Caring Hearts Card Drive

Last year I started sending in card donations to the Caring Hearts Card Drive. This event is put on in part by Jennifer McGuire. She and some other lovely ladies collect holiday cards and organize their distribution to nursing homes in the U.S., Canada and Australia. These cards are used to bring cheer to the elderly in nursing homes who don’t have any family to visit for the holidays. I can’t imagine being so lonely and my heart aches. I’m glad that I can do just a little bit of something for someone else. I know when my kids are grown I will spend more time volunteering in person, but for now this is what I (and the kids!) can do.

My students from the card making class I teach helped out with this project too. Together we made 22 cards to send in. Take a look at the lovelies that I just put in the box.




I used the wonderful Lawn Fawn Winter Fox stamp set. This is one of their small format (read affordable!) stamp sets and it is so friggin’ cute. I went with a watercolor technique for this. I inked up the stamp using markers of various colors and with a water brush I started softening the outline and pulling the color into the image. I scribbled a bit of extra ink onto a plastic sheet and picked up that extra color with my brush when needed. I used that extra color to add dimension to her nose, inside her left ear and under her chin. I also added more color to the rim of the coffee mug to make it pop a bit more. I got it a little too wet and my brown coffee color bled a little. But oh well. That is life with watercoloring.  Notice the white around her mouth and each eye, next to her scarf and in between her legs? That white space actually adds dimension and makes the image less flat looking. When going with watercolor, less can sometimes be more. And just to show you what I mean, here is the original cutie.

See how one dimensional it is by itself. But adding water color is like magic! Plus adding some sparkle. That is like magic too. Did you notice in the last photo there is just a hint of sparkle in the steam? I used a Wink of Stella clear glitter brush pen to add that little touch. It is hard to photograph but in person is is just a little detail that adds so much fun.

And now for a serious message…

I encourage you to make some crafty goodness to brighten someone else’s day. You don’t have to donate here, but some ideas include: your local nursing homes, Meals on Wheels program, senior center, homeless programs, Ronald McDonald House (they provide cards to families while children are in the hospital), Boys and Girls club and many more. Take a look around and see where some happy mail can make a little difference in someone’s life. Cards are certainly great, but go one step further. Cards don’t fund these programs to provide all the help these folks need. When you drop off some craftiness also consider making a cash donation. Even just $5. These programs can’t do all they do without good old fashioned money.

I hope you all are surrounded by love and family, warmth and safety as the holidays approach!


Thanksgiving cards

I really liked this month’s DCWV card sketch challenge. I’ve used it for a couple of different projects so far. As a refresher, here is the sketch.

When the sketch came out I first made a teacher thank you card. Then I moved on to Thanksgiving cards. I put together cards to send of to friends and family with some little Christmas ornaments tucked in the package to kick of the winter holiday season. So here is how those came out.

turkey card

I pulled out more DCWV papers and went to work. I took the idea of the three circles and lined them up. The design included a vertical strip to ground the circles and I just turned my strip horizontally. The original sketch had the sentiment stamped on a small banner flag. I made my banner jumbo size. I used a subtle pattern to keep it from overwhelming the card while still letting the small sentiment shine.

Aren’t those turkey’s cute? They are a Lawn Fawn stamp and die set. I’ve been playing with copics again and went to work on those turkeys. I wanted them to have color, not just brown turkeys. In looking at photos on Google Images I was reminded that some turkeys actually have blue heads that lend nice contrast to their bright red snoods (that long flappy skin coming off their faces). I tried to capture that here using tip to tip blending between the red and blue markers. Some of them came out better than others with more distinct colors and less purple over blending. I’m still learning and it was sure fun.

In playing with colors I stamped plenty of turkeys to try different color schemes. I drew the colors from the head into the tail for balance. In blending out these colors it was hard to decide if I should blend them more and make them more subtle or keep them bold. I ended up going with somewhere in the middle of that top left turkey and the bottom right turkey. Doing lots of turkeys gave me the chance to choose my favorites when die cutting them all out.



I hope you can go play with some color blending and turkey snoods. It’s fun to say and fun to color 😉


Update & crafting with kids

Remember these guys? I posted about them a few days ago.

