Quick and Easy “Artichoke” Ornament

Hi All! Happy Holidays! Welcome to another Stuck On U Sketches Die Cut Challenge. It’s almost Christmas, so the Design Team thought you might want to make some ornaments! There are so many awesome ornament dies, cut files and cartridges out there, I just couldn’t choose which one to make. So I decided to go a totally different direction and make an “artichoke”-style ornament that I’ve seen all over Pinterest this year. (My daughter thinks they look more like pine cones….)

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To make these ornaments, I started with a couple of clear plastic ball ornaments from my local craft store and patterned paper from Close To My Heart’s Sparkle & Shine paper pack. It required around 92 1-inch circles to cover each ornament. Did I break out the circle punch? Are you kidding?! This is where my Cricut came in. I found a circle cut on my Artiste Cartridge (I think just about all the cartridges have this most basic of shapes). Set my dial to 1 inch and hit “auto fill.” My little Cricut dutifully calculated how many circles it could cut from the 12×12 sheet of patterned paper that was on the mat, and began cutting. In about 2 minutes I had 100 perfectly cut circles ready to go. I then layered the circles on the ornament using mini glue dots. I added some velvet yarn from my stash, and voila, a stinkin’ cute ornament in about 15 minutes. LOVE THAT!!! Here are some close ups:

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And here are the two together:

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I think I’ll go back to the craft store and grab some more ornaments. Wouldn’t these look great in a silver bowl? For more ornament design inspiration, be sure to stop by the Stuck On U Sketches blog and see what my über-talented team mates are up to.

Have a wonderful and happy holiday! And don’t forget to create something beautiful today!

Cheers!

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A Happy 19th!

My niece, Molly, turns 19 in December this year. However, we decided that we would celebrate her birthday while she and her family were visiting for Thanksgiving. The current Stuck On U Die Cut Challenge to incorporate numbers in your project was the perfect inspiration for my niece’s card:

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I decided to do something a little different from the standard A2 design and chose the side-step pattern for my card base, which is cut from Lagoon Cardstock. I used the hip and happenin’ Laughing Lola paper pack by Close To My Heart for the pattern paper. The sentiment, from the Just A Number stamp set, is stamped in Lagoon Exclusive Ink on White Daisy cardstock. I cut the sentiment out using a punch from my collection and layered it onto Black cardstock and Laughing Lola patterned paper and then popped it up with dimensional adhesive. I used two tiny black sequins from the Mini Medley Black Accent collection and added two bitty sparkles in the middle for some bling.

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The 19 and Polaroid-style frames were cut using the Cricut Artbooking cartridge. I cut the 19 twice and used the White Daisy numbers as shadows for the plaid. The white makes the numbers pop off the raspberry background. The heart and polka dot background are both stamped in Lagoon Exclusive ink on White Daisy cardstock. I fussy cut around the heart and popped it up with dimensional adhesive. The polka dot background is layered on Black cardstock and Laughing Lola paper. I added a larger sequin and sparkle combo for pizzazz. The bow is made from Color Ready Seam Binding ribbon, to which I added a black sparkly button from the Mini Medley with a medium rhinestone from the Laughing Lola assortment attached to the center.

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I cut the Polaroid frames twice–once in Laughing Lola and once in Lagoon cardstock and layered them together. This gives them a little extra stability so that I can attach them to the card off-center. I added some more Color Ready Seam Binding ribbon with a large button and bling combo to finish everything off.

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Here’s a view from the side. The card is too thick at the base for a standard envelope (especially when you slide in a gift card!), so I created a little envelope box to pack it in.

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving. For more number inspiration, stop by Stuck On U sketches and see the beautiful creations the rest of the design team has made for you. Have a fantastically creative weekend!

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Sweetie Pie

Hey All! Welcome to another Stuck On U Die Cut Challenge. In celebration of the upcoming Thanksgiving feast, our design team decided to challenge you to incorporate food die cuts into your projects. Here’s what I came up with using the From My Kitchen Cricut cartridge:

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This yummy pie is cut at 4 1/4 inches, which allows it to fit in a standard A2 envelope. I cut a base from Colonial White cardstock using the black out feature and then a top “base” from a retired Close To My Heart patterned paper using the regular pie key. The top layer is cut from Kraft cardstock. The cherry stem is from Crate Paper’s Random collection 6×6 inch pad. The cherry is from Studio Calico’s Snippets 6×6 inch pad. Before attaching the layers, I inked around each element with Saddle Exclusive ink. I adhered the layers to the front of the card and added some stamping from a retire CTMH Stamp of the Month.  Here are some close-ups:

