Archive for October, 2013


Just a reminder, today is the LAST DAY of the 25% off 25 stamp sets sale.  Don’t miss out!

If you place an order today, you will be entered in a drawing to win the hostess benefits and enjoy a little shopping spree in the Stampin’ Up catalog!  Each $25 you spend earns you one entry in the drawing.  Just click here to shop in my online store, and enter the hostess code YPBWBUFH in the lower left hand corner of your screen when you are viewing your shopping cart.  I will notify the winner this afternoon via email.

Now on to some fun festive projects!  I met up with some of my stamping friends for dinner last week – always fun to see these sweet ladies and just as fun to share ideas with each other!  We each made some fun holiday-themed projects to swap, I’ll share them with you over the next few days.  Here is an adorable pumpkin from Beth Crocker that I just love (and aren’t I disciplined that I did not eat the chocolate yet?  No guarantees on how long it will last now that I have the pictures I need…)



  • Stamp Set:  none!
  • Ink:  Early Espresso (Stampin’ Write Marker)
  • Cardstock:  Pumpkin Pie
  • Tools:  Simply Scored, glue

What a cute idea for Halloween gifts for teachers, neighbors, coworkers – just a fun little something that is especially appropriate for those not into the whole creepy/scary Halloween scene.

I believe the tutorial for this project came from Brenda Quintana at http://www.qbeesquest.blogspot.com.  I know I have seen other cute chocolate kiss-based projects there before.  🙂


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On Wednesday it was 40 degrees outside when we woke up.  Now, for a girl who grew up in the mountains of Virginia and routinely spent hours upon hours outside sledding on snow days, 40 degrees is not all that cold.  To me, 40 degrees at 7 AM means i should probably wear jeans and a sweater and it ought to warm up to a nice 60 degrees or so by the middle of the day.  If you listen to my friends and neighbors here in Alabama, you would think the next Ice Age is upon us.  Lots of facebook comments in my news feed about how miserable this weather is and when is springtime coming back.

My son, who like me is relatively unaffected by cold weather, insisted on dressing himself in shorts and a t shirt.  We had a long argument about whether pants and long sleeves might be more appropriate… and I lost.  I tried sending him outside in his shorts well before time to leave for school hoping that he would get cold and change his mind.  Instead he was like “I feel great, Mommy!  Can I ride my bike until it’s time to go?”   You should have seen the looks I got when I dropped him off in the school carline.  I am not going to win the mother of the year award if the preschool staff have anything to say about it.  Hey, at least I convinced him to put a jacket on!

Since everyone else thinks it is so wintry and cold around here, let’s play with snowflake stamps!  Here is a project that my stamp club members got to make this fall:

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  • Don’t you love those realistic-looking snowdrifts?  This takes about 30 seconds to do, seriously.  I just cut two rectangles of Whisper White cardstock to the correct width to fit on the front of the card, and then I tore the top edge of each in a curved shape.  No tools required, I just freehanded it.  Make two different curves so that when you place the pieces on top of one another, you can see one snowdrift in the foreground and another in the background.  Then before adhering these pieces to the front of your card, just get some Soft Sky ink on your sponge dauber and sponge it right onto the torn edge of the cardstock – this goes a long way to provide a little depth to your scene.
  • Using the same color ink as your cardstock for the snowflakes makes for a great subtle background.  I did a very similar version of this card last year with Bashful Blue which retired earlier this year, but I am happy to have replaced it with Soft Sky ink and cardstock for a fresh new look!  I also used the Snowflake Soiree stamp set which is still available for purchase.  It does not have spiffy coordinating framelits that cut them out perfectly, but it IS one of our 25 stamp sets that is on sale for 25% off this week!  If you are looking for a bargain on snowflakes this is a great chance:


If you really really love the Festive Flurry snowflakes that I used on the card shown above, you can save 15% by purchasing the stamp set and coordinating framelits as a bundle!

