Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Inspiration Hop, Day 2: "Birthday Bash" and "Dreams"

Welcome back to our second day of the May Inspiration Hop with Gina K Designs, I hope you all had a safe and excellent holiday! The first set we have is Rupa Shevde's " Birthday Bash". This blushing bunny with a belated gift behind its back is so "me"! I paper pieced the package to match my mat and used a long length of curled grosgrain ribbon on the side to suggest some very last minute wrapping, most any time I give a gift I wrapped it 90 seconds before I gave it to you and the evidence of that is nearby, hee hee!
Cardstock is Pure Luxury White, Turquoise Sea, Red Hot, and DP is DCWV Citrus. this photo shows the layers I did to build up the dimension. The line art uncolored one is what it die cut with the rectangle. the package, which I added a little red Copic to the ribbon and some gray for a shadow outside the bunny outline, gets glued on next, and finally the front of the bunny is popped up over that.
Next up, we have "Dreams" by Tami Mayberry. I started by inking u the oval frame with Lilac Posies and Grape Jelly Memento markers for a two toned effect. After adding the sentiment and extra butterflies, I die cut it with a Classic Oval and matted it over a Beaded Oval. If you are wondering why it's offset like that, the die slipped when I was cutting and I cut off the right side of the beaded border, oops! I'm telling you, I don't like to redo anything! Make it work! ;)
I could have used some larger butterfly stamps for a background but I wanted them to be dimensional so I decided to go through my die and see what I could make since I don't have any butterfly dies. Looked like this little medallion from a Nestabilities Renaissance Hearts Pendant set ought to do the trick!
I snipped it into quarters, using the top two pieces for the top wings and then snipped one quarter in half to make the bottom wings. The last section I used to embellish a corner. Be sure to round off the sides with your scissors, just following the curve toward the end to make a smooth side. ( I decided not to use that purple one after all..for another project maybe!) :)
I put a strip of three adhesive pearls over the sections to join them in front and then added a strip of Scor-Tape to reinforce it as well as attach it.
I sponged pink and lavender inks onto my mat and then stamped a few tiny butterflies in lavender to the corner. The trail is hand dotted with a black gel pen.
Cardstock is Pure Luxury White, Black Onyx and Lovely Lavender.

Hope these projects inspired! Please enjoy hopping with the rest of our fabulous design team and I hope to see you back here tomorrow!

  • Gina K

  • Giovana Smith

  • Janice Whiting

  • Jennie Harper

  • Jimmi Mayo

  • Lee Murphy

  • Melanie Muenchinger (you are here, thanks for visiting!)

  • Michelle Woerner

  • Sharon Harnist

  • Suzanne Dean

  • Tami Mayberry

  • Theresa Momber

  • Tina Gilliland

  • Vicki Dutcher

  • Carolina Buchting

  • Cathy Tidwell

  • Deb Felts

  • Donna Baker
  • Monday, May 30, 2011

    Memorial Day and OWH!

    Eek, I am so sorry I spaced out on the Memorial Weekend Blog Hop I told you about a couple weeks ago (can't believe it's been two weeks since I posted that!)!! Had some stuff going on this week that the holiday completely snuck up on me, not to mention my kids are in school today(make up for a snow day) so I keep forgetting what day it is now! Did any of you get a chance to participate? Here is the link for the Operation Write Home blog hop if you didn't get a chance to check it out over the weekend!

    Here is a quickie card I put together ( yes, two days late but I did get it up on Memorial Day at least!) using "Border Bling" and the "Where Your Heart is" set, these blingy frames are nice for framing images as well as sentiments,and sometimes it is fun to use a smaller image or die cut inside the frame so that bling really acts like a "border" instead of a "label" like I did here. TIP: It would have been SO much better if I'd held off off on adding the pearls and embossed a larger Labels Four die border around my dots to form a nice embossed border outside the bling, oops! There I go, goin' crazy with the pearls again hee hee!

    Where Your Heart Is" is featured in "Our Favorite Products" in the Cardmaker July 2011, their Stars and Stripes issue!
    They are also featuring Operation Write Home in their "Readers Reach Out" section this month, I hope you can donate some cards, please check out this issue for more details on sending cards or go to the Operation Write Home website! Thanks CardMaker for supporting this terrific organization!

    Our Gina K Designs Inspiration Blog Hops continue tomorrow, stay tuned!

