Sunday, November 29, 2009

Come Bearing Gifts


Happy Sunday stampers! Its time for another challenge from Stampin' Sisters in Christ. This week's hostess is Randi, and she selected this verse from Matthew 2:11 "After coming into the house they saw the Child with Mary His mother and they fell to the ground and worshipped Him. Then, opening their treasures, they presented to Him gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh." and a companion set of verses from Matthew 7:7-11 "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you shall find; knock, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man is there among you who, when his son asks for a loaf, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, he will not give him a snake, will he? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in Heaven give what is good to those who ask it."

The challenge is to make a project or card that includes an image of gifts or giving gifts somewhere in it.

Coincidentally, it also happens to be Lisa's birthday!!! Happy birthday Lisa! For my card then, I chose the only set I own that has birthday gift style images, an old Stampin' Up set called Something to Celebrate. I hope Lisa gets some nice gifts today on her special day.

Our sponsor at Stampin' Sisters in Christ this week is La La Land Crafts, they have some cute images to give away, check out the home page of the blog and take a look.

Another of Lisa's loves, besides paper crafting, is quilting. We consider all of the paper crafters who join us every week in our challenge part of our circle of friends and I searched the web to find a friendship quilt to post in honor of Lisa's birthday.

I found the quilt at the top of the post on a web site called www.scarlettrose.com/heartcircle.html. I believe it was a quilt stitched with blocks exchanged internationally between Japanese and American quilters. Isn't it gorgeous? I think the image might be under copyright, so after today I'm taking it down, but I liked the hearts used to create floral type circles . . . hearts, flowers, friendship, color . . . what can beat that? For the next 'gift' for Lisa on this combination challenge/birthday blog hop, visit Randi's blog here.

As far as the verse selected . . . I can remember as a kid at Christmas being much more excited about the large boxes that sometimes accompanied the gifts than the gift itself. Anyone remember Cuddly Duddly? The large dog? I received one when I was small that came in a cardboard car that was . . .ta dah! Large enough for me or my brother to sit in! We destroyed that car three or four days I believe, pushing each other around the living room. The stuffed dog is also long gone.

While nothing diminishes the pleasurable memories of those gifts, they were not permanent. Well-loved stuffed animals don't have a long lifespan. There is one gift, though, with an eternal promise, the gift of salvation offered through faith in and acceptance of Jesus Christ. The baby in the manger didn't come to this world so we could arrange family gatherings, fill our tables with special meals or give each other gifts, however nice those traditions might be. The entirety of the Old Testament is leading up to that special moment when heaven opened up and God sent down his only son to be our savior.

There is a lovely song by one of my favorite artists, Chris Rice, that blends our world's need for a savior with a welcome to this precious baby in the manger. This Christmas season, or any time of year, welcoming Jesus into your heart is the best gift you can give to yourself.

Here is a link to a site on the Chris Rice web site where you can listen to a clip from this song, Welcome to Our World:

http://www.chrisrice.com/music.php?id=6

Saturday, November 28, 2009

A fun blog questionnaire

Don't you love making new friends through stamping and the internet? One of my new friends is Lisa Hjulberg, one of the senior design team members at Stampin' Sisters in Christ. She passed along this fun blog award today. The idea behind it is there is a questionnaire that you have to answer using only one word. Then you pass it along to a few other friends. So we'll take a shot at this using only one word . . .

1. Where is your mobile? Pocket

2. Your hair? darker

3. Your Mother? hampshire

4. Your Father? missed

5. Your favorite food? chocolate

6. Your Dream last night? forgot

7. Your Favorite Drink? pepsi (diet)

8. Your Dream? stamping

9. What room are you in? living

10. Your Hobby? stamping

11. Fear? snakes

12. Where do you want to be in 5 years? mountains

13. Where were you last night? home

14. Something that you aren't? finished

15. Muffins? can't

16. Wish List Item? patience

17. Where did you grow up? DesPlaines, IL

18. Last thing you did? dinner

19. What are you wearing? jeans

20. Your TV? off

21. Pets? yes

22. Friends? smooches!!!!

23. Mood? relaxed

24. Life? content

25. Missing someone? Dad

26. Vehicle? varies

27. Something you're not wearing? coat

28. Favorite store? online

29. Favorite Color? pink

30. When was last time you laughed? today

31. Last time you cried? today (yes, I know the answers to those last two questions are the same, can we all say 'hormones?')

