beauty lies within

expressing self by creating

Birthday thank-you cards January 28, 2010

My little Ethan turned 6yo this month.  We had a fun winter birthday party at a local little ski resort (not many big mountains here in central PA).  We took 22 guests and headed out for some snow-tubing fun!   We had a blast, and hardly payed attention to the near teen temperatures.  Here is a pic of Ethan (middle) and his best buds.

Here is a picture of the thank you card I sent out to the guests. 

These animal images are just too cute….and definitely my style.  I had one extra thank you card left over.  I wanted to “wow” it up a bit & show you how those little extra touches can make a huge difference on a card.

I used Mini Glue Dots, Stampin’ Dimensionals, Stampin’ Write Markers, and some patterned papers from Welcome Home Designer Series Paper Pad to add many more little cute details to the card.



STAMPS:  Sale-a-bration stamp set Whimsical Words; Occasions mini catalog stamp set Fox & Friends.

PAPERS:  Bermuda Bay, Whisper White, Kraft, Crushed Curry, Chocolate Chip, Pumpkin Pie, Old Olive cardstock; Welcome Home Designer Series Paper Pad (occasions mini catalog).

INKS:  Bermuda Bay, Crushed Curry, Chocolate Chip, Pumpkin Pie, and Old Olive Classic Stampin’ Pads; Chocolate Chip, Pumpkin Pie, and Crushed Curry Stampin’ Write Markers.

ACCESSORIES:  1/4″ Old Olive Grosgrain Ribbon; Stampin’ Dimensionals; Mini Glue Dots; 1-1/4″ and 1-3/8″ Circle Punches.



What does that mean?  Over the past couple months, I’ve been creating a lot of stuff.  I guess you can say I have been having deep thoughts about all the stuff I make.  All the cards I post here get thown into a wicker storage bin on a high shelf where I usually never look at them again or I go through and take them apart.  Gasp right?  I can’t figure out the auction stuff and I’m not really sure who would want them.  But, I do know a small little group close to me that would like to have them some day… kids (when they are way older…lol)  I’m not going to give them the bin full of cards.  I’m gonna leave them this project I made:

  TK book  It is a little memo book (4-1/4″ x 5-1/2″) that I’m going to add stamped, colored images to that I can just keep with me.  I did sign my signature & year to the front cover just to add a personal touch that I think they will appreciate.  

I first saw CHF TK stamped images over at Debbie Olson’s site  (another fabulously talented woman I met out at CHA… and a long time follower) and fell in love with them.  Being someone who loves to color, I thought it would be fun to have some of the images.  The image above is TK The Rose Garden.  Let me tell you, it took 20 hours total to color in this image.  I “tried” to get it as close as possible to the original but that is impossible.  I also made a soldered charm to coordinate with the main image.  Added some May Arts ribbon to the side to hold charm and green stone in place.

Here is a close up of the image.  I used Prismas for coloring.  How am I doing with my new pencils?  I love them.

TK close up pic

Have a great day:)


(long story) Living with a BEAST….. March 30, 2008

isn’t always easy.  There are many responsibilities as a pet owner….one being that no one gets hurt.  Let me set the scene for you.

Here is the beast that some of you are aware I have:

bailey bear

It was about 6:30 in the morning a couple weeks ago.  I took Bailey out back of our home to do his business.  Yes, he was leashed.  He got away from me and took off towards the front of our house.  Perfect timing that there would be a woman walking her dog.  My dog has issues…he is aggressive towards other animals (ie: dogs, cats, birds, squirrels, worms, grasshoppers,  He likes to believe he is the alpha of all alpha males.  Now, with that being said, some may know that Saint Bernards are so loving towards people.  Due to his wierd animal behaviors, we keep him on our property at all times and many neighbors don’t even know that we have a dog.  He doesn’t get to go for strolls through the neighborhood cause I wouldn’t be able to restrain him if we did encounter someone else walking their dog (he is up to 170 lbs.) 

