Thursday, March 31, 2011

A Little Rain....

I am such a music person. Music has been an important part of my life for as long as I can remember and it moves me in ways that nothing else can. I especially love music that brings me into worship and reminds me of God's amazing love for us and his ever present grace in our lives. One of my very favorite songs is Bring the Rain by Mercy Me and I've put the video for you see and listen to at the bottom of this post.

I share this with you today because yesterday morning, it started raining big time in my life, and to be pretty honest, I'm just reeling from the news.

If you've followed my blog for a while now, you know that my Dad has had some major health struggles over the past two years but he's like the Energizer Bunny - he keeps going, and going......
But after his most recent hospital stay where some tests were run, we were told that not only had his Prostate Cancer returned, but he also had cancer in his lung.
After meeting with his oncologist on Tuesday, he was told that it was Stage 4 and in his Lymph Nodes as well. Devastating news to say the least. I'm still trying to process it all.

Here's a photo of my Daddy with Emma this past Thanksgiving. He's doing what he loves best, eating, spending time with us and watching football on tv. I think his expression here says "hurry up and take the picture, I'm hungry!" Yep, that about sums it up!

Now if you hadn't guessed it already, I'm a Daddy's girl. I've written about it many times here before. He and I are so much alike and I can't imagine a world without him in it. He's my hero in so many ways. To be really honest here, I'm scared to death and I know that many of you can relate. But I'll tell you what gives me hope - two things actually - my Dad's determination to beat the time limit the doctor has given him and the hope, confidence and faith we have in Jesus. My Dad knows the Lord and I know that when his time does come he'll be in heaven waiting for us.
But, neither my Dad, or any of the rest of us are ready for him to go just yet.

So, he's decided to begin chemo this coming Tuesday - five treatments in all - that the doctor says will get him through Christmas. Dad told me on the phone last night that he's going to make it way past that - he's "made up his mind." I say "Yay, Dad!" I know if anyone can do it, he can. He's so stubborn and handles adversity better than almost anyone I know, but he also has the best attitude - he just loves life! No, he's not going to take this sucker punch lightly - he's a fighter - and that gives me hope too.

I hope you don't mind that I've shared something so deeply personal here today - I'd really intended on just letting you know that I was going to take a break from blogging for a few days to get myself together. But as I started writing, it felt so good to just let it out and I feel like I've taken a deep, cleansing breath. If you've read this far, thanks for that.

I am going to take a few days off from blogging, but I'll be back - I promise. In the meantime, would you pray for us? I know you will without me even asking, but well, there it is. We need all the prayers we can get and I'm not going to be shy about it. I know that God is lifting us up right now and holding us close. My faith tells me that he "will never leave or forsake me." and I believe that with all my heart and am clinging to that promise today.

In the meantime, I hope this song blesses you and gives you peace as it has for me today.
Stamped blessings,
~~Robin

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Purple Bliss Butterfly

Tuesday is crazy day here! Feelin' crazy? C'mon over!
I have two classes today, a conference call, final review of my script for the SU! webinar tomorrow and my poor hubby is home sick with the flu today. WooHoo! Definitely crazy day!

So let me share a calming, Clean and Simple (CAS) card with you today. Everyone breathe out and say Aaaaahh! Ok, very good - here's the card......

At my February team meeting, one of my downline members asked me how to use Heat and Stick powder so I pulled out a few supplies and demonstrated for them. If you are still being patient with me, this is the video I've promised you, but we've just not had time to film it! Aiyiyi!

This card is simply Whisper White cardstock folded in half lengthwise (1/2 sheet) and corners rounded. I took the beautiful swirl stamp from the Sale-A-Bration FREE stamp set Bliss and stamped it right in the middle with Versamark ink. It was covered with Heat and Stick embossing powder and heated with my heat tool just to the melting point. Then, I poured the purple cosmo glitter over it, tapped off the excess and heated it again with my heat tool. The glitter stuck to the embossed area and looks amazing!

Here's a close up of the focal point:

I used my Beautiful Butterflies Die and the Big Shot to cut out two butterflies, one with Whisper White cardstock and one with Vellum cardstock. The whisper White one was stamped with the small background block from the Clearly for You stamp set with Concord Crush ink. I sponged the edges as well to make it stand out then curled the edges with my Bone Folder. It's attached to the card front with Mini Glue Dots. The Vellum butterfly was curled as well, then adhered to the other one with Tombow Adhesive, just a very thin line down the fold I created in the middle. I added one Rhinestone Jewel to the center as an accent.
After stamping the greeting from the All Holidays stamp set (a FABULOUS go-to set!), I added a piece of White Organza Ribbon and knotted it in the front.

