Entering the Gates with Thanksgiving

Hi all! HAPPY FRIDAY! It’s time to take up another die cut challenge by Stuck On U Sketches. The current challenge is: Gates.

I have to say, this was not one of my easiest challenges. I have no actual gate images in my Cricut collection and couldn’t really think of a theme for a project. Then yesterday, (as a design team member, we do get these challenges ahead of time) I thought, why not try a gate fold card and see where it takes me. Here’s the result:


The base of the card is cut from Olive cardstock at 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 inches and scored at 2 1/8 and 6 3/8 to make the gate-fold. The gate itself is actually a fence I cut from White Daisy cardstock at 4 3/4 inches using the Closet To My Heart Artbooking Cricut cartridge. I use the light marker from Close To My Heart’s Whisper marker set to give some shadow and dimension to the fence and cut it in half to fit the gate fold card. [Instant gate!] The pattern paper is from a retired collection called Flirty. The paper flowers and their 3 dimensional floral centers by Close To My Heart are from my stash and have also been retired. I punched out the butterflies with a retired Creative Memories punch and adhered the top layer in the center only in order to give it dimension. The the small rhinestones are from my stash. The sentiment is from the Happy Autumn stamp set and is stamped in Olive Exclusive ink. I inked around the edges of the card base and base layer with Saddle Exclusive ink for extra pop.

Here are a couple of close-ups of the card:




Here it is with the gates “opened”:


And here it is once again:


I hope you enjoyed my answer to the Stuck On U Die Cut challenge. Be sure to hop on over to the blog for more inspiration. And don’t forget to give yourself time to create something beautiful this weekend!




It’s a Sign…

Hey Folks! So a couple of years ago, I was trying my hand at tile mosaics and I made a sign for our family. It was a welcome home gift for my husband who had been gone for a couple of weeks. The sign turned out pretty well and I proudly showed it to the DH. Here it is:


He looked at it for a minute and said, “That’s really cool, Honey, but we were married in 1992….” (Of course we were, I was just seeing if you remembered….) ARGH! I STILL can’t believe I put the wrong date on it!  And so this sign still sits in our kitchen waiting for me to chisel off the numbers and re-do it. (And I suspect the wait will continue for a good long while.)

Thus, when the brilliant minds at SOUS decided to do a Borders challenge, I knew this could be my opportunity to create another family sign and finally live down my numerical faux pas. 😉 I also had a few other things in mind when designing my sign: First, I wanted to see how close I could come to creating a stained glass look with paper. Second, I love the Arts & Crafts and Art Nouveau movements and since we happened to be looking at a couple of Arts & Crafts bungalows that are for sale in our neck of the woods, I had those art periods stuck in my mind.  And finally, I wanted something that didn’t look anything like my mosaic. Here is what I came up with:


The base of the sign is an 11 x 17-inch canvas board, which I painted cream and spritzed with Antique Gold Glimmer Mist by Tattered Angels. I masked off 1/2 inch around the edges and used Gold Leaf Rub & Buff to create a border for the sign. The paper border was created using the Close To My Heart Art Philosophy Cricut cartridge. I cut it from Black, Smokey Plum, and Olive cardstocks. I adhered the Black to Colonial White cardstock and fussy cut around it. I then paper pieced the Olive and Smokey Plum into the Black and used Mod Podge to adhere it to the canvas board. The letters and numbers are cut in various sizes using the Art Nouveau Cricut cartridge. I layered  “HILL” with Olive cardstock and then painted the middle with Gold Leaf Rub & Buff. I adhered the letters with Mod Podge. Once everything was dry, I used Glossy Accents on the Olive and Smokey Plum paper pieces to create a stained glass effect.

Here are some close-ups:




I’m pretty pleased with how it came out. It has the right date and everything. Now, just to figure out where to hang it….

Thanks for stopping by. For more inspiring die cut creations involving borders, hop on over to Stuck On U Sketches and check it out. Then go make something beautiful today!



A little Mojo


Hi All! It’s been ages since I played along with Mojo Monday so I thought I’d rectify the situation. Here’s my take on this week’s sketch:


The card base is a standard A2 in Colonial White cardstock. The patterned paper is all from Maggie Holmes’ Signature line by Crate Paper. The sentiment is from the new Close To My Heart Hostess Reward stamp set called “You Only Live Once,” and is stamped in Slate ink. I added a white doily and a strip of Hollyhock cardstock behind the sentiment for a little pop. Some buttons and twine from my stash finish it off nicely. Here are a couple of close-ups:



Hope you enjoyed my little mojo. Don’t forget to create something beautiful today, even if it’s just a memory!



A Little Help From My (Furry) Friends

Hey All! Welcome to another die cut challenge from the Stuck On U Sketches team.

