beauty lies within

expressing self by creating

at this rate…. October 15, 2007

I should have plenty of hand-made christmas cards to send out to those special people in my life.  It is only October, and the collection is growing.

I made this card for Beate’s wsc #23.  It was a simple sketch (but I’m still learning how to keep it simple):

holiday blitz wsc      wsc-_23.jpg

I recently received Holiday Blitz stamp set and wanted to use it this weekend.  I like how versatile this stamp set is with all its images.  And, I ordered it with the hopes that it may be around for a while due to the stamp set covering many occassions.

The card base is 4″ x 8″ Real Red CS folded in half with a 3-3/4″ squared piece of Dashing DSP (it cut and fits so perfectly with my size of card I couldn’t resist using this busy pattern… and with the main image covering the circles, it created a scalloped appearance without even trying).

I love the main image of this card.  I got to use all the holiday-themed stamp sets from the set.  The top piece is a 3″ square of Very Vanilla CS with paper-piercing  1″ & 2″ in x2 to create the boxes.  Each square contains an image/button.  The tree and present have 2 layers of CS within the image for subtle dimension.  The candy cane and snowman are set within the CS by punching 3/4″ Circle Punch and having the base image set within.  Very Vanilla CS then matted on 3-1/8″ square of Old Olive CS and 3-1/4″ square of River Rock CS. 

holiday blitz wsc details

The piece of 5/8″ Real Red Grosgrain Ribbon runs in between Old Olive and River Rock CS pieces of the main image.  Attached main image to DSP and wrapped the ribbon around the DSP and adhered.  Attached to Real Red CS card base. 

STAMP SETS:  Holiday Blitz, Short & Sweet

CARDSTOCK USED:  Dashing DSP, Very Vanilla, Real Red, Old Olive, River Rock

INKS USED:  Same as CS.

ACCESSORIES USED:  Crafters’ Tool Kit; 3-4″ Circle Punch; Bold Brights, Earth Elements, and Earth Elements & Neutrals Colored Buttons; Linen Thread; Stampin’ Sponges; 5/8″ Real Red Grosgrain Ribbon; Fire Rhinestone Brads.


SU! can do headless October 12, 2007

Yes, I do love the headless chick stamps from mft.  I was faced with a situation…”Man, I love those stamped images of the headless chicks but have only SU! stamp sets (at this time).  So, how can I make this work?” 

headless su chick

Come on…it’s funny right?   And I pulled it off.  But I will confess, being a person who loves to watercolor, I have to have the headless chick stamp sets at mft (I will be ordering some next week). 

I made this card for SCS sketch challenge 145.  I am a couple days late, but I had to try this sketch out (love it).

I’m lovin’ All in the Family stamp set.  The possibilities are endless (as you see).  I wanted to dazzle up my chicks dress a bit.  I masked out and used a swirled stamp image from Priceless stamp set.  Used my White Uniball Signo Gel Pen to the dress buttons so it would coordinate with the Pumpkin Pie Prints DSP more.  I stamped the dog twice..once on the main image and another time on a separate piece of Shimmery White CS.  Cut out the body & head and attached with Mini Glue Dots just to add some subtle dimension to him (so his legs, tail, and ears are set back just a tad).  Free-handed a leash from hand to dog with a Basic Black Stampin’ Write Marker

The card size is compact which is just right for the stamped image size.  Card size is Chocolate Chip CS measuring 3″ x 3″ with 3/4″ cut off of one side.  Added Pumpkin Pie Prints DSP to both inner and outer exposed folds. Outside measures 2-1/8″ x 2-3/4″ & inside measures 2-1/8″ x 2-7/8″ and edges sponged with Chocolate Chip ink.  Stamped sentiment from Short & Sweet stamp set with Chocolate Chip ink and added a Orange Fire Rhinestone Brad to lower left corner.  Created scalloping with Slit Punch and Old Olive CS.  Hard to see in pic, but did use Crop-A-Dile to each scalloped section to add a dry embossed circle. 

