Friday, December 31, 2010

Stamping 411 Saturday Sketch - Crazy Love

Can you believe it's almost 2011 already?! Wow! This year has flown by. I know I say that every year, but really, this year has just zoomed.
Does that have anything to do with having a now teenaged daughter? Hmmm, I'm thinking that has a LOT to do with it! Ha!

We're spending a quiet New Year's Eve with some dear friends and for the first time in 13 years, we are childless on New Year's Eve! Yep, Emma is off to her first ever All-Nighter Lock In with the youth group at church and our friend's daughter (her bff) is with her. What's really funny is that we four adults had the hardest time deciding what to do with ourselves! We finally decided on a quiet dinner at their home with board games and the ball drop at midnight. I'm sure we'll be dropping by then too! Haha! I'm too old for an all-nighter!

So now you know my plans for the evening, how about a card? Yep - I do have one for you, and it's a doozy!
Take a look-see:

Here is the sketch we had to work with this week from Stamping 411:

I had such a hard time with this sketch! It's kind of busy and that little tag element just really threw me. So, I went with my gut and changed it up a little bit, but it still looks kind of crazy to me. Yep, crazy love. Catchy, eh?

I did get the chance to pull out my Big Shot and the Letterpress Plates for this one, and truth be told, I really liked working with it. Very easy and I love the look! I used it on the belly piece with Real Red Craft ink on Pretty in Pink cardstock. It's hard to see in the photo, but the letterpress plate created a red de-bossed image on the cardstock - very cool!
I also used my Big Shot and the Perfect Polka-Dots embossing folder on the Whisper White piece, it didn't really need it, but I figured what the heck, more is more today! :)

The DSP, Filled with Love stamp set and the little clear Bitty Button are from the Filled with Love Bundle Special that SU! has going on right now - I used the tiny heart and the large heart from the stamp set. The XOXO greeting and background stamps are from the stamp set of the same name and it's a sneak peek from the upcoming Occasions Mini Catalog.

The love tag is from the Tiny Tags stamp set and I used the Small Heart Punch, Medium Jewelry Tag Punch, the Large Heart Punch, the Scallop Trim Border Punch and the Modern Label Punch on this card. Wow, 5 punches, hmm, didn't realize I'd done that until just now! Love me some punches!

So, about 7 Stampin' Dimensionals gave their life for this card along with a Silver Glimmer Brad and some Dazzling Diamonds Glitter. The only thing non-SU! on this card is the white thread - a gift from my friend Kimberly. It's antique white twine that she discovered on a bolt in an antique store and so generously gifted me with. Maybe SU! will get some white thread someday!
So, did I mention that there's a lot going on with this card? It's probably because of the ungodly hour that I concocted this creation - 6:22 AM. It was too noisy to sleep last night - don't ask - so I was up early, making coffee in my Keurig and trying to decipher this sketch. No wonder it's crazy love. Busy, crazy, but the question is, do you like it?

I'm anxious to see what the other Stamping 411 Operators came up with for this sketch, how about you? Be sure to stop over at the Stamping 411 blog and check them out, ok? But only after you read to the end and see who won my Blog Candy from last week!

Drum roll please........................

I had Emma choose a number between #1 and #158 (that's how many comments were left for the blog candy posts here) and she chose #63.

Congratulations to
Lynn Embrey!!!

Lynn and I go way back - we used to be in another company together and recently found each other on Facebook. I didn't even know she read my blog, but as evidenced by her comment, she does! Yippee!! Here is what Lynn said:

Bet you didn't know I read your blog, too! Thank you for your Christmas post, and sharing that devotional. I pray that many who read it, realized for the first time what Christmas is all about. My favorite song for Christmas is Mark Lowery's "Mary, Did You Know?" As a mother, we can all look at our kids and think, "I wish I had known..." Imagine how Mary felt as Jesus grew, surely showing signs along the way that He was different, and when His ministry began those last three years of His life...healing, calming, performing miracles...just being the great I AM! Whew! I get goose bumps all over again. Love that song!