Some friends of mine just had a little baby girl last month. I’m a little late with the card and gift, but that just keeps the celebration going, right? Anyway, I decided to use the help of a few furry friends to welcome little Abigail into this fantastic, wild world. Let’s take a look:


For this A2 (5 1/2 x 4 1/4-inch) card, I used a White Daisy card base and added patterned paper and embossed resist cardstock from the retired Dream Pop collection by Close To My Heart. The heart photo frame that is holding the sentiment, along with the giraffe and the lion are cut using  CTMH’s new Artbooking Cricut cartridge. (All three were also cut from  Dream Pop paper.) The sentiment and animals are from the CTMH Wild Wonders stamp set, and the hearts are from the retired Whooo’s Your Valentine? stamp set. I stamped the monkey in Lagoon  and the hippo in Hollyhock Exclusive inks, and then fussy cut them and adhered them to the card. I stamped the bird twice, once in Gypsy and once in Honey Exclusive inks. I fussy cut the body of the Gypsy bird and layered it on the Honey bird. I then fussy cut the whole thing and adhered it to the card. The giraffe and lion are popped up with dimensional adhesive.

Here are a couple of close-ups:





I hope you enjoyed my furry friends. For more inspiration, hop on over to Stuck On U Sketches and see what the design team has in store.

And don’t forget to go out and create something beautiful today!



Teaching My Chickadee to Fly Part 2


So a couple of posts ago, I showed you the bag I created for my daughter’s 5th Grade Graduation present. (If you missed it, you can see it here.) Today I thought I’d show you the actual book. (I’ve left out close-ups of the inner pages at her request.)

I purchased the album and bag together. The album is made of wood/pressboard covers and the pages are heavy mat board, perfect for collaging. For the front cover (above), I used heavy-body acrylic paint and rubbed it into the cover with my fingers. (I used my fingers to paint almost everything in the book unless it was really detailed.) The bird on the front is from one of Melody Ross‘ chip board and fabric sticker collections. It was originally yellow, but rubbed it with bright pink paint and then wiped of the excess. When it was dry, I covered it in Mod Podge. Then I added bright pink and yellow paints for some detail, and glued on a little blue rhinestone for the eye.  The rainbow is a doily I glued to the cover with Mod Podge and rubbed with heavy-bodied paint. For the clouds, I recycled some packaging from a box of chocolates. It’s the inside of the lining. I free-hand cut some cloud shapes from it, glued them on and then carefully painted them white so that they remained puffy. (It turned out pretty cool, actually.) The “FLY” letters are grunge letters by Tim Holtz that I painted yellow. A little (retired) music note washi tape by Teresa Collins and hot pink and turquoise glitter ribbon (American Craft) finished it off.

Here’s a peek at the inner pages:


Here’s a look at the inside front cover, which is also rubbed with turquoise paint.


The Brave Girl saying is from Melody Ross’ Brave Girls Club. (If you haven’t checked it out yet, please do. It’s AWESOME!!!) The white flower is from Prima and the “Live” brad is from my stash (I think it’s from an old Basic Gray collection). The yellow and turquoise layered flowers are from Close to My Heart, and the “Yes You Can” brad is by Melody Ross. The yellow and turquoise trim is from my stash. I altered it a bit and added some red bling. (My girl likes her bling…just like her mum!)

Here’s a close-up:


Here’s a look at the inside back cover:


The border strip is from my stash. Again, I altered it and added some extra bling. The “Authentic Beauty” tag is from Melody Ross’ Brave Girls Club. (Can you tell I’m a fan?) 🙂 The white flowers are from Prima and the brads are from my stash (I can’t remember the collection).

Here’s a close-up:


And, finally, a look at the back cover:

“Keep Growing” is a super thin metal sign from Melody Ross. The flowers are Prima and the brads are from my stash. (I’ll try to find the collection.) The glitter ribbon is by American Crafts.

I hope you enjoyed this little peek at my daughters “Book of Encouragement.” The rings on this album are about 3 inches in diameter, so I can actually add more pages. I’m working on a few more now in anticipation of middle school drama. 😉 She really is such a strong, brave girl. She just has to be reminded now and then. And, really, don’t we all….





A Little Disney Challenge

Hi All! Welcome to another Stuck On U Sketches Die Cut challenge. The current theme: Disney.

Now I’m a Disney fan. I’ve been to Walt Disney World more times than I can count. I own a rather large collection of Disney movies, and have a number of prints, posters, and pieces of jewelry all bearing the likenesses of a variety of Disney characters. So you would think that I would have a Disney Cricut cartridge or some sort of die, right? WRONG! Yep, no idea how it happened, but I don’t own a single Disney die-cutting option. So this was, indeed, a challenge. However, I do own a number of cartridges that have a circle image on them. So 3 welded-circles later, voilĂ : it’s the Mickey Icon! (Thanks, Walt, for your beautiful simplicity!)