32. Best Friend? hubby

33. One place that I go to over n' over? computer

34. Facebook? no

35. Favorite place to eat? home

Okay, now to pass along this award. I choose Traci Major, Beth Hartley, Belinda, Cheryl and Schirmy! It is always hard to choose just a few friends, but with the circles of friends that develop online, I think it will be passed along in no time at all to many others.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Papertrey Ink Blog Hop for November


Happy November blog hopping! This has got to be one of the world's worst photos, but it is rainy and gray outside and I cannot get a good picture to save my life.

A very small contribution to the blog hop, this is from the set 'Believe.' For this hop we were to show altered wrapping paper, packages or tags. I chose tags as the simplest item during a very busy week.

I embossed the tree in gold and in silver. One gold tree uses green highlights with some randomly scattered rhinestones. The red tree has one cluster of red rhinestones in the center flower. The silver tree also uses red as a foil and I kept the star at the top gold for a bit of metallic contrast. These are pretty simple tags that you could add to a package. Thanks for looking. Happy hopping.
Stamps: Papertrey Ink Believe
Ink: Gold and silver pigment inks
Other: copic markers in red and green, red and green rhinestones, gold and silver twinkle embossing powder.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

A thankful heart


Happy Sunday stampers! Our hostess for today's challenge at Stampin' Sisters in Christ is Helen, who selected an appropriate verse for this week from Galatians 6:9 "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up." I hope your Thanksgiving week is a harvest of memories with family and friends.

The challenge for the week is to make a card or project to help celebrate Thanksgiving, or you can create a simple thank you card. Our sponsor this week is Our Daily Bread Designs, check out the main blog here to see what you can win for playing along.

That's an interesting verse and I'm glad Helen selected it. There's a lot of food for thought in that verse. "Let us not become weary," that first part kind of ties into a devotional I read this week on Women to Women Sharing Jesus about authenticity. So many times we can pretend we have it all together, that we're super mom, super church goer, super do-gooder. I'd like to remove my cape . . . I'm not super at any of those things. I'm just someone who is trying and with the help of the Lord, I'll keep putting one foot in front of the other and continue to try. God knew we would have seasons of great energy but also seasons of weariness and that's the reason for the exhortation. Keep going! Don't give up! And it is an encouragement linked to a promise that at the right time in the right season, there will be a harvest.

One of the mindsets that can help you continue to run the race, when the harvest isn't even in sight, is a spirit of thankfulness. When you sit down to count your blessings, all the worries and weariness kind of gets crowded out of your head. The very fact that I can type this message means I have eyes that can see, fingers that move, a brain that can think and a computer to use to share these words and pictures. I'm thankful for the gift of my faith, my family, my friends, and more numerous things than I can mention. I'm sure you all are too. So a very happy Thanksgiving to all my buddies in blog land. Let's keep on creating and keep on encouraging one another. Thanks for all the encouragement you give to me, I do appreciate it so much.

Stamps: Memory Box wreath, thank you sentiment from ?
Ink: Gold craft
Paper: vanilla, various DP
Other: gold twinkle EP, ribbon, rhinestones

Friday, November 20, 2009

Mom's gift set



This gift set is for my mom. I used one of Lauren Meader's templates from Papertrey Ink and the notebook cover template designed by Nichole. The set includes the box, a set of eight notecards (charmingly posed sideways, don't ask how that happened, I don't know how to fix it) and a notepad for making grocery lists. I found a pair of comfy socks in almost the same colors as the cardstock that fits in the back panel. My mom is a regular patron at Hallmark. We'll give monogram notecards a try and see how these go over.

I used vanilla or cream, Spring Rain, Chocolate and gold craft ink with twinkling gold embossing powder. For the tone on tone blue I used Versamark frost. The set uses Take Note, Green Thumb, Fresh Alphabet, Guidelines Two and Simply Stationery. On the notebook cover I used the small flowery poof and on the box I used the larger size one from Green Thumb.

The butterflies are punched out using the Martha Stewart butterfly cluster punch. Note: I would recommend the number of butterflies used to decorate the box be directly proportionate to the number of times you smudge ink on it. Not that I would personally have any knowledge of that.

During the last product release, Nichole had a great tip for using sticky tape with glitter. A friend gave me a huge bottle of chunky Martha Stewart glitter which I haven't used yet, but this was the perfect project to try it out and I think it adds a lot. Hard to see it on the notecards, but what I did there and on the notebook cover was stamp the green thumb poofy flower around the edges using the versamark Frost ink and then centered the monogram.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

No More Darkness Only Light

Happy Sunday stampers! This week it is my turn to play hostess for the Stampin' Sisters in Christ challenge.