The main image is stamped on a 1-1/4″ x 1-3/4″ piece of Shimmery White CS.  Matted on Chocolate Chip CS 1-3/8″ x 1-7/8″ and Fall Flowers DSP 1-1/2″ x 2″.  Strip of ribbon from Jersey Ribbon Originals added to card with Sticky Strip.  Attached main image to card.  Card ties shut on right side with ribbon. 

Have a happy weekend & TFL.


RAK from Jill Kirk October 11, 2007

Filed under: RAK — mjalbright @ 10:18 pm

Received this beautiful card in the mail today from Jill Kirk. 

jill kirk rak

I had the pleasure of meeting Jill at this past convention.  She is so sweet and very talented.  I just love the fall color palette and use of Apple Cider DSP.  And, look how the chipboard embellishments are layered for some really cool dimension. 

Very nice of you Jill.  So uplifting on 50-degree rainy Pennsylvania kinda day:)


Spreading the word

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As many of you are aware, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  We all know someone personally, or know someone who knows someone, who has been diagnosed with cancer.  I lost my brother to cancer at a very early age.  And being a nurse, I have taken care of patients with cancer.  CANCER DOES NOT DISCRIMINATE.   It’s just so sad to me.  I wish I could wave a magic wand over people and create this invisible bubble protecting them…..But I can’t.  So I will make you aware. 

If you download Smilebox to your blog to “show your support”, all procedes go to Breast Cancer Awareness.  Even more, you all know her…..Lauren Meader blogging at My Time is offering some blog candy if you download Smilebox to your blog.  Check out her site. 


Andrea’s Blog Candy for a Cause October 8, 2007

I was contacted by Andrea Vernagus yesterday, and she informed about the Dunn Family.  Michael & Alissa Dunn have 3 month old twin baby girls & BOTH have been diagnosed with Neuroblastoma and are undergoing Chemotherapy for a large abdominal tumor.  First, my thoughts are with the Dunn Family during this difficult time. 

Second, Andrea blogging at Crafty Engineering has put together BLOG CANDY FOR A CAUSE.   If you have a moment, check out what Andrea is offering.   She would like to send the Dunn family a box (or more) of RAK’s to uplift their spirits and to let them know that there are people thinking of them. 

dunn family rak

This is my RAK that I will be mailing to Andrea.  I used Holy Triptych stamp set and a pink color palette for their baby girls.   I actually used many stamp sets for this card, and I think it turned out very appropriate for the cause.

The card base is Pretty in Pink CS measuring 4-1/4″ x 11″ folded in half.  Layered on top of card base is Regal Rose CS 4″ x 5-1/4″ and a piece of paper from Holiday Harmony DSP 3-3/4″ x 5″.  Ticket Punch to left upper & bottom corners.  All edges sponged with Purely Pomegranate Ink.  Stamped “heartfelt” to bottom left from Heartfelt Thanks stamp set. 

Main image is 4 layers total.  Middle is Very Vanilla CS & image stamped with Versamark Ink and applied Gold Embossing Powder.  Heated to set.  Watercolored with Aqua-Painter a color palette of:  Purely Pomegranate, Pretty in Pink, and Regal Rose ink; hair is Barely Banana and Creamy Caramel ink; skin tone is Blush Blossom ink; wing is mostly Pretty in Pink with some Purely Pomegranate ink for deeper shadowing;  shadowing behind angel created with Soft Sky ink.   Stamped outer edge of circle with stamps from So Much stamp set.  Sponged edge with Purely Pomegranate ink.  Dots were stamped with Versamark and Gold Embossing Powder applied and heated.  Next layer is Purely Pomegranate CS and scallops created with 3/16″ Corner Rounder Punch.  Next layer is a plain circle of Pretty in Pink CS.  Last layer is a circle created with Coluzzle, Regal Rose CS, Paisley BG stamp, Gold Embossing Powder.   Cut off the right side of the circle to fit flush with right side of card base. 

dunn family rak details

Added Gold Brads to the left ticket punched corners.  Added Purely Pomegranate Satin Ribbon. 

