Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year's THANK YOU CARDS Blog Hop

Welcome, Blog Hoppers! The CardMonkey is proud to participate in Crafty Card Gallery's New Year's Thank You Cards blog hop.

During this long weekend (ahhhhhh!), I will try to post as many thank you cards as I can make while hopping along with you. Check back as often as you'd like, as I'll add more cards/ideas. And don't forget to read on, as there will be several opportunities for blog candy added every day! Who doesn't love candy!?

Day 1, Card 1: "You made my day" flower, shown at top: For this card, I first computer-generated the circle-centered text "Thank you so much", and printed the sentiment on white cardstock. At the same time (and lower on the paper), I also printed the curved sentiment "You made my day." Both of the sentiments are easy to set in curves or circles using the Adobe Illustrator software.

I then cut a large white flower using the centerpoint feature on my favorite Cricut Cartridge, "Cake Basics". I inked the edges of the flower in a pretty blue-gray ink in my stash.

Silly sidenote: I got the "Cake Basics" cartridge in my Cricut Cake bundle in August. To be honest, I haven't yet used the pretty red Cricut Cake at all -- I don't have the time! -- but I use the cartridge alllllll the time. Good, basic shapes! Do you have Cricut Cake and have you tried it for anything other than cake decorating? Please let me know!

I cut a second flower in the accent color (blue-gray), bumping up the size by 1/4" to work as a shadow. I rubbed each flower with a stylus, on a foam pad, to soften the cardstock -- then curled the petals using a reverse tweezer. The flower leaves are fussy-cut from ribbon.

The brad was made using polka dot paper and my Imaginisce "I-Top" brad maker. Stitch-punching was done at the lower left and lower right corners of the card, using my sewing machine without thread. (Yes, I know I could just use a pin, too -- but this is easier when the machine's already up. The spacing is already figured out for you!)

OK, Blog Hoppers: Here is CANDY #1. Your "candy" is a set of a dozen handmade brads made by CardMonkey herself! The brads will be appropriate to use on your Valentine's Day cards, as well as your Easter/spring cards. To win:

1. Post a comment to this post. Indicate that you'd like to win Candy #1, and provide me with some e-mail way of contacting you when your name is randomly selected. For an extra chance to win Candy #1, become a follower here, OR let me know you already are a follower.


Scroll down and look for the KISS for MORE CANDY to win! It's the Grand 2010 CardMonkey giveaway!!
_________________________________________________

Update -- 10:30 a.m. - 12/31/10 -- Already, another card!!

Day 1, Card #2: This is a rather simple but elegant thank you card. On white cardstock, I created and repeated the sentiment using a computer-generated font and printer. Then, using some pink paper scraps cut to the same length/width, I highlighted the sentiments. Adorned each strip with a small rhinestone and for extra zing, affixed a cute Creative Charms flower. I rounded the corners and glued the whole piece onto a pre-made black card with a white interior. Yup ... it took about 10 minutes, tops. Simple and sweet!


More Blog Candy! For a comment mentioning Blog Candy #2, you can win a chance to receive an embellishment grab-bag. Guaranteed it will have some brads, stickers, rhinestones and pearls ... a little of this, a little of that. If you've already commented looking to win Blog Candy #1, go ahead and post again for Blog Candy #2 ... let me know what you think of Card #2 and that you'd also like to earn a chance at this Candy!

And yes, MENTION that you're a follower -- or become a new one -- for an additional chance to win the candy!

And ladies (and any gent followers) ... Here's the big news! For each card/candy you comment upon, you'll receive one entry into the CardMonkey Cricut Cozy giveaway at the end of the Blog Hop!! That's right -- a custom-made cozy cover just for you.

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Day 1, Card #3
11:45 p.m.
Frame with Flowers

There's not much time left before the ball drops in Times Square, signaling the end of 2010 and the start of what I hope will be a fabulous year. It's 11:45 p.m. here on the East Coast, and I'm just getting around to making and posting another card for the Spectacular New Year's Thank You Cards Blog Hop.

And yes, there's MORE CANDY so don't forget to post a new comment if you'd like another entry to win this candy that comes along...

For Card #3, I cut a frame from a shimmer lavendar paper. Quite honestly, this cut was in my scrap box that I came across while cleaning my Craft Loft -- I think it was an off-cut, where I used the inside for something else along the way. On white cardstock, I printed the sentiment using a computer-generated free font (how pretty!).

To the side of the frame, I added a rose, a daisy and an amaranth. What's an amaranth, you ask? "An imaginary flower said never to fade." In other words, one I conjured up just because. The flowers were made using Punch A Bunch paper punches.

I colored the rose's petals using Copic markers and a blending marker; the yellow in the daisy is Flower Soft. Did you know that Flower Soft is made from ground-up PVC pipes?? There ya go!

Feeling the card still needed a little "more", I colored some pearls (using Copics) green and fixed them to the points of the frame. I think it's a pretty card, do you?

Candy #3 -- Here it is, I'm offering up some handmade flowers ... some like these, and some other kinds I've made too. There will be at least a dozen, maybe more ... definitely worth your while!

To win, post a comment about Card #3, and indicate you'd like to be entered in the drawing for Blog Candy #3. Don't worry if you've already entered for Blog Candy #1 or #2, you're still eligible for this Candy too.
And you'll get an automatic entry into the Grand Prize (Cozy Cover, below). If you become a follower or are already a follower, please say so in your comment for an extra entry! Whooo-eeee, don't worry, I'm keeping a spreadsheet for your entries!! Are we having fun yet!? I am!
__________________________________________________
Here's the news about the GRAND PRIZE, celebrating the end of 2010 and beginning of 2011!