    Sunday, May 29, 2011

    Blinging up the Border Bling!

    Hello! I hope you are having a great holiday weekend! Have some fun stuff to share with your for my new "Border Bling" , I really wish I'd had more time to experiment with the set before our party and the hop devoted to it on Friday, but you can bet I will have a lot of things like this to come! I am more excited than ever about this set now that I had a little stamp time yesterday to play with more possibilities. As you can see on the "Border Bling" page, it is a perfect match for Labels 1, 4, 9, and 14 and the Oval Nestabilities sets. But I know there are a LOT of other when you next them into larger shapes or use them as borders around other shaped die cuts, the tiny elements inside are what do the trick. I believe thy will also fit Labels 5, 18 and 21 very nicely, but I don't have those dies in hand yet to say for sure. If you happen to have them or another die you find that works, I would love to know, please share with us! :)
    First I stamped the flourish above and below the border that matches Labels 1. Isn't it pretty what that adds?
    This is exactly the same but turned sideways, another great look!
    And here I have stamped the flourish again on either side. Love how fancy!
    Now I am adding the smaller oval to the inside. When you stamp all the borders, notice how they have larger bling in the middle on each side. Line these up over the lines on your block when adhering, and then when you stamp, position the lines of the block so they are intersecting with the border already stamped, then you know it will be centered and straight. See how the white lines on the block go right through the dots on the label on stamp?
    The fun thing about oval border, since they are oblong, they look so different when they are positioned vertically or horizontally, and give you lots of flexibility with all the sentiments stamps whether they are formatted more vertically or horizontally.
    When I started stamping this I was going for a fancy looking medallion, something like a Label 16 that I could just cut around the borders with scissors (which works very well, as I will show you in an upcoming post!) but I noticed how this would also look great in a round die! Yeah!!
    And here I've added some of the Silver Liquid Pearls to select dots, keeping it symmetrical by embellishing the same ones on each side. Oh, I almost forgot, did you notice?! See how I also stamped the little curved element and corner images from the set into the Labels One border around the oval, how's that for blinged up?! Fancy fancy! Remember, if you are going to cut this out, with scissors or a die, be sure to wait to add the pearls, they will NOT go through your machine LOL! I got a little excited about my tutorial and the fun of adding the pearls I wasn't thinking, hee hee! (I did manage to cut around it, but had to give it plenty of time to dry and be super careful snipping around those pearls on the ends...)
    Whether you're a pro or novice with the Liquid Pearls, for best results I think you'll be happiest with stamping with an ink that is a very close match to your liquid Pearls color so that if you are a teensy bit off or don't get the dot filled completely it will be less obvious. Also, if you don't plan to cover every dot the uncovered stamped dots will blend more with the dimensional pearls in your design. Having said that, tough, I definitely plan to do some "Border Bling" designs using multiple colors!
    I liked that circle idea so much I had to try the same design on black with the White Opal Liquid Pearls! Another tip: my white craft ink pad is to dry right now to leave a good impression for a guide for the pearls without re-inking so I tried stamping it with Versamark instead and embossing it with white EP. What I found is that the Liquid Pearls want to slide off the slippery embossed dots, so I don't recommend doing that if you can use an ink (that will be flat and dry instead!), just a heads up! This still looks okay to use on a card, but isn't perfect like the gray one above...
    Okay, more to come! I am too busy trying different things and coming up with more tips for you to finish my card with it just now! ;) TTYS!

    Friday, May 27, 2011

    inspiration hop, Day 1: "Border Bling" and "Vogue Vases"

