The little things that make me happy here on Bliss Road~~Emily Keaton

Friday, January 28, 2011

Rainbow Gift Bag

So, yesterday was another snow day for my kids. That's our third snow day in three weeks, which, in my experience, is a lot for New England. We aren't wusses here! My kids haven't had a full five-day week of school YET in 2011. We have had 68 inches of snow fall here in our town since Christmas, and a measuring stick stuck in the middle of our yard (away from drifts and snow banks from shoveling, so this is where it hasn't been unnaturally stacked up in any way) now shows that we have 32"+ of snow still lying on the ground. The snow bank along our driveway from shoveling and snow blowing has reached so high in places that yesterday my husband couldn't get the thrown snow from the snow blower to clear the top of the pile. Had to chuck it up to the top of the pile by hand with a shovel. And it's still just January, folks. Wow. My family in Ohio have been keeping me busy with phone calls to check up on our latest snow action. Seems everyone loves a good "war" story!

My husband and I are so very thankful that the kids are old enough now to contribute positively to the snow removal efforts. They really like helping out and it really is actually helpful! My job is to man the fort inside while my snow removal crew is working outside--helping everyone into and out of the snow gear (which is considerable, bulky, and hard to deal with, especially when the ski gloves need to go on under the coat to keep the snow from going right up the sleeves), fetching tissues and Chapstick for my runny-nosed and wind-blown workers, re-tucking snowpants, re-adjusting hats and scarves, fetching necessary snow tools and/or toys, taking photos if warranted, mopping up the melted snow when it's time to come in, drying all the wet snow gear, and finally having a snack and hot cocoa ready (the ultimate snow removal reward!) when my crew comes inside. In between all of those chores yesterday, I was able to squeeze in a couple of paper projects. Both were inspired by the Splitcoast Ways to Use It Challenge hosted by Kim Hughes. Yesterday's WT challenge was "Rainbow Bright," ways to use rainbows in your projects. Here's my first project:
I altered a plain white gift bag with lots of Unity/{ippity} goodness to coordinate with the Birthday Bingo card I made last month. Both went to my neighbor just this morning. Her birthday was last Saturday, but I had to wait on her birthday gift to arrive. I thought I'd ordered it in plenty of time, but I guess we in the Northeast aren't the only ones who are being affected by nasty weather. I have a feeling that might have something to do with the delay.

I also played along with these challenges while making this gift bag:
Thanks for stopping by to take a look!

Card Recipe:
Stamps: Unity Total Cuteness, Unity Lovely Bits & Baubles, {ippity} Just Wanted to Say
Paper: SU, The Paper Company, MFP, birthday Bingo card from Target
Ink: Palette l'amore red, Palette sunflower
Accessories: EK 2.75" circle punch, SU large tag punch, birthday Bingo card from Target, Prismacolor pencils, brads, baker's twine, paper gift bag

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Stampin' B's Challenge: Inspired by a Song

It's Thursday, and the Stampin' B's DT has another challenge for you. This week NancyRuth is our challenge hostess, and she is challenging us to be inspired by a song title. Be sure to include the song title in your description!!
I was inspired by the song "Lollipop" by the Chordettes. Now I can't get it out of my head! I used this adorable lollipop image and coordinating sentiment from Unity's Total Cuteness kit to make a super-sweet Valentine easel card, my very first easel card! I colored the lollipop with Prismacolor pencils and odorless mineral spirits. I added lots of machine stitching and distressing to make this funky and fun. The DP is from a pack of shaped 5 x 7 Valentine papers that I got on clearance at Target after Valentine's day last year. Because the 5 x 7 size was too big for my card, I trimmed off the shaped edges and used those to make my design more interesting.

I found it difficult to capture all the different aspects of my card in a single photograph, so here are a few more to give you a better view. Can you see the Glossy Accents I added to the lollipop to make it sugary and shiny just like the real thing?

Here are the challenges that I played while making this card:
I hope you've been inspired to play along with the Stampin' B's!! If you do make a card, post it on your blog or SCS gallery, and link it up to the Inlinkz tool on the Stampin' B's blog. We'd love to see what you create!! :)

Thanks so much for stopping by to check out my little slice of bliss for today!