Spectacular Update, Day 1 ...
Not a card, but a THANK YOU!

And a product of the CardMonkey Craft Loft:

Here it is, the infamous Custom Cricut Cozy that will be made for the GRAND PRIZE Blog Candy winner to say THANK YOU for visiting my site and offering encouragement.


This cozy, shown above at right, was finally made for GiGi, winner of my last Blog Hop candy. GiGi agreed to patiently wait until after Christmas even though I'm sure her Bug has gotten mighty cold up there in Wisconsin! She asked for a white with light blue accents, embroidered with The Cricut Bug and this is what I came up with. What do you think?


ALL blog hoppers who post any comment on the CardMonkey's Thank You cards will be entered into the Grand Prize drawing for a Custom Cricut Cozy in your own colors and wording. (Design by CardMonkey)


Comment once please on each card; each comment will get you an entry. You may comment on the Cozy Cover for another entry! If you are a follower or become a follower, please let me know in your post and you'll automatically get another entry. Drawings (for each of the candy, and the grand prize winner) will be at random, on Monday evening.


GiGi and Tracy (another winner from a previous candy offering), your Cozy Covers went out in today's mail. Apologies for the delays in getting to the mailbox. If it's not one thing (new day job), it's another (new granddaughter), another (snow!), another (Christmas!!), etc. Look for them soon!
_________________________________________

Check back later this weekend, as I hope to add EVEN MORE candy and more cards along the hop. More chances to win, more prizes for the New Year, YAY!

OK, now hop on back to the New Year's THANK YOU CARDS Blog Hop. On your next stop, you'll be visiting Miss Adri's fabulous blog at Ma Cherie Creations. (Click the name to hop on over!)

If you get lost along the way, the entire list of hop sites is posted at the start, Crafty Cards Gallery. Thank you for joining us this weekend -- and be sure to stop back for additional chances to win more prizes from the CardMonkey!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Rating the Methods: Reconditioning Cricut Mats


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Today, Faithful Readers, I am trying a new approach with a new toy. For Christmas, my Stepson Paul gave me (oh, and his Dad too!) a Sony "Bloggie" which is a very cute, very small high definition video camera. So if this post works and is something you might enjoy, I'll add an occasional video to my blog.


I decided to clean and rearrange my Craft Loft, and this included reconditioning all of my Cricut mats so they'll be as good as new going into the New Year. I've read up on it a bit, and methods vary.


Some people said to simply wipe them with baby wipes and they'll be as good as new. Others said, "hot soapy water and let dry." Others directed me to remove all of the old adhesive and apply new. And then I came up with my own ideas, too.


Well, I'm here to tell you that I've tried them all and show you the results on this video. To summarize and grade the results:


1. Off with the old, On with the new: Used Krylon spray Adhesive Remover. With elbow-grease/scrubbing: Grade D ... removed the adhesive AND all the ruler markings on the cut mat. With light application/wipe: Grade C. Bottom line: Not worth the investment ($9 or so) for the can of Adhesive Remover, or the time. And it STINKS.


2. Baby wipes: Completely ineffective, Grade F. Whoever thought of this idea must be using corrosive baby wipes. Mine were Huggies -- too soft for this purpose. Keep 'em on your baby's behind. Good news: sweet smelling, soft on hands.


3. Hot soapy water, hair dryer to dry: Grade B+ Removed the dirt and stuff hanging onto the mat but (good news, bad news) didn't really make the mat any stickier or "revive" it at all. Probably best for low-use mats.


4. Baking soda and hot water: Grade B. Again, removed dirt but was slightly more corrosive, and also removed some of the adhesive. But not enough of the adhesive to make it worth the while.


5. Goo-Gone: Grade A. Took two applications, and a gentle fingertip rub, but all the adhesive came off and left a clean surface ready to apply repositionable glue. Didn't damage the ruler markings. Some odor but not "give me a headache, use only in great ventilation" sort of chemical smell.


Recommendation: Goo-Gone. Then, once your mat is nice and clean, and free of old adhesive, I have applied Krylon Easy-Tack repositionable spray glue. Having tried this in several ways on my newly-cleaned mats, I will offer these tips:


1. Mask the edges of your mat, top/bottom and sides, before spraying your adhesive. You want the edges to be free of adhesive so as not to "gunk up" the rollers in your Cricut Expression or baby bug.


2. A light spray will do. Resist the urge to pile it on.


3. Lay the mats down and spray them while they are flat, so there are no drips or bubbles in your glue.


4. Prevent overspray -- that's the pesky adhesive that you'll get on your tabletop, counter, rug, equipment or clothes. Put newspaper down or spray outside (not in a stiff wind!).


5. Watch the weather when you're doing this. A low-humidity day helps the drying process.


6. Open a window ... this stuff requires adequate ventilation (chemicals) and it stinks!


7. Allow glue to dry thoroughly. The can's instructions say 3 hours. Believe them.


8. Keep your freshened mats fresh. Keep them away from your new sweater's lint, your cat's fur, your table where you're applying glitter, etc. Cover the mats up with their original acetate cover. Lay them flat or hang them from a hook or coat hangers (with pants clips) when not in use.

I hope this helps a bit!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Christmas Stockings

Ho-ho-ho, a quick post to let you know I'm still alive ... hanging in ... OK, drowning in responsibilities if you must know the truth.