STAMP SETS USED:  Holy Triptych, So Much, Paisley BG, Heartfelt Thanks stamp sets.

CARDSTOCK USED:  Pretty in Pink, Regal Rose, Purely Pomegranate, Very Vanilla, and  Holiday Harmony DSP.

INKS USED:  Versamark, Pretty in Pink, Regal Rose, Purely Pomegranate, Soft Sky, Barely Banana, and Creamy Caramel inks.

ACCESSORIES USED:  Gold Embossing Powder, Stampin’ Sponges, Coluzzle Cutting System, Purely Pomegranate Satin Ribbon, Gold Brads, Aqua Painter, 3/16″ Corner Rounder Punch, Ticket Punch.

Happy Monday.  If off to count my blessings now.

Thanks to Beate for the great tutorial on taking pics. 


b-day bouquet gift October 6, 2007

I was browsing blogs and came across this “OMW..mouth-dropping..I must make” item.  On Jenn Balcer’s blog, there’s a Girlie Gift in a Hurry creation that is oh so cute.  Jenn received the idea from Lori Craig.   And with my daughter going to a birthday party today, it was perfect timing.  It took me about 2 hours to whip this together…and I must say, the end of party report from my daughter was that, “Ashlyn just loved her gift mom!”

b-day bouquet gift (my camera battery was dying so I do apologize for the not so good pic quality…I was really rushed).

I used a clear Stampendous paint pail as my base/pot.  I put a circled piece of styrofoam in the bottom.  I added brown paper shreds to cover up the styrofoam.  I painted 6 wooden rods green and set aside to dry.  The bottom of the pail has a 2-1/2 x 14″ Petals & Paisleys DSP with a Tempting Turquoise 1/4″ Grosgrain Ribbon tied in a bow.  The sentiment “happy birthday”…. happy from stamp set Polka Dots & Paisleys and birthday from Everyday Flexible Phrases stamped with Tempting Turquoise ink on Whisper White CS measuring 1″ x 2″.   I matted this on So Saffron CS 1-1/8″ x 2-1/8″ covered with Iridescent Ice.   Small flower to left of sentiment from Ginormous Flowers stamp set — stamped with Versamark on Pretty in Pink CS with Iridescent Ice added.  Attached Bold Brights Turquoise Colored Brad to flower.  Added Tempting Turquoise, Pretty in Pink, and Mellow Moss 1/4″ Grosgrain Ribbon to left side of pail handle.

The flowers were fun to make.  First, I took Tempting Turquoise, Pretty in Pink, and So Saffron CS and covered with Iridescent Ice.  Then I punched 2 of each color with my Scallop Punch.  With same CS, I created rings (again 2 of each color) by using my 1-1/4″ & 1-3/8″ Circle Punches.  Used Big Deal Alphabet Stamp Set with Certainly Celery & Old Olive inks on Whisper White CS.  Attached letters & rings to scalloped pieces with Mini Glue Dots.  I then stamped 6 different little flower images with same colors of ink from Little Flowers Stamp Set.  Punched out with 1/4″ Circle Punch, and attached with Stampin’ Dimensionals.

Behind the scalloped pieces are stamped flowers from Ginormous Flowers Stamp Set.  I attached the wooden rods to the backs using a Pop-Up Glue Dot.  I had to cover this  up so I punched out 6 more scallops and 6 1-3/8″ Circle Punch circles out of Petals & Paisleys DSP.  I attached to the backs of the flowers with another Pop-Up Glue Dot.

Last step is to attach money.  This was done by accordian folding the cash, pinching middle, and attaching to wooden flower rod stems with ribbons.  I inserted the flowers into the styrofoam base….took the poor picture….and daughter was off to the party.