Card Recipe:
Stamps: Unity Total Cuteness
Paper:PTI kraft CS, DCWV textured card stock, The Paper Company white CS,
DP from the Target Dollar Spot
Ink: Palette violette, Palette l'amore red
Accessories: SU scallop trim border punch, SU large oval punch, SU scallop oval punch, EK chain of hearts punch, Prismacolor pencils, OMS, paper blending stumps, Glossy Accents, scissors, sewing machine, emery board for distressing, dimensionals, heart brad, purple brad
Techniques: machine stitching, distressing, easel card, Gamsol Magic

Happy Heart Day

I really enjoyed working with the the Unity Hip Hop Sketch #41 (HHSC41) for my last card, so I wanted to give it another go. My round card size is limited by the size of my punches (only up to 3" in diameter), and I wanted a bigger card this time. So I adapted the sketch and mounted the round portion on a square card, which also happens to be an easel card for All Things Unity Challenge #23, to make a tri-fold or easel card.

I also played in these challenges:
Thanks for taking a peek!

Card Recipe:
Stamps: {ippity}: Now & Always, Just Wanted to Say, Faith Blooms
Paper: SU pretty in pink CS and DSP, SU pear pizazz DSP, DCWV DP, various CS from The Paper Company
Ink: Palette noir black
Accessories: EK 2.25" circle punch, SU wide heart punch, CM circle cutting system, MS french scroll corner and edge punches, pink grosgrain ribbon, silver heart brad, Making Memories sparkly green brad, felt flower/brad combs from the Target Dollar Spot
Techniques: paper piecing, easel card

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A Teensy Valentine

I am about to try a new recipe for Velvety Pumpkin Soup for my lunch today. It looks quick and easy, but I'm a little nervous about the substitution I am about to attempt. My otherwise simple recipe calls for shallots and, today being the day before I do my weekly grocery shopping, I simply have nothing of the sort on hand in my nearly bare cupboards/fridge and cannot justify running out to the store for just a single item. Of course, I cannot recall a time when I have ever had shallots in my house--not that I have anything against shallots! They are just not the type of thing that ever seems to hop into my grocery cart. A search of the handy WWW suggests that I may substitute two parts sweet onion and one part garlic if I simply must make a substitution. We shall see!

Before I run off to start my experimental soup, I wanted to share a teensy tiny card I made yesterday.
I started out by wanting to play with the Unity Hip Hop Sketch #41, which looks like this:
Now, I've never been able to make round cards before because I'm lacking in the die cut machine area. But I received several oversized round punches for Christmas and thought I might be able to manage a small round card with those. I was right! And I'm so proud to show you my very first made-by-me round card. Yippee! It's only 3 inches in diameter, but I think this will make an adorable Valentine for my daughter. She'll love all of those rhinestones. ;)

I also squeezed in these few challenges for this card:
I'm hungry, so that's it for now. I'm off to make my soup!! Thanks for dropping by to check out my little slice of bliss. :)

Card Recipe:
Stamps: {ippity} Moonbeams & Heartstrings
Paper: SU soft suede, elegant eggplant, riding hood red CS; The Paper Company white CS
Ink: Palette moulin rouge, Palette violette
Accessories: EK 3" scallop circle punch, EK 2.25" circle punch, Fiskars 2" circle punch, EK 1.75" circle punch, foam tape, baker's twine, LOVE brad, rhinestones
Techniques: paper piecing

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Inspired Sympathy

I've mentioned before on my blog how much my friend Colleen of Dietrich Designs has inspired me to look for card inspiration in everyday places. I love seeing how she translates an eye-catching ad or catalog photo into one of her beautiful card creations! So I've consciously been keeping an eye open for inspiration for my own creations all around me.

