December 31, 2016


I'd just like to take this opportunity to wish you 
a Warm and Cozy New Year. 
I hope 2017 is very good to you all.


December 28, 2016


I am almost finished with the 30 Days of Creativity Challenge sponsored by +ppsuae, Pretty Papers.

This card is the one I created for Day 27 on which the prompt was Brads. This gave me the perfect opportunity to use one of the beautiful antique brads from Stampin' Up! I'd had one package of these brads, and have been pretty much hoarding them, saving them for those projects that are "just right" for them. The one in the center of my flower on this card is my fourth last brad. <sniff> 

Another Stampin' Up! product that I have been shamelessly hoarding is the sumptuous background Designer Series Paper I used on this card. Each and every one of the designs in this little pad of paper are simply wonderful, and, once again, are meant for just the right project.

 A bit of a strange perspective on the lovely Antique Brad in close-up:

This card ended up being 5" x 5". And it was ever so much fun to make!

I have only three more days left of the Challenge. The last three prompts are Blend, Mask, and Thank You. I think I am going to make it. 

I'd wondered about my sanity in taking on a challenge for the month of December. The days over Christmas, when I had a house full of company. were especially challenging. 

It's been a fun and, yes, challenging, journey. Thank you +ppsuae for letting me play along!

(the only kind of smile I really have nowadays)

December 24, 2016


 My Christmas Wish for All of Us?
That's not asking too much, is it?


This is a card I created for a 30 Days of Creativity Challenge hosted by @ppaue on Instagram. The prompt for that particular day -- Day 5 of the challenge -- was WHITE. 

If you would like to see all the cards I've made so far for the challenge, you can check them out HERE.

May you create wonderful Christmas memories -- and STAY SAFE!


December 21, 2016


Each year, I create a special ornament for my granddaughter, Stella. This is the 2016 ornament. I hope she likes it!


December 18, 2016


Last year, shortly before Christmas, two of us went to our County Jail to help inmates make Christmas cards to be sent to their loved ones. That occasion was the first time we had ever undertaken such an outreach project. Lori, the facilitator, was present simply as another body. This was really my project. And I have to admit that just thinking about it made me a nervous wreck. 

However, after we had concluded our two hours with about 20 male inmates, I had to admit that it was a good, satisfying project to have done.

This year when I was asked, I agreed without hesitation. You see, now I was a pro. And this didn't bother me in the least. 

Last year, I had had very little time to prepare (and be nervous!), so I was forced to utilize supplies that I'd already had in my stash. This year, however, I had ample time to get ready (and fret -- nah. I was OK.) So, I worked on it a little bit each day for about a week, and was prepared way ahead of time.

Being that we were taking these projects into a jail system, we were very limited as to what we could bring along. I'd had the idea of die cutting numerous snowflakes for them to incorporate into their cards. You know how when you diecut something intricate, so many of the little pieces stay in place (if you don't use the brush and pad system to remove them). So, I had the brainy idea of having the guys use toothpicks to poke out all those teeny pieces. I thought it would be somewhat time-consuming and keep them busy awhile longer. But, I was told that toothpicks could not be brought into the jail. 

I spent hours doing all the prep work for these simple cards that unexperienced papercrafters wouldn't have any trouble putting together. 

For these more serious red and green cards, I went to the Dollar Tree and purchased two packs of Christmas cards that I thought would work well for my project. I proceeded to fussy cut all the ornaments and trees. Then, from another portion of the cards, I punched snowflakes into circles. The polka dot strip across the bottom was another part of the cards that I merely cut to size. The rest of the supplies came from my existing stash.

What I ended up doing for the turquoise cards was purchase two packs of cute holiday-printed cardstock at Michael's. I then utilized almost entire sheets, by punching and punching and punching. The greetings across the bottom of the card were from a sheet from the second pack. It was a sheet of rows and rows of holiday phrases. I used my papercutter to slice these all to size.

I put all the individual supplies into separate plastic bags so they'd be easy to distribute when I got to the jail. I kept the two cards as separate projects, so they worked on only one design at a time. Since I had done all the prep work, that didn't leave a whole lot for the guys to do themselves. But, I gave them choices to make and told them that, even though I had sample cards for them to look at, it was only an idea of what it could look like using the supplies I gave them, that they were to feel free to make them completely their own. 