Somebody should have reminded me that it is unwise to try to become a grandmother (and want to spend time gazing into the perfect little eyes of a newborn!), do anything at all for Christmas (e.g., shop, wrap, cards, decorate, bake), AND start a new full-time day job, AND be an elected official in my community who is struggling to get to a balanced budget by year-end....

... and craft and sleep ... and ... and ...

Well, anyway, enough whining about me. How's your life? Here is a relatively quick card I made where I cut the stockings out using a Cricut cartridge, embellished with ribbon and sliced paper ... velvet ribbon (yum, my favorite!) ... and a badge that was printed with the sentiment then cut with Cricut Cake Basics and machine stitched. I mounted the badge with foam dots for dimension. Oh, and added a punched border just because....

I hope you enjoy!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Blog Candy Winner! Congratulations, GiGi!

Hearty congratulations to Gigi McKellips of Wisconsin who can now protect her Cricut when she is going "crazy in the craft room". She has won one of CardMonkey's handmade Cozy Cricut Covers, the candy offered to a random participant in last weekend's Christmas Cards and Gifts Blog Hop.


That's Gigi, above.


Gigi, I've enjoyed checking out your website. Check it out, CardMonkey fans, by clicking HERE to link to Gigi's website, or by clicking on her picture, above. I totally love Gigi's blog posts and ideas ... I will be lifting some soon, Gigi, so don't be surprised if you see my take on your idea, published here soon.



Meanwhile, Gigi, please contact me to let me know what color combo you'd like for your cover (base and trim), as well as what text you'd like embroidered upon it. You can reach me at cardmonkey at comcast dot net.



Here is one of my favorite cards I made this holiday season. Santa's carriage and reindeers, as well as the trees and moon were cut from Cricut cartridges. Can you get which one(s)? Try using http://www.cricutsearch.com/ to find the answers. I embellished it with mini stars; painted the snow beneath the trees using white and platinum Stickles. The trees are wrapped in super-fine gold filament.


Also, by popular request, I am posting a picture of my granddaughter Charlotte, my first grandbaby. Isn't she just perfect!?

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Christmas Card and Gift Blog Hop


Hello Charming Blog Hoppers!



Thank you for participating in Jaime's fun Christmas Card and Gift Bloghop.

You likely arrived here from Meighen's scrappin3rdeeschik blogspot. If you'd rather start at the very beginning, jump to Jaime's site at


http://www.glittersstampsandpaperohmy.com/.



I'll be showing you a box gift and poem I created, just perfect for those little gifts you like to give teachers' aides, card partners, cookie swappers, etc. They're easy to make and not too expensive to do.



First, I cut the "crayon box" using Cricut's "Tags, Bags, Boxes and More" cartridge. Press the "black-out" feature otherwise you'll get holes in the upper part of each side of the box. Score and assemble the box.



I adapted and wrote a portion of the poem I used ... feel free to "lift" it without attribution. I created a layout for the poem and a bit of free Click Art (Santa) on cardstock and fussy-cut the Santa around the corner. I embellished Santa's snowflakes using Stickles, and adorned the whole lot with ribbon.



Inside, I stocked the "Santa Zest" with a package of hot chocolate mix, a little baggie with marshmallows and large chocolate chips, and a peppermint candy stick for stirring.



Here is the inside of the box:




Here's how the poem goes:



Did you ever wonder,

has it crossed your mind:

"How does Santa do his work

without falling far behind?"



He needs some special energy

with magic mixed in a pot.

A little snow, a lot of love

and chocolate hits the spot.



So here's a taste of Santa Zest

to sip when you're feeling tired.

Heat it up, put up your feet

and know you are admired!



BLOG CANDY for followers:



Win a custom-created cover for your Cricut Expression, like this one I created for Tracy, winner of my last blog candy prize:



You pick the color of the lettering and background fabric color, and specify whether you need a Cricut Expression or Baby Bug cover.

To be eligible to win:


1. Be (or become) a follower of this blog, at cardmonkey-business.blogspot.com.


2. Leave a comment to this post.


3. For an additional chance, add a comment to any of the "older posts" shown on this blog.


Warmest wishes for a wonderful holiday!
Ellen

So now hop on over to Jennifer at

Crafty Card Gallery
by clicking this link just above.






Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Happy Hanukkah


To my dear friends who celebrate Hanukkah, may the blessings of the season bring you joy and peace.


This evening at sundown, this year's 8-day "Festival of Lights" begins. I made this pretty card last year, and it remains one of my favorite to express my greetings to my Jewish friends and neighbors.



To make it, I first Googled "map of the earth" images and saved the picture of the globe as a .pdf image on my computer. I then lined it up centered on my pre-cut card, and added a sentiment shown below. I printed my cards using my HP All-in-One inkjet printer.


Next, I marked the centerpoint of the globe and stuck the printed card onto my Cricut mat. Then, I lined up the printed card on my mat, loaded the mat into the Cricut, and moved my cutting blade to the centerpoint position.



I set my Cricut to "real dial size" for 2.5" (the size of the Earth here) as well as "Center Point". Using Cricut's "Joys of the Season" cartridge at the "card" feature, I cut the Star of David out -- first as a test directly over the pre-printed Earth. When I was satisfied with the position of the Star of David relative to the Earth (and yes, this took several tries), I then cut the face of my good cards by flipping the card over and using the "Repeat Last" feature on Cricut.


Using a soft beige cardstock, I multi-cut several of the word "peace" (also found on the "Joys of the Season" cartridge). I threaded the cut-out word through the front of the Star of David, gluing down the word at left and right.


I received many compliments on the beauty and simplicity of this handmade card.