If you have been contemplating a stamp purchase, TODAY is the best day to do that.  For one day only, everything in the universe has aligned so that you have SO MANY discounts all applicable at the same time:

  1. 25% off 25 stamp sets
  2. Weekly Deals while supplies last – this week the discounted items include the Dress Up Framelits, Sweet Pressed Cookie Stamps, a rotary stamp, and Halloween digital downloads.
  3. Thank You Thursday deals – discounts on selected items for one day only (today it happens to be a lot of great Big Shot accessories)
  4. Mystery Hostess drawing – for each $25 you spend on purchases from me now through Monday morning, you will receive one entry into my drawing for FREE HOSTESS BENEFITS.  Who wouldn’t love a little free shopping spree?  If you are shopping online, just use the hostess code YPBWBUFH at checkout to enter the drawing.  You will see a box for the code in the lower left hand corner of your screen after you have placed an item in your shopping cart.  If you’re a local customer just e-mail me your order at stephanie.kokan@gmail.com and you’ll save a little on shipping!  The drawing for hostess benefits will be held at noon central time on October 28th so get your orders in before then!!

Happy stamping!  I’m going out and about with my little boy who decided to dress himself from head to toe in fleece today.  Ha!

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We looked at a Thanksgiving card yesterday, so why not start looking at Christmas cards next?

I was mildly horrified to go to Home Depot on Sunday afternoon to buy a couple extra rakes (because our children are now big enough to do manual labor for us – yay!) and find that the entire indoor garden section had already been taken over by Christmas decorations.  I mean, what about Halloween, what about Thanksgiving?  Of course the kids were beside themselves to find that such a thing as an inflatable Tyrannosaurus Rex wearing a Santa hat exists in this world!  What fun!  Can we buy it, Mom, can we buy it?

Sigh.  How about if we start stockpiling some handmade cards for all those teacher gifts and neighbor gifts that we’ll be handing out in December?

When you look at the Mosaic Madness stamp set, is Christmas the first thing that comes to mind?


It was not the first thing that came to my mind.  If anything, I can imagine using some of these shapes as ornaments, but when I was browsing Pinterest one night and saw where someone had used them to make up a whole tree, I was blown away!  Thanks, Rachel Woollard, for this fabulous idea!



  • Stamp Sets:  Mosaic Madness, Sweet Essentials
  • Ink:  Garden Green, Old Olive, Pear Pizzazz, Wild Wasabi, Always Artichoke, Real Red
  • Cardstock:  Real Red, Whisper White, Real Red Glimmer Paper, Soft Suede
  • Tools and Accessories:  Mosaic Punch, Dimensionals, paper snips, and I made the red star using a retired set of framelits from last year but I think the Frosted Finishes embellishments would look stunning as well:



  • I stamped an assortment of the mosaic shape in a variety of ink colors and punched them all out at once.  It really saves a lot of cardstock if you use a long strip about 1″ wide and stamp a whole row of shapes on it to be punched out.   This is a great use for scraps that you are hanging onto (I don’t know about everyone else, but I keep a giant folder full of Whisper White scraps from previous projects and I always go digging in there for projects like this that need small pieces rather than cut up a full sheet.)
  • I used my Petite Pennants Punch to cut a piece of Soft Suede and snipped off the pointy end to make the “pot” that the tree is sitting in.  The tree trunk is a small scrap that I just cut freehand with my paper snips.

Don’t forget all the promotions that are going on right now:


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Stampin’ Up!’s 25th Anniversary celebration just keeps getting better and better.  October has been the best month yet in my opinion!

This morning Stampin’ Up rolled out a list of 25 stamp sets that will be available for 25% off between now and October 28!  Both wood mount and clear mount are on sale, as well as the French & Spanish versions of the stamps.

But wait, there’s more!  I am going to jump on the bandwagon and offer a mystery hostess drawing!  For every $25 you spend in my online store before noon central time on October 28th, you will receive one entry into the drawing.  I’ll draw a name at noon central time on 10/28 and the winning name will get a shopping spree – a chance to pick whatever goodies they want using the hostess benefits earned from everyone’s orders put together! Hostess benefits start at $25 but can go way up from there depending on how many people participate.  Don’t forget, that promotion where hostesses get a $25 bonus for parties $250 and up is still going on!!

To participate in the mystery hostess drawing, shop in my online store and use the hostess code YPBWBUFH in the lower left corner of the screen at checkout.  Local customers, you can email me your order and have it shipped to my house to save a little on shipping.