    How about that release party last night?! It was so fun to mingle and chat with so many of you, thanks for coming out! Today starts our first day of inspiration hops with the design team for all the newest sets from Gina K designs! The first set is my new "Border Bling", made to fit and embellish several of my favorite label and shaped Nestabilities dies, as well as coordinate with "Bring the Bling", (already one of my best sellers!) Be sure to watch Gina's video using this new set with the Liquid Pearls if you missed it last night , if that doens't make you want them I don't know what will! And I say we bug her for all the remaining colors too LOL!)
    Here is the sample I peeked yesterday, it uses paper from the new Stamp TV "Vintage Chic" kit, (these sets are really a match made in heaven with it's bling, and sentiments that match pretty much all of Gina's images, will be fun to mix them up!) this border is stamped in black on a Labels Four die cut and then enhanced with one of the smaller bling elements in the set (that are made to fit into corners of the borders, mats, etc) in gray.
    Don't you love this quote? Any of you know who* said it? (hint: she is FABULOUS and I would have included it but didn't have room on the plate, we needed more bling MORE than her name LOL! No, it's not Gina, but that's a good guess, hee hee) I am head over heels with this font, too, it is very vintage and so sassy with the bling and for all your girlfriend cards!
    Another thing I love about these borders is how they can fit quite a few more dies than meet the eye. Here you can see I have used border designed to fit a Label Fourteen die (the greeting is popped out, it is awesome to be able to remove these when you want to use them on your own or with a different quote or image, but still put it back in to be centered) and then a large scroll element to create a more intricate label to fill in this larger Labels Nine die cut, isn't that fun the way you can customize these to fit your purposes or make them fancier or simpler?And here is the Label Fourteen die cut with a sentiment die cut layered over the same die cut i showed above. I haven't even had time to make a card with it, it has been crazy with school finishing up! (But just had to share this idea, I couldn't wait!)
    To go along with this star quote, I added some new bling shapes, so now in addition to the pearls, you've also got RHINESTONES and stars to play with! Hope you will spy some of them along our hop today, I will be using a few of them on samples in the following hop days, so stay tuned!
    Next up, we have Theresa's "Vogue Vases" set, which has such a cool art deco or old Hollywood feel, a little bit of line art but also the great silhouettes Theresa is known for! Here I embossed one of her vases (the other is an exact line art match so you can use the other for paper piecing or line them up to use together to make one vase) in black, and then shaded the ferns by thumping two different green markers on them before stamping. If my cropping of the vase looks unusual here, I had a completely different idea in my mind, but accidentally lopped off the top of the fancy die cut label it was on, oops! Rather than scrap it, I just did a tight crop to remove the curvy edges of the label, and to "make it work", I had to come up with a new layout, one that I will admit is MUCH more interesting that my original plan! Incidentally, this is how most of my better layouts come about, trying to make the boo boos work! So don't be afraid of mistakes, embrace the opportunity! :)
    I added her long border that can be used as a shelf OR just as a decorative element, that's gonna be a fun stamp! I sponged the edges of the Grass Green Pure Luxury with a deeper green ink and added some ribbon from the new StampTV kit. Still can't get enough of the new Key Lime!
    Aren't you just loving how everything looks so beautiful together in this release?
  • Gina K

  • AJ Otto

  • Carolina Buchting

  • Cathy Tidwell

  • Deb Felts

  • Donna Baker

  • Giovana Smith

  • Janice Whiting

  • Jennie Harper

  • Jimmi Mayo

  • Lee Murphy

  • Melanie Muenchinger

  • Michelle Woerner

  • Sharon Harnist

  • Theresa Momber

  • Tina Gilliland

  • Vicki Dutcher
  • Thursday, May 26, 2011

    You're invited, check it out!

    Hello, and thank you for coming to my blog today! I'd like to personally invite you to our Gina K. Designs May Release Party! We have a fun evening planned for you - chatting, prizes, challenges, stamp sets reveal, design team shares, and most importantly, at the end of the party you will be able to go shopping!

    If you came from Michelle Woerner's blog, you're at the right place. If not make sure to head over to StampTV (link to StampTV's main forum) where you will find a list of all those participating in today's hop.

    Here's a sneak peek of one of the cards I will be sharing at the party!
    It uses my newest set, "Border Bling", made to enhance your favorite Nestabilities, (I know you'll love the fabulous sentiments included!), with a little "Bring the Bling" in the corner there, see? Yes, they coordinate! (You can't have one with the other...!) So excited for this one!! :) Thefull card and many others from me and our team tonight, be there!

    Really hope to see you at the party, here are all the details:
    • When: Today, Thursday, May 26
    • Where: StampTV Release Party Forum
    • Time: 7 PM to 9 PM (CST)

    Head on over to Lee Murphy's blog to see what sneak peek she's sharing with you today and see you back here tomorrow for the beginning of our four day Inspiration Blog Hop series for May!
    Thanks again for hopping with us!

    Tuesday, May 24, 2011

    Words to Live By...

    A quote I just came across, author unknown:

    Watch your thoughts, they become words.
    Watch your words, they become actions.
    Watch your actions, they become habits.
    Watch your habits, they become character.
    Watch your character, it becomes destiny.
    Have a quote for us today? please share! :)
    (I'm a busy bee stamping for our release this Thursday! By the way, how'd ya like that sneak peek snippet from Friday? ;) She's not making you guess anymore, it's all out in the open, LOL! I'm so excited to share samples with it!! Hope you are enjoying the snippets and counting down to the party, we are!

