Hello!  Can you believe that Christmas will be here in less than 3 months?  Yikes!

If you’ve been playing along with 52 {Christmas} Card Throwdown, you probably have a good supply of Christmas cards all ready to go for the holiday season.  I prefer that the cards my family sends out to be all the same design, but I’ve been letting my 52{C}CT cards accumulate to donate to Operation Write Home.  I’ll need to send them off in the next week because I also have some fall-themed cards and the deadline for them is quickly approaching!

This week we have a technique challenge at 52{C}CT:  emboss resist.  It’s been a while since I’ve done this technique so it was fun revisiting it.  I used white craft ink for my image.  I made test runs with three different embossing powders and got the best image with the detail clear powder, so that’s the one I used for the card.  I sponged two shades of blue ink to create the sky, and added a bit of light grey ink to try to get a hint of shadow under the trees.  I used Stars & Stamps sketch #16 for the layout, since I didn’t have that sketch marked on my OWH sketch checklist.  A panel of embossed snowflakes adds some extra wintery feel.  I opted to go sentiment-less on this card so it could be an any occasion wintery card.

Ruth, our September challenge hostess at 52{C}CT, should be considered the Queen of Decorating Inside the Card.  🙂  I generally don’t put anything inside the cards I make for OWH because I like to optimize the space for our heroes to write home.  However, I wanted to honor Ruth at least once this month so I added a very simple touch to the inside of today’s card:

Now it’s your turn to visit the 52{C}CT blog and see what the rest of the design team has created this week!  Then pull out your embossing powder and heat tool and glossy paper and show us what you can do with this technique.  Link your card to the challenge site by 1:00 p.m. Eastern time Friday, October 4.  We’d love to have you join us!

Thanks for stopping by today!

All supplies are from Stampin’ Up except as noted:
Stamps: Lovely As a Tree
Cardstock: Smoky Slate, Island Indigo, Whisper White, Glossy White
Ink: Craft White, Marina Mist, Island Indigo, Smoky Slate
Other: detail clear embossing powder, sponges; Snowflakes embossing folder (Sizzix)

Hello!  I hope your week has been going well.   Thursday means it’s time for a new challenge at CAS – Colours and Sketches!  This week Karen has created a very versatile sketch.

I stretched the sketch out to a rectangle and opted to use stamping for both of the slanted line elements of the sketch.  After I colored all the hearts, I fussy cut around the bottom of the larger heart border.  Then I added a panel of grey cardstock to add some more color interest to the card.  I originally planned to color the hearts light pink and add a deeper shade of pink cardstock, but I was having a hard time matching up marker colors to cardstock.  So I decided to try something completely different with the greys.  I like that it’s gender neutral, and it doesn’t look as much like a Valentine. It’ll be a good any-time-of-year love themed card for Operation Write Home.  And it works for the Lawnscaping monochromatic challenge.

What will you do with this sketch?  Will you use stamping for the slanted lines, or solid color cardstock strips, or strips of designer paper, or maybe even some sort of embellishment?  There are so many possibilities!  I hope you’ll try out something and share what you create with us!  Link your work to the CAS – Colours and Sketches blog by 1:00 p.m. eastern time Wednesday, October 2.

Thank you for stopping by today!  Comments are always welcome and appreciated!

Stamps: Belinda’s Borders, Love ‘n Breakfast, Winter Owl (Lawn Fawn)
Cardstock: Pure Luxury White (Gina K. Designs); Smoky Slate (Stampin’ Up)
Ink: Tuxedo Black (Memento)
Other: markers (Copic)

Today’s card is a quick and easy one I made combining Dynamic Duos challenge #71 with CAS(E) this Sketch! challenge #46.  I figured this would make a cute card for one of our heroes stationed overseas to send home to a loved one.  I considered including the Dynamic Duos “dessert option” of heat embossing, but I wasn’t sure how to tie that in with the rest of the card, so I ended up skipping that.  I used my color spritz tool with a black marker to add a little extra speckle to the main panel, although it didn’t quite achieve the effect I wanted.  Oh well.  I decided to use a circle punch to cut the notch in the sentiment banner to kind of coordinate with the rounded corners of all the panels.