So, this woman walking her dog is one of those good pet owners who walks her dog 3 times a day and works on obedience training with her dog.  She rescued her dog when it was young from an abusive environment so her dog has issues as well with other dogs.   Now, picture it….my dog goes running towards her and her dog out front of my home.  They start growling and fighting.  We were both screaming.  I was able to grab my dogs leash and pull them apart (I was afraid to go near her dog being it looks like a Pitt Bull and I have issues with them for some reason….now, this woman will have issues with Saint Bernards and I totally understand).  She was very stand-offish and just walked away from me.  I looked down at my dog and he had blood on his mouth and face.  Great!  I put the dog in the house and jump in my car to go talk to the woman.  I was so upset and apologized like you wouldn’t believe.  I wanted to make sure her dog was okay, explain what had happened, and inform her that my dog is up on all his shots and such.  She was so nice to me and asked how my dog was.

I get back home to check out my dog and the blood wasn’t from the other dog (which I first thought).  My dog was the one who was injured with 4 punctures to his face.  He limped around for 2 days.  He is 100% better but still continues to have his issues with other animals.  I waited to see if I would be contacted from someone or how ever that process works if someone reports an incident and I didn’t get a phone call or letter.  What I did receive was a very nice “Thank You” card in my mail box for showing concern and apologizing.  She went on to explain the history of her dog and she wanted to make sure my dog was okay.  HOW SWEET RIGHT?  I was so relieved and this will be an isolated incident.  We have had our dog for 5 years and this has never happened. 

To show my appreciation, thanks, and to apologize for causing any distress, I made the following items for her:

 neighbor gift 1        neighbor gift 2

The first set features a SU! retired stamp set “Ruff Day” that I had to use cause it was one of my favorites and appropriate to use. 

Here is a breakdown and single pic of each card:

neighbor fire hydrant card  Cause I know some will ask….this fire hydrant card I cased from the most talented Lauren Meader.  She has a tutorial on her blog that you can view here.  The only thing I changed from her tutorial is I didn’t have any oval stamps so I used Word Window Punch.

neighbor doghouse card  Yep, I so love this one.  I used Key Tag Punch for the doghouse door.  The bottom horizontal CS pieces I created with Word Window Punch and just cut longer pieces of cs for the top of the house.  I’m lovin’ the sign…lol

neighbor ruff day card  Simple but didn’t want to take away from the dog collar I created with Silver Brads, 5/8″ Old Olive Grosgrain ribbon and I forget where I purchased the clasp/buckle.

Now, since she always walks her dog, I thought I would also create 3 of each of the following cards (6 total) with envelopes and different sentiments so she would have cards handy to send out to people.

neighbor stamping bella card  I love this Stamping Bella image.  What pet owner wouldn’t?  It is called Dogwalkabella with “need a hug” sentiment.  Paper is American Crafts “sixth avenue gramercy park”.  The Light Yellow card base and envelopes coordinate and are from Gartner Studios which I purchased at my local craft store. 

 neighbor MFT card  I used MFT set Let’s go for a walk for this card.  Same line of paper (can’t find on the amer crafts website..must be older). 

So, I know the gesture will be well received.  She does continue to walk her dog by our home.  We wave and all is good:)  Oh the life of a pet owner. 


attack of the flu February 20, 2008

Filed under: my fam — mjalbright @ 6:31 am

I feel almost 100% better and will return to blogging in the near future.  My whole family has the flu.  I can talk about it now since I have it…I guess you can say I’m one of those “knock on wood” kinda persons who doesn’t talk about things due to fears of having it happen.  This is only the second time in my life having this nasty flu-stuff, with the last time being about 20 years ago (yes, I remember the incident vividly).

So, as soon as the residual dizziness subsides, you shall see work 😀

I have so much to share.


M is for Morgan February 2, 2008

The other evening, I went to Michael’s Craft Store and my daughter decided to come with me.  This is a rare incident.  She is the total opposite of me.  She wants nothing to do with “crafts”, and she thinks that’s all I care about.  She can have a major attitude at times with me:)  How dare I think of things for myself…lol  Whatever!  Dahhhh!  As if!  She talks under her breath and walks away rolling her eyes.  I know I’m not alone in my experience right??? 

While at the store, she saw those wooden monogram letters.  She thought it would be “so cool” to get all the letters of her name.  After some protesting, we agreed on just the letter “M”.  I instructed her to pick out whatever  piece of Patterned Paper from the paper aisle that she wanted (just make sure it coordinates a little with your room…had to sneak in a little teaching on color combos).  For a brief moment, I thought she would follow in my footsteps.  Nope.  We got home and she asked me when I would have it done for her.  I let it sit for a while but started to feel really bad that I didn’t make it for her.