In the beauty of the season and the hectic pace leading up to Christmas, take time to remember that many friends around the world are celebrating their holiday early this year. With respect and love, we can all work toward world peace and harmony. Happy Hanukkah!

Monday, November 29, 2010

And the winner is......




....me!!!
What a wonderful experience it was participating in my first Blog Hop. I met so many wonderful people, and picked up some great ideas/inspiration as we head into this holiday season. Thank you, to all who stopped by at CardMonkey to check out my cards, and my joy in making them.

I am tickled that so many fellow crafters have chosen to "Follow" my blog too! I consider myself the biggest winner here, but ...

I do have blog candy to give away!! Tonight, the random drawing for the Free (Tah-dah!!) custom cozy cover for your Cricut Expression, in a color combo of your choice, embroidered with the name of your choice is........

(drumroll, please)...

JOSIE0602 (Tracy)!!!

Tracy, I will send you an e-mail as soon as I post this to my blog, and hope you will let me know what colors you'd like me to make your cover, etc.


For those who didn't win the blog candy this time, stay tuned ... I'll be offering more covers, and different candy from time to time. 'Tis better to give than receive, right!!? And I have been blessed just by having you here.
OK, for those wanting to see another card, here's a relative quickie that I made recently. Here is a partridge in a pear (??) tree, cut ... if I recall right (which isn't always or even often!) ... with Cricut Christmas Card cartridge. The tree was cut in brown.
To make this interesting with mixed media, I fussy-cut the partridge out of an old gold rib knit fabric, like that found in a recycled holiday sweater. I cut the body of the bird from the ribbing going in the horizontal direction, and the wing was cut and glued over it (fabric glue) in the vertical direction. The delicate antennae was glued in place using gold metallic Stickles.
Have you ever tried mixed media like this -- fabric or something else on your cards? Tell me about it! Or better yet, show me!
Thank you again for all of the Blog Candy participants. Stay tuned!!

Another use for the baker's twine

Thank you to all of CardMonkey's followers -- old and new, gold and silver -- for your very sweet comments about my Gingerbread Slider card posted for my first-ever blog hop, the Christmas Card Blog Hop sponsored by Jennifer at Crafty Card Gallery.


I've read and enjoyed every one of your comments. They're inspirational and keep me going when the Craft Loft (upstairs) gets cold and lonely.


If you're just joining in on the "hop" ... still feeling bloated from too much turkey? ... it's not too late to get in on the fun and have a chance to win that handmade cozy cover for your Cricut Expression. The random drawing will be tonight at 8 p.m. EST, so be sure to leave a comment, etc. .... follow the directions on the blog hop post, two down from here ... to get your chance(s) to win.


And for those who requested baker's twine, your 5-yard freebie is packaged up and in the mail. If you'd still like to get in on this gift (Merry Christmas!!), just send me an e-mail at cardmonkey@comcast.net with your name and address. I still have plenty more, in case you want to try it on today's featured card.


OK, on to the card: The image (candy cane) on this card came from the Make The Cut User Gallery, an SVG-file that was downloaded. I like the simplicity of it. If you don't use or have MTC and want to locate a candy cane in one of your Cricut cartridges, but don't know where to start looking for it, go to Cricut Search. (That's a clickable link to Shawn's great site at http://www.cricutsearch.com/.) If you lose that link, go to the blinkie I put on the sidebar. Cricut Search is an invaluable tool for those of us with a bunch of cartridges and little patience or time to scroll through the books. More on that later!


I wrapped the cut candy cane in baker's twine to give it that peppermint feel, and topped it with a green bow. How cute is that? And easy-peasy too! The sentiment is cut from Cricut's Joy of the Season cartridge.


A little sidenote on Cricut Search, with a shout-out to Shawn and her team with compliments for their hard work. Yesterday, I was working and demo'ing my Cricut at my new retail store (http://www.263marketplace.com/) in Warminster, PA. My Gypsy was giving me headaches, though I brought a few cartridges with me -- but just the cartridges, no overlays, no books. The Cricut Search feature on my laptop enabled me to scroll through to the cartridge I was using and to have the book electronically, and to see all the images.

Incidentally, at the Marketplace, I'm selling my cards and corner bookmarks -- but believe me, I'd have to sell an awful lot of them to make the rent. No wonder Hallmark stores have tens of thousands of cards!! I'm also selling off part of my collection of Byers Choice Carolers (see their website by clicking HERE) at half of retail, and far less than these babies are worth on the collectible market. All of the ones I am selling are retired and valuable, at only $40 each. If you're a collector or just want one or two to start, contact me!

Also, I've teamed up at my retail store with a terrific scrapper named Chris Webb. Chris owns/operates ScrapConcepts, which sells and has FREEBIES for printable embellishments and digital scrapbooking. Chris is adding a "Craft Fair" part of her site where interested cardmakers can sell their wares without the fees of other online sites. Click on Chris's link above for more info.


But I digress! More on Shawn at Cricut Search ... Shawn tells me that she is adding a position locator for each page ... that would be really helpful, because it was a guessing game for me without the overlay. Some of Cricut's newer cartridges (see Car Decal, as an example) highlight the button position in red on each page. I'm pretty sure Shawn told me that she will have a numbering system. THANKS Shawn for putting in this work for us!!


Another shout out ... Right now, I have all of my cartridges stored in a not-so-portable drawer-bin system, arranged alphabetically, with their books and overlays in shoeboxes below. It worked when I wasn't hauling them to/from the shop which is just open on weekends (Fri, Sat, Sun). I'm now going to get myself at least one -- probably two -- Scrap'NTotes for those times (the shop, and crops) when I want to bring all my cartridges. Thank you to Marlo Letterle for her insight in developing this system (see blinkie at right for more info on that). It's on my Christmas wish list!!

