Archive for the ‘Personal’ Category

Today is my 10th wedding anniversary (wow, how did that happen so fast?) AND my little brother is getting married today!  Crazy coincidence?  Maybe October 6th is just a GREAT day for weddings.  I am really looking forward to a fun celebration today.

Of course I wanted some special cards for both these occasions.  I know this is a retired stamp set, but it is the one I used on the wedding invitations I made for my brother and new sister-in-law so I wanted to pull it out again for them, AND the colors are just the same as the ones my husband and I had at our wedding so I made him one that is almost the same.  I love these colors and how they suit this time of year so well but can also be quite masculine.

Here are the cards – one “For the Newlyweds” to give my brother and his brand-new wife, and the other “Happy Anniversary” to give to my husband.


  • Stamp Sets:  Autumn Splendor (retired), Teeny Tiny Wishes
  • Ink:  Cherry Cobbler, Early Espresso
  • Cardstock:  Early Espresso, Cherry Cobbler, Very Vanilla
  • Tools and Accessories:  Big Shot with Labels Framelits and Lacy Brocade embossing folder, Bitty Buttons, Cherry Cobbler baker’s twine


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We have some interesting characters in my family tree.  My great great great grandparents’s farm is on the National Register of Historic Places and there is a decent amount of written history about that branch of my family so I have always been interested in learning more about them, and my mom somehow obtained a very detailed family tree for another branch – apparently my cousin three times removed actually went to our ancestral village in Finland about twenty years ago and looked up all the records in the parish records, so there are literally people on there dating back to the 1600s with full names and dates of birth, marriage, and death.

I made an account on ancestry.com years ago and made a tree for myself with what information I had at the time, but then burned out.  I am too cheap to pay the monthly fee to actually view all the records they tease you with so I basically filled in what info I had gleaned from my parents and grandparents and the rest had big gaps in it.  However, this weekend I got an email from ancestry.com saying that it was free to view all the US census records for a period of time.  Normally I would have had other things to do and probably would not have taken the time to sit down and look at my family tree, but we had spent an entire day doing yardwork and I was ready to devote the rest of my evening to sitting on the couch.  🙂  My husband was working on research for his fantasy football draft (yes, that’s right, hours of research went into it so he could draft the best possible team…) so I thought I’d be companionable and sit down beside him with another computer and take a peek to see if any of my family members could be found in the census records.

OH MY, I found so much information.  It was fascinating!  One record led to another and another and another.  I found addresses for where my great grandparents lived a hundred years ago, I found the names of many of my grandparents’ cousins and even the names of more great great (great great) grandparents.  I now have my tree completely filled out for five generations back, and several branches up to ten generations.  So cool!

I am well aware that no one but me finds the details of all these discoveries even remotely interesting, but here is a neat way to display them in my home:

I am going to grab this cute Sweetly Nested template while the 31% off Digital sale is still going on and use My Digital Studio to fill in names and make some cute artwork for my house.  It is just $3.42 (no tax or shipping on digital downloads!) for this 8.5″x11″ printable.  (Don’t forget that you can still try My Digital Studio free for 30 days.)  You can move things around and add text to your heart’s content, or just take the easy way out and print it as is.  Many of the elements of this picture are included in the download as individual digital stamp brushes so you can use them again on other projects, change colors, etc. and really customize it to suit you.  And once you have the template, you can edit and print as many different versions as you want!

This would make such a nice wedding or anniversary gift, and would be a very special gift for a new baby.  Just print it out and pop it in a cute frame and you have a very special but very frugal gift.  I can already think of about ten people who I could make one for!

Check out the other items that are on sale for 31% off until the middle of this month HERE.

UPDATE:  I have gotten a lot of questions about this template in recent months. Unfortunately, Stampin’ Up! has discontinued all My Digital Studio products and printing services.  If you still have the My Digital Studio software you can still use it with whatever digital content you had already purchased, you will just have to save your projects as a .pdf or .jpg and have them printed elsewhere.  However, if you are looking to purchase digital content like the template pictured above, it is no longer available through my website.  I called to inquire, and since Stampin’ Up holds the copyright to these images I am not allowed to distribute them in any form.  I’m so sorry because I think this one little download is the item I have sold most in my entire career as a Stampin’ Up demonstrator.  If you need any rubber stamps, inks, or papers I’m still your girl, though.  🙂


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When I was a little girl, scratch and sniff was all the rage.  I remember having scratch and sniff stickers that smelled like lime.  I can still remember exactly how that lime smelled, it was delightful.  But better even than stickers was this book (copyright 1978!) that combined the novelty of scratch and sniff with the world of Richard Scarry!  I loved this book when I was in preschool.  So much so that my mom saved it for 30 years so that MY kids could enjoy it.