    Saturday, May 21, 2011

    "God's Cake"

    Something else one of my wonderful mentoring moms sent me:

    Sometimes we wonder,
    ‘What did I do to deserve this?' or
    'Why did God have to do this to me?'
    Here is a wonderful explanation!
    A daughter is telling her Mother how everything
    is going wrong, she's failing algebra, her boyfriend
    broke up with her and her best friend is moving away.
    Meanwhile, her Mother is baking a cake and asks her daughter if she would like a snack, and the daughter says, 'Absolutely Mom, I love your cake.'
    'Here, have some cooking oil,' her Mother offers.
    ‘Yuck’ says her daughter...
    ‘How about a couple raw eggs?' 'Gross, Mom!'
    ‘Would you like some flour then?
    Or maybe baking soda?'
    'Mom, those are all yucky!'
    To which the mother replies:
    'Yes, all those things seem bad all by themselves.
    But when they are put together in the right way, they make a wonderfully delicious cake! ’God works the same way. Many times we wonder why He would let us go through such bad and difficult times. But God knows that when He puts these things all in His order, they always work for good! We just have to trust Him and, eventually, they will all make something wonderful!
    God is crazy about you.
    He sends you flowers every spring and
    A sunrise every morning.
    Whenever you want to talk, He will listen.
    He can live anywhere in the universe,
    And He chose your heart.
    If you like this, send this on to the people you really care about.
    Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we are
    here we might as well dance! (and bake!!)

    Thursday, May 19, 2011

    I Got Nothin'!*

    Yesterday I struggled for about three hours to finish a card and it is still sitting in state of incompletion on my desk, ughhhh! Pretty darned frustrating since it's for a deadline I have and the right details just would NOT fall into place. (On top of that, I never even turned on some music or had a Watch Instantly Netflix playing in the background so at the end of the unsuccessful work day I could at least say "Listen to what I learned in this really interesting documentary...!" like this one time, last week? I think I finished 4 cards and watched three movies before I picked up the boys, now THAT was a good day! LOL)

    I was feeling pretty sorry for myself in the afternoon at all the wasted time, when I could have either done chores if I hadn't been working on it, (or better yet, exercised, which I desperately need to do, or played hooky! Donna and I were supposed to go have lunch and I cancelled hoping I'd be really productive instead, wahhh!) I also ended up with bad cramps in my neck and shoulders from sitting at my desk so long. Anyway, I went to Bible study and turned my attitude around, I'm of course VERY grateful that all I had to worry about yesterday was playing with some paper and that not finishing it DIDN'T make the world fall apart! And thankful that I was able to have quiet time, even if it didn't yield what I wanted, instead of chaos. I get a little down sometimes when I don't feel I've accomplished all I should, but time with my pastor and then with my kids helped me redeem the day. I'm so thankful I get another day, and Lord willing, another after that...!

    Hopefully all the pondering yesterday will yield something good later, after I finish this post I intend to start a different project. And maybe go dust off the bike for a quick ride to get some fresh air. And turn on my music!!** BTW a new favorite album: Audrey Assad, "The House You're Building", beautiful voice and amazing lyrics, (and a favorite form last year, Francesca Batistelli, "Paper Heart" her tone and style is very similar to Sara Bareilles.) I bought the Audrey Assad a few months ago for $5 on Amazon, and the other day while looking up lyrics to one song, I found this station you can play like the radio for free with that person's songs and others like it, way cool!! (I own both these albums but it shuffles different artist in etc,) will try to link I don't know if this will take you to that song or just to the site playing something else, here goes, click to play Audrey Assad music...

    Just wanted you to know, it happens. Hope YOU have a terrific day!! Get lots done or at least enjoy it! :)

    *I got A LOT, that title is a joke. (But I DON'T have a card...! ) :)
    ** and maybe get a massage? I have a voucher and my neck still hurts, hee hee

    Wednesday, May 18, 2011

    Liquid Pearls!