OK, back to bed ... for those who know me, I have just two more days at my old day-job before having the rest of the week off, and starting the new day-job on Monday 12/6. I am hoping to spend this week cradling my new grandbaby -- my first! -- if only she would make her entrance to the world. She's too warm and cozy in Baby Mama, I think. Hurry up, Charlotte!!

In the meantime, more time for cardmaking!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Christmas Card Blog Hop Continues Today!

Good Sunday morning, Friends!

Are you totally exhausted yet from all that Christmas Card Blog Hopping that started yesterday?

Many thanks to Jennifer at Crafty Card Gallery for arranging the hop with more than 30 card makers. It has been so much fun to see what others are making -- it's inspirational to us all!

I totally appreciate all of the warm comments left on yesterday's official post for the Blog Hop ... and I'm delighted to have gained a few "followers" as a result. More than 50 of you have sent e-mails asking for the directions on how to make slider cards, so I have created a "page" here on the blog with those directions. Go up to the top of the right hand column and you'll see "Requested Tutorials" and find the Slider Cards "toot".

The Hop continues today, so scroll down one more message to see the post and the opportunity to win Blog Candy! Yes, a free custom-made cover for your Cricut Expression! The random drawing for that will be on Monday night, so hurry and post your comments.

As a special bonus to all of you gingerbread fans, today I am posting an adorable gingerbread man card made by my darling daughter Emily (still pregnant with my first grandbaby, due momentarily!). Emily used the Cricut "Stretch Your Imagination" cartridge for this gingerbread man, hand-faux stitched using white pen, and stamped the sentiment using a stamp found in the dollar bin at Michael's. She sewed/tied on baby buttons for the embellies using red/white baker's twine. Cute!!

Don't have baker's twine? Leave me a comment here and send me an e-mail with your snail-mail address to cardmonkey@comcast.net and I will send you 5 yards of it totally free! (Ok, if you want to send me a buck back for postage, that would help, but it's not necessary!) Just my way of saying "thanks" for following along and joining in this crazy world of papercrafting. (Note to my best friend, Star, who follows this blog: I'll get your baker's twine out ASAP!!!)

If you haven't yet hopped, please continue to read on and get in on the holiday fun! Make it a wonderful day!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Christmas Card Blog Hop

Today, just in time to be featured on the Christmas Card Blog Hop, I've finished an ambitious Christmas card and all of its instructions. So pull up a chair and I'll show you a great little slider card where you can put a greeting or a recipe (as I did) or even a gift ($$) card. Use your imagination!



Don't miss the info on CardMonkey's special blog candy for today's hoppers! Scroll down!!


Here is the basic recipe for this slider card:

Solid cardstock (heavyweight) cut to 8.5"wide x 7.5"high. Shown here in red


Solid contrasting cardstock (mid-to-heavyweight) cut to 3.75"wide x 6.5"high. Shown here in cream



Patterned holiday paper (light-to-mid weight) cut to 3.5"wide x 6"high. Shown here with holly leaves

Gingerbread men/ladies: One large, 3 medium. I cut the large one shown here using an old Sizzix die. I cut the medium ones shown here using a QuikCutz man/lady set (2x2).


Other items to embellish your card and gingerbread men/ladies. I used rick-rack at the bottom, which I embellished with gold Stickles. The large gingerbread man is holding a sign made using a Whiff of Joy stamp/die set, a toothpick and a bead to cap the toothpick. He is also decorated using a Martha Stewart holly punch, pink dots punched with a regular hole punch and dotted with pink Stickles; black pearls for his eyes; and a bow.

I created the "Gingerbread Greetings" banner using Adobe Illustrator software on my computer; I colored it with Copic markers.

On the slider insert, I placed a recipe for Gingerbread cookies.


If you would like specific instructions on how to make this slider card, just leave a comment and let me know ... I don't want to get overly detailed here during the hop. But if you want an illustrated guide including score lines, how to make the gingerbread man slide, etc., I'd be happy to post instructions on another post off-hop. Be sure to check back in ... or send an e-mail to me at cardmonkey@comcast.net. (Update on Saturday night! After more than 50 requests for them, I've posted the complete instructions here on the blogsite, on a separate page marked: "Requested Tutorials: Slider Cards." Go back to the home page, and look at the right hand column, top, and click on the new page.)


Special CHRISTMAS CARD BLOG HOP candy is being offered by CardMonkey as your reward for staying out of the mall, and joining us today!


Here's what you can win: Your very own custom-made Koozie Cover for your Cricut Expression!! Yes, yes, yes! CardMonkey will venture over to her sewing machine and make for one lucky winner a dustcover for your Expression, made in the complementing color of your choice, embroidered with the name of your choice! Keep it or give it away to your favorite Cricuteer ... makes a terrific, custom Christmas gift!


How to win:


1. "Follow" this blog for one chance to win.


2. Add a comment to this post for a second chance to win. Please let me know you're a follower in your post so I know you joined in. We all like affirmation, so let me know what you think of this card.



3. Link to the CardMonkey blog in your website or blog for a third chance to win, and let me know about it.



Okay, now on to the hop!! Here is your next stop in the hop (click the name):



Lezlye


If you've happened upon CardMonkey randomly and haven't started at the top, here's the official entrance ... go to:


Crafty Card Gallery


If you're hopping around, here are the other participants with links to their blogs in case you've gotten lost along the way. There are some of my very favorite bloggers included, so you're bound to enjoy!