You can travel back to the Stampin' Sisters in Christ main blog here to see all the wonderful creations by the talented design team.

The verse I chose is 1 Corinthians 13:12 (KJV) "For now we see through a glass darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. "

Years ago I worked in downtown Chicago, commuting in from the suburbs on the elevated train, or the El as it is called locally. During my commute, we started above ground, progressed to level with the ground and then traveled underground, through tunnels. As the light source changed, so did the view of my fellow passengers. When you're outside, in the sunlight, the large train windows give you a grand view of the outdoors. In a tunnel, with no outside light source, the interior train lights cause you to see a reflection in the opposite window of yourself and the people around you. It is as though you're looking in a mirror but one with a the dark train walls as background, resulting in fuzzy images and muted colors.

I would often think of the verse from Corinthians, "For now we see through a glass darkly" while I watched the shifting shapes caused by the train's passage through tunnels and sunlight. Obviously I could see the person next to me in full color, 3-D, if I turned my head. That dim reflection in the trains' windows did not diminish their reality, it was simply my view at the time.

Our view of God in this life is veiled; we can't see Him clearly. But just because our view is dim, doesn't diminish His reality or His glory. When we get to heaven, we won't be looking through a dark glass or catching a brief glimpse in a mirror, we will see Jesus face to face. We will know Him and He will truly know us, as no being knows us here on the earth. We will see God's glory revealed in all of its indescribable splendor and majesty. How wonderful! I don't know about you, but I am really looking forward to that.

My stamping challenge related to that verse then, involves one of my favorite techniques or layouts, the shadowbox card. No more shadows, no more dim reflections when we get to heaven!

For your card you can use any theme, any colors, any images you like. I chose a saying from Sweet and Sassy stamps paired up with a Christmas set from Papertrey Ink.
First I stamped the Night of Navy cardstock in navy with the Belle Toile background, then used the star and swirl from PTI's Silent Night set in gold craft with gold tinsel EP. I cut out a few stars from gold moire DP. The sentiment is stamped on a piece of Graphic 45 DP in chocolate ink from PTI. I sponged around the edges of the sentiment so the words would pop a bit more and traced around the word 'light' with gold stickles.

I really enjoy making shadowbox cards, hope you get a chance to play this week too. For a good tutorial on their construction, check out this link to the resource section on SCS.

Many thanks to our sponsor this week, Layers of Color. They are offering a gorgeous set of butterfly stamps to one lucky winner, have a look on the SSCC blog home page.

I am also participating in two blog hops this weekend. The first is one post down, contributions for Operation Write Home and the second is for a faith challenge blog hop, two posts down. Thanks for looking and have a blessed week!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Hopping for Heroes





Welcome to this stop on the Operation Write Home blog hop. You should have arrived here from Celeste's blog here. If you didn't start at the beginning of the hop, or you need an explanation of the purpose and goals of Operation Write Home, please click on the Own Home Front link. They welcome handmade cards of all types for our nation's heroes serving in our country's military and your cards are welcome too. For today's hop I have two cards for Any Hero, to thank them for their service to our country and a Valentine's Day card for a service member to use to send home to their favorite sweetheart. From my blog, you will travel to see Karen's creations, her link is at the bottom of this post.

For the top two cards, I made a sheet of polished stone, using gold craft, Brilliant Blue and Riding Hood Red dye ink. You can use just pieces of a polished stone sheet to accent a card.

The card on top uses Papertrey Ink's Quilter's Sampler. I like a versatile set that suits almost any occasion, depending on the colors and layout you choose. I alternated a white shimmery paper with the polished stone, punched out some stars using a cuttlebug die. The sentiment is from PTI's button bits set.

For the second card I traced a star and used it as a template to cut them out of the polished stone paper, mounted them on gold moire and pierced around them. The white swirly paper was just a fancy sheet I bought once at Archiver's and finally used.

The third card is for Valentine's Day. If you would like to make Valentine's Day cards for the service members to use to write home to loved ones, the deadline for receipt of these cards is January 8th. For that card I used a Crafty Secrets set called 'Cherish,' embossed in gold. Then I used some of the newer SU shimmer paint in champagne but mixed in a droplet of Pretty in Pink reinker to get a slightly pink tone, painted on vanilla cardstock. I embossed the Manhattan Die on vanilla, mounted the pieces on Pink Pirouette and paired it up with prima roses dipped in champagne shimmer paint, some PTI buttons and blush ribbon.