    I have been looking forward to trying this color combo with "Branching Out", how do you like?Lemon Drop, Black Onyx, and White (and inked up with Memento London Fog).
    I omitted the bottom portion of the frame for this greeting and accented each side with White Opal Liquid Pearls as well as the flower centers. Oval frame is cut and layered with Classic and Scalloped oval dies.
    Have you tried the Liquid Pearls yet? TIP: When I use Liquid Pearls to make drops, as I pull the bottle away, I do a quick circle of my wrist, like I'm making a swirl in Dairy Queen in soft serve!) to pull the drop around so it doens't dry up in a point from pulling the bottle straight away, this pulls that little end around and down so it dries into a nice neat pearl, make sense? try it!
    I really WILL start using some other images to accent "Branching Out" besides the "Springtime Silhouettes" I just can't stop, love 'em! Any requests on which sets?? maybe I need some suggestions from you to jump start me! ;)

    Tuesday, May 17, 2011

    Perfect way to display your cards!

    So although it IS still available (today only!) I should have let you know about this deal a few days go, sorry for the delay! You've probably seen a lot of these make you own photobooks, and SweetDeals is offering a large hardcover photobook you customize for only $10 ($35 value) Well I just realized the other day that not only will this be nice for making a coffee table book of a vacation or the kids picture, but it would ALSO be GREAT for making a very professional portfolio of photos of some of your favorite CARDS you've made!! Think about how nice it would be to display a large body of your work in a professional bound hardcover book rather than carrying them around to get messed up or printing out pictures of them! Imagine it for a minute, wouldn't that look sharp? I'm not sure why I never thought about that before when I see all these Shutterfly deals, etc, but I am love this ideas now!!
    When I went to CHA a couple years ago, I was really kicking myself I hadn't put something together in case someone there wanted to see my stuff. Cammie had shown me a really cute little 4"x6" book with sleeves for inserting photos like a brag book that she'd printed out a bunch of pictures she'd taken of her cards, so I figured I would do that too (when I got around to it, still haven't LOL!) But this is even nicer! Whether I want to use it in a professional setting like I just mentioned, share with my kids teachers when they ask me what I do, or let guests thumb through it when they come by our house, or even just for me and my family to see some of my best cards, I am really exited to make these. Blogging has certainly made it easier to let go of my cards instead of hoarding since I have a visual record and this will take that just one step further. (Haven't you always wanted "your own book"?) Think I just may go back and buy a few more today before the deal ends! ;)
    What about you? have any other great ideas about how to show off your cards that is easy, efficient, inexpensive? We'd love to know, please share!

    Monday, May 16, 2011

    Omission, Times Two!

    Hello!! As many of you know, one of my favorite techniques is omission, which allows you a lot of creative control with your images by inking up only the parts you want! Here it is two ways, I used a marker to make a dashed instead of a solid line on my "Branching Out" frame, using the brush tip and just skipping along the border very quickly, then huffing before stamping...
    and then I decided to let the little bird in Gina's "Springtime Silhouettes" fly away by inking up the cage only without the bird, be free!! :) I accented the branches and popped up stamped and cut flowers with White Opal Liquid Pearls. TIP: Snip in between the petals and curl them out with your fingers to add more dimension.
    I used my own birds from the "Branching Out" set to perch on one of her greetings (with this greeting it's like one let the other out LOL!)
    And finally a tip on betting your birds to perch properly: use a grid line block and center the image on where there little feet would be (body meets tail) over the cross hairs. Then line up the horizontal line on your block with where you want it sitting, easy peasy!
    Have an amazing day!

    Fettucine with Porcini

    Here is that nummy num num pasta recipe from Macaroni Grill I told you about last week, not hard to make but sure to impress! :) Click the pic for a closeup!

    Sunday, May 15, 2011

    1 Million Cards, You MUSTSee This!

    WOW, please watch this short video Sandy Allnock from Operation Write Home sent me this morning, celebrating 1,000,000 cards sent to troops! (You might even spot one of YOUR own cards in the video!) ;)

    And here is the link on youtube if you want to "like it"! Was that cool seeing all the ways they showed "1,000,000 cards"?! And then Check out this post to see WHICH card was the 1,000,000th, someone you might know,i do! :)
    I'm just thrilled and honored to have been a teensy tiny part of that. :) Something special is coming up, too, with the "Where Your Heart Is" set and OWH, I look forward to sharing with you! Huge thanks and congrats to all those volunteers and all of you who are sending cards on a regular basis to OWH that make such a difference in the lives of all the troops and their families!
    There is also a big Operation Write Home blog hop coming up for Memorial Day, check out the details here, would love to get as MANY peeps as possible participating! (how about a MILLION??) LOL! now that would be SOME hop!! Please plan to join in if you are able!
    Hope you are having a great weekend! Things are good over here, just lots going on, i hope to post some new cards for you shortly! Thanks for visiting!