Thanks for visiting Lynn and be sure to contact me privately with your address so I can get your Blog Candy out in the mail to you pronto!
And I also wanted to say thanks to all of you who left a comment and shared so many beautiful compliments, thoughts and recollections with me. You touched my heart immensely this past week and it was a great reminder as to why I keep my blog - it's to maintain contact with you and share what I love so much!

Wishing you a blessed New Year with all the good things life can hold!
May it be full of stamping and joy!

Stamped blessings,
(See you next year!)

A Blog Award - Wow!

I woke up to a lovely surprise this morning - a blog award from Miss Vicky in Austrialia!
Thanks Vicky! I'm thrilled that you find my blog 'Stylish'!

Part of receiving this award is to:
Thank the person who gave you the award
Share 8 things about yourself
Pass this award onto 8 bloggers who inspire you.

So, 8 things about myself:
1) I am a child of the King of Kings - Jesus Christ, and am blessed to call Him Saviour.
2) I love spending time with my family and friends. I'm very social and love to be with people!
3) A day without Chocolate is like a day without sunshine!
4) Likewise, a day without stamping is like a day without Chocolate!
5) I despise anything to do with the computer - yes, really! But I spend time on it because it keeps me in touch with the ones I care about!
6) My favorite places on Earth are the beach - anytime; and at the top of Cadillac Mountain, Acadia National Park, Maine at sunset. Gorgeous!
7) My favorite foods (besides chocolate) are Italian, Mexican and a good grilled hamburger (Foster's Grille is da' bomb!)
8) I love to travel and have so many places to visit on my 'bucket list' that I most likely will never see them all!

Bloggers who inspire me (in no particular order):
Carrie Gaskin
Tiffany Bauer
Lisa Young
Julie Pitta
Dawn Pritchard
Selene Kempton
Penny Thomas

There are actually so many more, but I really can't decide so I'll just leave you with these few. These gals are amazing stampers and all have wonderfully different styles - Love them!

Thanks again Vicky for the award - what a cool way to say goodbye to 2010!
Stamped blessings,

Our Family Christmas

Hi there stamping friends!
I just wanted to share a little glimpse of Christmas this year with you all today. If you come back to visit me later this evening, I have a very fun Valentine's card for you for the Stamping 411 Saturday Sketch Challenge. I'll also be announcing the winner of the Christmas week Blog Candy!

I finally got around to going through all our photos from the season and cropped some to share. Between skating travel and being sick, we didn't take part in as many festivities as we normally do, but we did spend some quality family time together - and that is priceless!

Here Emma and I are decorating our big Christmas tree:

Susie is disappointed that she can't help.

Buster on the other hand, is content to supervise from the other couch.

Mark and Emma always make sure the star is in place - nice job, eh?

I really don't think that Susie liked her Santa hat - it's just not your style, is it girl?

Santa's elves.........

Mark and Emma decorated our small tree in the foyer this year as well as the mantle. I was just too sick to care by this time!

But fortunately, by Christmas Eve, we were all feeling better and got to attend our church service. We love taking part in Communion on Christmas Eve and the candlelight portion of the service just blesses my heart. It's a Christmas tradition that I wouldn't want to miss and I'm so glad that Mark and Emma feel the same way.

Here I am with my dear friend Angie. You know, the one who doesn't stamp! :)
But nonetheless, she is still precious to me and I love singing in the choir next to her!

Once we got home from church, we made a valiant attempt at a family photo in front of the tree. This actually about the 8th one we took. Finally got Buster to settle down to wait for his biscuit!

And of course, Emma's Christmas Eve gift - new pj's!
My Mom was a bit scandalized that they were from Victoria's Secret, but hey, Mom - they are FLANNEL! Sheesh!

The funniest gift of the year had to be this one from Emma's stocking. Mark and I bought her a headlamp from Lowe's. She is always reading, so much so that she uses a flashlight in the car after the sun goes down so she doesn't have to stop. This way, she can wear her light and hold the book!

My favorite gift - and biggest surprise - was a Babycakes Cupcake maker that Emma picked out for me! She remembered from several months ago that I wanted one, but since it's not 'practical' (nor can I ink it), I decided that I didn't need one.
Love that she cared enough to remember - and besides that - it's really cool! And pink too!

