Saturday, February 25, 2012

A Beautiful Award - "Green Blend" Bloggie Friends!

I am honored to accept a new blog award that has been co-created by my Blend Friends Forever Beckie of Just B Creative Crazy and Jessica of Jessica's Craft Shaque.  Beckie named me as one of her BFFs and described the award to me this way:

"The “Green” portion represents how we should be kind to one another and help one another…such as being “Green” and helping our environment. Reissue the kindness that someone once gave to you as an infant blogger. Recycle the ideas you have learned or invented to pass along to up and coming crafters. Reduce the frustrations of wanting to a blogger with magnitude."
The "Green Blend Award" is passed along to Bloggers who have helped me in the following ways:
  1. This award is for any co-blogging friend who has helped me develop my blog in any and all ways.
  2. This award is for any co-blogging friend who has cheered me along in my blog building, craft advancing world.
  3. This award is for any co-blogging friend who consistenly stops by my blog and is kind. I can count on him or her to have posted one of the great comments at the end of my post.
  4. This award is to be given to 3 to 5 Blends whom I feel meet the listed requirements.
  5. Create a post with the terms of use and publish your Blend Friends Forever (BFFs) of choice.

  6. Your BFFs may copy the award from my blog and proudly repost it.

  7. My BFFs may continue the kindness by issuing this award to keep the circle forever growing.

So without further ado, just a few of my BFFs are:
1. Elaine of Expressions by Elaine
4. Rachelle of Creations by Rachelle
5. Jennifer of Crafty Card Gallery
...I'm sorry this one's limited to 5, because I could have named SO many more. Thank you, to all of my friends and followers, for making me the sort of blogger I am today. Humbly, I honor you all for inspiring me to be a better papercrafter ... and person.
Thank you for this beautiful award, Beckie! I'm honored to be one of your inaugural BFF's!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Banner "Kids' Choice Award" Announced Today!


Today, I have the great pleasure to announce the winner of the "Kids' Choice Award" for the recent Love Bugs Banners for Special Needs Kids Blog Hop. 


This prize -- the "Positive Thoughts" stamp set from K Andrews Designs -- is given to the maker of the favorite banner picked by the medically-fragile children at Pediatric Specialty Care, where the banners have been hanging this month.

Congratulations to Nancie Nalewajko Brungard of "A Little Piece of Me" whose Bee Mine banner (shown below) was picked by the kids!  :)  Nancie, please be in touch with me with your mailing address so I can send  your prize!



Everyone else, you also received the best prize of all -- knowing how much your banners lifted the spirits of the children, their families and the staff at PSC. Thank you again!!

NOW, for those of you who still haven't signed up to make a banner for our next Spring Themed banner hop, please contact me quickly ... we only have 2 spots left!  Here is the banner hop button (thank you, Lissa Marie!) to pick up if you've already signed up.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Handmade Sympathy Card offers love and comfort

Well, friends, I'm still playing with my watercolors today ...

I made this card for the family of a baby who passed over the Rainbow Bridge. The baby technically died months before I got to know her.

She was a wee one, less than 6 months old, and she was co-bedding with Mom while Dad worked overnights in Security. One night as the exhausted Mom slept, the baby tragically slipped between the mattress and the wall, and suffocated. Dad came home, found the missing baby; he and the EMTs worked frantically to bring the baby back ... and they did, but not before the baby had been without oxygen for too long to survive without mechanical ventilation.

This family made the very difficult decision to allow the baby to pass on her own terms and in her own time. She stayed long enough for many to love her deeply, and to offer solace and prayers for self-forgiveness to the grief-stricken parents.


When the baby came to PSC for what turned out to be just a few days, Mom asked me to take some pictures of the darling baby for a keepsake. I had only my cell phone with me, and the pictures are beautiful.  (I wish I could share them, but privacy laws prevent it without explicit permission.)  This card is the holder of the photo prints that I am sending to the Mom tomorrow.

Card Recipe:
To make the card, I first used a Cheery Lynn Designs butterfly to remove the butterfly from a piece of watercolor paper.  Then I used mask to cover places for the little butterflies and for the path-to-heaven dots underneath the main butterfly.  Once the mask was dry, I used a sponge to wash the rainbow sky over the paper.