Another bonus!  Today is Tuesday so the Weekly Specials have just been posted.  These are selected current items available at a discount while supplies last.  Looks like COOKIE STAMPS are included among other things this week, so if you have been wanting to get those for the holidays now is your chance!!  Weekly special purchases do count toward your mystery hostess entry.


Finally, one more big announcement:  Stampin’ Up has extended the $25 Starter Kit deal for one more day.  You now have until the end of today to take advantage of this deal if you would like to.  Click HERE to find out more!!

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Thanksgiving is my FAVORITE holiday.   I love fall, I love pumpkin pie, I love getting together with family and friends.  Did I mention the pumpkin pie?  I have already made two in the last week and it is only the middle of October!

One thing that we do every night with our children when we say our bedtime prayers is to take a few minutes and talk about what we are thankful for.  When my daughter was two, she had a six month run where every single night she was thankful for dirt, worms, flowers, and Mommy.  In that order.  (That’s right, I came in fourth to DIRT.  🙂  That girl loves to garden!)  My son often tells me he is thankful for dinosaurs, but he melts my heart when he says how thankful he is for his little buddy Nathaniel who has successfully recovered from multiple open heart surgeries.

Since we make a point every day to consciously list things we are thankful for, I just love the idea of a whole holiday devoted to that idea.  Even better, it is not crazy commercialized.  There is no merchandise or expectation of gifts – just a pure celebration of thankfulness!  Since we have decreed Thanksgiving as the one holiday where we do NOT travel to see family (we see BOTH sides for Christmas in a giant road trip around the southeast), I am making a card to send instead.  This one is gorgous but super quick to make with simple shapes and just two stamps!

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  • Stamp Sets:  Magnificent Maple, Banner Greetings (hostess set)
  • Ink:  Crushed Curry, Tangerine Tango
  • Cardstock:  Crushed Curry, Chocolate Chip, Very Vanilla, Sweater Weather DSP
  • Tools and Accessories:  None!  Well, paper snips and adhesive, but that’s it!


  • I used a technique called Rock and Roll for this one to get two ink colors on one stamp.  It’s really really easy.  Just ink the entire stamp in one color (in this case the Crushed Curry), and then roll the edge of the stamp on a different colored ink pad (in this case Tangerine Tango).  Gives you a cool two-color effect with no special tools required.
  • I would recommend starting with a lighter color for the whole stamp and using a darker color around the edge – otherwise you will get darker ink polluting your lighter color ink pad.  You don’t want to put orange splotches in your nice yellow ink pad!
  • I stamped the banner greeting on a scrap piece of Very Vanilla cardstock and cut it out using my handy paper snips before adhering it to the front of the card.

Don’t forget that today is the LAST DAY to join the Stampin’ Up family for only $25.  Tomorrow the price goes back up to $99.  If you have ever thought you’d like to learn more about being a demonstrator (or even if you haven’t but getting a 20% discount on all your future purchases sounds appealing), now is the time!  There is truly no obligation to buy or sell anything else once you have purchased the $25 starter kit – you get until March 31 2014 to enjoy the perks of being a demonstrator even if you never hold a workshop or meet a sales quota.  I would love to have you on my team!  You can join the fun right here.

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My kids are huge into Halloween decor.  If they had their way, we would have giant inflatable spiders on our front lawn and skeletons and ghosts everywhere in the house.  Every time we have been out to Target or even the grocery store over the past month, they beg me to push the cart through the Halloween section just so they can look at all the scary costumes and decor.  They have been busy plotting their jack-o-lantern designs for weeks – there has been much discussion about scary eyes and jagged teeth.  And this morning my sweet innocent four year old drew me a picture of a ghost “with blood coming out of its mouth”.  This is what comes from never letting him watch any television besides educational shows on PBS Kids!?

Too bad for them, I am NOT a fan of ghoulish Halloween decor.  I am more into pumpkins and candy corn and the kind of ghosts who are cute, not creepy.

I DO like the Witches’ Brew Halloween paper from the holiday catalog.  While some of the pages do have some creepy images (there are skulls and crossbones, as well as spiders), none of it is over the top.  And because the 12″x12″ sheets are all double sided, you can always just skip the ones with skulls and choose the pattern on the opposite side of the paper.  I love the color scheme – Basic Black, Pumpkin Pie, and Summer Starfruit.  Perfect Halloween colors!