There isn’t much else to say about this one, except for the details listed below.  Thanks for stopping by today!

Stamps: Critters on the Farm (Lawn Fawn)
Cardstock: Basic Black, Kraft (Stampin’ Up)
Ink: Tuxedo Black (Memento)
Other: black Multiliner marker (Copic); corner rounder punch, circle punch (SU)

In last Thursday’s post I mentioned that I’d made one card using the CAS – Colours and Sketches colors, but I wasn’t happy enough with it to use it as my design team sample.  That post showed the card I ended up submitting as my sample.  After some mental back-and-forth, I’ve decided to go ahead and share the first card.  I think the idea of using it as a sample bothered me because it’s more “clean and layered” than “clean and simple”.

I combined the color challenge with this week’s Freshly Made Sketches layout.  The leaves on the background panel were stamped off once onto scrap paper because, well, they’re in the background.  I didn’t want them as vibrant as the sentiment.  A little sponging around the edges of the panels gives them a softer look against their mats.  The wide twill tape was still on my desk from when I used it a couple weeks ago, so I used it again here for the banner element of the sketch after I stamped some leaves on it.  I’ll add a light piece of cardstock inside to line it, and then I’ll have another autumn-ish “thinking of you” card for my Operation Write Home stash.

I hope you had a wonderful weekend and that your week has gotten off to a good start!  Thanks for stopping by today.

Stamps: unnamed leaf stamps (StampCraft); unnamed sentiment stamp (Studio G)
Cardstock: Island Indigo, Naturals Ivory (Stampin’ Up)
Ink: Island Indigo, Pumpkin Pie, Crushed Curry (SU)
Other: twill tape (SU); sponge

Hello! I hope you’re having a great weekend so far.

This week at 52 {Christmas} Card Throwdown we are celebrating Christmas with a Christmas tree themed challenge!  The design team has made some great cards with various Christmas tree images. You can go to the 52{C}CT site to see what they’ve created, and if you love what you see, feel welcome to comment on their work – I know they’d really appreciate it!

I decided to go monochromatic with shades of green and some retired Stampin’ Up cardstock for my tree card.  The layout is from Seize the Sketch.  I’ve used one of my favorite Christmas tree stamps and did the “rock ‘n roll” technique with it on a scrap of cardstock, and then cut it out and popped it up over the panel and the ribbon.  The stamp has a star on top of the tree, but I cut that off and replaced it with a star-shaped brad.

And now it’s your turn to show us what you can create!  We’d love it if you joined our challenge this week.  You have until 1:00 pm Eastern time Friday, September 27 to link your card at the 52{C}CT site.

Thanks for stopping by today!  I hope you’ll come back again soon.

Stamps: Season of Joy (Stampin’ Up)
Cardstock: Confetti Cream, Certainly Celery (Stampin’ Up); designer paper from Very Merry Christmas 6″ x 6″ paper pad (Echo Park)
Ink: Certainly Celery, Always Artichoke (SU)
Other: Certainly Celery twill ribbon (SU); star brad (The Paper Studio)

Happy Thursday!  We’re past “hump day” and ready for a new challenge at CAS – Colours and Sketches!

This week’s color challenge had me thinking of autumn – yellow and orange leaves against a blue sky.  I made a card, but I wasn’t really thrilled with it.  Inspiration struck again… at 11:07 p.m. when I was trying to find out info about something unrelated on another blog and found my way to the CAS(E) this Sketch! site.   Really.  This blog post needed to be scheduled for 4:00 a.m. (which sounds crazy here in the U.S., but that’s a very reasonable 9:00 a.m. in the UK where the CAS – Colours and Sketches blog is based).  I wasn’t ready for bed yet, so I went back to the proverbial drawing board and came up with another card.  I stamped some leaves and a sentiment.  Then I softened the color inside of the leaves by “painting” them with a slightly damp paintbrush.  I lightly sponged the vertical edges of the focal panel and adhered it to the card base.  Quick and easy, and I liked the results much better than the first card!  The only down side is that the watercoloring makes the cardstock a bit warped. I guess if I were super ambitious I could have tried to iron it, but time didn’t allow for that. I decided to add a leaf to the inside of the card, too.  The colors work perfectly for this week’s “fall” theme at ‘ABC’ Challenges.