Then, because I'm always anxious to get to the next step, I dried the paper with my heat gun, and removed the masking glue with an eraser. I opted to edge the outline of the little butterflies ... I'm not sure I like how that came out .. and Stickle the heavenly path's dots. (I do like that).  I had the little butterflies cut in my stash (I have a boxful from other projects!). I cut them using Cricut Cake Basics cartridge (my favorite).  The sentiment is a wood-mounted stamp that I believe is from Hero Arts; I bought it at Michael's.

I mounted the watercolor paper to Bazzill lilac cardstock, trimming the paper to 8" wide by 12" long.  The card has a pocket inside that I lined with a piece of Anastasia border trim in lacy white, similar to the purple border trim on the front cover.  I wrapped the wire-trimmed ribbon around the card, adhering it to the card front and back so the bow serves to close the gift packet. 

In my opinion, sympathy cards are some of the very hardest to make ... but also among the most appreciated. I hope you never have occasion to need one, but if you do, please consider the message and the love when making it for the individual. You'll be glad you touch and care.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Monkey Flowers and other Watercolored Delights

If you're here for the SKETCH CHALLENGE BLOG HOP, please click HERE.
                 ♥ - ♥ - ♥


This weekend, I was finally able to dig out from my garage the old box of watercolor supplies that I haven't visited since I moved to my "new" home 5+ years ago.

I was delighted to see that most of the tubes of paint hadn't dried out, and that even those that had dried, I was able to chip off pieces and reconstitute to use well. Delightful!


I wanted to try using the paints on a rubber stamp instead of ink, and then paint in highlights.  Here is the birthday card I made using this technique. 

The stamp is a Stampin' Up hostess set that I purchased as recycled from a Facebook (and blog) friend, Nicolette.  I participate in the "~Get It Sold~" group on Facebook, where crafters resell their unwanted goodies to others of us hoarders.

Incidentally, do you know the difference between a hoarder and a collector?  A hoarder is poor and usually looks for bargains. A collector is rich, and it doesn't matter the cost of a wanted item.  Just sayin' ...

I really liked how I was able to control the placement of color and shadows with my watercolor brush versus using a Copic marker.  I also like the kind of raggedy, unpainted edges of the leaves that gives this image a more vintage feel.  I also like that my watercolor didn't bleed through to the back, leaving just the right amount of tint to the image.

For the embellishments at the side, I diecut a border using Cheery Lynn Designs' "Anastasia border", using the same ivory parchment cardstock I used for the card. I washed it in the lilac paint, heavying up at the tips of the border cut.  I then cut another piece of the Anastasia border, using the same paper I used in the inside, and lined it with a piece of the beautiful sage-colored satin ribbon from Mei Flower.

Inside, just as yummy....

I used handmade seeded paper from "Of the Earth", computer-generating the sentiment and the description of the paper. 

Here's more about the paper -- that is, what I wrote on the inside text (left) of the paper...

"Bloom where you are planted": The interior paper of this card has been embedded with tiny seeds that will grow in North America when planted or composted. It is handmade lotka paper made in the highlands of Nepal by rural craftspeople using an environmentally friendly process. They use the bark of the Daphne bush, beating it by hand and boiling it to break it down to a pulp.  Seeds include 15 annual species which tolerate partial shade, needing 4 hours a day of direct sunlight. The flowers, which grow to about 3' tall, include Red Corn Poppy, Corn Poppy, Spurred Snapdragon, Catchfuly, English Daisy, Showy Evening Primrose, Gold Yarrow, Roman Chamomile, Tussock Bellflower, Foxglove, Fringed Sagewort, White Yarrow, Red Yarrow, Monkey Flower and Creeping Thyme.  If yo plant this paper in a pot or in your garden, please cover with just 1/8" of soil and keep moist until the plants are established.

I got this neat, beautiful paper from Save-On-Crafts.  It is $10.99 for 25 sheets (8.5"x11"), or $10 each for 3 packages.  Here is the LINK to the paper.