So here is my idea of appropriate Halloween decor:

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  • Cardstock:  Witches’ Brew DSP, Pumpkin Pie
  • Tools and Accessories:  10″ styrofoam wreath form, Sticky Strip, Simply Scored, Big Shot with Typeset Alphabet dies, hot glue gun

See, there are some skulls and spiderwebs and bats, but by cutting the paper into strips it kind of limits the creepy factor since you only see them in small doses.  The overall result is festive rather than creepy-crawly.

The DSP is cut into strips 1 1/2″ wide x 12″ long, and it takes 21 of them to go around the 10″ wreath form.  I used three additional 1 1/2″ strips scored at every 1/4″ to make the three rosettes where the letters spelling BOO are adhered.   Obviously this is an indoor decoration – don’t put a paper wreath outside where it can get rained on or it will look sad mighty fast.

I just love this project concept – I have made additional versions in Sweater Weather paper for November and Season of Style paper for December.  If you’d like to make a wreath yourself and you live in the Hunstville/Madison AL area, I am offering this project as a private class.  The fee is $15 per wreath – just get five or more people together and contact me at stephanie.kokan@gmail.com to select your date and time!  Makes for a great girls’ night!


Don’t forget, just a few days left before the $25 Starter Kit deal goes away!  Click the image above to find out more and sign up right online.  Once you have purchased the starter kit, you will enjoy demonstrator privileges until March 2014 with NO further obligation to purchase or sell anything.  I’d love to have you on my team, whether you want to be a hobby demonstrator just for the discount on your own purchases or whether you want to build a business and enjoy an extra source of income – you are welcome whether you live in Alabama or on the other side of the country.   I am here to answer any questions before AND after you sign up – just email me at stephanie.kokan@gmail.com!

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When I opened my September Paper Pumpkin kit, I just started laughing.  The kit is designed to make four congratulations cards, with stamps reading “Wahoo! and “You did it!”

Why so funny?  I went to school at the University of Virginia, where our official mascot is the Cavaliers, but unofficially we are Wahoos.  I mean, it’s the #1 definition of Wahoo on urbandictionary.com.   I spent a lot of time in college cheering Wahoowah!  Go Hoos!

Okay, okay – on to the actual cards.  I love the Wahoo! stamp, but I send relatively few congratulations cards so I thought I’d play around with some other sentiments as well.  The basic color scheme and graphics are fairly masculine, so I grabbed some other stamps off my shelf and made one into a Father’s Day card and a couple thank you cards.

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  • All materials for the Wahoo! card were included in the September 2013 Paper Pumpkin kit.  The ink color is Midnight Muse.  To find out more about Paper Pumpkin and how to get it, click here.  It is a fun subscription service that sends you a project kit once a month.  The kit includes absolutely everything you need for a project…even stamps and ink!  All cardstock is precut or prescored and you just get to do the fun part of putting it together.
  • I did use the Delightful Dozen stamp set for the Father’s Day card and my Another Thank You photopolymer stamp set for the Thank you card.  The Seriously, you kick booty stamps were from a prior Paper Pumpkin kit (April 2013?) and are not for sale at this time.

In addition to making the cards from the Paper Pumpkin kit, I just couldn’t resist making myself a little something with that Wahoo stamp.  I used my Stampin’ Write markers (Tangerine Tango and Midnight Muse) to achieve the alternating colors, and my Stamp-a-ma-jig helped me get it lined up perfectly:

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There are just a few days left in October’s fantastic Starter Kit deal!  If you have ever wanted to become a demonstrator, now is a great time.  For just a few more days, you can get a starter kit for just $25 (normally $99)!  For that $25 you will receive any $26.95 of your choice in Stampin’ Up product as well as a pack of business supplies, and you get to enjoy the perks of being a demonstrator through March 2014 with no further obligation to purchase or sell a thing!

I would love to have you on my team, whether you want to grow a business or just be a hobby demonstrator and enjoy discounts on your own purchases!  Whether you live here in the Huntsville area or if you live all the way on the other side of the country – I’m here to answer any questions you may have, before AND after you sign up.   You can ask me anything at stephanie.kokan@gmail.com, or click here to sign up online!

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