Now, a few decades spent in an attic seem to have lessened the sniffi-ness of these pages a little bit, but this page still smells EXACTLY like a freshly cut Christmas tree:

And I swear this smells exactly like my grandmother’s pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving Day:

So, is scratch and sniff still cool, or is it a trend that has come and gone?  Let’s experiment and see how the kids of the 21st century like it!  Here is a picture of what happened the first time my daughter looked at this book, she was probably 18 months old.

Oh, it gets even better:

My husband and I were rolling on the floor laughing (although later we admitted this made us a little bit concerned about what her adolescent years may bring…).  But we can definitely say scratch and sniff still has appeal.

So, for the grown up crowd like me who love the way scents can evoke such strong feelings (especially around the holidays!), Stampin’ Up! has come up with another great way to bring smell to paper.  Unlike the scratch and sniff of my childhood, now we have scented embossing powder!  The scent is activated when you heat set the powder.  Scents include peppermint, sugar and spice, vanilla, melon, and cherry – all yummy in their own way! Here’s one I made with the new Peppermint Stick embossing powder in the holiday catalog (I only wish I could convey smell via the internet!).  I CASED this card from Heidi Boos (thank you, Pinterest!)


  • Stamp Sets:  Scentsational Season*, Pennant Parade
  • Ink:  Real Red, Versamark
  • Cardstock:  Whisper White, Real Red, Old Olive DSP (from Brights Collection Designer Series Paper Stack)
  • Tools and Accessories:  Stamp-a-ma-jig, Peppermint Stick scented embossing powder* and heat tool, Big Shot with Labels Framelits and Holiday Collection Framelits*, Bitty Buttons, white baker’s twine, Glue Dot, Stampin’ Dimensionals

*indicates new item from 2012 Holiday Catalog

Tip – These scented powders are clear, so if you want a colored image, you either need to use craft ink or stamp twice – once with your colored Classic ink and then again in Versamark.  Here are the steps I took:

  1. Stamp candy canes using Real Red Classic Ink.
  2. Stamp candy canes again in Versamark (using Stamp-a-ma-jig to place Versamark directly over Real Red image)
  3. Cover versamark with scented embossing powder, shake of excess, and set using a heat tool (as you’re heating, enjoy the amazing scent that fills the room!)
  4. Cut shape out using Big Shot and coordinating Framelit and adhere to card

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Yesterday we took my daughter to her kindergarten orientation.  It’s an exciting new adventure.  FYI, fifth graders look REALLY BIG compared to kindergarteners.  🙂  And elementary schools are big enough these days that we had to consult our floor plan multiple times during orientation.

It definitely went better than my kindergarten orientation in 1983.  That August night, there was a huge summer thunderstorm, the power went out while we were at the school, and most of the orientation was conducted by flashlight.  I was already kind of hesitant about the whole thing, and when my new teacher looked like she might start telling scary campfire stories at any time it did NOT help!  Thankfully when the first day of school came around, the lights were on and my teacher turned out to be pretty much the sweetest lady in the history of the world.

My daughter is much more adventurous and outgoing than I was at that age and she is PUMPED for kindergarten.  She was so excited to meet her teacher (who also seems wonderful) and see her classroom.  She introduced herself to the kid who’s going to sit next to her, she found her locker, she explored the library and gym and cafeteria, we met her bus driver.  That’s right, they had all the BUS DRIVERS at orientation.  I remember my bus driver as being this somewhat intimidating gruff man who pretty much never talked to the kids on the bus unless someone was misbehaving.  Fortunately, my daughter’s bus driver is this super pleasant, friendly lady who seems like she knows all the kids in our neighborhood.

Meeting all these new people (teacher, principal, assistant principal, librarians, bus driver…and we didn’t even meet the PE and music teachers) makes me think about all the little cards and gifts we’re going to want to be handing out around the holidays.  Like I said before, better make a few things a week all fall so I’m not pulling all nighters in November and December.