By the way, did you notice that the seeded paper includes seeds for Monkey Flowers?  Silly me, silly CardMonkey, did not know there's a such thing as a Monkey Flower. It just may have to be my Blog Flower!  Here is a picture of one, which I lifted off of this site: http://www.laspilitas.com/groups/Monkey_flower/California_monkey_flower.html


My Day #2 card for the Sketch Challenge Blog Hop!


Welcome to Day #2 of the next in a series of Sketch Challenge 
Blog Hops
sponsored by my friend Jennifer at the Crafty Card Gallery.

I'm guest designing this week for Jennifer, too! 



Everyone has had so much fun doing these with Jennifer that it's turned into a regular event.

The purpose of this hop is to show how all of these talented bloggers can take the same sketch and come up with totally different cards.

If you've never used a card sketch before, give it a try! If you missed Day #1's cards, be sure to scroll further down to see all of the cards in the challenge.



So sit back & be inspired!


For my Day #2 card, I made a card to send to "Cards for Emily," a cause-related collection for a dear child suffering from Leukemia.  You can read more about Emily HERE, and join in ...


To make this card, I used happy/fun pink papers that I stitched in a swirly pattern to try to imitate the curls around the flowers in the floral patterned paper.  I did the same loopy curls around the medallion, which I cut using a Spellbinders Nestabilities Classic Ovals die.  I trimmed the medallion with flowers (cut with a Sizzix die), and wrapped the card in a bow.   Inside, I handwrote an inspirational message to the young girl, and wished her happy times ahead in her recovery. 

My card for Day #1 is this Bee-ooutiful card...


To make this card, I used stripes of designer scrapbook paper from one of my favorite companies, Nikki Sivils Scrapbooker, in the Willow Bee line.  I used a bee cut using a Sizzix die as my embellishment. To give the cutie a little more movement, I mounted her on an Action Wobble.  The horizontal stripe that the Sketch calls for is the sentiment stripe. To make it, I typeset it on my computer,  printed and trimmed. Voila! I quick, fun, and happy card to brighten a winter's day.

Your next stop on the Sketch Challenge Hop is one of my Best Bloggie Friends, RACHELLE.

If you get lost along the way, here is the full Hop line-up:

Ashley: http://theglamoroussideofscrapping.blogspot.com/
Ellen CardMonkey: http://cardmonkey-business.blogspot.com/ - You're here
Rachelle: http://creationsbyrachelle.blogspot.com/ - This is your next stop!

Be sure to go to the beginning of the Sketch Challenge Blog Hop, to link up your own creation and be eligible to win Jennifer's blog candy!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Sketch challenge at Crafty Card Gallery


Welcome to another Sketch Blog Hop, sponsored by my friend Jennifer at the Crafty Card Gallery.

I'm guest designing this week for Jennifer, too! 

Everyone has had so much fun doing these with Jennifer that it's turned into a regular event!

The purpose of this hop is to show how all of these talented bloggers can take the same sketch and come up with totally different cards.

If you've never used a card sketch before, give it a try!

Be sure to check back on Saturday, as there will be some bloggers posting new cards on Day 2.

So sit back & be inspired!

Here is my take on the Sketch: 


To make this card, I used stripes of designer scrapbook paper from one of my favorite companies, Nikki Sivils Scrapbooker, in the Willow Bee line.  I used a bee cut using a Sizzix die as my embellishment. To give the cutie a little more movement, I mounted her on an Action Wobble.  The horizontal stripe that the Sketch calls for is the sentiment stripe. To make it, I typeset it on my computer,  printed and trimmed. Voila! I quick, fun, and happy card to brighten a winter's day.

Your next stop on the Sketch Challenge Hop is one of my Best Bloggie Friends, Rachelle

If you get lost along the way, here is the full Hop line-up:

Ashley: http://theglamoroussideofscrapping.blogspot.com/

Monday, February 13, 2012

Crazy Kind of Monkey Love!