I won’t say just how late it is now that I’m finishing up this blog post – but suffice it to say I am definitely ready to catch some zzzzzs now. I hope you’ll show us what you can do with these colors!  Link your card at the CAS – Colours and Sketches site by noon eastern time Wednesday, September 25.  Thanks for stopping by today!

Edited on September 24, 2013 to add:  Thank you to the ‘ABC’ Challenges team for choosing this card as one of their Top Three cards for the week!

Stamps: unnamed leaf stamps (StampCraft); Everyday Messages (Stampendous)
Cardstock: Island Indigo (Stampin’ Up); Pure Luxury Ivory (Gina K. Designs)
Ink: Island Indigo, Pumpkin Pie, Crushed Curry (SU)
Other: sponge; paintbrush and water

Today’s card is an embarrassingly simple one combining the current Dynamic Duos challenge with the current Freshly Made Sketches challenge.  I’ve turned the sketch on its side and used a square punch to cut the fishtail banner.  I wanted to make a few more “thinking of you” cards for Operation Write Home and this sentiment always makes me think of this image.

Thanks for stopping by today!

Stamps: Jump (Uptown Design Company); unnamed sentiment stamp (Studio G)
Cardstock: Pistachio Pudding, So Saffron, Very Vanilla (Stampin’ Up)
Ink: Pistachio Pudding, So Saffron (SU); Tuxedo Black (Memento)
Other: square punch (Creative Memories)

Hello!  Since it’s the third Monday of the month, it’s time for a new Cards in Envy challenge!  The theme for the next two weeks is “A Little Bit Retro”.  Anything that reminds you of roughly the 1940s through the 1980s is fair game.  Remember, though, that the main requirement for Cards in Envy challenges is that your card must fit in an A2 sized envelope and not have any lumpy, bumpy embellishments that could push it over the first class postage rate.

I didn’t have any stamps or digital images that seemed to fit the retro theme.  Vintage, yes.  Retro, no.  So I looked through my designer papers and felt the Basic Grey “Offbeat” collection best represented a retro look.  I pulled out a few papers, coordinated some Stampin’ Up cardstock with them, and fit them into this week’s layout from Freshly Made Sketches.  Here’s the end result.

The rounded “blob” shapes in the one designer paper remind me a bit of the lava moving around in a lava lamp.  Groovy, huh?  And there’s some of the avocado green that seemed to be everywhere during the 1970s.

So what will you create with a retro flair?  Share your work with us at the Cards in Envy site by 11:55 p.m. Central time on Sunday, October 6.  Be sure to check out what the rest of the design team has made and give them some blog love, too!  Thanks for stopping by today!

Stamps: Birthday Greetings (Gina K. Designs)
Cardstock: Summer Starfruit, Early Espresso, Whisper White (Stampin’ Up); designer papers from Offbeat 6″ x 6″ paper pad (Basic Grey)
Ink: Early Espresso (SU)
Other: corner rounder punch (SU); mini brads (Recollections); circle punch (Creative Memories)

Hello!  It’s definitely September here in Virginia – we’re having high temperatures in the 90s one day, and in the 70s the next.  Gotta love the weather when it’s trying to be Autumn!

If you’ve been following along here on my blog since the beginning of 2013, you know that it’s always Christmas time at 52 {Christmas} Card Throwdown!  I’ve been enjoying their weekly challenges this year and building up a supply of Christmas cards for Operation Write Home, so that our military men and women stationed overseas can have cards to send home to their loved ones.  Today’s card bears a sentiment that I think is especially suitable for this purpose.

Our challenge this week is to use the colors red, white and kraft.  I decided to use the current card layout from Seize the Sketch, change the hexagon shapes to hearts, and make a Christmasy love card.  It doesn’t show well in the photo, but the hearts are cut from textured cardstock.  In the end, it turned out to be a pretty clean and simple card.

The rest of the 52{C}CT design team has come up with some really super cards this week, so be sure to check them out at the website!  We hope you’ll make a card with this color combo and share it with us at the site.  You have until 1:00 pm eastern time Friday, September 20 to link your card.

Thanks for stopping by today!