I didn’t mentioned that I was still working on two more designs. Well I got them finished and look how cute they turned out.

My middle child got really involved with decorating all the stockings on the fireplaces. We’ve made at least 10 of each style of ornament so that means 30 colorful stockings that she worked on. That yellow ombre stocking was our favorite of the batch.So pretty. It is going to be hard to give them all away since they are so fun. (If you didn’t read the last post, these are all gifties for the holidays.)

Which brings me to the second part of my post today. When I bought all these to make my own gifts, I also bought a batch for the kids in my card class. I teach a card making class at my kids’ alternative school. It is so much fun to share my love of crafting with all of these young people. So here is what they look like before young minds get to work on them.

I’ve removed the price labels and used my crop-a-dile to punch holes in them for the hanging string. I’m looking forward to seeing what they all come up with to decorate these items.

It just so happens that Jennifer McGuire’s theme this week for her Share Handmade Kindness campaign. What perfect timing since I am sharing these small wood disks for the kids to turn into treasures. Why don’t you go craft with or even for some kids in your life.


Look What arrived

I’ve got some new DCWV stacks in the house. Check it.



I’ve already put the Le Blanc stack to use in my teacher thank you cards from a couple of days ago. This stack is a mix of beige on white prints and white-on-white emboss-resist prints. So fun to add your own colors to and make them fit whatever project you are working on.




I have a great spot in my living room for seasonal decor. Putting up a wreath for the season will be a perfect way to add a little extra decoration to my home. I will be putting together the wreaths from this kit soon, starting of course with the fall themed wreath for Thanksgiving. I will give you my thoughts once I’ve got that put together.


Teacher Thanks

My kids’ alternative school runs on a trimester system. We are wrapping up our first term before the holidays. I like to give tokens of appreciation to their teachers at the end of each term. Because  their school is run like college for kids, where learners pick and choose from a large listing of classes, they have multiple teachers to say thanks to. I keep term thanks to simple cards and make a bigger thank you at the end of the year to simplify things. Of course thanking our teachers fits perfectly in with Jennifer McGuire’s week 2 of her Share Handmade Kindness campaign. In thinking about design, the sketch challenge from DCWV for November was a perfect fit for one of my cards.

And my take. The first photo shows a bit of my process as I plan a project, laying out items, and even dies as placeholders, to get a sense of scale and color and flow.



I knew I wanted to use an apple image, because it’s just so classic. I wanted to keep the colors simple so the apple would pop. So I used the DCWV La Blanc stack, which as the name suggests is mostly white, and just added subtle hints of color. One tip for you. Notice how my arrow strip points down on the top and up from the bottom? Just take the strip, cut it in half in the middle where the other elements will cover it and rotate each strip to point into the design.




All papers from DCWV, card base is Neenah, wood veneers are from Scraptastic. Stamps are Stampin’ Up (small thank you) and Lawn Fawn.

I’ll be back in a few days with some more cards altering this sketch for Thanksgiving cards. In the meantime go check out DCWV’s challenge and Jennifer McGuire’s campaign!


Christmas Ornaments

We have a tradition, that was started by my husband’s grandmother, to give christmas ornaments to friends on Thanksgiving. Last year we stamped inked images into sculpy clay rounds.

This time, when I saw Jennifer McGuire’s video on stamping & coloring wood rounds I knew I had to C.A.S.E. this idea. I made a guess at how many ornaments I need this year and decided a simple wood blank from JoAnn’s would be the most practical choice. Turned out I miscalculated. Once I got home and made a physical list of people I’d like to give these little gifts to, there are nearly 50 ornaments I need to make. With an assembly line method and some help from the kids I know we’ll get through these all on time! So far I’ve come up with three stamped designs. There is the front art and a holiday sentiment stamped on the back. Using my crop-a-dile I punched holes in the rounds and added string. Stamps (older sets) and color pencils are from Stampin’ Up. I do have to say that my color pencils aren’t nearly as creamy smooth as the Prismacolor pencils appear to be in the video. New color pencils sound nice but it is hard to buy something new when I already have some, even if they aren’t as smooth.



Sketch Challenge

November is here and that means another DCWV sketch challenge. Check out the sketch.