And they did!

Few of the cards looked like my examples. They truly did make them reflect their own personalities and tastes. In fact, many of the guys combined components from each of the cards together on one card. I was proud of the care they took in their creating for the most part. I did a lot of running around, redistributing wayward supplies. but the only real help I offered them was to a few who needed help tying their bows.

The guys were all very well-behaved and I heard "thank you" many times. Some even shook our hands as they left the room one by one. It was a gratifying experience that I hope to be offered next year again.


December 14, 2016


This card was one of the toughest I've had to come up with for the 30 Days of Creativity Challenge hosted by Pretty Paper so far. You see, the prompt for this day was ACRYLIC. Acrylic, yeah. I usually don't use acrylic in my cardmaking, except for the acrylic blocks on which I stick my stamps.

What to do?

A couple months ago, I had given my Gelli Plate a try and made some rudimentary prints. I use acrylic paints to do these prints. So, I shuffled through the pathetic prints I had, trying to find SOMEthing that might work for a card. 

Well, I finally came across this purple on white print. Very basic, done with a stencil. But, when I looked at it, it reminded me of gusting wind during a winter snowstorm.

So I cut the print down to proper size and used it for my background, and this card was born:

To me, the dimension of this card in all its layers is especially appealing.

Don't you just love the neat line of "stitching" on the darker purple circle? 
That is one of the 12 dies that were available only during November. 
But, don't worry. Stampin' Up! will be bringing them back in their annual catalog in June!

At first, I was struck by how BUSY this card was. When my husband professed to like it a lot, I questioned the busy-ness. He shrugged. I must admit that the card has grown on me, and now whenever I look at it, I feel somewhat delighted inside.


December 11, 2016


As I mentioned in my post last Sunday, I am participating in a 30 Days of Creativity Challenge through Pretty Paper Studio on Instagram. 

Each day -- December 1-30 -- we participants are given a prompt. We can interpret this prompt in any creative way we like. Since I am primarily a cardmaker, I decided from Day 1 that each of my 30 days would feature a card.

The prompt for Day 7 was "work space". Oh my. That leaves me with LOTS of options. You see, until I really really have to put things away, I usually go from one project to another, without cleaning away the stuff I'd just used. Consequently, there are always lots of supplies lying about in my work space. 

This one was sort of a no brainer. I had used my Copic Markers to color in a whole bunch of these cute Cookie Cutter Santas, punched them out, and they were just lolling around, waiting for me to do something with them. Since I'd made enough Christmas cards to send out, and these were supposed to go on Christmas cards, they didn't have a home. Sad, eh? Santa without a home?!?

So, I went to work on one of the plethora of Santas I had colored and punched. Here's what I came up with:

Below is a closer look at how I colored all these cute Santas. I thought I would show you that to explain the strange color combination I used for the dots in my background.

The background dots were punched with the 1/2", 3/4" and 1" Circle Punches.

Do you notice the "stitching" around the perimeter of the oval on which my Santa rests? Yup. That is one of the new Stitched Framelits. Those are simply the bestest!

I hope you're all having lots of fun with the cute characters in these Cookie Cutter sets and then punching them out with the coordinating punch! And acutally DOING something with them!

I'd love it if you'd check out all of my Days of Creativity submissions on my Instagram account. 
And feel free to follow me if you care to!


December 7, 2016


At my November Stamp-In Workshop, my girls made these cute little ornaments. The base, created with the Merry Tags Framelits and Copper Foil Sheets (page 47), is at the same time intricate and simple. The Copper Foil is exquisite, and you feel like you are working with a fine metal. 

Measuring just 2" across, plus the hanger, it is the perfect-sized ornament for a Christmas tree. 

Two of the components to create this lovely little ornament are retiring. The Merry Tags Framelits (Item 141835 found on page 21 of the Holiday Catalog) are now half price at $12.50. The matching stamp set, Merriest Wishes (142063/142066, also found on the same page), is now at 15% discount for the clear set. 

Do you remember those beauteous ornaments that were featured on the cover of the Holiday Catalog a few years ago? As a reminder, check it out HERE. Anyway, just for those ornament creations, Stampin' Up! had a set of Basic Pearls in a much larger set. Of course, I didn't make just too many of those complicated ornaments, so I had quite a few of those pearls left over. They were the perfect addition to complete this ornament. Don't you agree?