Shawn (YAY, for CricutSearch.com!!)


Courtney


Martha



Carley


Meighen


Giselle


Lisa


Kinder Stampo


Kelly


Sandy


Laura


Nicollette


Lisa


Jessica Lynn


Miss Adri


Debbie


Jan


Joanne


Sandy


Melanie


Vicki


Jamie


Courtney


Sharon


Holly


Holley


Shelley


Paula


Susan


Shelley


Shelly



Friday, November 26, 2010

Snow Globe Santa


Good early morning, shoppers!

Were you one of the Christmas shoppers who wait for "Black Friday" for deals to do your Christmas shopping? Or were you one who spends the day decorating for the most festive holiday of the year?

Or, like many of us, were you in your craft room finishing up your handmade Christmas cards to get them in the mail soon?

Well, I would like to be one of those who lay on the couch all day suffering the ill-effects of too much turkey, stuffing and desserts (yes, plural!), but I will be out at the 263 Marketplace in Warminster, hawking my wares. I am not currently selling my cards, as I've come to the realization that I'd have to sell a LOT of cards to pay the very reasonable rent. Instead, I am selling off a good bit of my collection of Byers' Choice Carolers. And they have been moving! YAY!! Share the love!

....and I've been spending "spare" time just making cards for the pure pleasure of it.

Here is one (above) that is one of my favorites. It features a "snow globe" that I made by printing a vintage-looking image of Santa, using my inkjet printer, and mounting it under a cardboard ring. I then took some superfine glitter mixed with anti-static powder -- about a 1/2 teaspoon in total -- put that on top of Santa and covered it with a piece of acetate cut to fit over the cardboard ring. I added another cardboard ring on top of the acetate for extra stability, and covered it with a red cardstock "medallion" cut using the Cricut Cake Basics cartridge.

I made my own paper ("I Believe") on my printer. I mounted it on more red cardstock, and embellished it with a strip of velvet ribbon.

I really like how this card came out, and hope you do too. Whatever the day brings to you, may you find peace and happiness!

p.s. -- The baby countdown continues! We're still awaiting the arrival of our first grandbaby, a girl her parents plan to name Charlotte Grace. The sweet bundle is not "due" until December 2, but her mom and dad -- and GramE and Poppie too! -- are SOOOOOOOOoooooo ready!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Using transfer tape


Good morning, Fellow All-Things-Paper-Fans!


This morning, I will show an intricate cut where the placement of the letters was made possible only with transfer tape.
I use many different programs for my paper cutting ... and am very bad about writing down which one I've used to make a card. I think I got this design in the Make-The-Cut gallery.

The swirly letters forming the Christmas tree are beautiful, don't you think?


But the cut is so intricate that the lift-and-paste would take forever, if it was not for transfer tape. Most of the time, this "repositionable" (easy release) wide tape is used to assist in the placement of vinyl letters on a wall. I bought a 5" wide huge roll of it from the Provo Craft display at a recent Creating Keepsakes Convention.


To use this tape, first cut your design. I then remove the off-cuts -- that is, the paper surrounding the cut design. Then, carefully lay the tape over your words or design while it is still on your Cricut mat. Burnish/rub the tape so that the letters will adhere to the tape. Gently lift the tape (with the letters or design affixed) and turn the tape over, adhesive side up.


Now, apply glue to the underbelly of your design, but not to the tape.
Next, affix the design to the cardstock you are using. For my card, I cut the design from a soft green, and affixed it to an opalescent cardstock. Let the image dry! Come back later, and remove the transfer tape. Voila! Don't be tempted to try to remove the tape before the adhesive is dry -- be patient! (This is always the hardest part for me!) Later, embellish your art as you wish. I used red gemstones.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Operation Write Home Challenge

'Tis the Season ... for love!

Well, while it seems everyone else is busy making Thanksgiving cards, I have been making Valentine's Day cards. Why? I have joined the volunteer movement at "Operation Write Home". This fantastic nonprofit group provides handmade cards to soldiers overseas, so they can in turn send them home to loved ones for the holidays.

One of the most popular holidays, when our brave men and women protecting our country want to remember home-and-heart is Valentine's Day. The deadline for submitting Valentine's Day cards is January 7. So I am hoping to put together a community crop to get assistance in making the cards to meet my personal goal of 500 cards.

This is just one of the Valentine's Day cards I've made. The card is layered -- lavendar base, silver matte, lavender on top. Adorned with a heart cut from a Cricut cartridge ("Sweethearts", I think) and then an oversized "love" cut from another. The center heart is Stickled -- allowable on cards for the soldiers. (No glitter is allowed as it may fall off onto a soldier's uniform and catch the light at night -- potentially hazardous when at war.)

If you'd like to join the cause and contribute Valentine's Day cards, you may either send your cards to me for inclusion in my challenge, or you may send them to OWH directly. See their website for more info (click this link). THANKS!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Embroidered baby apparel

Well, these aren't exactly cards ... but they send greetings and spirit, nonetheless.

Here are two of the baby items I recently embroidered for the
grandchildren born in the family of my next-door neighbor.

Aren't they just cute!? After I purchased these clothes, I learned how to make them with a quick dyeing method -- using spray-on dyes! I'm anxious to try this, like I need one more hobby!


Not to worry ... back to cards tomorrow! Have a good Monday.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Unconventional way to use a punch

Good morning Fellow Papercrafters!