Simple, delicate and EASY! I LOVE easy cards! And this is one of them!

Have a wonderful day everyone - if you can get out, enjoy the sunshine for me, ok?!
Stamped blessings,
~~Robin

Monday, March 28, 2011

Busy Bee Weekend!

Happy Monday everyone!~

My friend Denise in Texas commented on my Facebook page the other day "How do you have time to do all you do? I can't keep up with you!" Well, Denise, sometimes I can't keep up with me either! HA! And this weekend was a great example of that!

First up was our fun, first ever NOVA Demonstrators Shoebox Swap!
Me and Kimberly VanDiepen got together and hosted this really fun even on Saturday morning at the Manassas Volunteer Fire Company. It was open to any and all area Stampin' Up! demonstrators as a day of stamping, fellowship and networking. This first time, we had 28 stampers join us - it was a great day!
Here's a group photo minus a couple of gals who left early:

Yeah, we're a good lookin' bunch!

Here's Shannan, Lisa and Rose-Ellen:

Carol, Ruth, Lindsey and Becky:

April, Erin, Wendy and Della:

Diana, Kelley, Stephanie and Michelle: (Michelle and Stephanie volunteered to help us set up and break down!)

Did you see crazy Kimberly taking a picture of me taking a picture?! Yep, we had a good time!

Here's Phyllis, Pat and Jaimie:

Lisa and Jane again: (they were our registration volunteers!)

Here's two of my favorite stampers in the world! Laura and Betty, two of my Stampin' Fools! They aren't demos, but this event couldn't have happened without them! They are both with the MVFC Ladies Auxiliary - which was where all our proceeds for the event went to support! We raised over $600 for them! Way to go!

And here's the pic of the two biggest crazies of the day - me and Kimberly.

As I said, it was a very fun day and I'll hopefully have some more photos to share later this week - these are I took with my camera. Thanks also to our other volunteer, Nancy (who also donated our hugely popular raffle item!) She was avoiding the camera for some reason!
All the demos who attended also brought amazing food to share with each other and some even brought super cute display items. We have such talent in this company - I love all the creativity we share!

Speaking of creativity - on to the 2nd part of my crazy weekend!
I have to brag on my sweet girl here for a minute. She is just awesome! I'm so proud of her for so many things, but this weekend, she had us smiling from ear to ear!
So, on Saturday afternoon, we drove out to one of the local high schools to the All-County Art Show. You see, one of Emma's art pieces had been chosen to be displayed there! This is actually the third time in 7 years she's had an art piece chosen for the All-County show. How cool is that?
Here she is holding her Altered Wheel-Thrown Platter:

and here's a close up of her piece:

Definitely a proud Momma moment! :)

So part 3 of my crazy weekend had me headed out to my friend Kim's house for a fun Stampin' party and I have to say, it was the most relaxing part of my day! She had great gals there who loved the projects and made this demonstrator's job so easy! Thanks Kim for a great time!

Obviously I spent most of my day Saturday talking up a storm and really paid the price for it on Sunday morning when I woke up to "rasp, rasp, rasp" when I was supposed to be singing the special music in worship that morning! Ummm, yeah, no one wants to hear that! But, thankfully God had other ideas because when the time came - well, lets just say that He sang that song for me, cuz it sure wasn't the sound that had been coming out during my sound check! Thank goodness! Believe me, no one needed to hear that! :)

Now I'm sure that you're thinking by now that my weekend had to be complete - however in my best infomercial voice "But wait, there's more!" let me share what capped it all off for our family!

Emma's skating team banquet was Sunday afternoon at 3 and needless to say, I was pretty whooped still, but you know you don't miss those things! Not for a million bucks! It's been a pretty taxing season this year for the team (and the parents!) and you know that if you follow my blog on a regular basis, but it was very special for many reasons - not the least of which was watching these girls skate an amazing routine each time they took the ice. They earned two medals at two of their major competitions and earned the reputation as the little team that could!
Here's Emma with two of her best friends on the team: (Julia, Emma and Lauren Ashley)

All the girls were given an award by their coaches and Emma once again made us smile when she was recognized as the "skater who steadfastly found the good in all of her team-mates!"
Can I tell you as a parent to have your child recognized for a character trait is the biggest blessing? We know she is a good skater or she wouldn't be on the team, but for her coaches to see that quality in her and award her for it just made this entire difficult season completely worthwhile! LOVE my girl!

