Glass half-full.  Positivity.  Optimism.  Whatever you wanna call it — I have it, and usually in reserve.  When I was a younger a friend would tease me by saying that even if I found myself in a hole in the ground, I would find a way to see the bright side.  This is why it has taken so long for me to admit to myself that I am struggling with depression.  I am still able to see good all around me, in every day, I just have much less motivation and energy to take it all in.  The good news: I’m surrounded by loved ones, I’m taking advantage of resources, and I know I just need to give myself the grace and patience to work my way through, and I WILL work my way through.

One of those “good” things around me came (as often is the case) unexpectedly in the form of a personal trainer at my gym.  [Along with above said perspective, I also can’t help but smile at most who cross my path — it just seems like the proper way to greet people.]  So, I enter the gym for my workout, and due to a snaffoo with my membership card, need assistance.  I, of course, smile at the person at the desk.  He helps me and I enter.  Moments later while selecting a playlist, the same front desk person approaches my treadmill.  He starts asking questions, and getting “that feeling” I start peppering more and more of my answers with mention of my husband.  He gets the hint and moves on to talk about training — yes, he’s a Personal Trainer.  Ironically, though, while trying to encourage me about working out and my fitness routine, this trainer also encouraged my spirit.  He reminded me about another benefit of challenge.  In the midst of facing challenge we have the choice to give up and give into it, OR to do what only we can, and take one step at a time to push through it.  Once we do, we have the victory, the confidence, the triumph of knowing we have overcome.  As much as I hate to admit it, some of the most painful and heartbreaking challenges I have faced have been the same ones to give me the strength and tools to be where I am today.

Challenges don’t always have to be vicious and mean.  Sometimes they can be disguised in the masquerade of simple and fun, yet still with enough pull to help us grow.

My card today honors three (and then some) challenges in the world of cardmaking.  First, is the layout, from “The Stampers’ Sampler Take Ten” issue from winter 2011.  Secondly, the colors were inspired by an Ippity Challenge: IHHTC3.  Thirdly, the theme was inspired by a Unity Stamp Company Challenge: Fashion Forward.  In addition to these formal challenges, I also wanted to try out a new-to-me product: Smooch Spritz in Vanilla Shimmer, as well as the technique of using my scissors to distress paper.  So, voila — I bring you my triumphant victory card over these challenges, with the additional reminder, “With the right accessories, you can do anything”.

Card created to meet requirements of three challenges

stamps: Unity Stamp Co.: Treasure To Me, Undeniably You, Jan 2011 KOM To the Moon and Back

ink: ColorBox: pink, aqua, canary, lime

accessories: Papertrey Ink CS, Smooch Spritz Vanilla Shimmer, Recollections Rhinestone Stickers

[As an ironic aside to this post, my blogging platform and/or server have decided to put up an unexpected roadblock, so the simple act of writing a post, uploading an image, and publishing has become a 2-day process of troubleshooting.  However, as you can see, I (with the help of forums and support tickets) have triumphantly slayed another dragon!]


My Rainy Valentine

I know, I know…Valentine’s Day was three days ago, however, hubby and I are celebrating this weekend, and what better way to keep the spirit of love alive than to extend the holiday just a wee bit.

As I’ve mentioned in past posts, 2010 (and still continuing) has been quite rough on us.  Fortunately, we’re not alone facing the meanness of life.  We have our faith, we have our loved ones, and we have each other.  Even with the challenges we’ve had so many moments of deep, rich laughter, and of course, over the silliest things.  How cool is that!

When thinking about creating my Valentine’s valentine, a particular image and sentiment came to mind — Unity’s Rain or Shine.  I love the sentiment, “through rain or shine, you’ll always be mine” — perfect!  I used Get Sketchy’s GS#74 as my guiding inspiration for the layout, and knew that I wanted to use red, white, black, and yellow (hubby likes those classic colors) so that the card would have a clean and classic look.  Using one of my new favorite tools, the Stampamajig (seriously, all that hype out there — I say worth it!), I lined up my various umbrellies from Unity’s Rain & Flowers set on three panels of cream-colored CS, then layered them on some Me & My Big Ideas B&W polka-dotted DP, and adhered it to Papertrey Ink’s Pure Poppy CS.  I tied a small bow with some red ribbon from Michaels.  For my sentiment, I stamped it in ColorBox Frost White on black CS from Michaels, then embossed with white detail EP.  I then stamped a cloud from Unity & Bella Blvd’s Sunny Happy Skies (using my Stampamajig for layout!) around the sentiment in Frost White, cut it out, and adhered it with 3D adhesives.  On the inside of the card I stamped the image from Rain or Shine in Versamark to give it that watermarked look, and signed around it in white ink.  Then the most important part…I placed the card on top of hubby’s dresser…in perfect view to surprise him after work.