I subscribe to an array of magazines that are perfect for keeping me distracted during my early morning stationary cycle workouts. I love reading the articles and seeing the photo layouts and ads, but I'm never quite ready to recycle them when I'm done. So they pile up. Well, I'm happy to report that in the past few weeks I've been making a point of picking up a magazine from my "finished" pile to flip through and rip pages from to keep. Then the issues are sent off to the recycling bin. I'm keeping an eye open for interesting recipes, hot tips, useful information, and most importantly--card inspiration. (Next up: organizing all of these clippings.) And I am so thrilled to say that I'm already putting my inspiration file to good use! I spotted this pendant lamp from Room&Board in the September 2010 issue of Better Homes & Gardens. The orange botanical print reminded me of my new EK rock fern punch, and I knew that I could work up a card from there. Here it is:
In other news, my 12YO daughter has been invited to a birthday slumber party next weekend, so I was in search of a birthday present for DD to give her friend. DD requested that I look for something crafty as the gift, so I headed out to Michael's. I found a fantastic K&Company create-your-own monthly wall calendar with tons of embellishments and papers. It was marked down with the Christmas clearance items to 90% off, so I got it for $1.69. I couldn't believe it!! DD is sure her friend will flip for it. I found a small K&Company Valentine scrap kit (also marked down but not to 90% off. Darn.) and some packs of red and purple Studio G blank cards to give the birthday girl as well. She can make her own Valentines or do some scrapbooking, whatever. I'm so psyched that we have assembled a super birthday gift for not a lot of money at all. I'd love to drop the hint that if she doesn't like it, I'll take it!!

I must admit that while at Michael's I did a good deal of browsing in the 90% off clearance bins for myself as well. Found loads of awesome stuff for $0.10!! Love it. :) I also had to bring home this Martha Stewart French Scroll punch-around-the-page set that was on (regular) clearance. It needed a home!! Now to figure out where to store it . . .

Thanks for dropping by!

Card Recipe:
Stamps: {ippity} Burlap
Paper: SU old olive CS, SU tangerine tango CS
Ink: Palette charcoal
Accessories: EK rock fern punch, 2" and 2.25" circle punches, sewing machine, foam tape, string

Techniques: machine stitching

Friday, January 21, 2011

Gray skies are gonna clear up . . .

. . . put on a happy face!!!

That's what this card says! I just can't help but smile when I see those little handmade orange camellias on my branch. :)

I made this card today to honor a good Splitcoast friend, Pam (aka pam124 on SCS). She was named Queen for the Day in Splitcoast's QFTD game. I usually shy away from challenges (such as SCS's Featured Stamper challenge and QFTD) that require CASE-ing another stamper's creations. I'm just too intimidated!! But the planets were in alignment today, and a CASE just fell into place. Here is the card from Pam's gallery that I CASEd:
I changed the image, color, and orientation, but kept all the basic elements of the sketch, the stitching, the eyelets in the corners, the ribbon down the middle, and a circular element in the corner. My circular sentiment ("gray skies are gonna clear up") was computer generated. The felt clouds are die cuts I received in a RAK from another SCS member.

I am having such fun making my own little paper roses and camellias from my collection of basic 5-petal basic flowers from the Prima Got Flowers? line. I followed this fabulous tutorial to make mine. So easy!

So here are the other challenges I'm playing in with this card:
  • Play Date Cafe Challenge: PDCC65
  • Cute Card Thursday: Recipe of 1, 2, 3 in any combo. I used 1 huge circle brad, 2 felt clouds, and 3 handmade orange camellias
  • 4 Crafty Chicks: another Recipe challenge: Ribbon, Brads, Patterned Paper
  • Simon Says Stamp: Bingo! Include any three items that are in a straight line on the challenge Bingo card: I chose the diagonal: Brads, Flowers, Ribbon
  • Papertake Weekly: ribbons and/or pearls (I went with ribbons this time)
  • City Crafter Challenge for week #40: Handmade Flowers
  • Gray is the New Black Challenge in the Moxie Fab World: to use gray in an innovative way. I once read on the blog of a stamper/landscape artist that we stampers usually get it all wrong when we stamp trees--we use brown to stamp the trunks and branches of trees and bushes when, if you look closely in nature, they really are gray. So, I guess my innovation with gray is using it to represent the branches of my camellia bush accurately!! But I also had fun using gray to tone down my vivid oranges and olives, using gray for my felt clouds, giving my layers subtle frames with gray stitching, and even using the word "gray" in my sentiment. It was all such fun!
Well, we weathered our snow day with no troubles today. Now we are preparing for the deep freeze (overnight lows below zero for a couple of days) and another potentially major snowstorm midweek. Yikes!!

