Friday, December 30, 2011

Happy Snowman!

   Happy almost New Year to everyone!  Of course, this is as close as we've been to snow since Octsnowber...paper crafted images on paper with bright, swirly colors!  [Have you seen the movie, "Elf"?  I cannot hear, write, or speak the word "swirly" anymore without conjuring the funniest images and laughing out loud!  'I like to whisper too....']  You'll understand if you've seen the movie!  [oh--and the link takes you to a favorite movie website of mine too!]
   I used a bunch of scraps for my holiday cards this year...didn't get to them in time for Christmas greetings, and decided to go with Happy ______ [fill in the blank with whatever makes you happy!]  I had some of these pieces of blue embossed paper I made last year for a color challenge over at the Hero Arts blog.  They've been in my scrap [cardboard shoe] box since then.  I made some fresh snowmen [my favorite one in my extensive collection of them] and proceeded to build some fun.  I discovered a few tricks along the way I thought I'd share in case you could use them too!
   I liked this layout the best of the set...thought it balanced well, and I really like how the snowflakes turned out--that's the first thing I discovered while making these.  I wanted just the same color as I'd used in the marker to color the scarf, and found out that just drawing some lines on photo paper scrap not only dried instantly with my water-based markers, the technique will lend itself to a variety of free-hand designs I plan to experiment with later!
   Here a couple more I made for the set using the marker, snowflake punch, inchie punch and layering ideas.  Also used my marker to add some color to the swirly [hee hee] background just like I did in this card and this one.  The second trick I used was to cut off the fringe of the scarf [instead of embossing two new snowmen since it didn't take as well as it could have] and I like the way it looks too!  [Don't you sometimes have the nicest accidents, and discover things in the process of covering them up!?!]
   Lastly, the best trick I use all the time and always try to share with every stamper I meet, is an old newspaper layout one.  I wonder if most modern newspaper folks even know about this old method what with computers and such now....Introducing:  The Dummy Sheet.  That indispensable, visual/sanity check for layouts of all kinds.
   These handy 4.25 x 5.5 inch recycled paper beauties are kept in vast quantities on my desk near my right hand for all stamping projects.  I can run through any number of them while experimenting to find the look I'm after on a card.  These are the ones I used to develop the snowman set, and I never worry about wasting my good cardstock trying to find the right proportions for something.  When I get a new stamp set, I'll make several of these and keep the ones I like for later use.  I save my dummies of all the cards I love and only end up making one copy.  Sometimes I'll get them out years later and make them again...especially if I need a quick card and my brain is tired!
   So--thanks to my mom and dad who used to own and publish a small newspaper when I was in high school!  I use tools of the trade all the time in my hobby life--my mom is still a terrific graphic design artist...something that didn't used to have such a fancy title;  she used to be the one to work up ads for all the businesses that supported the paper and they were always pleased with the results!
   Hope you found something useful, fun, and/or informative today!  Thanks for visiting--and know that I wish health and happiness for you and yours in the coming New Year!  
   See you soon!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Celebrate CAS!

   Good morning everyone!  There is beautiful sunshine in the Northeast for us to go out and stamp our day!  Starting with a CAS [Clean and Simple] card for our piano teacher!  It's Hanukkah and I love using these Hero Arts Snippets to fashion a special design.  I also decorated the envelope ala this week's new CAS-ual Fridays challenge to Sign, Seal, and Deliver!  We do this every week for our 'yen-velope' [a name we picked up living in Japan where it is customary to wrap everything up like a present!]  I usually make a seasonal card, leave it blank, and Rani can give it to whomever he chooses.  It is always fun to hear where my cards have traveled since he corresponds with people all over the world!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Sending Cheer!

   I must confess that I am supposed to be painting...but there's so much to do in the holiday category around our place along with the house work.  We're starting to receive some wonderful greeting cards in the mail, and I need to have something to send out!  So, I used the Hero Arts contest sketch and their clear set called Sending Holiday Cheer to make a few little greetings of my own!  I've been anxious to use these holiday lights that have been in my stash since I first began stamping about 13 years ago.  For this first one I was inspired by a fun card in bold colors by my friend Judy!  
   I tried the faux letterpress technique for the center panel in this red/white one.  I inked up a Sizzix texture plate with red ink, then ran it through and this is the result!  Pretty fun to do and easier than I thought it would be!  I embossed on red for the contrast and layered on some dimensional foam.

   Here's the green version--colored the red accents with colored pencil, and the green ink is Hero Hues Grass chalk ink!  I like this hue of green for the holidays!
   Finally, a sage and bright red version with a 'gingerbread' house.  I plan to use this with a plate of cookies going to the neighbors!  Of course I need to make the cookies still....