It's always great to have my Mom and Dad here for Christmas - I don't get many photos of them with Emma so I'm glad for this one.

Mark's Mom gets to come visit us pretty often - we always have a great time together and we love having her visit! She will be going on the Alaska cruise with us in May. Both of our birthdays are that week, so it will be a big celebration!

One of the things on Emma's wish list this Christmas was writing supplies. She writes short stories and has started a book as well, so she always needs paper, pencils, etc.
My Mom and Dad gave her a HUGE box full of supplies!

After Christmas we were able to travel to visit Mark's Dad and his wife Peg. We don't get to see them as often as we'd like, but we're always glad to be able to visit at Christmas.
Mark's Dad loved his gifts!

As you can see, I was pretty excited to get some of my favorite - L'Occitane Lavender!

Emma was thrilled to discover her much desired Vera Bradley duffel bag.

When she realized that there was more in the giant bag, she dove right in!

Peggy loves jewelry, so the silver set we bought her really brought a smile to her face!

And Mark will be very well dressed this year, he got two shirts and some fun new lounge pants!

So, Christmas was a fun, family affair this year.
We loved being able to spend a relaxing time with family and friends.

On behalf of all of us here, Susie wishes you a Happy New Year with many blessings for you and your family.

Stamped blessings,

Thursday, December 30, 2010

UDI Inspiration Challenge - A Cherry on Top!

Welcome back stamping friends!
I hope you've all had a wonderful Christmas season - it sure has been a great one for my family and I. Honestly, I don't think I've slept in this many days in a row in years - not even on vacation! It's been heaven! :) I know, that's not telling much about my holiday, but then again, maybe it is! Ha! There is always something going on around here, or else we are running up and down the road, so lemme tell ya, that extra sleep was kind of a Christmas miracle!

But, I know you didn't stop by today to hear all that, so now that you have had to put up with my rambling, how about a card?

I love how bright and fun this one turned out!
And I really love that I was able to use the Candy Cane Lane fabric on it for the bow - it's only available for sale through January 3rd, so don't you think you should be ordering yourself some? As you can see, it's not just for Christmas! :)

Here was the inspiration photo for this week's UDI Blog Challenge:

Folks, I have to say, that when I first looked at the photo, I was stumped! Cocktails are really not my thing and I don't own the stamp set that has all the drink glasses in it, so I wasn't sure where to go. I thought briefly about some kind of a rainbow-ish card because of the fun colors, but then I noticed that all three of these drinks has one thing in common - they all have a cherry on top! Voila! I knew exactly what I wanted to do!

Tell me, what do you think?

I used the cherries from the Tart and Tangy stamp set and the greeting is from A Word for You. My color palette was Real Red, Baja Breeze, Whisper White and a bit of Old Olive on the cherry stems.
Lookie.........I even did the inside!

Isn't that fun?!!
The designer fabric tears so easily and I love using it in place of ribbon. It ties up just great and adheres with no problem just using SNAIL.

The secret to this card is really in the layering. I have 6 layers total on this baby, counting the punched circles. The layering is made even yummier by popping up some with Stampin' Dimensionals. I swear, those are my best friend when creating - I order them every time I send for supplies! I put 5 dimensionals under the Baja Breeze Cardstock layer and 3 dimensionals behind the Baja Breeze Circle element.

And did you notice the other two little details that really make this card?
Yep, I used Dazzling Diamonds glitter on the two circle layers, it's just added with a little 2 Way Glue Pen that was run around the outside edges of the circles.
Then I simply took my Perfect Polka Dots embossing folder and my Big Shot to add some subtle texture to the top half of the top Whisper White layer.

Here's my little secret: I'm a pretty simple stamper, I don't go for a lot of froo-froo techniques, but I love my cards to look rich, elegant and stylish. The secret to that is in the small details that all come together subtly to make a really sumptuous feeling card.
The best part, it's not really costly to make something that looks that way! Glitter, dimensionals, texture - it all adds up to a great project every time.
You might even say they are "The Cherry on Top!"
So next time you are stamping, try adding a few dimensionals to pop up a layer or two. Maybe add texture with ribbon or a texturized layer. And really, a little glitter never hurt anyone! As I tell my stamping friends - it brings out your sparkling personality! :)

Thanks so much for stopping by today! Be sure to check out the UDI Blog and see what the other design team members created - I know you'll be inspired to do what we love - STAMP!