If you'd like to try your hand at creating this ornament, here's how:


Copper Foil Sheets (page 47 in the Holiday Catalog)
Whisper White cardstock

Merriest Wishes stamp set

VersaMark Ink

Big Shot
Merry Tags Framelits (page 21 in the Holiday Catalog)
Copper Embossing Powder
Embossing Buddy
Heat Tool
Sticky Notes
Giant Pearl
Stampin' Dimensionals
Metallic Cord


From a 2 1/2" square piece of Copper Foil Sheet, cut out the ornament with the appropriate Framelits. LAY THE COPPER SIDE DOWN WITH THE FRAMELIT CUTTING EDGE AGAINST THE WHITE SIDE!! (Ask me how I know that. There is a crumpled piece of this copper foil in my wastebasket.) Once the ornament is cut, use the foam and roller brush to remove it from the die. You may have to work carefully to get it released. Don't force it. It is fragile and can tear. It's frustrating, I know, but it is worth it. Right?

On a scrap of Whisper White cardstock, after rubbing it well with the Embossing Buddy, stamp the spoked center in VersaMark ink. At the heat station, pour Copper Embossing Powder on the stamped image, tapping the excess powder back into its container. Heat to emboss.

Once this is cool (it just takes seconds), you will cut it out with the appropriate round Framelit from the same die set. In order to make sure that the white outside edge is VERY even, take a strip of sticky paper and lay it over the die once you have it in place before you run it through the Big Shot.

Add a giant pearl to the center.

Attach the circle to the center of the copper ornament with a Stampin' Dimensional.

Loop a piece of metallic cord through the top and knot the ends.

If you would like to catch these good deals before they are all sold out, order them through the Store on, and don't forget to name me as your demonstrator! Before you place your order, however, check out all the offerings. There are some really great prices!


December 4, 2016


I have never taken part in a 30-day Instagram Challenge before. It seems like I find out about these cool creative challenges, oh, maybe three or four days into the challenge. This time, however, I was pleased to find a challenge BEFORE it began. 

I questioned my sanity to take on a challenge during DECEMBER. But, then I discovered that my daughter, Emily Balsley, is doing a challenge this month, so, I figured that if she can manage it, why can't I? So, I decided to give it a whirl.

This 30 Days of Creativity is hosted by Pretty Paper Studio. They go under @ppsuae on Instagram if you'd like to check them out.

Anyway, the prompt for day one was "Flowers". So, I thought, we're coming up on the Christmas season, so what would be more appropriate than a beautiful poinsettia?

I had stamped this poinsettia from a retired Stampin' Up! set onto a pink cardstock and its leaves <obviously> on green cardstock. While they were pretty enough, they appeared sort of "flat". So I got out my Prismacolor pencils and added some life to the petals and the leaves. I am much happier with them now.

Do you remember that wonderful background stamp of a few years ago called Hello Doily? Well, I will definitely never forget it or stop using it, for two reasons: it is just so lovely and real-looking, and since my mom makes beautiful crocheted doilies, it reminds me of her every time I see/use it.

Stamped in Whisper White Craft Ink onto black cardstock, it looks like a real doily on which I set my lively poinsettia blossom.

I liked the way it looked lying on the doily and the black against the gold sparkle. But it just needed a little something more.So, I decided to add the 'tis the Season sentiment gold embossed on Vellum Cardstock. I carefully cut out the arched shape and added it to my card with some glue in two very important spots. Yup. You could see the glue through the vellum (what else is new??!?), so I hid my glue areas with two 1/4" dots I'd punched from the gold glitter paper. 

A close-up of the liveliness I added to the petals and leaves:

Since I popped the flower up on the doily with Stampin' Dimensionals, it lifts a bit away from the doily, giving it the illusion of being more three-dimensional:

Today I get to do Day 4 of the challenge, in which the prompt is "Mini". I know exactly what I am going to create, but I have to get a few more things finished before I can get creative.

Eventually I will post all 30 of the creations I made for the challenge. But, for now, I will just stick with seasonal-looking days. Stay tuned!