And lastly, here I am with two ladies who make me smile throughout each season with the National Blades, Justine and Patty. Love these two! Here's to another great season next year!

So stampers - I hope I didn't bore you with this snapshot into my crazy life! I know you are wondering - "did she collapse after the banquet?" Well, kinda! Both Emma and I got into our pj's the minute we got home last night and didn't move a muscle off the couch until Chopped All-Stars was over! Aaaah, a relaxing end to a great weekend!

Back tomorrow with something pretty, but for now I'll leave you with the song I sang at church on Sunday. This is NOT me on the video - but one I found on YouTube!


Friday, March 25, 2011

Sweet and Simple Notecard Set

Happy Friday everyone!

I'm on the run today - getting ready for a jam-packed weekend that starts tomorrow morning with our first ever NOVA Demonstrators Shoebox Swap! My friend Kimberly VanDiepen and I came up with the idea of getting area demonstrators together - regardless of group affiliation to just stamp and play together. We've got a very fun day planned and can't wait to see all these wonderful women!

But, if we are going to pull it off, I have GOT to get my very long list checked off - that's not gonna happen if I don't get out of the studio! LOL!

Today's post is a really simple card set that I made for my hostess Pat last night. She's one of my Stampin' Fools and I always like to create something special for them!
Here's a picture of all four cards in the set:

It was hard photographing them all together, so I took few close ups for you:

I used the same color scheme throughout - Pear Pizzazz, So Saffron, Pretty in Pink with the images and greetings stamped in Basic Black.

The stamp sets worked wonderfully together - I used A Slice of Life for the images and So Happy For You for the greetings. Both of these sets are freebies right now - one is a Level 1 Hostess Set ($150 order) and the other is a Sale-A-Bration set ($50 order). You can get them both, plus two more free sets AND a $$$ shopping spree just by placing a $150 order or party!
That is COOL!

Here's a picture of the card set all packaged up:

Don't you Love it?! I think it looks like a candy shop awning! So fun!
I used the pre-scored Notes and Envelopes from the IBC to stamp on, these are great for clean and simple cards (CAS). The ribbon is Pear Pizzazz Seam Binding and the DSP is Springtime Vintage from the Occasions Mini. I just put the finished cards in a Medium Cello Bag and used SNAIL to attach the topper once I'd punched the edges with the Scalloped Border Punch. The button is retired from the Candy Cane Christmas buttons, but you could sub out any pink button here - easy peasy!

Thanks for stopping by today! As always, you can shop for all the items you need to make this cute project and any thing else here on my blog at my Stampin' Up! Website Online Store. HERE is the link for you - just click on the button at the top right of the page that says SHOP NOW. You'll have access to the entire online store!

Have a wonderful day stampers!
Be back with you on Monday!
~~Robin

Thursday, March 24, 2011

It's Never Too Early!

Good morning stampers!
How's things in your neck of the woods today? After last night's humongous thunderstorm and torrential downpour, I woke up to more rain, chill and clouds. Bleech! Sounds like a perfect excuse to stay in and STAMP! :)

Since I'm getting ready to host my Stampin' Fools party group tonight in the studio, I was gonna do that anyway, but the rain just makes it easier to not be distracted, know what I mean?

Today's card is the one I designed to go with my class last Saturday - Springtime Vintage Flower Pins. The ladies loved it and I thought well, I'd best share it with you too! It's never too early to start thinking about Mother's Day so that's what I made this card for. You could easily switch out the greeting though for a birthday or Thinking of You.

I love cards that have different folds - but not too complicated, I don't have the patience for them! LOL! I started this one with a folded half sheet of Very Vanilla Cardstock. The top edge was punched with the Eyelet Border Punch, scored at about 1 1/4" in from the punched edge and folded back on itself so the lacy edge lays on the front. Clear as mud? Ok!

Next, I cut a piece of Springtime Vintage DSP for the front flap - 4" x 2 1/4" and adhered it with Tombow Multi Adhesive. I'm really getting to like that adhesive for assembling my cards. It was also used to glue down the folded flap. I then rounded the back corners of the card base and sponged every edge with Baja Breeze ink.
A piece of Rose Red Seam Binding (Please don't retire! I LOVE this ribbon!) was wrapped around the folded flap - on the inside too - and the ends secured on the FRONT with SNAIL. (The cut ends will be covered by the flower!)