Thanks Jenn & Lori for giving me the inspiration to create a hand-made birthday gift:)


jolliest time

With my last Stampin’ Up! order, I wanted to get sets that aren’t used that much and are still pretty cool & maybe overlooked.  I wanted to used the stamp set Jolliest Time of the Year for Beate’s wsc #22 .   This set is my style….whimsical and requires watercoloring.  If you are an old pro or a newbie at watercoloring, this set has a nice feature — there are sketch marks within the image and your shades of color are to be darker where there are sketches…makes it easy:)

jolliest time wsc                   wsc-_22.jpg

Card base is 4-1/2″ x 11″ Always Artichoke CS folded in half.  Layered on top is a 4-1/4″ x 5-1/4″ Purely Pomegranate DSP from Holiday Harmony.  The Circle to the left was made with Coluzzle, a piece of River Rock DSP from Holiday Harmony (the piece that is 2 shades of River Rock and strips).  This is matted on a larger circle of Soft Sky CS and scalloped the edges with 3/16″ Corner Rounder Punch

I wanted to spice up the DSP and add more colors from my card & texture.  I cut very thin strips of the same Purely Pomegranate DSP, Always Artichoke CS, and Confetti White CS and attached to the stripes of the River Rock DSP from Holiday Harmony.  Added Pewter Brads to all colored stripes.  Dazzling Diamonds applied to the Soft Sky scallops. 

The main image is Confetti White CS measuring 2-1/4″ x 3-1/2″ matted on Always Artichoke CS 2-3/8″ x 3-5/8″.  Image stamped 3 times with Stazon Jet Black Ink.  It is soooo cool and very 3-dimensional.  The legs, snowflakes, arms, and ground of the image are on the base piece.  The 2nd layer is Santa’s coat & Stampin’ Dimensionals.  The 3rd layer is his head & hat with 2 Stampin’ Dimensionals stacked to raise up higher than just one dimensional.  It really pops out at you.  All white within his clothes are colored with Soft Sky ink & Going Gray ink.  The ground, snowflakes, and shadowing behind him are colored with Soft Sky ink.  The rest of Santa was watercolored with Purely Pomegranate, River Rock, and Always Artichoke inks.  I added a fine layer of Dazzling Diamonds to the snowy ground and flakes falling. 

jolliest time wsc details

The sentiment with this set had too many words for my card.  Since only having a 1-3/8″ circle space to work with, I omitted many of the words and used what is the most popular saying we know.  I cut out the words I wanted & adhered to a River Rock CS circle created with my 1-3/8″ Circle Punch.  There is paper-piercing around this piece of CS.  I then matted on a piece of Soft Sky CS punched with my Scallop Punch.  Added Dazzling Diamonds to this Soft Sky scalloping as well to keep the pattern flowing across the card from the larger circle on the left.  Added hardware from Pewter Hodgepodge Hardware and attached with a Ice Rhinestone Brad.  Lastly, added a piece of River Rock Double-Stitched Ribbon

The upper right of the card has 2 Jumbo Pewter Eyelets with green Ice Rhinestone Brads in the center.    It’s hard to see in the pics, but there is paper-piercing bordering every circled image/element on the card.

Thanks Beate for another wonderful challenge.

TFL & enjoy your weekend.



“Twill” be a true friend October 4, 2007

I made this card for scs’s thursday Ways to use it challenge (Twill Tape).  Yeah….I’m just not feelin’ this card that much.  I’m trying to pin point what it is, and I think it’s that flower just there all by itself.  But when I stand back and look at it, if there was anything else in the main image it would be too busy & the rest of the card has some busy things going on to balance it all out (I think). 

twill be a true friend

I would probably change the Whisper White CS to Very Vanilla CS to coordinate with the twill tape more…but there is white in the Apple Cider DSP and Soft Sky dbl-stitched ribbon.  I tried to balance the white by adding the “is you” part of the sentiment in White Embossing Powder.   I did stamp the flower elements on Very Vanilla CS.

As you see, there are a number of layers.  The card base is Kraft CS measuring 5-1/2″ x 8-1/2″ folded in half with 1/2″ cut off of one of the ends.  Layered a piece of Apple Cider DSP, Twill Tape, Purely Pomegranate Satin Ribbon, and Soft Sky dbl-stitched ribbon. 