I was inspired by the triangle layers and decided to use them to draw focus to photos on a two-photo layout (instead of the three in the sketch). I added in more arrow type elements to keep the eye flowing around the layout. I used the Blue Citrus stack, a 6×6 Printed Cork stack and a mat stack from DCWV to make this layout. Hint, that white paper is just the backside of a print from the Blue Citrus stack. This is a great use for those prints that aren’t your favorite. The solid white adds a calm foundation to a busy mix of pattern and shape.



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Share Handmade Kindess

Perhaps you have heard of Jennifer McGuire. She is a crafter who is very active on YouTube and on her blog. She is a very sweet and generous crafter. In order to encourage us to use our own crafty generosity, she is hosting a project called Share Handmade Kindness. Each week of November Jennifer will provide a challenge to share something homemade/handmade with people in our lives. And of course she is offering prizes! I would play along even if there were no prizes because I love to craft, I love to share and I love to send a little joy off the others. Perfect.

For this first week she challenged us toShare Handmade Kindness with “friends and family.” Easy, easy. I’ve got birthday cards that needed mailed out, so those are off on their way now. I also sent the flower/hello card that I made last week off to a friend who I haven’t been seeing very much anymore.

Here is a photo of the three items I sent in the mail today.

2015-11-04 22.22.01

I’ve been very into watercoloring. (Who hasn’t?) My favorite way to use watercolors is with a wet on wet technique. See those HB letters on the birthday card? First I used clean clear water to draw the letters on watercolor paper. Then using a brush dipped in liquid ink I touch my brush to the bottom of each of the letter and let the color flow naturally onto the wetted paper. With a different color on top, the water naturally allows the colors to blend in the middle. You never know what you are going to get exactly but it is fun. And the tension of the water molecules holds everything into the shape you originally drew, in this case the letters HB so the colors don’t just bleed all over your project. So lovely.

I hope you can give this watercolor technique a try and also send some handmade kindness. If I win any of the prizes I will be sharing them with a card making class I teach at my kids’ school. Just more ways to share!


October sketch challenges

I’m having fun playing with the DCWV October Sketch challenges for layouts and cards. Take a look.

October Layout Sketch

My take:

I used one of the Premium Paper Collections available from This stack contains 5 specialty papers. The background is a chalkboard paper. I added white stamping for my title to give a nod to the style of paper without going to a full chalk-board look. The printed paper has the gorgeous gold foiling print which I used to add glitz and contrast to the layout. The floral paper is actually a glittered paper that I think is perfect is small doses, as accent embellishments, and used with a die to cut title lettering. The little banners accompanying the floral embellishments were cut with another die using the kit’s cream colored fabric “paper”. With a slight translucent quality, this fabric adds a pretty touch. Finally, the solid pink paper has a slight shimmer to it and worked very well for photo mating, journaling tags and as a third lettering style for my title. Add in a little more bling with some Doodle Bug sequins and I have a lovely page! (Dies: Technique Tuesday, banners, title word; Lawn Fawn, title letters; Die-namics, circles.)

And the card sketch:
card sketch

And my take:

Using another Premium Paper Collections available from, plus a bit of leftover cream fabric “paper” from the previous kit, I came up with this card. I think the textures of these papers together make for a very touchable card!

Check out these lines of papers from DCWV. They add a lot of pizzaz to projects!


Peter Pan

My middle kid is the budding theater kid. It helps that she has a super wonderful theater arts teacher and program to be a part of. Each fall their group puts on an ensemble musical performance. Last fall it was Peter Pan. I wanted to capture the story without being super Disney-theme overboard. What I ended up doing was using my Silhouette to purchase a few pirate, mermaid and fairy themed cuts to go along with the characters in the play. I used the die cuts as misting masks to get a subtle theme that supports the photos. I also used the very large ship die cut (so glad I can size die cuts in an electronic cutter!) mask to add another background layer to my focal photo.

The font for my title worked great to support them theme as well. (Unfortunately between starting the cut project and actually making the cuts I had some software glitches and I don’t know what the font is!) To add extra interest to the title I added an ombre ink effect.

Try these techniques for subtle theme enhancement on your next layout.

Peter Pan play layout