So here’s my take on the challenge:


Yep, this time it’s a scrapbook layout. I started with a 12 x 12-inch sheet of Kraft cardstock and layered it with an 11 x 11-inch piece of limited edition pattern paper by Close To My Heart. I cut the Micky Icon with my Gypsy from White Daisy and Juniper cardstocks. (I have no idea what the size actually is, I just toggled it until it filled the page.) The stamps on this page are from a limited edition stamp set that Close To My Heart released at the 2013 Convention only for convention goers.  They match the paper pack that was released under the same conditions. I stamped “Viva!” across the icon using Smokey Plum ink. I then used the new Close To My Heart Artbooking Cricut cartridge (available 1 August 2013) to cut a lattice from Cranberry cardstock. I did some random stamping on the lattice using a floral image from the stamp set and Cranberry ink. The photo mat is cut at 4 1/2 x 8 inches from Sunset cardstock. I used a Martha Stewart edge punch on the bottom. and decorated it with a zip-strip from the paper pack, a little yellow bakers twine and a metal flower (coming soon in the new Close To My Heart  Idea Book). The flowers, leaves, and decorative stamp on the tag are all from the limited edition stamps set. I added a little glitz gel for some sparkle. The flowers are stamped in Cranberry, Honey, Sunset, and Smokey Plum inks, and the leaves are stamped in Juniper.

Here are some close-ups:






I hope you’ve been inspired to create a little Disney Magic of your own. By the way, did you find the “hidden Mickeys?”

Don’t forget to go out and make something beautiful today. And if you need a little more inspiration, hop on over to Stuck On U Sketches and see what my amazing co-designers are up to!



Life Lessons from My Dog


So let me start by stating outright that I have an extremely quirky dog. She fits in very well around here and we wouldn’t trade her for anything. But, there are times when she makes me shake my head and wonder about her (and my) sanity. Today, however, as I was shaking my head, a little voice whispered, “you know, there’s a lesson in this….”

Let me explain.

Toni (that’s her call name) loves to follow me around. She wants to be in any room I happen to be in.  Her favorite room, by far, is the craft room. (Clearly, she’s my dog….) She loves to follow me in there because she knows that she’ll get several hours of uninterrupted sleep in safety and security. That’s why she follows me around. I’m her pack leader and protector. (Basenjis live in matriarchal packs. My poor husband is merely the guy that takes her for a walk.) 😉 So this is the way it goes, she’s my shadow…until I go Downstairs.

The first floor of our house is a light-filled, airy environment. I spend quite a bit of time down there photographing projects, eating meals, chatting with friends,  playing games with the family, and just living life in general. It’s the hub of our home. It is also the scariest place in the world for Toni.  Downstairs is full of unusual sounds like dishwashers and refrigerators and garage doors. It’s home to the scary smells of strangers and dogs who used to live here and foods that aren’t so tasty in the Basenji’s book. So, Toni will follow me anywhere as long as it doesn’t involve going Downstairs.

When I head down the stairs, Toni follows me to the top of the stairs and then sits down and observes. She peeks around the bannister to see if I’m eating, or what I’m doing.  Sometimes she’ll even come down the stairs about halfway on her own. But if I want her to come down all the way (say to eat breakfast or dinner), I have to start in with the coaxing and calling. My son suggested that we put her food and water bowls at the bottom of the stairs, so that she can eat and run if you will. My response: “No son, she has to learn to trust me.” (Do you see where this is going?)

It’s a pretty obvious lesson really, but how often do I relate to God like Toni relates to me? I’m willing to follow Him as long as He goes to places that I want to go. I’ll follow Him into those places that bring feelings of security. I’m happy to just sit and bask in His presence as long as I feel safe. BUT, when He starts going to those scary places–places full of hard lessons, strange sights, scary sounds–well, then I would rather just sit and wait until He comes back to where I am.

When Toni comes down the stairs, she gets fed. She gets to lay in the sunshine (one of her all time favorite activities). She gets treats. Coming Downstairs is a good thing. When I follow God into the places that are scary and stretching, He gives me good things, too. I learn to trust Him. He is a rewarder of those who seek Him. I get to find Him, to lean on Him, to grow in Him. He protects me and keeps me safe. And yet, while I know all of these things, I would too often rather sit at the top of the stairs and observe. But, you know what? He’s not going to bring my food bowls to me. I have to learn to trust Him. Unlike me, God is infinitely patient. Where I eventually get frustrated with all the calling and coaxing to get Toni to come and eat, God patiently calls me. He knows that when I get hungry enough, I’ll come down. He knows that my deepest desire is to be where He is. Sometimes He picks me up and carries me, and other times He just keeps calling until I finally come down on my own.

But it all comes down to this: either I trust Him or I don’t. Today, I’ve decided to go Downstairs. (I’m hoping that Toni will decide that, too. But if she doesn’t, there’s always tomorrow!)

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