Stamped blessings,

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Blog Candy from the 411 Operators!

Happy Boxing Day! :)
(That's for my Canadian and British friends!)

Yesterday my family enjoyed a wonderfully special and relaxing Christmas Day and I hope you were able to do the same with your loved ones.

If you read my post on Christmas Eve, you know that as one of the Operators of the Stamping 411 Blog, I am giving away some special Blog Candy this week! I mentioned it briefly in my post, but really wanted to keep that particular message that day about the true meaning of Christmas, the birth of our Lord Jesus.

So, today, I wanted to be sure to SHOW you exactly what I am giving away for my part of the Blog Candy! Yes, all eight Stamping 411 Operators are giving away gifts just because we appreciate the support, readership and participation from all our stamping friends! All you have to do is visit each Operators Saturday posts and leave a comment as directed by them.
(Click HERE for the link to my Saturday post.)
To be entered to win my Blog Candy, all you had to do was share with me what your favorite Christmas Song or Music is. Be sure to leave the comment on the SATURDAY post along with a way to contact you if you are the winner! Winners will be announced in our New Year's Eve posts later this week.

Have a wonderful week stamping friends - I'll be back on Thursday with some new creativity for you, but in the meantime, I'm taking a short blogging break while we go visit family for the holiday.
Stamped blessings,

Friday, December 24, 2010

Stamping 411 - The Song of Christmas

"The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth." John 1:14

Hello stamping friends! Merry, Merry Christmas to you!
As I reflect on this season and all that it means to so many, I often turn to the music of Christmas. The beauty and truth of this wonderful time of year is easily found in not only the beautiful carols of years past, but in the new music that we often hear on the radio today.
My card reflects a bit of old and new today - a much loved Christmas Carol - one of my favorites from childhood, combined with a new, fresh design from the Stamping 411 blog.
We are sharing from our hearts this week on the 411 and each of us is offering up some special Christmas Blog Candy for our readers. I'll be sharing more about my gift in a post on Sunday, but for those of you reading here now, please leave a comment and share your favorite music of the Christmas season.

The idea for this project was conceived when we were driving home the other night and we were listening to Christmas music on the radio. I was just sitting quietly with my eyes closed and thinking about how much the beautiful lyrics about the birth of Jesus blessed my heart and brought me peace. It was odd to have the sketch design pop into my head then, but I clearly pictured all the elements of this finished project as I sat and let the music wash over me. Sometimes it's just meant to be I suppose.

Music is a huge part of my life as both Mark and I sing in choir and on the praise team at our church, but more than that, music brings me to worship more than any other medium.
At this time of year especially, it's easy to let the commercialism and political correctness of our world overtake the truth surrounding the birth of our Lord. The music of the season brings me back to this truth time and time again, reminding me to worship the King of Kings, not the stuff of the world. It is amazing to me that the King of the universe would CHOOSE to "make his dwelling among us", but He did and in doing so, gave up his throne only to be "despised and rejected by men", eventually giving His very life that we and all that came after us could know the hope of Heaven.

Let me share a bit of my devotion from today - it speaks so well to His great love for us. I hope it will speak to you as it spoke so eloquently to me.
"A woman on earth tells her fiance she's pregnant. The baby isn't his. Now the neighbors are talking about the disgrace. Nine months into the pregnancy they have to leave their home to fulfill a census enforced by the government. The town is packed full of strangers, each one concerned with their own issues. There is not a single room available for the young couple. So they find a stable that would at least provide some shelter.
And there she has her baby.
No family to welcome Him.
No cute outfit to put on Him.
No crib for Him to sleep in, only a manger,
a feeding trough for animals.

Yet, God had come, and they named Him Jesus.

Why would God exchange His throne for a manger? Why would He leave the beauty, perfection and glory of heaven for the messiness, the scandals, and the brokenness of Earth?