Stamps: Christmas Tags (Sweet ‘n Sassy Stamps)
Cardstock: Pure Luxury White (Gina K. Designs); Real Red, Kraft, Real Red Core’dinations, Whisper White textured (Stampin’ Up)
Ink: Real Red (SU)
Other: Hearts die (SNSS); Cherry twine (Really Reasonable Ribbon)

Hello!  I hope you’ve been having a wonderful week!

Since it’s Thursday, that means it’s time for a new challenge at CAS – Colours and Sketches.  This week our hostess, Karen, has a nice simple sketch for us (which does make sense since the challenge is about the clean and simple style of card making!).  I’ve chosen to combine the sketch with the Dynamic Duos color challenge that ends today and create a winter-themed card to add to my stockpile of cards for Operation Write Home.  I’ve stretched the sketch out to a rectangle, which ended up putting my panels at a slightly different proportion than the original sketch.  But I think the main idea of the sketch is still intact. I added a subtle print to the olive green strip to give it a little visual interest.

And there it is.  Be sure to check out what the rest of the CAS – Colours and Sketches design team did with this sketch.   Then show us what you can make with it!  You can link your creation to the challenge blog until noon eastern time Wednesday, September 18.  Thanks for stopping by today!

Stamps: Cozy Friends (Sweet ‘n Sassy Stamps); Linen (Stampin’ Up)
Cardstock: Pure Luxury White (Gina K. Designs); Pacific Point, Old Olive (SU)
Ink: Tuxedo Black (Memento); Old Olive (SU)
Other: markers (Copic); standard circle and petite scalloped circle Nestabilities dies (Spellbinders); Snowflakes embossing folder (Sizzix)

As I was finishing up the challenges for the Operation Write Home Labor Day Virtual Card Making Party, it struck me that I hadn’t made any cards for it that could be used as AnyHero mail – a card in which I would write a message to one of our heroes stationed overseas, thanking them for their service to our country.  So I kept that in mind as I planned my card for the ninth (and last) challenge, which was to use the negative of a punch or a die cut shape on the card.  I decided that my star dies would work well for a patriotic design, and quickly came up with this very clean and simple card.  The red, white, and blue backgrounds are attached directly to the card base.  The main panel, from which the stars are cut, is attached to the card with dimensional adhesive.

And ta-da!  I’ve completed all of the VCMP challenges!  Now I just need to work on filling the rest of the box I’ve started, so that I can get my remaining fall and Christmas cards out to my shipper by the beginning of October.

Thanks for stopping by today!  All comments are welcome and appreciated.

Supplies for this card:
Stamps: Year Round Sentiments (Hero Arts)
Cardstock: Sahara Sand, Real Red, Whisper White, Brilliant Blue (Stampin’ Up)
Ink: Brilliant Blue (SU)
Other: Star die (Sweet ‘n Sassy Stamps); dimensionals (SU)

The eighth Labor Day Virtual Card Making Party challenge presented by Operation Write Home was to create a bee themed card.   Because I tend to think of bees as more of a spring thing than fall, it took me all week to figure out what I wanted to do for this challenge.  Today I remembered I had this bee tree image already stamped with the background sponged in. I’d started to use it on a different project a while ago but then shifted gears on that one and put this image away in a folder.  It looked like it would work with this week’s OWH Stars & Stamps sketch if I turned the sketch on its side.   So after some coloring and tweaking, I combined the two challenge ideas into one card.

I tried to keep the colors from looking too spring-y.  The “ribbon” banners are scraps of the same color cardstock I used to mat the image panel, but I’ve stamped them with a denim-textured stamp in the same color ink.  The blue sentiment panel is popped up with a few cardstock shims to accommodate the thickness of the image panel.  (I guess I could have planned it out to butt them up against each other, but too late now.)

So there’s another any occasion card for my Operation Write Home stash.  Yay!  Thanks for stopping by today.

Stamps: Lucky You (Lizzie Anne Designs); Just Jeans (Stampin’ Up)
Cardstock: Certainly Celery, Bashful Blue, Soft Suede (SU); Pure Luxury White (Gina K. Designs)
Ink: Bashful Blue, Soft Suede, Certainly Celery (SU); Onyx Black (VersaFine)
Other: markers (Copic); sponges

I’m back again with a card for another of the Operation Write Home Labor Day Virtual Card Making Party challenges.  The seventh challenge was a pretty easy one – create a card with a fall theme using images of leaves.