    Wednesday, May 11, 2011

    200 Pomegranates and an Audience of One

    Thanks for all your comments yesterday, I felt "seen", hee hee! ;) Wanted to pass along something similar (although maybe I should save it for a few weeks from now when you need to be lifted up again LOL!), probably the Biblical inspiration for that cathedral story, I read it last year on my Kindle (another free download at the time!) called "200 Pomegranates and an Audience of One: Creating a Life of Meaning and Influence" by Shawn Wood. Its focus was the story of Huram of Tyre (not the King Huram, another Huram) from 1 Kings (if you don't remember this story that's okay, 1 Kings is not one of those books you go back to like Gospel, the author acknowledges this is a very obscure story!) He has a tiny mention because after honing his craft he was chosen to put the finishing touches on Solomon's temple and his job was carving the 200 pomegranates at the tops of 30 foot pillars (too high for anyone to truly appreciate the intricacies of his work). This is one of those details we tend to skip over when we read the Bible or might think "why are they telling me this?" and then not think of it again. But God remembered and recorded this labor of love for all time, Huram's amazing contribution was using his talents and doing his job with integrity and humility.

    Here is a section of the book I highlighted (emphasis mine), and I thought it would be good to pass along today after the cathedral story, because I know many of you aren't moms, but ALL you readers who stop here ARE artists, whether you stamp or just enjoy browsing the work of others, by being the best "fill in the blank" (wife, teacher, aunt, accountant etc) we can be, we are creating something beautiful in the eyes of God. This is is so important to remember in both our life and our work and art:

    "In the story of Huram and his 200 pomegranates we find the artist's mandate--five essential components of life-artistry:

    • Get great at something

    • Do something with your talent

    • Invest yourself in things that will last and that others will benefit from

    • Work for an audience of one, because sometimes our best work is seen only by God

    • Finish what you start

    If everyone is an artist, then life is a grand work of art.

    What are you creating?"

    Tuesday, May 10, 2011

    The Invisible Mother

    A wonderful story (worth reading again if you've heard it before), which illustrates the joy and worth of working for "an audience of one" and the great cathedrals you are raising up! (I did NOT write the story below, it was forwarded to me, thanks Faye!) Enjoy!

    It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the way one of the kids will walk into the room while I'm on the phone and ask to be taken to the store. Inside I'm thinking, 'Can't you see I'm on the phone?'

    Obviously not; no one can see if I'm on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see me at all. I'm invisible. The invisible Mom. Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more! Can you fix this? Can you tie this? Can you open this??

    Some days I'm not a pair of hands; I'm not even a human being. I'm a clock to ask, 'What time is it?' I'm a satellite guide to answer, 'What number is the Disney Channel?' I'm a car to order, 'Right around 5:30, please.'

    Some days I'm a crystal ball; 'Where's my other sock?, Where's my phone?, What's for dinner?'

    I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes that studied history, music and literature -but now, they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again. She's going, she's going, she's gone!

    One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England . She had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well. It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself. I was feeling pretty pathetic, when she turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, 'I brought you this.' It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe . I wasn't exactly sure why she'd given it to me until I read her inscription: 'With admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees.'

    In the days ahead I would read - no, devour - the book. And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work: 1) No one can say who built the great cathedrals - we have no record of their names. 2) These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished. 3) They made great sacrifices and expected no credit. 4) The passion of their building was fuelled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything.

    A story of legend in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, 'Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof, No one will ever see it And the workman replied, 'Because God sees.'

    I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. It was Almost as if I heard God whispering to me, 'I see you. I see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does.

    No act of kindness you've done, no sequin you've sewn on, no cupcake you've baked, no Scout meeting, no last minute errand is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can't see right now what it will become.

    I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on. The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree.

    When I really think about it, I don't want my children to tell the friends that they are bringing home, 'My Mom gets up early in the morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand bastes a turkey for 3 hours and presses all the linens for the table.' That would mean I'd built a monument to myself. I just want my children to want to come home. And then, if there is anything more to say to their friends, they'd say, 'You're gonna love it here...'