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Poles: Fence, Dance, and North...

   Here are the poles for our high-tensile wire fence around "Applevale."  No--as we informed many a curious neighbor--we do not plan to run cattle, nor keep horses; neither do we expect to keep the deer out of the back yard [for that we'd need about a 10-footer I think.]  It's just that 8 feet are the shortest 5-inch poles one can purchase at the Tractor Supply.  Why a high-tensile fence?  A fraction of the number of fence posts, [i.e. every 50 feet instead of every 8] and the 'see through' look.  Now that it's finished, we're really pleased it looks like a pasture instead of a fortress compound around the two acres.  
   Now--the Dance.  [This was forwarded in an email from our Texas 4-H friends and the title in the subject line was rather suspect, "Wyoming Pole Dance."  I know the sender isn't prone to email account hijacking so I went ahead and viewed it.  Totally made my day and it fit right with today's post!

   And finally, the North Pole matters...
   I really had fun making this for the annual Hero Arts Flickr friends Holiday Card Exchange!  This Large Flower Pattern stamp lends itself so well to so many fun ideas.  In this version I embossed with Judi-Kins Egyptian Gold powder [a bright gold with holographic glitter] and the result is spectacular.  I wanted traditional colors, so I embossed another panel with regular silver embossing powder and cut a strip to layer with the sentiment.  I used the remaining red/silver to make a card for the Monthly Hero Arts contest based on one of their sketches:
  Using a pink panel for the sentiment and stamping the background one more time on pink cardstock with red ink, I think it makes a lovely pointsetta holiday parade!  I embellished with some red marker-colored pearls, and it shines in the Christmas tree we finally put up last night!  Let the season begin!
  * for some other ideas with this stamp you might want to see herehere, and here.

p.s.  If you click on the makes them larger if you want to see detail!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Treasure on Earth

Treasure on Earth by debstamps
Treasure on Earth, a photo by debstamps on Flickr.
Moxie Fab World is running with a huge gallery of fun from the new Papercrafts Magazine's "Get Inspired" title, and I used today's 'global' idea for our weekly piano teacher's card! I enjoy coming up with ideas for a new masculine card every week, and this particular idea has inspired a new set I'm hoping to work on this Sunday!
Tomorrow will be a fun-fulled day of Mindstorm Mayhem as the family travels for my son's FIRST Robotics team challenge.  Make it a great weekend everyone!

Monday, November 21, 2011


   Splash!  at MIT--celebrating their 150th anniversary!  One hears about MIT all over the has a mystique, a colossal reputation--and ideas have been born here that affect events, and people everywhere.  This weekend my kids attended their Splash event for two days on campus which offers classes on everything from crochet to string theory...literally!  It demonstrates the essence of that which is MIT and the community it fosters.  The atmosphere is electric...and infectious, inspiring, motivating, and just about every positive adjective I can think to write.  If you want to be wowed for a while, check out this link to the museum exhibition and browse the objects the curators chose to celebrate!  Here's the fam...walking down a hall of the Infinite Corridor...someday they hope to be full-time students!
   It's been a busy few weeks for us and I've not had as much time to create with paper.  I have been painting the new house, unpacking from the move, coaching two robotics teams, and helping with the kitchen remodel.  I do make a card each week for our piano teacher, and here's one from last week...a nice little Thanksgiving thank you:
[copper embossing, and metallic paper for a layer behind it]

Friday, November 4, 2011

Power to the People!

   Out on the other side of the October snowstorm that still leaves many of my friends and fellow New Englanders without power!  I snapped this last Sunday morning before we went to dig out.  People around here haven't seen this kind of weather in years...and our lonely fall tree didn't know what to make of it.  We were lucky so much of our landscaping survived.  There were downed branches everywhere, and it was bizarre trying to drive on the roadways with no traffic lights.  The cities and towns were dark, and it was sobering to realize how much everyone depends on power.  Halloween trick-or-treating was rescheduled to mid-November in many places, and we're just trying to catch up on Autumn in the northeast!  [which reminds me, I need to replenish the candy stash for tomorrow't withstand the caloric demand of our cold bodies in the 20 degree overnight temperatures with no heat.  That's our story and we're sticking to it!]  Here's a few more snaps of all the dense, wet snow around our place:

   After three days without power, my husband returned home from work [they never lost power there!]  He walked in and announced that he'd seen power on in the lower half of the neighborhood.  Woo hoo!  the family shouted...did we want him to go and ask when ours might be next?  Of course we did, so back down the road he went...and not three minutes after he left, Ta Da!  Power returned and we all had a great laugh.  Hubby walked in a little bit later and told us how he'd watched the diligent lineman up in the bucket truck shouting, "Going Hot!  Going Hot!  Power to the People!" In a spectacular arc of blue...power indeed.