This morning I will show you a card I made where I unconventionally used a Martha Stewart Around-the-Page paper punch to build a holiday wreath.

Here, I took the "Laurel" corner punch I won as part of the full set (thank you Diane Campbell Payne @ Capadia Designs, and the good folks at Martha Stewart Living!).

Using only the corner punch, I punched out approximately 50 "corners" from which I trimmed the bases into rounded images, leaving the Laurel leaves intact. Then I laid a circle of paper adhesives in a wreath sized circle on white cardstock, and glued down the corner-punch pieces to form the wreath.

I punched two small holes, using my Crop-A-Dile, for a place to tie the ribbon bow. Then I further embellished the wreath with a few gold pearls I had on hand, and stamped the greeting inside the wreath. The stamp is from a holiday set I recently purchased from Whiff of Joy, in Switzerland. Isn't the internet a wonderful thing, connecting all of us around the world through a common interest?

I cut the white cardstock to size, in this case, to fit onto a 6x6" card. I rounded the corners, and layered the white stock onto an accent red cardstock.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Birthday Greetings

Hello Fellow Cricuteers!


You may have noticed in my prior posts, I haven't made many birthday cards. I don't know why that is -- perhaps I am just caught up in the seasonal moment that I forget that I use more cards for birthdays than anything else.



For this image, I cut the shaped card using white cardstock and my new Cricut Christmas Cards cartridge. This leaves a frame opening. The clown image -- fussy cut and layered with popdots -- is from ClickArt Online. His (her?) balls being juggled are enhanced with gems, and the text below was fussy cut from a paper image.



Cute, quick and jolly!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Thanksgiving Time Design



Hello friends and fellow paper enthusiasts!


Fairly soon, our refrigerators will be more stuffed than a turkey at Thanksgiving! All that work and preparation will be (swoosh!) eaten in far less time than it took to make the meal.

Are you getting ready for the T'day too?


Here is a cute paper wrapper for a wine bottle .. perfect for a hostess gift. I used the "Thanksgiving" cricut cartridge, and wraped twine around the bottle. I affixed a beautiful charm from Mark's Fine Papers.
Here's a close-up of the charm.




Friday, October 29, 2010

Coming Soon - "the Fat Man of Happiness"

Good morning, Friends!

Today let's talk about digi-stamping and coloring.

At left, you'll see a card I made using a Digi-Stamp from Bugaboo Stamps. This woman-with-attitude is known as DeDe. Her stamps, whether she's holding a martini glass or Christmas tree, or she's wrapped in ornaments, can be purchased singly ($3.00 per image) or in a bundle. I bought the bundle and I believe it was $15.00. You can have unlimited uses for the images you purchase. HERE is a link to Bugaboo's DeDe.


After purchasing a digi-stamp, save the image to your computer ... and then you can save it, resize it, and print it on your cardstock. The image comes in black-and-white, ready for your magic touch.

In this case, I used a combination of Copic markers -- the best in the biz -- and colored pencils (e.g., for the hair) to add a little dimension.

I made up the saying on the card and typeset it using Microsoft Word. The ribbon embellishment is from Creative Charms. A yard or so came in one of their super Deal of the Month.



Thursday, October 28, 2010

Winter's Coming, part II

Yesterday, I showed you a card that used the off-cuts I found at Emily's table, while cleaning the Craft Loft. Today, let's enjoy the card Emily made that created the off-cuts.

Here are two of the snowflakes Emily cut. Only see one? Emily does a neat stack/lift technique where she pop-dots between the two of a same-cut. This gives dimension to the pretty cut item.
She used the blue snowflake paper as the card background, adhering random gemstones for fun. She tried cutting then glitter-embossing the letters, but that didn't work as she hoped. These letters are multi-cut from glitter paper.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

White's Coming!

Good happy morning, friends!

Today, I show a card made from scraps, quite literally.

While I was cleaning up the craft loft, getting ready for another onslaught of cardmaking, I was at Emily's table. There, I found a nice piece of white card stock from which she had cut four pretty snowflakes for cards she was making. I found a strip of the light blue snowflake paper she used on backgrounds for two of her cards (see posts here, from last week). There was a sheet of metallic silver paper that had been cut, and a blue liner sheet suitable for a card background. Voila! Idea!!

I assembled all the bits, and cut the sentiment using the Winter Frolic cartridge which also had been left out and ready to use. I Stickled the snowflakes for a little extra punch, and the card is ready to be put in its sleeve as done. Easy-peasy, and used up those scraps before they disappeared. Nice, huh?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Grateful for all we have, and reuse


The cute Thanksgiving turkey made by daughter Emily gets a reprise here, in a notecard also crafted by the progeny.

Wouldn't this be sweet to see on a Thanksgiving table setting, where family members could write down those things for which they are most grateful? Read them later, at dessert, and save them in your scrapbooks to commemorate those happy memories of Thanksgiving 2010.


Today, I think I will make some napkin rings and placecards to match this cute design. I've been saving "rings" -- empties from toilet paper, paper towels, tin foil, etc. -- for a while now while I decided what to make. Seeing this card has inspired me!


What about you? Do you see potential in random things like empties? What do you save from the landfill to use in your crafting? Here are some things I've recently read about recycling, though haven't tried them yet:


  • Soda cans - open them with tin snips and flatten the aluminum. Emboss and die cut the aluminum (unprinted side is your good side) for metallic accents on your cards and scrapbook pages. You can paint on the aluminum using alcohol inks.