Here is the the wooden letter “M” finished for Morgan:

m is for morgan Busy, but so appropriate for a young teen girl.  I really like the way this turned out.  I first traced/outlined the letter on the patterned paper.  Cut out and adhere to wood.  I sanded all the edges with sand paper. 

Next, I used SU! Jumbo Outline Alphabet to stamp the name Morgan to the right of the letter.  I stamped it in Craft Whisper White, covered with White Embossing Powder, heated to set.  Filled in letters with Crystal Stickles (wow! the name turned out awesome IRL).

m is for morgan letters upclose

Next was all the flowers.  I used SU! Ginormous Flowers Stamp Set for all the flowers in this project since it kind of coordinated with the paper Morgan picked out.  I used an assortment of CS for this…it was fun to combine all sorts of colors that I wouldn’t usually combine.  Cardstock used was Real Red, Pretty in Pink, Rose Red, Pumpkin Pie, Bashful Blue, and Lavender Lace.  I just used Versamark ink to stamp all the flowers on the cardstock.  I applied Crystal Clear Embossing Powder and heated to set.  Cut out each flower and attached to letter.  Added Flame & Cowboy Dew Drops to the centers of all the flowers.  For the bottom right, beneath her name, I added a single flower with some Bashful Blue, Pumpkin Pie, Real Red, and Wild Wasabi Striped Grosgrain Ribbon

m is for morgan flowers upclose

Finally, a happy Morgan who thinks her mom is “cool” at times 🙂

Happy Saturday.


dedicated to my man January 18, 2008

Filed under: my fam,weekend sketch challenge — mjalbright @ 9:30 am

Is it a “cutesy” & “manly” card all in one?  I think so:)

Going to ramble about the man who inspired this card, so you can just skip down to the card if you don’t want to read the following paragraph.

For the first time, I think I was able to pull off a masculine card for my husband that totally incorporates my style…so now I can’t wait for Valentine’s Day (yep, already have his card done ladies *wink* and will grab it right back off of him after he opens it).  He is a great man.  Busy with work so I try to do the little things (yucky ironing and preparing the quick semi-good meal…those things that interrupt you when you’re really into creating something and suddenly have to stop).   I see how much he is working lately and I just wanted to write my thoughts on how I’m feeling and how much I appreciate him.  One thing I can say about him is that he handles stress so well…he is stronger than me and has way more patience.  I love to watch the interaction between him and the kids.  I’m the strict one, and he’s so layed back. 

My birthday is approaching very quickly and not one bit excited…why is that?  It becomes less fun when you pass a certain number?   I was joking around saying I wanted to go to California in February and attend CHA as my b-day gift.  To my surprise, he said, “set it up and let’s go”.  I responded with a, “Shut up!!” (but wanting to jump up and down).  My strategy was to START BIG and suggest traveling, then say, “Well, how about all these Nestabilities”…it works ladies — start big and negotiate…lol.  I think he justs needs to get away and what better place than CA right?   But, I’m gonna pass, stay at home with the kiddos and save the traveling plans for the SU! Convention.

Now, the card created for Beate’s wsc#31

cutesy & manly card     wsc-_31.jpg

I think this is the perfect card for my man. 

Stamp sets used:  Classic Backgrounds, All In The Family, Stamp of Authenticity, and Define Your Life.

Cardstock used:  East Coast Prep DSP, Tempting Turquoise, Wild Wasabi, More Mustard, Real Red, and Shimmery White.

Inks used:  Stazon Jet Black, same as CS above.  Real Red Craft, Versamark Pad.

Accessories used:  Fire Circle Rhinestone Brads, Jersey Ribbon Originals, Staples, Scallop Punch, Coluzzle Cutting System, 1/2″ and 1″ Circle Punches, Spiral Punch, Round Tab Punch.

cutesy & manly card upclose 1                 cutesy & manly card upclose 2

You gotta love this All In The Family stamp set….It gave me really thin legs, a short hot red dress, and blonde hair with no little grays sticking up out of control:)

Now, head on over to the blogs of these extremely talented girls to see their creations for Beate’s wsc:

Cambria Turnbow

Charmaine Ikach

Jenn Balcer

Laurie Schmidlin

Lori Craig

Sharon Harnist


twas the night before christmas… December 24, 2007

and I’ve been asked by some people what my home looks like for the holidays.  I thought I would give you a glimpse of my personal life & my home on the night before christmas.  This has not been a good day…trying to get so much prepared and my little Ethan woke up with the flu.  I just put him to bed and I think he’ll be much better by the am.