Thanks for stopping by to check out my blissfully clearing skies!

Card Recipe:
Stamps: Schlosser Designs Boughs
Paper: MFP snowstorm CS, SU old olive CS, SU basic gray DSP
Ink: Palette charcoal, SU old olive
Accessories: MFT Cloud Dienamics (RAK from a fellow SCSer), 1.5" circle punch, SU boho blossoms punch, Crop-A-Dile, orange eyelets, sewing machine, sponge, orange grosgrain ribbon, swirled satin ribbon, foam tape, basic Prima flowers, SU silver circle brad

Techniques: machine stitching, sponging, handmade flowers

One-Layer Thank You

It is such a refreshing change to make one-layer cards! They are so mail-friendly, and although simple in design, can be quite a challenge to pull off. I'm not quite sure if I pulled this one off or not, but I really enjoyed putting it together--even if it was hard to photograph! All that white seems to fool my camera and makes the whole thing look dingy. :( Sigh. So just imagine that all this one-layer-wonderfulness is happening on a bright white card base, OK? 'Cause that's just what it looks like in real life. :)

Time to meet today's card:
This week's One-Layer Wednesday Challenge (OLW37) is "to use more than one sentiment--at least two SentimentS--on one card!!!!! NO IMAGE STAMPS ALLOWED!!!" I thought that this challenge would be perfect to put together some easily mailed thank you notes.

All sentiments are from various stamp sets. I had such fun arranging them into my block of Thank Yous!! Because they are clear stamps, it was a cinch to lay out my design and then line them up by eye while stamping. So this was a quick and easy card. Yay!

I also thought that my card could work with today's Free for All Challenge (F4A48) on Splitcoast: to repeatedly stamp your words/phrase to create a background for your image. Because I wanted to make a one-layer card, I had a slightly different take on this and made my repeatedly stamped words and phrases not my background, but my focal point!!

Additional challenges:
In other news, we are getting--yet again!--snow today. In fact, it's another snow day for the kids. The call that school would be canceled today came at 5:15 a.m. That stung. And the ironic thing is that I really don't think it's bad enough out there to justify the cancellation. It didn't really start snowing heavily until after all the schools would have been in session, and the snow is supposed to taper off right after lunch. At this point we've only gotten 6 inches of new snow--child's play, right? Oh, well. The kids have been playing well together this morning (taking turns on Wii and playing an epic game of the board game Life), and will play outside in the snow after lunch. It's just too bad that we'll have to make up every day that we miss for snow now in June. Yuck.

Thanks for stopping by to see what I'm up to on Bliss Road today!!

Card Recipe:
Paper: snowstorm CS
Ink: SU baja breeze, SU tangerine tango
Accessories: sponge
Techniques: masking, sponging, one-layer card

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Stampin' B's Banner Challenge

Happy Thursday, everyone!! It's time for another challenge from the Stampin' B's DT, and this week I am honored to be the challenge hostess. My challenge is to include a banner of some kind on your card or paper project. I went with a pennant banner for my card.
I just love these trendy accents, and I've had such fun over the past several months playing with pennant banners on my cards. (HERE are a few for you to take a peek at.) They can add such a whimsical touch to a project, and they are perfect for spelling out greetings, messages, or personalizations. Or you can use them to add old-fashioned flair. And just add one to a birthday card for an instant party! My friend Benzi even says that my pennant banners remind her of the State Fair--try that on for old-fashioned, good-clean-fun whimsy!

Need some banner inspiration? Here are some Etsy stores I can recommend for getting your juices flowing: Blue Moon Studios, Funkyshique, and onepunch. Isn't this red and aqua pennant banner from Blue Moon Studios stunning?
OK, so back to our regularly scheduled card! I needed a birthday card for my brother-in-law who loves baseball. And don't baseball and pennants just go together like PB and J? So, here's the skinny on my pennant banner. Back in November I won a trio of clear stamp sets from Schlosser Designs, including this adorable set called Hey Cupcake: I know, you're thinking I've just completely changed the subject, but I'm bringing all of this up to show you the little ice cream cone stamp that came with Hey Cupcake. See it? That's what I used to stamp the pennants for the banner on my baseball card!
It is the perfect shape. Then I just cut them out by hand and adhered them to some hemp twine. I spelled out "HAPPY" with a mini alphabet stamp set from the Target Dollar Spot and punched out each letter with a 1/2" circle punch. It was such fun to make!