Saturday, October 29, 2011


   Octsnowber greetings my friends!  I snapped this photo from the top floor of our house because I thought it rather interesting I had a scalloped Nestabilities frame on our pool cover!  We are supposed to be in the throes of peak leaf color here in New England, but apparently Mother Nature has other plans for us!  This was the little dusting we got on Thursday night, and  tonight we've gone from zero to blizzard in less than half an hour.  
   As I type this, it's snowing at the rate of about an inch per hour.  We're in for it...yup...winter's here.  It was fun driving down into town seeing everyone filling their gas cans for the snowblowers; the local tv news interviewed our 'naybahs' at the Home Depot telling how they've pushed the leaf rake displays back and brought out the snow shovel cartons, and the snow throwers--which have apparently already sold out online.  
   I can tell you from experience that it is not a good idea to wait to buy one of these pieces of equipment.  We bought one of the last three snow blowers on the North American continent last January...the man at the Sear's store [a Scottsman] regaled us with his tale of foresight.  Seems he procured an extra palette from a Canadian Sears--they apparently were all well prepared.  You see they only manufacture a certain number of snow blowers--of any brand--each season.  Once they're gone, there aren't any more until the next year.  So, if you're thinking about it at all--just buy it now;  you'll probably thank me...tomorrow at least! 
   Here's a last tribute to Autumn created for the Moxie Fab World Trigger Tuesday inspiration:
Moxie Fab World Trigger Tuesday "Autumn Woods"
Hero Arts stamps used: Mix and Match clear set, Papercut Alphabet Set

Monday, October 24, 2011

Pink Peekaboo Bday

Pink Peekaboo Bday by debstamps
Pink Peekaboo Bday, a photo by debstamps on Flickr.
I love when my Hero Arts Flickr friends throw down a 90-minute Scramble Challenge! Today we were celebrating Mary Dawn a.k.a. My Pink Mexico's birthday. I did a sketch card for this month's Hero Arts blog contest, and I liked the scrap it made so much that it inspired this card! I love when that happens!
Hero Arts contest sketch card

Saturday, October 22, 2011

a note

   The weekly masculine card for our fabulous piano teacher!  I've been using my giant circle punch since making last week's glossy lime green moon.  This time it's a whole note with a decoration!  Used Distress Inks in olive and faded blue jeans for the colors on a tan natural cardstock.  Just a quick note but fun to make!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Owloween Trick

Owloween Wishes by debstamps
CAS-ual Fridays Challenge
   Catching up in time to play along with this week's clean and simple challenge to make a Halloween card without orange!  Turns out, I had this idea cooking for a color challenge a couple of weeks ago and couldn't get it done!  I love when things like that work out in the end!  I love the silhouette style, and thought this little Hero Arts owl would be lots of fun against a spooky lime green moon!  
   Speaking of moons, I made this one using glossy cardstock and sponging to make the color I wanted!  This is one of my favorite inking ideas to create custom colors, and my brayer is in my most-used tool drawer!  Do you have a favorite trick or tip you'd like to post?!  I'd love to hear it!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Autumn Harmony

PDCC #103
   It's piano day and the new color challenge over at Play Date Cafe is perfect for our weekly masculine music card!  Here's what I've been playing with this afternoon:
 I stamped a music staff background on each of the colors of the week, and cut them into strips for the quote mats.  I tried to mimic another music staff idea I had a while back as in this card:
  The colors were a bit dark to use the same coloring technique, so I modified!  Now I'm off to my own private jazz session in town!  We always come home singing and smiling from Rani's!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

A Small World After All

   Last week we took a homeschool field trip in honor of my daughter's love for Central Asian history and culture.  Someday I think she'd love to be a history professor...probably in Mongolia.  We were introduced to a wonderful man who has made his career's work teaching, studying and documenting the music of several groups of people living in Central Asia--an Ethnomusicologist.  If you feel like an exotic trip for a few minutes go to the Smithsonian Folkways site which showcases this body of work.  Watch the videos in the sidebar, and I guarantee you will be transported!  The tenth cd in the set will be out this Christmas--I know what's on my daughter's list already! 
   We enjoyed a unique afternoon soaking in the experiences and insights from an educator who clearly is passionate about life.  Thank you again Professor for inviting us into your world!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Travel and Friends

Check out Play Date!
   I just couldn't resist making something on the theme at this week's Play Date Cafe...I embossed a pen image on black cardstock, and found my old wine-colored velvet paper to cut out some Tim Holtz letters.  Also used ColorCore for some other alpha cutouts.  Using the Hero Arts Alpha typewriter stamps for some contrast in texture, I glued all the letters to the map stamped background on parchment cardstock.  It took quite a while to get the combination I liked, but I'm very happy with the result!  Love the feel of the velvet letters!  [apologies for the lack of textural detail in the photo--it's been raining steadily since 4 am here in the Northeast U.S.!  I've got to make a light box!]