This photo gives you a better idea of how the card is constructed:

For the flower on the front, I simply cut 3 pieces of the DSP (3 1/2", 3" and 2 1/2" squares) and ran them through the Big Shot with my Fun flowers Die. Each flower was curled with my Bone Folder then I attached them all together with a brad. The flower was attached to the card front with Stampin' Dimensionals and I added the Baja Breeze Flower Adornment with Mini Glue Dots.
The inside was simple - Baja Breeze cardstock (4" x 5 1/4") layered with Very Vanilla cardstock (3 3/4" x 5") top corners rounded on each and adhered to the inside. I used my Something To Celebrate hostess stamp set for the greeting and stamped it in Rose Red ink on the top right.
The last little touch is impossible to see in these photos - I used a Sponge Dauber and dabbed on a little Champagne Mist Shimmer Paint. It's on the cut flower and I also painted it on the DSP across the front in strategic places. It adds just the right amount of gleam to this card!

So, there you have it! A sweet, springy card for a dreary day! I hope it makes you smile big!
As always, if you simply must have the supplies you need to recreate this project or any other on my blog, it's easy to visit my Stampin' Up! Website and shop in my Online Store! Just click HERE to go to the website and click the Shop Now Button on the top right to have the entire Stampin' Up! catalog (and more) at your fingertips!
Yep! It's still Sale-A-Bration so you still earn FREE products for each $50 you spend! Even the Clearance Rack items count towards your Sale-A-Bration purchase! Have fun picking out your FREE stamps!

Stamped blessings,
~~Robin

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

His Eye is On the Sparrow.....

.....and I know He watches me.

I just love this old hymn of the faith. Have you ever heard it? It was written in 1905 and has been sung countless times in churches and cathedrals and tent revivals ever since. There's just something about the lyrics that help you to remember that if the amazing God of Heaven is watching even the little sparrows, He is surely watching over you! Don't you just love that reassurance? I sure do and I lean on it daily.

There's been so much pain, and hurt and tragedy close to me and in the world lately. It hurts my heart to think of so many - maybe even you - who are dealing with so much by way of burdens and sorrow. But I know my God and He loves you and has His arms around you even when you don't feel His presence. It's my prayer that you feel His love and mercy today, right where you are.

As you take a look at my card for today, I hope you're reminded that you're never alone.

A few weeks ago, I saw this card on Julie Pitta's blog - here is the link to her original card. It was just so pretty, I had to recreate it!
The main image was stamped with the Nature Walk stamp set - this is a must own set, so get it before it's gone at the end of next month. You just can't make a bad card with it.
To get the Marina Mist circle background, I cut a paper mask with some scrap paper (I used an old piece of Grid Paper) and my 3" Circle Die and the Big Shot. I positioned it on the Very Vanilla cardstock and using my Stamping Sponge began to add the Marina Mist ink working into the center from the edges. Just keep adding color until you've gotten the depth you want.

Next, I stamped the bird in Basic Black ink and colored him in with Early Espresso ink refill and my Aqua Painter. Again, I added color first to the darker areas of the bird, working it out gradually so I wouldn't get a dark blob where I didn't want one.

The branch stamp was colored with Old Olive and So Saffron Stampin' Write Markers and after I stamped it on the cardstock, I added some So Saffron pastel chalking to the flowers to make them pop out. It gives them a pretty, soft effect. Without reinking the stamp, I stamped it again on the inside Very Vanilla panel as well, again adding the pastel afterwards.

Both of the Very Vanilla Panels were sponged with So Saffron ink. I adhered the front panel to a piece of Marina Mist cardstock then wrapped it with a piece of Certainly Celery 5/8" Grosgrain Ribbon. This whole panel was added to the Certainly Celery card base.

A single knot of Certainly Celery ribbon was added to the left side, then I stamped and added the Mini Tag tied around the knot. The greeting is from the You're a Gem stamp set and I'll tell you a little secret. I tried to stamp it on the tag itself, but I messed it up, so I stamped it on scrap cardstock then punched it out with my 3/4" Circle Punch. It's attached to the tag with a Stampin' Dimensional! Proving once again that you can fix 99.9% of your mistakes in stampin'!
The final touch for this card was the addition of two Pearls to the ribbon, adding just a bit of elegance.

I hope you enjoyed your visit to my blog today - I love writing, posting and sharing with you all, it's really a joy for me! Today, I want to leave you with a beautiful version of the song I shared in the beginning of this post. The video is just the lyrics, so I just encourage you to push play, sit back and close your eyes and let the love of God wash over you as you listen to His heart.
Have a blessed day friends!

~~Robin

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Fun Fabric Tutorial - and a Card Too!

