see my Stamping 411 Sketch Challenge creation this week! I love it when you visit me and leave me some comment love!
Happy Stamping!

PS - we are expecting up to a foot of SNOW tomorrow! WooHoo! I'm hoping I won't have to go ANYWHERE for two days! Yeah, baby - get me some presents wrapped and finish up my cards! That's what I'm talking about! :)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Finally! UDI Inspiration Challenge #74

WOW! What a crazy, busy, FUN week it's been! But, I've been having so much fun that I was late posting today's UDI Inspiration Challenge! Maybe you'll like the card so much that you'll forgive me......

Here is the beautiful inspiration photo that our challenge Mom, Maria chose for us -

Isn't it beautiful?! I know I'd love to have my table look like that one. Hmmm, maybe someday!
For now I'll just have to settle for my here ya' go!

I went with the idea of a dinner party thank you note since so many times this season we are invited to share a festive meal with friends and family. It's always a nice surprise for the hostess to get a thank you note, don't you think?

My card base is Whisper White cardstock, folded to make a standard card sized 5 1/2" x 4 1/4". The next layer is also Whisper White and it's embossed with the snowflake from the Patterned Pines Stamp Set. I used Whisper White Craft ink and White Embossing Powder. I hate that it's so hard to see in the photo. I just couldn't get it to pick up well for some reason. Oh well, just imagine how luxe it is in real life! LOL!

I wrapped three ribbons around the white layer - Bashful Blue Double Stitched Grosgrain, Certainly Celery 5/8" Grosgrain and Whisper White Taffeta. They are attached to the back of the white layer with SNAIL and then I popped up this whole layer with Stampin' Dimensionals.

Next, I took out the Compliments to the Chef stamp set and embossed the silverware image with Sterling Silver embossing powder and Silver Encore ink on Whisper White. It's layered onto Bashful Blue and Certainly Celery cardstock and popped up on more dimensionals.
The greeting is from Teeny Tiny Wishes and is stamped in Bashful Blue ink under the ribbon.

For a last little embellishment, I embossed another white snowflake and trimmed it out with my Paper Snips, then added a Clear Rhinestone Brad to the center. It too is on a dimensional to make it stand out a bit.

So, was it worth the wait? I hope so and I hope you are inspired to join us in the challenge this week! Simply upload the photo of your creation and link it via a comment left on this post on the UDI Blog. If you are uploading to a public gallery, be sure to put DivaIC74 in the keywords so we can find you!

Have a great day everyone - I'm off to do some cookie baking! Yumm!!
Christmas hugs to you all,

UDI Inspiration Challenge

is late today!!!
I am so behind I can see myself in front of me! hahaha

I'll have my project posted for you by noon, I promise!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Holiday Baking - Puppy Style!

Ok, this is totally NON-STAMPING related, but when I saw these photos over on - I just HAD to share them.

"Yumm, what's this?"

"Tastes sweet, kind of gooey. That's not kibble, but what is it?

"Oops, got some on my nose. Here, I'll use my paw, maybe I can get a better idea if I feel it and taste it."

"Maybe it's a new dog shampoo. That's pretty cool, get clean and have a snack at the same time. I'll just jump in with all paws!"

"What?"....... it's not doggie shampoo?
Well, doggone it,

this was shaping up to be the best bath I ever had!"

This blog is THE place to go when you need a little 'cute' in your day or something to smile about. Hope these pictures made you smile too!
Have a great evening!

Happy Mail!

I've been a bad blogger.....I spent all day Christmas Shopping and have not had time to take pictures of my cute, fun new stamped stuff for you! BUT, I do have a couple of RAK's that I photographed a LONG time ago that I totally forgot to put on here for your viewing pleasure!
So at least you get something fun from me today! :)

The first card came from my friend and fellow Go-Diva, Barbara Dondero. She sent me this sweet card to congratulate me for Advisory Board. Isn't it pretty? I love Trendy Trees and I think she did a marvelous job with it here!

This next card is from my Stamping 411 bud and fellow Go-Diva, Gretchen Barron.

It was a thank you for hosting our last round of Go-Divas Swaps - Love these colors together and the combo of stamp sets too! Beautiful card Gretchen!

I love being a Stampin' Up! demonstrator! I have friends all over the US and Canada that I never would have met otherwise, and sometimes they send you gorgeous cards too!

Have a great evening everyone - we are off to the skating rink! Again!


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Is it STILL Tuesday?

Hi guys!

Nope, this is not a picture of what I did today - it's from the ice rink in Charleston, WV last month. But I AM wearing this same sweater today.....does that count?

Just popping in to tell you that I meant to post something stamped, cute and fun today, but, well, my day just completely got away from me. So here I am, sitting on the couch, Buster the dog curled up by my side, Food Network on the tv, tapping away on the laptop. All my cute stamped stuff is down in the studio being cute by itself - still unphotographed for your not-viewing pleasure.

My plan for tomorrow is to get some Christmas shopping done, but if I can drag my behind down into the studio before I leave in the morning, I'll try and be a good stamper demo and get some of that new, cute stamped stuff on here for you, ok? Yep, I know you want to see it now, but I'm finally sitting down and really, I'm pretty comfortable, so you'll have to be patient and wait til tomorrow. But it's pretty cute, so it's worth the wait, I promise! can I convince Mark to bring me some chocolate?........


Monday, December 14, 2009

More Fun with Christmas Jingle!

Happy Monday stampers! And it's officially a Happy Birthday to my not-so-little girl today! Emma turns 12 today and I'm just so thrilled and amazed at the exceptional young lady she is becoming. We had a wonderful - although BUSY - family weekend that started off with her fun 70's themed birthday party and ended with us curled up on the couch last night watching a recorded episode of iCarly. I haven't downloaded my photos from the party yet, but if there are some good ones, I'll post them here for you to see. The girls all loved their flower pins and wore them at the party. Emma even wore hers to school this morning!

I know you didn't stop by to visit me to hear all about my crazy life, so just for putting up with me, here is an easy project for you!
If you read my blog with any regularity, you know that I recently made an Advent Calendar with the Christmas Jingle Simply Scrappin' Kit. Well.........I had a LOT of supplies left over so I decided to put them to good use and make some cards! AND a cool box too!

I used my Big Shot and the Fancy Favor Die to make the box for the six cards inside. The cards are all 3" x 6" and will fit in the Small Open End Envelopes. There is no stamping on the box, just a bit of ribbon and embellishments from the SSKit.

Here are the first two cards I made:

I used a few different stamp sets to liven up the backgrounds a bit - Winter Post, Tree Trimmings and Teeny Tiny Wishes. The color scheme remained the same using Old Olive, Real Red and Chocolate Chip ink.
As with the Advent Calendar I used the Sticky Die Cuts that came with the SSKit and just a few extra embellishments, ribbon and brads mostly.

I love how easily these all came together and how beautiful they turned out with the limited supplies I allowed myself.
It just goes to show you that you don't need a ton of stuff to make something beautiful! Just a great imagination, a willingness to play with the elements and a yummy color scheme. In fact, sometimes using limited supplies actually spurs your creativity because you force yourself to consider what you can really do with what you have on hand.

The best part of this project?......I was able to do the box and all the cards in about 1/2 hour! That's cool!

Well, I'm off for another busy day - I am covering another stamp camp for my upline tonight for about 25 people so I have to finish my prep for that. We are going to have a birthday cake for Emma at the camp so I need to go pick up that, wrap her presents and yep, I'd better take a shower too. I think EVERYone will appreciate that!
Have a wonderful day!