Shhh...don't tell hubby yet, but this is his Valentine's Day card!  To make it, I used this adorable sock monkey cut that I received from Bonnie Beck.  Bonnie and I are part of a cut swap group that's formed among Facebook friends. She writes that she made this sweetie using the Cricut Lite cartridge called "Sugar and Spice."

These Facebook groups are a great way to get cuts from Cricut cartridges you may not have, and also to have neat ones that you may not have thought of creating yourself. 


Generated imageAnother helpful Tip of the Day: If you aren't sure how to find what's on your cartridge, go to My Cut Search (www.mycutsearch.com), where you can enter a phrase as silly as "sock monkey" and find this cut.  Enter just "monkey" to find even more places to find more cuts of the species! :)
Naturally, this is a great cut for me to use for hubby, since our little pet name for each other is "Monkey" or some endearing off-shoot of it -- like when I call him "Monkey Butt."  He does get even, not to worry ... like this time on the occasion (several years ago!) of my 50th birthday.


Anywhooooo, back to the card.  I created the adorable Valentine's Day tickets using a Tim Holtz' Sizzix die (shown at left) that creates 5 tickets in a strip, along with the companion ticket stamps collection called "Odds and Ends." Aren't the tickets sweeet?

For the quote balloon, I set the sentiment using my computer/printer, fussy cut it into the shape I wanted, and inked the edges in pink. I then put it on an Action Wobble. The background papers are from my stash.

I'll be posting this up on Jennifer Restivo's "Crafty Card Gallery," where I'm Guest Designer this week.  Hop on over there for a visit and a Sketch Challenge!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Remembering Whitney

With the sudden passing of Whitney Houston this weekend, we stop to reflect on how much we've missed this remarkable woman's voice in recent years.

Time, abuse and drugs all had taken their toll long before the singer's death, unfortunately. I hope we can remember her for the beautiful songs she left for us to enjoy.

From a papercrafting perspective, Ms. Houston's passing also makes me think how difficult it is for us to create meaningful sympathy cards at such time of loss.  One of my very favorite bloggers always hits the nail on the head with sympathy cards -- likely borne of her own pain from having lost her husband at a young age.

She is Becca Feeken, and her blog is Amazing Paper Grace. Recently, she posted this card that to me, speaks to the loss of Whitney.  Please hop over to her blog to check out Becca's truly Amazing work:

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Blog Candy Extravaganza Count Down Begins!!!

Here's a little gift card I made to enclose with
this week's mailed blog candy. Card, mehhh.
The thing I like about it is that cute center
digi-stamp in a 2.5" square.  Where did I
get it???  I made it!  Yeppers, easy peasy,
using Adobe Illustrator and clip art with
free fonts.
Isn't it terrific fun to win a bit of blog candy?  Well, I've been assembling the biggest bunch of blog candy E.V.E.R. and will be giving it away during the month of March.  It will all kick off March 3-4 during the "Our Favorite Things Blog Candy Extravaganza Blog Hop," hosted by my friend Dena Jones.

So far, I've collected more than $300 worth of MY Favorite Things -- favorite tools, Cricut cartridges, papers, adhesives, embellishments, markers, pens, magazines, dies, stamps, and more -- and I'll be giving it all away.

In the meantime, I've sent out blog candy to the following winners in recent hops. Stalk your mailman, if you're:

Amy Courchaine - A grab box of all sorts of goodies
Amy Voltz - The winner of the Lacy Dragon Frame from the "Chinese New Year Hop"
Karen Yarko - Winner of last week's Cheery Lynn border die.


Monday, February 6, 2012

Showcased by Nikki Sivils!

How fun is this ... some of my projects were featured on Saturday's Nikki Sivils Scrapbooker's blog in her "Showcase on You!"  Hop over to see a card, my "Smash" book, and the 3D house I made using Nikki's "My Li'l Monster" line of papers. Go here.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Welcome to Day #2 of the "Ticket To Love" Blog Hop, hosted by the very lovely Lissa Marie at www.somanycrafts.com

This is Lissa Marie's first time hosting a blog hop, so please be sure to visit her blog to show her some LVE!


I hope you like this second card I created for this Blog Hop, as much as I enjoyed making it ...