Happy Tuesday everyone!
I'm so happy to report that Emma is feeling better and has gone back to school! Yay! You know what that means - Mama can get some work done! LOL!

Today, I have a fun tutorial for you showing how I created the Fabric Flowers I've shown you in my last two posts! I even created a whole different card with a fun theme just for the tutorial! I took photos of just about each step and many of you won't need all of them, but for those of you who might or who want to share this with other stampers, they are here for you. So it's kind of a long post - Are you ready?!

Ok! Here's the card:

I KNOW, cute huh?!! :) I'll share more about the finished card at the end, for now, let me show you the steps I used to make the pinwheel/flower.

1.) Unfold your fabric (I used the Candy Cane Christmas from SU! which is still available!) and cut a 2" strip with your Paper and Craft Scissors. These are my ribbon/fabric scissors only and they cut like 'buttah'!
2.) You will have a piece that is 2" wide x 28" long end to end.

3.) Place the cut ends just over the cut line of the Tasteful Trim die (I used the wide rik-rak section)
4.) Place the fold end just inside the other end of this section. I folded the fabric back on itself, creating another fold. This gives you maximum length from your cut fabric.

5.) See where I marked the cut line with my White Gel Pen? I do this on a lot of my dies so I can see the cut lines much better. The Gel Pen doesn't come off on your material either.

6.) Run the die and fabric through the Big Shot with the Extended Cutting Pads.

7.) Remove the excess edges from your new fabric ribbon that you've cut. (I just throw the excess away, but my clients would fight me for it! So, girls, it's in my trash can now if you want to come by! :) )
8.) Here is your fabric ribbon strip.

9.) Next, cut a piece of the Sticky Pages sheets at 2 1/2" square.

10.) You also need a piece of Whisper White (or other cardstock) cut at 2 1/2" square.

11.) Peel back the adhesive.....

12.) And adhere the Sticky Sheet to the cut cardstock.

13.) Using the Circles #2 Die, cut this piece using the 2nd largest circle. (I've marked my circles A thru D. The A circle likes being first, it's smiling at us! )

14.) Run the piece through the Big Shot, orange side down. I don't know why, I just do it that way......

15.) Here's your cut circle.

16.) Peel back the orange film......

17.) And start to attach your fabric ribbon to the circle.

18.) You'll just 'gather' it around the circle with your fingers a little bit at a time. What's nice is that you can reposition it fairly easily if you don't like where it landed. But really, don't be too fussy with it, it will look better if you just go with it......

19.) It's not going to look real pretty right away, but you can see the flower start to take shape.

20.) When you go all the way around, just keep going, gathering it closer in to the center of the circle.

21.) See, you're getting there!

22.) Now, just snip off the excess fabric ribbon with your Paper and Craft Scissors. And for goodness sakes, save the excess for another project! LOL!

23.) Next, thread your button choice with ribbon or Linen Thread. Here, I used the 1/8" Whisper White Taffeta Ribbon and one of the Candy Cane Christmas Real Red buttons.
I started from the back because I wanted the criss-cross look on my button.

24.) We're getting there.......

25.) Ok, now trim the excess ribbon. No, you don't need to save these scraps! :)

26.) Add a few Mini-Glue Dots to the back.

27.) And attach it to the center of your flower! Doesn't that look pretty?!!

Now, here's the finished card again:

The striped pattern of this fabric looked so much like a pinwheel when I had it all finished that I decided to go whimsical with this card. I LOVE it!

The cardstock is Whisper White and Baja Breeze. I ran the top layer through the Big Shot with my Perfect Polka-Dots folder then sponged it all over with Blushing Bride ink.

I stamped the greeting with one of my favorite stamp sets, Smarty Pants. These messages are so fun! This was punched out with the Decorative Label Punch and sponged as well.

To finish the card, I simply wrapped the bottom with some Real Red 5/8" Grosgrain Ribbon and tied a jaunty little knot on the left side. The pinwheel stick is a piece of drinking straw cut down and attached with Mini-Glue Dots.

So, there you go, a fun card with a fun new tutorial. I hope you've enjoyed learning how to make these fabric flowers. I'd love to see what you make with them, so be sure to leave me a comment with a link to your project, ok?

And as always, if you need the supplies to create this and any of my other projects shown here on the blog, my Stampin' Up! Online Store is open 24/7 just for you! Click HERE to visit my website and click the SHOP NOW button at the top right to purchase what you need!
Sale-A-Bration is still on until March 31st, so all your orders of $50 will earn YOU a FREE product! That's cool!

Stamped blessings everyone!
~~Robin