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Once the front of the card was done, I cut the cherry off the top of the Colonial White base and scored the top at 1/2 inch. I then adhered the top 1/2-inch portion (above the score line) to the layered piece to make a card. So now it opens like this:

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Finally, I decided that I would line the envelope to match the card and make it extra special. So here is the card and envelope together:

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I hope you enjoyed my little cherry pie! For more foodie-crafty inspiration, don’t forget to hop on over to Stuck On U Sketches and see what my fellow talented teammates are up to.

Have a wonderful day, and make something beautiful!

Cheers!

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A Banner Welcome

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Hi Folks! Happy All Saints Day! The younger set in our house is still in a sugar coma from last night. I hope your family is faring better! Welcome to a new Die Cut Challenge from Stuck on U Sketches. This time, we’re creating banners. Now I like banners, but I’m never sure where to put them. So for this challenge I decided to incorporate a little banner into a new autumn-flavored welcome wreath for the front door. Let’s take a look:

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To make this wreath, I covered a styrofoam form in 2-inch wide burlap ribbon (from my local craft store) and then fashioned a large bow at the top from the same ribbon and copious amounts of hot glue. I accented the bow with Slate Polka Dot ribbon from Close To My Heart.  The patterned paper used in the flowers and banner are from Close To My Heart’s new Huntington Collection, which is perfect for celebrating autumn. The flowers, leaves and banners are all cut from the CTMH Art Philosophy Cricut cartridge. The banner is cut at 1 1/4 inches with a 1-inch layer of Kraft Cardstock. “Welcome” is stamped in Barn Red Exclusive ink using the “You Are My Happy” alphabet stamp set, which is retired. Here’s a close up:

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The flowers and leaves are cut in a variety of sizes. I inked around the edges of the flowers with Barn Red Exclusive ink and the edges of the leaves with Olive Exclusive ink to give them both extra definition. I then added Slate-colored pearls to the center of the flowers for a little extra bling. Here are a couple of close-ups:

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Finally, I added some sparkle flourishes for a little extra…well…sparkle. I really like the juxtaposition of the burlap and gems.

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I hope you enjoyed my little welcome banner! For more inspiration be sure to visit my amazingly talented co-designers at Stuck On U Sketches.

Have a great weekend and don’t forget to create something beautiful today!

Cheers!

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Happy Autumn!

Hello All! Happy Autumn!

It’s time for another die cut challenge with Stuck On U Sketches. This go ’round it’s all about autumn goodness. I have to say, I’m so ready for fall. The weather here in DC is still a little balmy though. Oh well by February we’ll be wishing for balmy, so I’ll enjoy it while I can.

Here’s my autumn project:

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I decided my door needed a new wreath so I dug through my stash of alterables (it’s a rather large stash, I have to say) and found this wreath form made from heavy chipboard. I wrapped it in jute ribbon by Close To My Heart, and went to work on making it autumn-esque.  The flower and all the leaves were cut using the Flower Shoppe Cricut cartridge. The flower is sized at 2 inches and the leaves range from 1 3/4  to 3 inches. Once they were cut, I drew veins on the leaves with my embossing tool and then inked around the edges and lightly inked in the centers.  I used Ruby, Barn Red, Olive and Honey cardstock from Close To My Heart. All of the leaves are inked with Chocolate Exclusive ink, and the Honey and  Olive leaves are additionally inked in Goldrush and Olive respectively. The flower is also inked in Goldrush.  The sentiments are from the CTMH Happy Autumn stamp set. I stamped them onto kraft cardstock using Barn Red Exclusive ink and mounted them on patterned paper from the Huntington Collection. I decided, in the end, that it needed a little extra pizzaz, so I spritzed the whole thing with Antique Gold shimmer mist.

Here are a few close-ups:

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I wanted to hang it on my front door, but sadly, it covers up my “peep-hole.” So I had to come up with an alternate spot OR lengthen the jute hanger.

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Here’s the alternate spot, for now–my kitchen window:

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I hope this brings you a little autumn crafty inspiration! For more inspiration, hop on over to the Stuck On U Sketches site and see with my  talented co-designers have in store for you.

Meanwhile, have a wonderful weekend and don’t forget to take time to create something beautiful!