Thanks so much for stopping by to check out my little slice of bliss for today!

Card Recipe:
Stamps: Schlosser Designs Hey Cupcake, The Angel Company (sports images in main image), Dollar Spot alpha stamps, unknown baseball image in border
Paper: snowstorm CS, The Paper Company red and white CS,
Miss Elizabeth DP
Ink: Palette l'amore red, Palette burnt umber (stamped off once), Palette starry night, Versamark
Accessories: SU 0.5" and 0.75" circle punches, dimensionals, hemp twine, white EP, heat tool
Techniques: embossing

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Monochromatic Valentine

OK, this is the last entry I'll be making in the Moxie Fab World Color Inspiration for Card Makers challenges. I've been able to play with four out of the six (I don't have the colors for the other two challenges. Boo hoo.). This card is for the Monochromatics Challenge.
I interpreted these colors as regal rose, pretty in pink, and pink pirouette.

How do you like my pinwheel? *I* love it. After seeing these for months, I finally decided to try my own. (I discovered that they are really quite simple to make. I followed this tutorial that appeared on the {ippity} blog last summer.) The pinwheel is held together in the center with a sparkly white heart brad that I found on clearance at the Target Dollar Spot on February 15 last year.

I was going for a whimsical feel for this Valentine card, and I do believe that with the pinwheel, embossed "Be Mine" tab,
and loops border, that's what I got. :)

Other challenges that went into making this card:
  • Cute Card Thursday: Monochromatics
  • Papertake Weekly: Ribbons and/or Pearls
  • Tuesday Throwdown: Valentines
  • Simon Says Stamp: Bingo! Include any three items that are in a straight line on the challenge Bingo card: I chose the first column: brads (the sparkly heart brad in the center), buttons (layered under the pearls at the corners), and punches
Thanks for dropping by to check out my card!

Card Recipe:
Stamps: SU Party Punch
Paper: SU regal rose CS, SU pretty in pink CS, SU pink pirou
ette, SU regal rose DSP
Ink: Versamark
Accessories: MS loops corner and edge punches, EK chain of hearts punch, SU round tab punch, foam tape, white heart brad, white embossing powder, heat tool, pink buttons from my stash, pearls
Techniques: embossing

Happy Bird in Neutrals

I have been so inspired by the recent Moxie Fab World Color Inspiration for Card Makers challenges! This happy bird card is the result of my latest try at this series of six Moxie Fab World challenges. I created it for the Neutrals Challenge, which featured these pretty colors: I interpreted them as vanilla, kraft, and baja breeze.

I was also inspired by the beautiful jewelry sold in the Modern Bird Etsy shop, featured in this week's EtsyInspired Challenge #122. This sweet silver bird necklace reminded me of the bird stamp I used, a $1-bin rubber stamp that I picked up at Michael's last spring.
The City Crafter Challenge for week #40 is handmade flowers. Several months ago I read a wonderful tutorial on turning Prima basic five-petal paper flowers into much more impressive tea roses. I dug up that tutorial and within minutes was making my very own paper roses to use on this card. Aren't they sweet?
Other challenges I incorporated into this card:
I really enjoyed punching up the Moxie Fab neutrals for this card. It was fun combining the casual (the distressed-look kraft DP and the hemp twine) with some fancy touches (intricate border punches, rhinestone-studded tail feathers, finely detailed roses). Thanks for joining me for my little slice of bliss today!!