The adorable image on this card is a digi-image from Heather Ellis' "Pure Innocence" line.  I colored her with Copics markers, added some Punch Bunch flowers to her bouquet, popped her up using Ranger super-deep dots, and adhered her to a die cut frame using a new-release Cheery Lynn "Swedish Spring Frame" die that I thought complimented her flower bouquet nicely.  I made the pennant with a stamped (Hero Arts) sentiment and stuck it on a hat pin. I put the end of the pin into the foam pop-dot, for safety's sake. I like the contrast of the deep blue card -- a little change of pace for Valentine's Day.

Did you miss the other "Ticket" cards I also made for this hop?  Here they are, reprised:



and....



Do you have a favorite of these three?  Please let me know! 

Before you go on to the next stop, how 'bout a taste of BLOG CANDY!?  I have a scrumptious border die by Cheery Lynn Designs that was generously donated to me by one of my favorite vendors, Happy Scrappy LLC. They sell Cheery Lynn and soon will add Spellbinders dies to their inventory, all at terrific discount.


TO WIN my Blog Candy:


1.  Follow this blog, and let me know you do in your comment, please. Also, leave me a way to be in touch with you when you win!


2.  In your comment here, tell me which of these three cards you like the most, and why ...

 
Time's up with the CardMonkey!  Your next stop on the TICKET to LOVE HOP is JEN BLUE!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

All Aboard!! It's the TICKET TO LOVE Blog Hop, February 4-5

Hello my precious Valentines...

... and welcome to the "Ticket To Love" Blog Hop, hosted by the very lovely Lissa Marie at www.somanycrafts.com

This is Lissa Marie's first time hosting a blog hop, so please be sure to visit her blog to show her some LVE!

Here is the card I created for this Blog Hop ...

To create this card, I used my Cheery Lynn Designs new "Sophie's Heart" die as the background.  I removed the center of the die cut for this card to add emphasis to Cupid. (Don't be afraid to snip out portions of the die cuts ... not the die! ... if they don't quite work for you.)  I cut the Cupid using Cricut's Sweethearts cartridge, at 4".  I created the ticket (in keeping with the Hop theme!) using an old clear stamp by Autumn Leaves. I pop-dotted Cupid, and used super-thick dots to give the ticket even more lift. A grosgrain dotted bow, and a few dollops of Stickles and this card is ready for giving!
Did you miss the other "Ticket" card I also made? 

This one I meant to save for this hop, but inadvertently posted it early, for Ashley's weekly "Clean and Simple" Sunday card challenge. (You may have hopped over from Ashley's blog as she and I enjoy hopping together. If you just happened upon my site, be sure to go back to the beginning at Lissa Marie and then on to Ashley....)


  1. Plain black and white swirled paper, from stash ...
  2. Punch five hearts (one black, one white, 2 pink, one red). 
  3. Cut a deep V in the black heart, to resemble a jacket, and line it in the white heart; cut a shallower V in the red heart that's been embossed with Cuttlebug Swiss Dots.
  4. Stack two pink hearts to resemble a blouse with collar, and line the red heart.
  5. Knot a scrap piece of ribbon and glue on for man's tie; add a pearl embellishment for woman's dress.
  6. Mount hearts using foam dots, on white cardstock (lined with black) that's been stamped with sentiment. S
  7. tamp ticket sentiment on white card stock; trim and punch corners to resemble ticket.
  8. Tah-dahhh, done -- 10 minutes!

Before you go on to the next stop, how 'bout a taste of BLOG CANDY!?  I have a scrumptious border die by Cheery Lynn Designs that was generously donated to me by one of my favorite vendors, Happy Scrappy LLC. They sell Cheery Lynn and soon will add Spellbinders dies to their inventory, all at terrific discount.

TO WIN my Blog Candy:

1.  Follow this blog, and let me know you do in your comment, please. Also, leave me a way to be in touch with you when you win!

2.  In your comment here, tell me the one romantic thing you WISH your Significant Other would do for you this Valentine's Day.

Until tomorrow then ... HOP over to JEN BLUE, your next stop in the TICKET TO LOVE HOP!

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...