Here is a neat little card that DOESN’T USE THE BIG SHOT.  Gasp. When was the last time I made a card that did not utilize the Big Shot in some way, whether for embossing or for die cutting?  If you do not own a Big Shot, this one’s for you:


  • Stamp Set: Snowflake Soiree*
  • Ink:  Bashful Blue, Marina Mist, Midnight Muse
  • Cardstock:  Marina Mist, Whisper White
  • Tools and Accessories:  Versamark ink with Pewter embossing powder and a heat tool

* indicates new item from 2012 Holiday Catalog

This card uses a little technique called Triple Time stamping that seems to be a big trend right now, I am seeing it everywhere!  Here’s how you do it:

  1. Cut six pieces of cardstock as follows:  Marina Mist: 8 1/2″x5 1/2″ (card base), 3 1/4″x4 1/2″, 2 1/4″x3 1/2″;  Whisper White:  4″x5 1/4″, 3″x4 1/4″, 2″x3 1/4″.   This should only take one 8 1/2″x11″ sheet of each color and you will have scrap left over for another project.
  2. Stack up your three pieces of white cardstock (arranged concentrically).  I recommend using a teensy bit of temporary adhesive between layers so they don’t accidentally shift when you stamp on them…I used a tiny swipe of glue stick which did the trick and unstuck easily when I was ready to separate the three pieces to be adhered to the Marina Mist mats.
  3. Stamp as desired on the assembly of white cardstock.  Try to distribute your images randomly yet evenly throughout the space, and definitely stamp across the edges of your smaller pieces of cardstock.  You will notice that there is a small gap in the stamped image between the edge of one layer and the continuation of the image on the layer below, but don’t worry…the Marina Mist borders will hide that when you add them in the next step.  If you plan to stamp a sentiment on your card, leave a space for it so things don’t look too busy.
  4. Separate the white pieces of cardstock and adhere them to the corresponding Marina Mist cardstock.  Then adhere the layers to the front so that the stamped images align correctly across the layers.  Easy peasy!

Try this technique with different colors and stamp sets.  I have seen lovely versions done with floral stamps and summery colors, and I can’t wait to try something with leaves and my Rich Regal ink colors for the fall!

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My parents were here visiting this past weekend to celebrate my son’s birthday, and as usual my mom had brought along some stuff from her house to give me.  Does anyone else’s mom do this?  It used to be that she would always bring along a box of stuff from my old room that she wanted out of her house and into my own, which makes sense (always a trip down memory lane, too…my entire collection of earrings from the early 90s?  Wow.)  However, I think in the twelve years since I moved out of her house she has brought me every single item that was in my old room, and now she has moved on and started to bring me stuff of her own, or things from my grandma’s house.  This time it was a silver platter with dogwood leaves and some brand new Pampered Chef bowls that she felt obligated to order at someone’s party but didn’t really need for herself.  And a sweet card from her and my dad that came enclosed in the most beautiful envelope.  I saw this envelope and immediately wanted to make something just like it:

I don’t know whether it was the color combination or the leaf images (I LOVE all things with trees and leaves) that grabbed me, but the whole thing appealed to me a lot.  I don’t have a leaf shaped stamp exactly like that, but the pattern in the leaves reminded me a bit of the largest flower from the new Betsy’s Blossom set.  I added and embellished a little, and here is what I came up with:


  • Stamp Sets:  Betsy’s Blossoms, Curly Cute
  • Ink:  Raspberry Ripple (New In Color!), Old Olive, Perfect Plum
  • Cardstock:  Old Olive, River Rock, Whisper White
  • Tools and Accessories:  Paper Snips, Stampin’ Dimensionals (the bird is snipped out and popped up for a little added interest

I think I might try again with Rich Razzleberry for the blossom (more like the inspiration envelope), but I like this one a lot!

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I have two precious preschool age children who I think are more excited about Mother’s Day than I am.  (I am thinking I had better savor this stage while it lasts, before they are embarrassed to be seen kissing me…or even to be seen with me…)

They have both been working really hard on all kinds of Mother’s Day projects for me at school this week.  On Friday, my 5 year old daughter’s class hosted a “Moms and Me” party after lunch, so I got to go visit her class and have lemonade and cookies with all the other moms and kids and receive some lovely Mother’s Day gifts.  She is SO excited about the card she made me and wants me to post it here for everyone to see:

Love the stamp camp reference.  🙂  I am glad to see that I am perceived as being super tall and skinny…but maybe I have overdone it on the dinnertime acting when I tell my kids how YUMMY their vegetables are.  And lucky me, my husband saw that suggestion about going to Bridge Street and thought it was a great idea!  I think we are going out to eat instead of a movie, but I am looking forward to it!