I don't know anyone personally that is serving in the military, however I am a first generation immigrant and heard enough stories from my dad about living in a repressive society to really appreciate the freedoms we have in this country. Freedom doesn't come without sacrifice, and a handmade card is such a small way to show our appreciation. Many thanks to all who serve and to their families.

Thanks for looking, enjoy hopping and Operation Write Home looks forward to receiving your cards for heroes.

For the next stop on this blog hop you will want to visit Karen's blog here. She has such a pretty smile and a fine stamping talent, check out her skills with Tombow markers.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Friends of Faith blog hop


Welcome to my contribution for the Friends of Faith blog hop! And if you're just popping in and missed the beginning, you should start off here, or go to the Stampin' Sisters in Christ blog for the link to the next entry. There are lots of prizes and fabulous artwork to view on this hop, so you don't want to miss a single post!

This hop is sponsored by the Scrapbook News and Review Magazine's A Faith Perspective and the theme is: Thankful for Friends of Faith Blog Hop. Today, we're out in force on the internet -- showing our faith and giving the glory to God.

The verse that this hop is based upon is from Ecc 4:9-10a "Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up."

If you did stop here, I should say I am not participating individually in the hop, but as part of the Stampin' Sisters in Christ blog, so you need to go there to follow along properly with the hop. That being said, there are some cool hop sponsors, like Layers of Color Stamps, Gina K Designs and Sweet 'n Sassy Stamps. Together with Scrapbook News and Review Magazine, these companies have donated some wonderful prizes for today's blog hop.

For my card I started off with this cute digital image from Mo's Digital Pencil. I so often just make 'girl' cards I thought I'd try my hand at a boy card. I think a beautiful expression of friendship can be between siblings. My three older kids are very close to each other; they can confide in one another, they keep each other accountable in their Christian walk and they help each other through tough times. Here you have an older brother reading a book to baby . . . boy? Girl? Doesn't matter really, they are spending time with each other, building their friendship.

I am participating in another hop on Saturday, for Operation Write Home, so if you click on my general blog link, you can see that post as well, just above this one. Thanks for stopping by.

Stamps: Mo's Digital Pencil
Paper: Doodlebug Designs, Neenah Solar White, SU cocoa
Other: prismacolor pencils and gamsol, froggie eyelets, PTI new leaf and aqua buttons, twine


Sunday, November 8, 2009

Operation Write Home

Happy Sunday stampers! This week's challenge from Stampin' Sisters in Christ is hostessed by Candace who chose the verse from John 15:13 "Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends."

Jesus laid his life down to save us from our sins, to give us eternal life in heaven.

Our American armed forces lay down their lives every day to ensure we have freedom in our country. Their sacrifice was demonstrated in a heart breaking manner this week in Texas at Fort Hood. We can thank them in a tangible way using our skills as card makers, putting our hearts into our creations. This week's challenge then, is to support Operation Write Home.

The mission of Operation Write Home (formerly known as Cards for Heroes) is to support our nation's armed forces by sending blank (handmade greeting cards to write home on, as well as cards of gratitude to encourage them.

The challenge for this week is to make a patriotic-themed card for a soldier and as a bonus, donate it to Operation Write Home, so that a soldier may be encouraged by your words of thanks. Write a special message of gratitude on the inside and sign your name. They will be distributed to soldiers who rarely get mail, or just need encouragement. Be sure to put your card in an envelope and write “Any Hero” on the front. For more information on how to make a card for “Any Hero” click here (http://www.owhhomefrontblog.org/2009/09/anyhero-cards-q.html).

Please note that it is not required to donate your card in order to participate in the challenge. However, I do encourage it!

THE EXTRA CHALLENGE

OWH also collects blank greeting cards (any theme) that soldiers may send home to loved ones. For example: birthday, thinking of you, hello, etc. Various holiday cards are also needed. According to the OWH website, “miss you” and “love you” cards are most requested by the soldiers. To read more about card themes needed, click here http://www.owhhomefrontblog.org/2009/03/card-themeswhat-needed-most.html.