To the one I wanna spend all my “under the umbrella” days with — Happy Valentine’s Day Weekend!

stamps: Unity Rain or Shine, Unity Rain & Flowers, Unity & Bella Blvd. Sunny Happy Skies

ink: ColorBox Frost White, ColorBox PaintBox, Palette Black Noir, Versamark

accessories: Papertrey Ink CS, Me & My Big Ideas DP, Detail White EP, ribbon from Michaels

Welcome to Paradise!

One of my dear high school friends is moving. This is a good thing (for me). Over the past …many years since high school we have managed to spend only about two of those years in the same state. She has three children — each of them born in different states. I love when we visit. I hate when we say goodbye. But…she’s moving. She’s moving to Paradise. Really — that’s the name of her new home town.

This move puts her and her family (that sounds so grammatically awkward) almost exactly halfway between the home of her parents and the home of her in-laws. Great news for her in-laws, but sad for her parents who have had her a short road trip away. Sad for her to put more miles between people she loves dearly.  Happy for her husband and a new opportunity.  Happy for me to now have her within a day’s drive.  Change.  Bittersweet.

Change is hard. Here’s what I think change would look like on a recipe card:


2 sprays wistful tears

1 Tbsp nostalgia

1 Tbsp reluctance and anxiety

3 Tbsp teary goodbyes

3 Tbsp excitement

1 large dose possibilities

1/2 tsp adventure, grace, humor

One by one add each ingredient to mixing bowl of emotions, being careful to stir slowly.  When mixture results in a wistful heavy heart, and a hopeful smile, preparations are complete.

To help welcome my friend and her family to their new home, and to brighten her day, I decided to send some “housewarming” love in the mail.  Based on the Get Sketchy Challenge #73, I used some cheery DP and these lovely little houses to create this card.

stamps: {ippity} by Unity “House a Home”

ink: ColorBox Dune, Palette Burnt Umber

accessories: Papertrey Ink CS, My Mind’s Eye DP, ribbon from Michaels, button, twine

Avoid Your Words, Please

Ahh…the memories…picking out the song.  It’s a special day, you’ve waited for it all your life, and now time for the momentous first dance.  Do you keep it traditional or spice it up with some silly? Do you take lessons to prepare for or decide to “just go with it” and let it be organic?  Whatever the decision, it’s almost a guarantee that in addition to choosing the dress another big decision hurdle will be choosing the song.

Here’s one that will be forever dear, but which didn’t quite make the cut…

Saying I love you is not the words I want to hear from you,

it’s not that I want you, not to say, but if you only knew

how easy, it would be to show me how you feel…

Of course, the mere fact that it was a suggestion means that whenever I hear Extreme’s early 90’s rock ballad, “More Than Words”, I pause and listen carefully to the “honey, it’s [almost] our song”.  In the same way that Michael Bolton’s “Said I Loved You, But I Lied” can stop me in my tracks with the initial title and chorus (way to grab our attention, Michael), the line “saying I love you is not the words I want to hear from you” can also make me take pause.

Over the past year or so my husband and I have been (and continue to be) put through the ringer!  We’ve been moving through some incredibly difficult circumstances.  By the grace of God, our love for each other, and the incredible support of dear ones around us we are making it through.  [Can I get an “Amen!”]  This being said, when I do pause and listen to our almost song, it really gets me thinking.

How many times do I tell my husband I love him?  How many times do I say or do something totally inconsiderate or hurtful?  How much more powerful would my I love you’s be if I could tell him without the words?

This is a challenge I give myself — tell my husband I love him.  tell him every. single. day.  tell him — and avoid the words.

In honor of what I think would happen, I bring you, “Avoid Your Words, and Grow…Love”.  Based on Unity Stamp Company’s weekly sketch challenge (HHSC43), I made it a goal to make a CAS (clean and simple) card with ribbon and felt.

So, if like me, you have been blessed with some truly amazing loved ones in your life, then go on and tell them “I love you”, tell them even more, and every so often, say it, but avoid the words.

stamps: Unity Stamp Co. “Fly With Me” KOM

ink: Versamark

accessories: Papertrey Ink Kraft CS, PaperSource soft white double faced satin ribbon, PaperSource Aegean Silver EP, Sizzix Tipsy Hearts dies, felt

My Heart on a String

New year, new month, new me? Let’s hope so — not the revamped don’t recognize me me, but back to myself me. After all, this is “if she did what she loves”!