   Also along the theme of today's post is the beautiful work of my new stamping friend Hilde in the Netherlands!  Hero Arts Flickr group sponsored a fall card exchange and I was lucky enough to receive greetings from across the ocean.  Sometimes we can travel just by having friends in far away places!  The world is vast--but it is small with connections!  I really like the row of different buttons--and they made it all the way from the Netherlands in pristine condition!  This cheerful card is decorating our school room and we had a fun geography lesson learning more about Hilde's homeland!
Hilde's Flickr
   Thanks for stopping by!  I'd love to hear about connections you've made traveling yourself, or even traveling through your art!

Monday, October 3, 2011

scraps for fun

scraps for fun by debstamps
scraps for fun, a photo by debstamps on Flickr.

Made a quick card to send something to a friend--grabbed my scrap box, and found the letters I needed in their little pouch. I keep extra die cuts in a clear container like a paper candy jar.

A little tip: I needed an "h" but all I had was a "b." My little trim scissors helped me out to create what I needed by loping off the bottom. Reminds me of when my kids used to bite off their alphabet pretzels to spell what they wanted...those were the days!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Savoring a Fall Day

      Nothing says New England Fall like a clear blue sky, breeze waving the last of summer's blossoms, and sunshine backlighting the turning leaves.  I've spent a moment coloring this stamped design with my colored pencils...pure joy...I am 12 again leisurely deciding which shades will bring my picture to life...wishing you a fond memory recalled on this perfect autumn afternoon!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

From Owl of Us

From Owl of Us by debstamps
From Owl of Us, a photo by debstamps on Flickr.
   You can never have too many googly eyes for a birthday card! Reprise of the Yoo Hoo owl chorus for son's friend's bday!  I also used my googly eyes for an unusual...although it made perfect sense to me...fix for my vacuum cleaner handle attachment.  You see, the little molded plastic bits that hold the hose to the attachments have been worn off over the years, and instead of plunking down $28.95 plus shipping for a new handle, I thought there MUST be something I can do to fix it.  Well...I knew instantly that my littlest googly eyes were about the right size and height, so I got some super glue and voila!  
   My craft supplies came to the rescue!  [I figure since I saved all that money I could rationalize putting it toward some new stamps?  What do you think?]  
   I know my supplies have come in handy for many uses besides enjoyment and entertainment over the years.  What fixes have you come up with using your crafting tools and various bits?  I'd love to hear about them!  Make it a great weekend!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

SoCool Days

A Little Rhythm Card for Rani!'s officially Fall; piano has begun again, and tonight I'll be taking this little card for our  teacher.  I kept hearing a little bongo in the background ala the Beatnik era while I was composing this design comprised of several different Hero Arts alphabet sets.  I've been drawn to many graphic quotes/designs I've seen on Pinterest, and have been wanting to play around with the concept in my medium.  This is also entered in the latest Hero Arts monthly contest at their super blog here!  Happy Fall Ya'll!  

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Persian Pickle

Check out CAS-ual Fridays

   Who knew that tomorrow is International Literacy Day?!  I just had to make something for this week's CAS-ual Fridays challenge in honor of our family's passion for reading.  Seems like homeschoolers, libraries, and books of all kinds just naturally go together!  When they were little, my kids called the library the "bookstore."  [which occasionally caused the grownups to have to steer them back to the paying checkout counter!]
   I just finished a story that inspired my entry into this week's challenge, and I have to say I learned a lot from reading it!  I am not a quilter, but I was touched by the lovely analogy stitched by Sandra Dallas in her novel, The Persian Pickle Club.  Did you know that another name for paisley design is Persian Pickle?  I enjoyed the story very much, and thought it would be perfect for the "Black and White and Read All Over" challenge.
   Inspired by the novel's novice quilter to make a simple 9 Patch design to get started and using the splash of red in a Persian Pickle pattern, I had a blast making my own paper quilt square.  Everyone in the 'Pickle' had a piece of the precious, store-bought, exotic paisley fabric and it stood out in all their individual quilts as bright and unique.  
   The Hero Arts clear stamp set Exotic Decor  was just the thing to produce my idea.  I embossed, inked, and used black, white, and red cardstocks to make my patches, and arranged them to my liking to mount on a square...akin to quilting--or so I imagined as I was crafting.  I think my 1-inch craft punch and adhesive are a little easier than sewing though!  Missing from the experience was the hen clucking--as the men folk described their wives in the Pickle--but I did put some birds into my quilt!  
   My mom's birthday is coming up, and this will make a lovely card since she's just getting into quilting herself.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Hey Girly Girl Girlfriend!