I had some leftover digital images of leaves from a card I’d made a few months ago.  I had already watercolored them, so all I had to do was fussy cut them and decide on a card layout.  This week’s Freshly Made Sketches challenge looked interesting so I figured out how I could work my leaves into that.  I’ve flipped and rotated the sketch around from a vertical “portrait” layout to a horizontal “landscape” one.  Two of my leaves were used for embellishment in place of the fluffy bow.

So there’s another card for my Operation Write Home pile!  Thanks for stopping by today.

Edited on Sept. 10, 2013:  Thank you to Rita of the Freshly Made Sketches Design Team for choosing this card, and me, as a Perfect Princess winner!

Stamps: All Year Cheer I (Stampin’ Up)
Digital Images: Autumn Leaves (Sweet ‘n Sassy Stamps)
Cardstock: Tangerine Tango, Basic Black, Cajun Craze, Naturals Ivory (SU); Solar White (Neenah) [for the leaves]
Ink: Cajun Craze (SU); printer ink
Other: Tangerine Tango and Cajun Craze ink refills, corner rounder punch, twill tape, dimensionals (SU)

Hello!  It’s time for a new month of challenges at 52 {Christmas} Card ThrowdownRuth is sharing her talents with us as hostess during September, and I although I’m not allowed to give away any secrets, I can tell you that she has some great stuff planned for the month!

The first weekend of the month always brings us to a sketch challenge, and I’ve tweaked this one into A2 size for my card.  The designer paper did a lot of the design work for me on this one.  However, I decided to do something different than normal for the sentiment.  Instead of die cutting a piece of cardstock, stamping the sentiment onto it, and adhering it to the designer paper, this time I cut through the designer paper and the cherry red mat.  The sentiment is actually stamped onto the card base.  The panel with the designer paper is adhered with dimensionals, so it gives a shadow box effect to the sentiment.  Because I was stamping the sentiment onto kraft cardstock instead of white or ivory, I chose a lighter color of red ink than the cardstock mat and seam binding, to help make the colors match better.  Using the same color red ink as cardstock would have resulted in a darker sentiment that wouldn’t have matched well.  I ruffled the seam binding to keep it from looking too plain.   A few clear dew drops in the corner finish the sketch.

Thank you for stopping by today!  Be sure to visit the 52{C}CT site to see what the rest of the design team has made.  If you’d like to join us, simply make a Christmas card using the provided sketch, and link it at our challenge website by 1:00 pm eastern time on Friday, September 13.  We’d love to see what you create!

Stamps: More Merry Messages (Stampin’ Up)
Cardstock: Kraft, Cherry Cobbler (SU); designer paper from Aspen Frost 6″ x 6″ paper pad (Basic Grey)
Ink: Real Red (SU)
Other: Cherry Cobbler seam binding, dimensionals (SU); petite oval and petite scalloped oval Nestabilities dies (Spellbinders); corner rounder punch (EK Success); dew drops (Robin’s Nest)

Hello!  Today’s card combines this week’s OWH Stars & Stamps sketch challenge with the sixth OWH Labor Day Virtual Card Making Party challenge.  For the VCMP challenge, we were asked to make a card for a child, but choose elements for the card from a tic-tac-toe diagram.  I went straight down the middle of the diagram to create a card that involved both stamping and coloring, a punny sentiment, and a creature with four legs.   I hope some boy will enjoy receiving this card from his mom or dad!

I still have a few more VCMP challenges to complete.  I’m still hoping I can get them all done before the challenge deadline on Sunday.  Wish me luck!  😉  Thanks for stopping by today.

Stamps: Mini Critters, Cute Critters (Sweet ‘n Sassy Stamps)
Cardstock: Pure Luxury White (Gina K. Designs); designer papers from Phoebe collection (Basic Grey)
Ink: Tuxedo Black (Memento)
Other: standard circle and big scalloped circle Nestabilities dies (Spellbinders); markers (Copic)

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