Cheers!

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The Great UP-cycler

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photo from MarthaStewart.com

So there’s a notion that’s been bouncing around evangelical Christianity for a while that God is into recycling. I’m not talking cardboard here, I’m talking pasts. The idea is that God is able to redeem and use our pasts for His purposes when we put our trust in Him. While that is spot on, the idea of the “recycling” metaphor has always bothered me.  You see, when something is recycled, it’s generally destroyed. Paper is pulped. Plastics and metals are melted down. Though it’s always remade into something, the original item is lost. For example, I have a t-shirt that was made from plastic bottles. It looks like a regular cotton t-shirt, nary a bottle in sight.🙂 It’s a nice shirt, but what constitutes the shirt is completely lost. And, in this case, that’s okay. (Can’t imagine walking around sporting a 6-pack of Dasani.) But the point is that at the end of the day, when something is recycled, it ceases to exist on its own in its original form.

In my experience, the same cannot be said for my past. God hasn’t pulped it. He has pulped the sinful part, if you will–the part that created the chasm between He and I that only Christ could bridge. Absolutely. And it won’t be recycled or reconstituted. It’s gone. But the rest of the experience is still there. The lessons learned. The memories. All there. Not pulped. Not reconstituted. In short, NOT recycled. However, they have been UP-cycled.

Up-cycling is taking something and making it better. Sometimes it is used for a different purpose, sometimes it is used for the original purpose but is more beautiful or more efficient. For example, a recycled jar will be crushed, melted down and made into some other glass object. An UP-cycled jar will become a candle holder you hang from a tree in your back yard to offer light on a cool summer evening. (Especially if you happen to be Martha Stewart.) A broken plate becomes jewelry, a cardboard box becomes a desk organizer or even a mini scrapbook album.  Yet, whatever the items become, they are never completely destroyed. Instead, what they were becomes integral to what they become.

When I think back over my life, there are many parts that make me wince a bit. Foolish choices. Dumb decisions. Words I can’t take back. Comments I can’t “un-hear.” There are parts, too, that I’d like to call back and celebrate a little more. It’s all there. And it’s all me. Every experience, good or bad, has shaped me and made me who I am. Now, who I am is not who I am becoming. But I don’t think God has any intention of recycling my past, because He has no intention of losing the “me” that’s been created and shaped through all those experiences. What He has done, and what He continues to do, is upcyle me. He’s making me into something better and more beautiful than I am. He’s taking those experiences and reframing them–it’s not about the sin anymore, that’s gone; it’s about the lesson learned. He’s allowing me to become both a student and a teacher. There are lessons I’m still learning and lessons I can now teach because I have learned them. He adds His fingerprints, His Spirit, His righteousness and takes me from being a jar containing garbage to a jar-turned-candle-holder giving off His light. The “me” at the core is still very much there, integral to the “me” I’m becoming. It’s upcycling. And He’s the greatest Upcycler in history. Just ask Joseph from the Old Testament or Paul from the New Testament. Ask Augustine of Hippo, or Martin Luther. Ask John Newton or GK Chesterton. Or hey, just ask me. I’m not as brilliant as those fellows, but I’m alive….and I’m being upcycled by the Great Upcycler.

Just a little something to ponder….

Cheers!

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You’re A Star!

Hi All! Welcome to another Stuck On U Sketches die cut challenge! This challenge is all about stars.

Let’s take a look:

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The card base for is a standard A2 using Colonial White cardstock. I layered the base with Hollyhock and Outdoor Denim cardstocks, and then added pattern papers from Close To My Heart’s Claire paper pack (which has sadly been retired). The stars are cut at 3 1/2 inches from Outdoor Denim cardstock using the Artbooking Cricut cartridge. I added silver Stickles to the stars for extra bling (really, whoever heard of a dull star?). The sentiment is from the Artbooking collection and is stamped in Outdoor Denim Exclusive ink on a fun cork shape from my stash. I added a little Color Ready Seam Binding to the card and the cork for extra flair, and then popped up the sentiment using dimensional adhesive.

Here are a couple of close-ups:

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I added some stars from the die cut to the inside of the card for a little extra interest. (And why wast these perfectly beautiful cuts?)🙂

Here is the outside of the card, once again:

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Hope you enjoyed my little starry card. For more starstruck inspiration, don’t forget to hop on over to Stuck On U Sketches.

Have a wonderful, creative day!

Cheers!

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