He came for us.
He came because we could not reach Him.
He is too high, too holy for us to connect with. We were trapped in a curse, held by a ruthless captor. And because He is so good, He couldn't just leave us that way. When perfect Justice sees oppression, Justice must act. When perfect Love sees His beloved in peril, He must rescue.
So God came down. He left His perfect home and came down to dwell in the mud and the sweat of life on earth. He came down because He loved us.

As you hear Christmas sermons and Christmas songs this season, allow them to affect you.
Your God left His perfect throne, surrendering Himself to the limitations of a human life, surrendering to a plan that would lead to His death and your rescue.
You are deeply loved, child of the King.

May your soul feel its worth this Christmas."

Please enjoy this video by one of my favorite groups - Casting Crowns
It's called "While You Were Sleeping"

Merry, Merry Christmas to you and yours this year!
I pray that you will find your heart's desire in the love of family and friends this season, and most of all in the abundant love of Jesus, our Saviour!

Christmas Blessings from my family to yours!

A Victorian Christmas

I'm so excited! It's Christmas Eve!
This is absolutely my very favorite time of the year, no question. I love this season for so many reasons, even when things are busy and crazy and I don't think it's all going to get done. I especially love the beautiful decorations and colors of Christmas and I don't really have a particular 'style' or favorite color scheme.

This year, Stampin' Up! gave us some wonderful color schemes and themes to work with and they were all just lovely. The combination of the new Cherry Cobbler and old favorite Always Artichoke was just gorgeous together and when I took time to mix it with the Bells and Boughs stamp set, this lovely card was the result:

This card was one I created in October for my Stampin' Fools party group. I can't believe that I haven't shared it here with you all yet, but it's really perfect for Christmas Eve!
I was teaching them the Emboss Resist technique and it just turned out beautifully on this card. The floral/evergreen image was stamped with Versamark onto Very Vanilla cardstock and then heat embossed with Clear Embossing Powder and my Heat Tool. Then we simply rubbed Cherry Cobbler and Always Artichoke ink over the images with the Sponge Daubers to make the images pop off the cardstock.

Here's a close up of the greeting and ribbon embellishments:

The ribbon treatment is just a combination of the Victoria Crochet Trim and Cherry Cobbler Seam Binding. We did a double bow and then wrapped it with an Antique Brad. The tag was stamped in Always Artichoke then sponged with Cherry Cobbler after being punched out with the Decorative Label Punch. I simply attached it to the bow with a tiny safety pin from the Vintage Trinkets. It's secured with a Stampin' Dimensional on the back.

So, I don't know about you all, but I still have lots of fun Christmasy things to do today!
I have Christmas Cards to write out and deliver at church tonight, a bit of shopping and cleaning to do, White Chocolate Cranberry Biscotti to make, and Grandma and Grandpa coming in this afternoon. Granny got here yesterday and took Emma out Christmas shopping last night while Mark and I braved the crowds at WalMart to get groceries. And in case you were wondering, we ARE getting our Christmas dinner from Target! Since the Thanksgiving meal was so super yummy, we decided to try the Spiral Sliced Ham one for Christmas and that means less time in the kitchen and more time with our parents.
I'm really looking forward to this evening - we have Christmas Eve service at church and then as always, go out to eat at City Tavern in Manassas. We've had that tradition since Emma was 5 and we've not missed a year since I don't think.
Yes, it may seem very busy on the surface, but I'm actually starting this day very relaxed and happy - I love that the focus is shifting from the busyness of this season to the warm coziness of home, faith and family. I do have one more post for you tonight, so I hope you'll come back and visit me over the next few days to see my special Christmas Card and message.
I'll be offering Blog Candy too along with the other Stamping 411 Operators as a special Thank You to our followers this year.