Since the ball fell in the big apple I’ve been determined to slowly incorporate the things I love back into my life, little by little — you know, baby steps. Much like faith, I am going to take steps with the hopes and certainty that I will feel more like myself again, and by trusting and taking those steps, THEY WILL. So, I’m taking the risk, stepping out in faith, and putting my heart on the line…or string (you’ll see).

One step includes a goal — seeking the inspiration of various sketch challenges, I am aiming to complete three cards a week. Card by card I am determined to fight the meanness out of life and regain some of my life-lovin’ verve.

Here’s a start…this past week’s Mojo Monday sketch challenged participants to make a round or square card with a great funky flair.

See, I told ya – heart (or shall I say hearts) on a line (or string). I stretched myself even further with this challenge to try punching a circle with a corner punch, AND to use these absolutely adorable mini clothespins. It took me about two days to complete it and love it, but after a few iterations, I finally got it just right — AND I did what I love!

stamps: sweet love sentiment – Ippity (by Unity) “Moonbeams & Heartstrings”; XOXO sentiment – Studio G

ink: warm red & rose coral ColorBox Chalk

accessories: MS ribbon loop corner punch; Target $1 spot DP; PTI kraft CS; twine; mini clothespins

Top 10 Cards in 2010

December 31st, New Year’s Eve — the time to reflect, to look back, to bid fond farewell, and then to look ahead and embrace the new.

2010 hasn’t been the kindest year. In fact, life has been downright mean. In response, I’ve been in survival mode, focused on seeking out the good, and thus AWOL from the blog. BUT…I’ve still been making cards, and still reading blogs — my therapy. Good medicine — eeking out creations card by card, and so gratifying to see them in one slideshow together. My cardmaking goal in 2010 was to send out only homemade cards for the various birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, and other celebratory occasions. Did I meet it? You betcha! For 2011 — I hope to continue in the same, but to celebrate a few more, and to increase the cardmaking (maybe 5 a week?) — still some reflecting and goal-making to do. Will let you know the final decision.

For now…in following with the tradition of reflecting over the year, I present my top 10 card creations of 2010.

Contemporary white, black, and red "welcome, baby" card

Love the colors, love the flower and tag details, and absolutely LOVED the occasion -- welcome, Lili!

zebra-patterned birthday card with a jumbo elephant

Huge fan of the zebra print, the textured green strip, and love that cutey elephant!

Card with three pairs of high-heeled shoes

Love the swirls, love the shoes, love the sassy!

Card with multiple=

Layers of lovely paper, rich textures, and a silhouetted "love" scrolled across

gray and pink layered card with image of cat shaking a present

Made for a friend of mine with a familiar kitty -- love the colors and layers

a pastel card in layers with a sentiment about creating yourself

Love at first read with the sentiment, and full of rich layers and details

A white card with three colored flowers and the message, "grow love"

For an how the flowers almost glow, love the colors, and love the message

turquoise and brown card with a raised butterfly and the message, "today I thought of you"

Even when friends are far away, thinking of them, and creating their cards keeps them close at heart; love the butterfly, love the colors, love the sentiment

a card with colorful blossoms and the sentiment, "appreciate the beauty in everything"

Using the masking technique for those beautiful blossoms, and gotta love the sentiment -- very personal for me, especially in 2010

a purple and white card with four birdies and the message, so grateful

Loved ones have been so gracious, God has been so good, and I grateful; love the soft colors, the layers, the texture, and the sentiment

Being a Grownup

Being a grownup means rousing oneself from a wonderful Sunday afternoon nap to get ready.
Being a grownup means not snoozing an additional 10 or 15 minutes while hubby starts preparing for guests.
Being a grownup means pitcing in to make the house “presentable”.
Being a grownup means saying “thank you” without being reminded by your mother.

My husband and I have had reason upon reason to express our gratitude.  We have been moving through some horrendous circumstances, and we have been surrounded and supported by so many amazing people.  This is the first of many.  To all of you out there — We thank you with a grateful heart.

Thank you card that reads, "give thanks with a grateful heart"

Thank you card that reads, "give thanks with a grateful heart" with envelope

Close up of "Give thanks with a grateful heart" thank you card

Close up

With a Grateful Heart

Stamps: sentiment – Verve

Ink: Cocoa – ColorBox

Paper: DP – We R Memory Keepers: Nonsense

Accessories: tag punch – Marvy, eyelet – Recollections, white twine