    As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we're doing it right. And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible mothers.

    Share this with all the Invisible Moms you know... I just did.

    The Will of God will never take you where the Grace of God will not protect you.

    To all the wonderful mothers out there!! God bless and keep you.

    Monday, May 9, 2011

    Roses are Red...

    Here's a little poem I found in the bottom of William's backpack last week.

    (Altogether now, 1, 2 3...awwwww!) What a sweetie! (Let me know if you don't speak/read "mom/kid!" and need a translation! ;)

    And here were my favorite pages from the Mother's Day book he made me...
    About the cover border, he says "I don't know what those squares are...elevators, maybe?" I suggested presents, but he didn't seem to think so LOL
    "My mom is the best" (Did he really draw me in a bathing suit??)
    What can I say, the kid knows I like to stamp! (hard to miss!) Not sure if all those stripes at the bottom are decoartive or scraps of paper on my floor, hmmmm...
    (Eek, where did all my hair go??)
    Yes, I do. :)

    I have to please ask for your continued prayers for our health, it turns out he has walking pneumonia, and will be home for at least another day before he can be around other kids at school since it is contagious. He's also not allowed to do anything too active for the next several days so his lungs can rest, that's going to be hard for my Energizer bunny!) I hope hope HOPE none of us get it because we have a LOT going on right now! Thanks so much for comments, emails and prayers!

    Had a terrific story emailed to me yesterday, I'll post later, gotta keep cracking on some work, have great day, thanks for stopping by!

    Sunday, May 8, 2011

    Happy Mother's Day!

    Here are a couple more cards I made when I had my stamps out the other day, the exact same way I showed in this post, I wanted to add some samples with different colors to show a few other different looks you can get with your sponging, one using yellow and green (and rhinestones), the other pink and purple (with silver nailheads).
    I just love "Branching Out" with "Springtime Silhouettes", eek!!! I actually stamped up some coasters with both sets and used some "Bring the Bling" with the silhouettes on the coasters as well: the flourish for the birds and straight line of bling instead of the nailheads to hang the bird cage, turned out very nice! (will add some photos of them soon!) Ooh, still need to add those Liquid pearls samples for you!! :)

    I saw a few of you at the festival yesterday, it was a GREAT time, thanks for stopping by! :) I also want to wish everyone a very happy Mother's Day, (treat yourself to that mani pedi or whatever you've been wishing for and call your own mom if you can!! ) I've been up since 5, sick little boy (fever since Friday, bad cough) so we'll be taking it easy today (and hopefully catch a nap!) Paul made breakfast and is also making a nice dinner tonight, one of my favorites Porcini Pasta ( a Macaroni Grill recipe printed in the newspaper many years ago, will scan and share)

    Please pray that Williams gets better and we don't come down with it, besides wanting him well (and I'm concerned this could turn into wheezing tonight and date with the nebulizer) I have so much to dooooooooooooo this next week, eek!!! Thank you!

    Friday, May 6, 2011

    Come See Me!

    I can't believe I've forgotten up up til this point to let you know (sooorry!): I will be at the Violet Crown Festival tomorrow May 7, Saturday from 11AM-6PM in the Burnet Road Farmers Market at 6701 Burnet Road, Austin TX. (east side of Burnet between Justin and Koenig.) So if you are anywhere near my hood and looking for something fun and artsy to do, swing by and say hi! (Did I mention I'll be there with about a bajillion cards?!)

    I use to participate in this festival a few years ago, but have taken a break from it since I started illustrating. There is a huge range of gifts available, jewelry, artwork, pottery, candles, all handmade by local artisans, it's rally a good one and gets tons of traffic! Plus good food and live music. It's a fun family activity whether you just like to look or are in need of some special Mother's or father's day gifts. If you come, don't leave without saying "hello"! (It's supposed to be crazy hot though, so I might be wearing a BIG HAT!)

    Origaudio on "Shark Tank"

    Something fun I learned about yesterday: Origaudio, the company that is selling my speaker design, is featured on ABC's "Shark Tank"! Have you seen or heard of this show before? (I had not, but watched an episode online yesterday and found it pretty entertaining, I've always had an interest in marketing and have had quite a few crazy ideas that if I were 20 something with no family I might be selling all my stuff to try to start the next big thing!)