Have a great day everyone - Christmas Blessings to you all!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

UDI Inspiration Challenge - Santa Memories

Welcome to my walk down Christmas Memory Lane!
For this week's UDI Blog Inspiration Challenge, I knew as soon as I saw the inspiration photo that I HAD to scrapbook one of Emma's Santa pictures!
Here is my finished layout:

And here is the inspiration photo:

This page was so fun for me to put together - I haven't looked at these photos in AGES and it was such a sweet time to reminisce about. This particular Christmas, Emma had just turned 8 years old and she was so stinkin' cute! She went to see Santa completely prepared and even brought him a copy of her list so he woudn't forget anything. (Wish I still had a copy of it! HA!)
She was still in full BELIEVE mode so the greeting stamp from Just Believe was the perfect title for this page:

It was wonderful to discover that the color of her pretty shirt was perfect to use Real Red for my background, so I used a piece of textured 12 x 12 cardstock to build my page on.
I know the Candy Cane Lane DSP is sold out, but luckily, I still had some, so I was able to cut the strips out for this fun border weave and just added the simple Real Red Satin ribbon bow for an accent.

The giant snowflakes were super easy to make. I just took pieces of Whisper White cardstock and coated them with Versamark ink then heat embossed the whole piece with Iridescent Ice powder. I'd added some chunky glitter to the powder to give it some extra sparkle. Once the embossing was done, I simply cut them out with my Snowflake Die on the Big Shot.
I LOVE how sparkly they are!

I'm sure you have some wonderful memories of Christmases past and visits to Santa - maybe this layout will inspire you to finally scrapbook some of them!
And I know you'll want to see what the other design team members created from our inspiration piece, so be sure to stop by the UDI Blog and check them out.

Stamped blessings everyone,

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A Clean and Simple Christmas

Hello Stamping friends!
I am so happy to report that finally, everyone in my house is on the road to recovery! That nasty little cold made it's rounds through all three of us, but in true Christmas blessing fashion, we are all going to be well in time to celebrate Christ's birth with our family!

My post today is a very quick one, mainly because I am still sooooo behind on wrapping and cleaning in anticipation of our parents coming in for the weekend! I spent about 3 hours on Sunday afternoon creating 40 of these cards for my downline team and actually got them in the mail on Monday - another Christmas miracle! If you want all the card details, I've got them all for you over on Stamping 411 today for the monthly Clean and Simple feature.

I've always loved this stamp set - Christ is Born - and love how it's elegant simplicity is all you need to really share what the true meaning of this season is all about.

I love how the simplicity of this card reflects how Jesus was willing to give up his throne in heaven and come to earth, humbly and simply in order to be the salvation of the entire world.
Gold for his royalty, cream for his purity and red for his precious blood, there has been no greater gift to us in all of history.

Christ is Born!
Let the heavens rejoice and the earth be glad!

Stamped blessings to you and yours today!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Candy Cane Lane Christmas Tree

Stamping friends, I am still sick. Uggh!
If you know me, you know that I don't do sick very well. I feel utterly useless and completely miserable. Bleech! I have laid on the couch for the last three days and thought a lot about stamping, I even tried to go into the studio and stamp more than one card, but other than the one I managed to complete on Wednesday, I've done nothin' else.
Zip, zilch, nada.
On top of not stamping, I'm not getting anything done for Christmas. I don't know what stresses me out more, not stamping or not Christmasing. No gifts wrapped. No cookies baked. Shopping still to finish. And don't even mention the cards.........

It's a good thing that I finished decorating the tree in my studio after thanksgiving or I wouldn't have anything to show you today.
Here's the rest of the tree that I made the Candy Cane Star for a while back:

I found this perfect little white tinsel tree at Kohl's and knew just where it would go and what I'd do with it.
The Candy Countdown Calendar Kit was the perfect thing to decorate the tree with and I spent a little time jazzing up each of the boxes.
I added Crystal Effects Icicles to this one:

Glitter makes everything better doesn't it?

I added Real Red Taffeta Ribbon this one:

I love how it looks like a little package.

I kept the rest of the decorations simple, using the retired Real Red Polka Dot ribbon as garland and adding Candy Canes to fill in.

Emma spent some time with me in the studio one evening and made some sweet little snowman ornaments. Aren't they adorable?

The best part for me was just being able to spend time with Emma while we created together. And now every time I walk into the studio I have something festive and a lovely memory to greet me.

Have a wonderful weekend stamping friends - I hope to be on the mend soon and back in the swing of the season!
Stamped blessings,