Each mom also received a vase with two roses.  You may not be able to tell in the picture, but that vase is LOADED with glitter.  After carrying it out to the car I was quite sparkly (but I love it!)

Caroline confided to me after school that the vase was made from a beer bottle.  She assured me that it had been washed out and the label had been removed (“so you can’t tell there was BEER in it, Mom.”) but stickler for details that she is, she felt she had to disclose that little fact.  I now have an image in my head of her two sweet preschool teachers getting together one weekend to drink 14 beers so that all their little students would have materials for this week’s art projects.  Who knows, maybe they NEED 14 beers to face the ordeal of turning 14 preschoolers loose with glue and glitter?  They do a fantastic job and we love them so much – I will share all the goodies I make for end of the year teacher gifts next week.

I hope all of you have a wonderful Mother’s Day weekend and enjoy some great family time!

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It is consignment sale season at our house and it is taking over my stamping time/space!

With two preschoolers at our house who are growing amazingly fast, we need new clothes and lots of them pretty much every season.  This can get super pricey if you’re not careful (or if Grandma hasn’t been to visit in awhile…).  I was so excited to discover children’s consignment sales when my daughter was a baby – you can tag all those clothes that your kid only wore three times before she grew out of them and sell them!  For money!  Then you can also shop at the sale for larger sizes and clothe your children for the next season on the cheap.  At first I thought “oh, it’s just going to be a bunch of worn out old clothes” but I gave it a chance and there is great stuff in there!  I’ve gotten my daughter beautiful smocked dresses with the tags still on for like $5…LOVE those consignment sales!

Well, actually it is a love/hate relationship.  Right now I am in tagging mode, which means I am trying to round up EVERYTHING in our house that is outgrown, ironing it, putting it on a hanger, and pricing it.  This would be plenty of work as it is, but I have to deal with this as I go:

“MOMMY!  Why did you take my pretty pink shirt with the sparkles out of my drawer?  I LOVE that shirt!”

Yes, but it is too small, so we are going to sell it and get you some new clothes.

“But I want my sparkles!”

But I can see your belly button when you wear it.  I will buy you a new sparkly shirt.

“I want THIS one!  MOMMY!  Why is my Lego train in here!  Are you taking it away??”

That train says it is for ages 6-12 months.  You haven’t played with it since 2010.

“But I want to keep it!”

Sigh.  I am pretty sure one or both of these children may end up on the show “Hoarders” when they grow up.  I do this twice a year, and twice a year I question whether it is worth the hassle, but I have to keep telling myself that in a few weeks our closets will be neater and I will get a big check from the consignment sale and I will love it.

So anyway, this insanity is what is going on in my craft room these days instead of as much stamping as I like.  HOWEVER, as part of my big stamp space makeover, I did get this little number put together recently:

This is my birthday present from my sweet husband (even though my birthday isn’t until the end of this month).  Just look at all that storage space and big work surface.  What a great, great guy.  I am having the most fun filling those 14 drawers with all my stamping goodies (so hopefully it will no longer look like I need to be on “Hoarders”!)  I have hanging files in the two bottom drawers on the right hand side for all my 8.5″x11″ cardstock to be filed (yes, it fills up two whole drawers), another of the big drawers on the left is for all my Big Shot dies and embossing folders, and the smaller drawers contain things like adhesives, scissors, my embossing powders and heat gun, etc. etc.  Can’t wait to make labels for the fronts of the drawers using My Digital Studio and continue organizing things.  My stamps are still on bookshelves in the opposite corner of the room waiting to be moved over, and I have a trip to IKEA in Atlanta planned for this spring to get some rails so I can store my punches on the wall above my work surface.

I think my biggest challenge right now is what to do with my big paper cutter.  I don’t feel like it is safe to leave it out on the surface of the desk while I have preschool age kids who are sharing this space with me, but the handle is too long for it to fit inside a drawer.  Any genius suggestions from my creative readers out there?

As I am making my kids purge some of their stuff, Stampin’ Up! is also doing a little spring cleaning of their own by retiring a bunch of stamp sets in the current catalog to make room for new stamps in the 2012-2013 Catalog.  You can read more about it here or just click the image below to see the list itself.



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