Here is my foyer:

front door - foyer

Festive red berries decorate the lighting in my home with outdoor traditional decorations:

holiday lighting                  outdoor decorations

(Some here in Central Pennsylvania leave the candles in their windows year round.)

Stockings and handmade ornaments from the kids hung with care:

stockings hung                    ornaments hung

Can’t forget the dog.  Last year he ate the cookies my youngest left on the harth for Santa.  He did it again tonight.  It really doesn’t bother me.  It has become a little tradition for the dog I guess.  We need the cookies to be eaten anyway, so we just let it go (we just remove  certain cookies from the plate that are not dog-friendly before letting him do his thing):

for santa              bailey and his cookies  

Merry Christmas to all.  And to all a good night!

Just a reminder of the sketch challenge a couple posts down with some candy:)


I’m so excited!!! I’m glowing today. December 7, 2007

The wait is over.  If you are a Stampin’ Up! demo, Onstage is now online and will be in your mailbox shortly.  This is one of the perks to being a Demo…getting this magazine and seeing the amazing work of fellow demos.   And due to Stampin’ Up! policies, this work is their property, so I can’t post it here for non-demos to see.  Take my word, I worked hard:)

This is the first time one of my creations was altered by SU!’s design team and made it to the cover page.  It makes me want to cry to see my daughters name on the front cover, and my creations (I’m silly, I cried at convention when I saw pics of my kids displayed).   I cried with the last issue…I opened it up, and there was a pic of my little son Ethan in the contents. 

Oh, can’t forget the online extra they also posted.  It is a garland that coordinates with the Thanksgiving Place Setting. 

Go check it out.  Have a wonderful day:)


my “DREAM BIG” history August 2, 2007

Filed under: my fam,Uncategorized — mjalbright @ 2:03 pm

As many of you know, the convention theme was “Dream Big”.  I don’t like to toot my own horn, and I don’t like to throw around winning the Artisan Award.  But, I thought I would share with you some pics so you too can dream big and be inspired.  

My new years resolution for 2005 was to pick a goal/dream each year to better myself and the lives of others:

  • 2006 was a triathlon for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. 
  • 2007 was to submit entries for the Artisan Award & to place cards in the Ronald McDonald baskets at SU! events I attend.

I get a $500 shopping spree from the SU! catalog (that I haven’t even submitted yet…I know, that takes some self-control).  I WILL USE $200 OF THAT AMOUNT AND DONATE TATTOO KITS FOR SICK CHILDREN ADMITTED TO HOSPITALS

 Art therapy for sick kids & their siblings is so important.  I lost my 11-year-old brother to cancer when I was 10 years old.  Back then, I wasn’t allowed to visit the hospital due to their policies.  He was admitted for weeks to months over a 5 year period.  I SPENT A LOT OF TIME DRAWING.  IT WAS MY OWN THERAPY.  IT MADE ME HAPPY.  

A successful peer demo at convention stated to me, “don’t be selfish with your work… need to show people”.  This was stated to me not in a negative way.  It was stated because I’m currently a hobby demo who needs to have workshops to educate people (sales too).    I hope the kids who get to utilize the tattoo kits will be inspired to create…….and well enough in the future to enjoy the wonderful world of stampin’ .

                 mj albright artisan display    artisan award menu and bracelet 

 shelli and i at artisan dinner    bracelet upclose

Keep Creating!!!


beast featured in On Stage July 2, 2007

Filed under: my fam — mjalbright @ 2:55 am

I thought I’d introduce you to my bailey bear featured in the current On Stage.  He is my 4 year old Saint Bernard weighing in only at 170 pounds.  He’s just a big cuddly, protective, lovable, lazy bear.  I had a lot of fun created the two 6″ x 6″ scrapbook pages featuring him.  Nothing funnier than chasing this big boy around with a camera trying to capture some pics.   My husband just rolls his eyes due to the dog getting published before him!!

bailey bear