    Here is the official announcement from Origaudio's founders about tonight's show if you are interested in checking it out, plus a coupon special:

    Supporters, Friends, Fans, and Customers-

    After 6 months of keeping it a secret, we are extremely excited to announce that our company will be featured on ABC's reality show SHARK TANK this Friday!

    This is a huge opportunity for our company to gain the partnership of a 'shark' as well as get national exposure for the brand YOU already discovered. If you have never heard of Shark Tank, we highly recommend checking out some past episodes. Our Shark Tank episode airs this Friday May 6th on ABC at 8PM Eastern and Pacific/7PM Central and Mountain. Please watch our episode and tell your friends and family as it truly will be entertaining.

    'Ok that is cool, but what's in it for me?'
    First, watch the episode this Friday and remember the percent of equity we offer to the sharks. That same percentage will be the % discount you can save on any purchase over the weekend (enter the # in coupon code box, but not the % sign) on www.origaudio.com

    Second, we have a shark attack deal going on Sphear. Any purchase over $50 before shipping, will get a free Sphear Speaker ($29.99 value) . Dad's n Grad's is coming up!

    We are always listening to you for suggestions on our products, thus next week we will announce a new product coming out of the OrigAudio lab......

    We truly thank you for everything as without your support we would probably have been eaten by real life sharks off the coast of Mexico a year and a half ago...

    All the best,
    Jason and Mike
    OrigAudio - Co-Founders

    Fun stuff! (scroll down for today's card) ;)

    To Die for!

    Quick card for today using "Branching Out" cut with a Spellbinders Standard Circle Nestabilities and layered over a beautiful Die-namics Dizzy Doily die, birthday prezzie from Carolyn, ins't that beautiful?? (Sentiment looks a bit muddy becuase I didn't clean the stamp well enugh before inking it wh pink, oops! base is Pure Luxury Black Onyx and also uses Bubblegum Pink and White. Flowers are inked up in pink and stamped on the pink cardstock , cut out, popped up and acccented with a silver nail head.
    Off to the Earth Day Festival for the kids at school, back with more detials and a fun announcement!

    Thursday, May 5, 2011

    Plaid from Texture

    Good morning! Today I have a masculine card I made with "A Year of Borders" and "Follow Your Dreams", with the new "Timeless Textures" stamps from Gina K Designs working overtime as a plaid background, let me show you how easy!
    I was so glad Gina provided some of the textures in large blocks for kissing or long strips like this one for making borders and patterns, here is the first step creating a checkerboard pattern of brown stripes, a grid line block makes getting the stripes parallel and perpendicular to each other easy, just line it up and go! I always start in the middle and work my way out to either side so the pattern will be centered.

    Now clean your stamp and go back in between the brown rows with green, looks just like real plaid right?

    I'm excited to make these backgrounds in different colors, and how perfect for Father's Day coming up! Here is the card again, my favorite detail is the skinny strip of Green Apple CS I tied through the corner, just poke 4 little holed with your piercing tool, thread through and tie!
    Card uses Forest Branches Cuttlebug Folder and In the Navy, White, Kraft, Chocolate Brown and Green Apple Pure Luxury Cardstocks. This sketch is a bit outside my comfort zone, but doing the shell border (which I stamped in brown and accented with just a few earthy Copics to match my papers) straight across or vertical was looking a little ho hum to me, so I snipped it in half to change it up. (Not sure if I LOVE it, but definitely more interesting than what I had!)

    Thanks for visiting!

    Wednesday, May 4, 2011

    Fun with Crazy Daisy Papers

    Hello and welcome back! Just wanted to show you a couple fun ideas for the "Crazy Daisy" digital papers today, sorry it has taken me so long! Of course you can use the full sheets or quarter sheets for paper piecing or background mats, but here are a couple maybe not so obvious things you can do with the different colored papers, since they have the same patterns on each, to give you some new looks. I started cutting out the continuous flower border that run though the middle of the pattern at a diagonal. I wen corner to corner so I can use that larger triangular piece at top right.
    Here I've glued it on OVER the version of this same print, see how it lines up just like you are paper piecing.
    And here is a simple card with that mat, I love this two tone look! I added a button and little popped up circle punched sentiment (from Garden Silhouettes)
    And finally I used that border I trimmed out (from the first pic) to go across a Pure Luxury Lemon Drop mat. Card also uses Pure Luxury Little Boy Blue for the greeting (to bring out the blue on the daisies centers) Black Onyx, and Red Hot.
    Hope this inspires, have a beautiful day!