  • Cereal boxes - a good cardboard weight for cuts in between cardstock and chipboard. You can make your cuts and cover them with pretty paper, or use the cereal boxes for testing your cuts before using your good stuff.

  • Old clothes - fabric can be stiffened, backed and cut for flowers or other embellishments. Buttons can be snipped off and used on cards and layouts. Zippers can be cut out and the "teeth" used for a variety of embellishments, even for "monster teeth" on Mini-Monster cut outs. Fabric itself can be used (see yesterday's gold rib knit) as a mixed media.




  • Nature's own - leaves and flowers can be pressed and dried and used like any other embellishment. No special equipment is necessary -- just use a heavy book and time to flatten your findings. I dried these two autumn leaves in my Oxford dictionary, and plan to make a card for my parents who -- since they moved to Florida -- no longer get to enjoy the blaze of colors we experience in "Penn's Woods", Pennsylvania.

Do you have other ideas you'll share here? Leave a comment, I'd love to hear from you!


Monday, October 25, 2010

Partridge in a Pear Tree

Good morning, Papercrafters!

I hope you had a good weekend, pursuing those things that make you happy.

For me, I spent a part of Saturday visiting the gift shop where I will be selling my cards and personalized invitations, favors and embroidered goods. The shop, in Hatboro PA, is open 7 days a week. More details to follow!

During most of the week, the shopkeeper and her staff will sell my things with 100% of the income coming to me. On Saturdays throughout the holiday season, I'll be on site, helping out at the store and demonstrating papercrafting. I have opportunities for crop nights on site, doing make-n-takes, and arranging other sorts of special events. Of course, special events that attract buyers to the shop benefits the shopowner too!

OK, back to today's featured card. This simple but elegant card was cut using the Cricut Cake Basics cartridge for the gold border, and the Cricut Winter Frolic cartridge for the Partridge in a Pear Tree.

To accent the partridge, I fussy-cut a piece of gold rib knit (as in a sweater) in the same size as the bird. I also cut a complementing wing from the same fabric. I used Stickles for the delicate feather coming from the bird's head, and a little dab on the tail feathers for highlight. The inside sentiment was printed on the card (prior to decorating) in brown ink.

Have you tried any mixed-media cards, like this one?

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Custom-made card for Sora

Hello, friends!

Here is a card that I made this weekend. It is a non-traditional "Welcome Baby" card, for a friend at work named Cindy.

Cindy's son and daughter-in-law recently added to their family, with the birth of their daughter, Sora. Cindy's daughter-in-law hails from Japan, and so the name "Sora" means "clear blue sky" in her native language.

Cindy asked me to make a commemorative card for her that would be suitable for her to pass along to her son and daughter-in-law. The only parameters were that the background should be blue, representing the baby's name. I'd already mentally kicked around a few ideas before she asked, and the notion of cherry blossoms or dogwoods came to mind, with a bird in flight, "soaring." I contemplated a stork but thought that was too traditional; I decided to use a little more imagination with the ruffled feathers.

All of the components, except for the twine running through the flowers and the yellow "Flower Soft" in the center of the flowers, are made from paper. Did you know the Flower Soft is made of ground up PVC piping that's been dyed? Interesting stuff!

The only part of this card that was cut using my Cricut is the green frame around the card; for that, I used Cake Basics. The flower petals and leaves were punched. The bird and baby were fussy-cut. The onesie that the baby is wearing is Cuttlebugged using the Swiss Dot pattern. I used a 3/4" round punch for the baby's face and then hand-drew the features on the baby. The pink Japanese text says "Sora".

This is one of those cards that I hope gets framed and kept for a long while. It did take a few hours to make -- it was a labor of love. Welcome baby Sora!

Boo-Ville's Stickers for Halloween Card


Here is a revisit to an old post, just because I really like this card and Halloween's coming this weekend ...

Ahhhhh, Autumn. A beautiful season! Waning days of summer that keep the air warm, mixed with wind that blows the migrating geese from pond to pond.

Here is a first stab at a Halloween seasonal. I used the "slider card" template from Let's Party Hearty, and decorated it with boo-tiful papers and stickers from MLYB - My Little Yellow Bicycle's "Boo-Ville" collection.

I cut the witch on the broom and the moon behind her, as well as the bat, from files found in the User Gallery of "Make The Cut". The bat was supposed to be positioned flat on the paper, but I felt he looked more sinister with his wings scored and folded to look like he was in flight. I inadvertently cut the bat from a midnight-blue/black two-sided paper and then realized I liked the shimmery midnight-blue side best. Sometimes, mistakes are just meant to be!



When you slide the card open, the moon with the witch rises to expose the super "Specialty Embellishment" also from MLYB. It is a packet that says "Top Ten Favorite Things of Halloween" and contains 10 slips of paper on which the sender or recipient would write those favorite things.

The tab on the slider (a pull-up) is a fabric ghost, also part of the MLYB Boo-ville collection. I think it looks intricate and complicated, but it really didn't take all that much time to make.

I hope you're having a boo-tiful season too.




A Cupcake Kind of Day

Hello friends!

I hope you are having a cupcake kind of day!

Here is a clever card crafted by DD Emily. It takes a cupcake shape with a center point weld to make the card. The icing for the cupcake was embossed with the Cuttlebug and sprinkled with fine color paper dots punched and sprinkled. Inside, the Happy Birthday message is hand-highlighted with a white accent pen, and faux stitched in red around the outline.


If you're having cupcakes today and will share, make mine chocolate please!






Long Time, No See!

Hello, Friends and Followers! Gosh, I didn't realize how long it's been since I last posted on my blog. Let me catch you up...