Where I cut the 1/2″ off, I added a strip of scalloped Holiday Harmony DSP and a thin strip of Soft Sky CS. 

I tried to spice up the lonely flower by adding a small twill tape tab to the upper right, a chipboard photo corner to the bottom left, and a green Ice Rhinestone Brad to the center of the flower.  The flower consists of 3 layers all with Stampin’ Dimensionals between.

STAMP SET USED:  True Friend

CARDSTOCK USED:  Kraft, Whisper White, Very Vanilla, Soft Sky, Apple Cider & Holiday Harmony DSP.

INKS USED:  Wild Wasabi, Purely Pomegranate, Soft Sky, Versamark

ACCESSORIES USED:  White Embossing Powder, Ice Rhinestone Brads, On Board Blossoms & Basics, Twill Tape, Purely Pomegranate Satin Ribbon, Soft Sky Double-Stitched Ribbon, 3/16″ Corner Rounder Punch, Stampin’ Dimensionals.


RAK from Shannon October 3, 2007

Filed under: RAK — mjalbright @ 10:42 pm

I received this beautiful RAK from Shannon Erskine.

RAK from Shannon Erskine

Shannon has an awesome blog titled Hoppy Creations.  Here work is amazing and I hope you take a moment to browse around her site.

I love the colors she used and how the ribbon coordinates so nicely.  The medallion is 3 layers with a lot of cool dimension… swirly and elegant!

Thanks Shannon for this beauty!


oh how I wish….

the kids would give me a portrait.  With all the different ages of the kids in my home, and their different styles, choices of clothing….it is next to impossible for me to capture a portrait of them all and how I would want it.  I made this card for todays scs sketch challenge 144.  Yes, there are 5 kiddos here….his, mine, and ours = 5. 

all in the family together

SO, I MADE MY OWN PORTRAIT OF THEM:)  Everyone is smiling, holding hands, waving, and dressed so vibrant….LOL.

The picture just doesn’t do justice for the main image.  I watercolored an outline behind each kid in Soft Sky, and when you look at the card, it appears very 3-D like they’re popping right out at you — even my husband made a comment!   I stamped the kids with Stazon Jet Black ink on Confetti White CS (I ran out of my favorite Shimmery White CS — wish I had an unlimited supply of that stuff, or it was cheaper).  Used an Aqua-Painter for watercoloring. 

The grass is Certainly Celery scalloped and very thin cuts.  I took it a step further this time and ran it through the Crimper Tool to give it more character.  Attached to the image piece with Sticky Strip and took my finger over it to make it ever more out of control.  Added a thin 1/8″ strip of Certainly Celery CS to the grass to hide the bottom of the cuts.

I went with a “together” sentiment because it is appropriate.  We are all together as a family….and they have each others “backs” just how I want them to.  Sentiment from Define Your Life stamp set stamped on Confetti White with Real Red ink and matted on Real Red CS and Yoyo Yellow CS (had to dust this CS off before using).  

I decided to leave the On Board chipboard pieces plain so not to take away from the card.  I added the additional splash of color with the Real Red colored buttons and the Orange ribbon from District Ribbon Originals.   Also, couldn’t not add scalloping….added strip of scalloped Pumkin Pie Prints DSP to the right side of the card.

STAMP SETS USED:  All in the Family & Define Your Life.

CARDSTOCK USED:  Tempting Turquoise, Confetti White, Real Red, Yoyo Yellow, Soft Sky, Certainly Celery, Pumpkin Pie Prints DSP.

INKS USED:  Stazon Jet Black, Real Red, Certainly Celery, Tempting Turquoise, Blush Blossom, Pumpkin Pie, Pretty in Pink.

ACCESSORIES USED:  Bold Brights Colored Buttons, Linen Thread, On Board Lots of Letters, On Board Blossoms & Basics, 3/16″ Corner Rounder Punch, District Ribbon Originals, Aqua-Painter.