    A card a day keeps the mojo to stay...that's my story and I'm sticking to it!  I've got a little pent up mojo on account of not being able to get to my stamps and supplies!  I still have a lot of work to do, but I've been sneaking a little break into my day now that we have more things settled from our move!  Made this little quick card based on a Moxie Fab sketch, with the Play Date Colors, for my girl to send to her girlfriend--in honor of one of this month's themes for the Hero Arts blog!  Nothing like three with one blow!  Sometimes it's easier to combine these and sometimes it's more difficult.  Do you have any thoughts on this?
This Week's Play Date Cafe Color Challenge
Moxie Fab World horizontal sketch Challenge

Monday, August 29, 2011


   Aren't these a couple of beauties!?  My stamping friend Susanne over at Lavender and Rose Creations agreed to help me out with a project in stamping improvisation.  We both love jazz and she was inspired in this post to create the cards above.  She's been incredibly patient with my response, and I took a break this afternoon to play around a little with these themes.  I loved both color schemes, so I ended up combining them with some of the same elements/suggestions from each card...I loved all Susanne's texture and ended up layering it on some plain vanilla cardstock.  I'll probably do another take on these soon, but I wanted to post what made me smile today!  Thanks Susanne!
A theme on Embraceable You
   I used some Tim Holtz stamps, Sizzix embossing texture plate, along with a Cuttlebug heart embossed in petal paper [since Susanne and I also share a love of gardening] embossed some swirls in pearl powder [that's tinted Top Boss showing through for just the blush color I was wanting] and even broke out my chalks to put some aged color on the background.  It was a fun way to wile away an hour with post-Irene sunshine drying us out!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Lemon Pie Unique

   A luscious lemon pie my daughter has made a couple of times this summer.   Thought I'd share the recipe in case you were interested.  It is an adaptation of a Sunkist pamphlet from 1939 and it's very like a lemon curd--absolutely unique!

1 unbaked 8-in. pie crust                                    2 lemons
1 1/2 C sugar                                                     1 cup cold water
3/4 C flour                                                          1 Tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.  Line 8-in. pie pan with the crust. Grate one of the lemons until you have 1 tsp of zest.  In a mixing bowl, combine sugar, flour, and lemon zest.  Sprinkle 1 1/2 cups of this mixture over the crust.  Peel both lemons, removing all the white pith, and cut the lemons into very thin slices removing seeds as you go.  Place the lemons in the crust, either arranging them in careful circles, or simply piling them in and leveling the top.  Sprinkle the remaining sugar mixture over the lemons and pour the water over the top.  Stir very gently [if you've been careful to make a pretty pattern!] and dot with the butter.  Bake for 10 minutes; lower the heat to 325 degrees, and bake for 40-50 minutes longer until the lemons are lightly browned.  Serve warm, or put in the fridge for a chilled delight!  Both ways are delicious!

Let me know what you think if you try it!  You're in for an easy treat if you do!  Enjoy and make it a great day!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Gettin' There!

  We've been a little busy around our place lately as you can tell from this candid!  This is the room where the boxes of hickory have been piled since last month, and it's finally all out and down on the floor!  Our four rescue dogs have been so good through all the commotion of moving, having a new place, and dealing with all the sounds of renovation!  This is my awesome husband and his working buddy, Odin putting in the last of the boards.  Now all we have to do is reroute/add plumbing in the kitchen, assemble/install the cabinets, hook up the new range--can't wait for our new Castle cooker--and finish painting and reinstall trim work.  A few more hours and we'll be there!
   In the meantime, there's the usual out of state moving details of deregistering the vehicles, and registering them here, getting new drivers' licenses, getting re-established with everything again...seems like only last year we were doing this.  Me--I'm wicked excited to have vanity Veteran's plates!
    I can't wait to get the stamping things unpacked and organized into the studio/school room!  A few other priorities for the near future, but I'll be creating again soon.  We look forward to getting settled and beginning a new homeschool year!

Good Techniques to Remember

SHOP this project, Rooted In Nature Sometimes we forget the simplest things as we learn new ways to do things. I was reminded how much f...