There are some rules about what you can and cannot use, for their safety's sake . . . for instance, no glitter! We don't want a speck of something shiny making our armed forces a target and visible at night. Also, standard A2 size cards are preferred. You don't have to include an envelope with an A2 card if you don't have any. However if you do choose to send a square card, please include a corresponding square-sized envelope for that card. Donations are always accepted to help pay for the postage required to send these packages to our brave men and women. So if you can slip in a dollar or two or five with your card, it is gratefully accepted.

One thing you CAN do . . .which made me happy personally . . .is you don't have to worry about bumps and lumps! Use those buttons! Make a pretty bow! The armed forces, when they send cards home to their loved ones, don't have to pay that extra postage for a lumpy card. :) I love ribbons, bows and buttons!

Candace has volunteered to collect the cards sent to her and mail them in a bundle to OWH. The link for her blog is here.

If you notice on my sidebar there are a few upcoming blog hops. One of them I will be participating in next Saturday and that is for Operation Write Home. You can sign up to be part of that blog hop too, it isn't too late, or just go blurfing next Saturday to see some awesome artwork and have a chance to win some great prizes.

Speaking of prizes, our sponsor at Stampin' Sisters in Christ this week is Paper Pretties. Thank you for donating that lovely stamp set which one lucky winner will receive for posting their creation on the SSCC blog. Thanks for looking.

ETA: My recipe . . . one of my friends thought I used Roses in Winter . . . I never could get the hang of two-step stamping, so I had that set at one time and gave it to a more deserving home!

Stamps: Penny Black 'the heart of the rose'

Paper: Neenah solar white, SU real red, brilliant blue, glossy white

Other: black craft ink, clear EP, sponge, red and blue inks, cuttlebug swiss dots folder, blue ribbon, post it notes for masking

Sunday, November 1, 2009

While I've Been Dreamin' You've Been Singing Over Me

Happy Sunday stampers! It is time for another challenge from the Stampin' Sisters in Christ.

This week's hostess is Pamela and she selected Deuteronomy 31:8 "The Lord Himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid, do not be discouraged." The challenge is to create a project, scrapbook page or card, to remind yourself or others that when God is unseen, it doesn't mean that He isn't there, He is always with you.

Scripture points to other scripture and when I read the challenge three things combined to help create my project. First, the verse that came to my mind to coincide with Deuteronomy and the challenge was 1 Peter 5:7 "Cast all your cares upon Him because He cares for you."

Then I saw this little digital angel by Mo's Digital Pencil, sleeping so peacefully, without a care in the world and it seemed to exemplify trust -- he doesn't look a bit afraid, does he? And the third thing that came to mind was one of my favorite songs by an artist called Chris Rice called "Smellin' Coffee." I can't find a track to link for you to listen to, but one verse in that song says,

"I remember reading you're the God who never sleeps;
while I've been dreaming you've been singing over me, yeah,
Singing about my freedom waking me up to hear your song,
Now I can't dance hard enough, cuz yesterday is gone, gone, gone . . . "

All these combine to remind me that God is always there, even when I'm asleep or dreaming, whether I see Him or not. God is aware, He is in control and He cares for me. We can have peace in our lives if we truly do cast all of our cares upon Him. He goes before us . . . what a wonderful thought! Before tomorrow comes, God has already been there, He already knows what is going to happen and He will be there to guide us through it if we trust Him.

Almost forgot to add we have Cornish Heritage Farms as our sponsor this week and if you look at the main challenge blog there is a great prize you can win for playing along.

To frame my little angel I chose the sketch challenge this week from the Midnight Madness blog, which you can find here. My mind always seems to work better with stamping when it is 'organized' with a sketch. If I have a layout, I can think better, if that makes sense? And I had a lot of fun cutting into some paper scraps I had been hoarding, little bits and pieces of flocked Heidi Grace paper that I was saving for . . . I don't know what . . . this card I guess! I was leery of digital images, I usually like to watercolor, but I was brave and pulled out my prismacolor pencils and gamsol and I'm pretty pleased, seems to work well. Thanks for looking, hope you get a chance to play with your ink and stamps this week.

Stamps: Mo's Digital Pencil, computer generated scripture (Edwardian Script font, 18 pt type)
Cardstock: Neenah Solar white, silver, scraps of Heidi Grace flocked paper and other bits and pieces from my scrap drawer, white shimmer, blue shimmer
Accessories: prismacolor pencils, gamsol, SU dazzling diamonds glitter, rhinestones, silver ribbon, vanilla hardware, pearls, Martha Stewart snowflake punch, random star punch, petite scalloped circle nestabilities