Card Recipe:
Stamps: Craft Smart (distributed by Michael's)
Paper: SU baja breeze CS, The Paper Company vanilla CS,
MFP cream CS, MFP chip board CS, BasicGrey Basic Kraft DP
Ink: SU baja breeze
Accessories: CM corner rounder punch, MS modern garland corner and edge punches, scissors, basic Prima flowers, foam tape, hemp twine, TE Tiny Twinkles
Techniques: handmade flowers, paper piecing

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A One-Layer Get Well

My friend Meredith (aka Crafty Math Chick on SCS) sent me a package at Christmas filled with a wonderful assortment of papercrafting goodies. One of the items she included was a beautiful (and quite large) Stampin' Up! rubber stamp (retired, I believe) called Stipple Gardenia. As soon as I saw it, I knew it would be perfect for a one-layer card and couldn't wait to try it out. Here's what I came up with:
Meredith is now recuperating from some major surgery, so I thought this would make a perfect get-well card for her. I think she will enjoy seeing something that I made with one of her gifts! I also made a second identical card, which will go to my elderly aunt who is still recovering from hip surgery following a tumble she took right after Christmas.

Challenges I incorporated into the making of this card:
In addition to having a fabulous time making cards today, I am just tickled pink by a new recipe for black bean soup that I tried a few days ago. It's very similar to Panera Bread's black bean soup, and I'm just loving that it heats up so well for my lunches! There's nothing like a bowl of hot soup to warm up your insides on a frigid winter day. And I'm finding that the flavor is getting better over time as the flavors meld together. Yum!!

On Saturday evening, my "book group" (more on why that's in quotes HERE) got together for a swap party, based on the most excellent ideas outlined in a swap party article in Better Homes and Gardens Jan. 2010 issue. We did this last year, too, and both swap parties were a huge success!! The basic idea is that everyone brings some items in good condition that they no longer have need for (clothing, books, toys, craft items, baskets, games, cookware, jewelry, CDs, movies, or whatever) and then everyone has the chance to "shop" among the amassed treasures. (The BH&G article explains how it all works.) We have appetizers, drinks, deserts, and some friendly competition over a few of the more hotly contested items. I brought home some wonderful rectangular baskets (perfect for organizing my stamping supplies), two necklaces, three pairs of earrings, an only-worn-once pair of Nike sneakers for my daughter (just the right size!), and a digital alarm clock that we really needed for my son's bedroom. It was so much fun! I unloaded a bunch of stuff that we can't use any more and came home with some stuff that we can really use--without spending a penny!

I also discovered my new favorite appetizer: Archer Farms Feta & Roasted Red Pepper Dip. This stuff ROCKS!! (Archer Farms is a Target brand.) One of my friends brought this delectable dip, served with Carr's Table Water Crackers, to the swap party, and I just couldn't keep away from it. Yum-MEE!! At the end of the evening, she sent the leftover dip home with me, and I have been enjoying it with crackers along with my warmed up black bean soup for lunch. I will be sad when both run out . . . but in the meantime, together these are my little slice of bliss.

Thanks for joining me today!

Card Recipe:
Stamps: Stampin' Up Stipple Gardenia
Paper: snowstorm CS

Ink: Palette water lily green
Accessories: CM corner rounder punch, baker's twine

Monday, January 17, 2011

Layer Cake

Today I'm playing along with this week's Stampin' Celebration Inspiration Challenge! Here's my celebration card:
and here's this week's inspiration for Challenge #35:
I colored in my tiny layer cake with Prismacolor pencils and added some TE Tiny Twinkles to the Os of the "your" words in the sentiment and also to the frosting swirls on the cake.
I played along with two other challenges while making this card, too:
In other news, my kids are home from school today for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. After breakfast, my daughter spotted a flock of wild turkeys in our front yard!! Here are a few photos.
I was trying to take the pictures through the sidelight windows around the front door, so they aren't the best. I was afraid that opening the door to get a better photo would scare them. I think there must have been at least a dozen, maybe even as many as 20. It's so funny to listen to them--they really do "gobble!"

Thanks for dropping by for a little slice of bliss!

Card Recipe:
Stamps: Stampin' Up Birthday Bliss
Paper: SU baja breeze CS, The Paper Company red and white CS,
Echo Park DP from the Sweet Summertime collection
Ink: Palette l'amore red
Accessories: CM corner rounder punch, SU scallop trim corner punch, EK 1.5" and 1.25" square punches, foam tape, baker's twine, TE Tiny Twinkles