Monday, September 30, 2013

Inspired by a Magazine, layers, layers, layers!

I'd like to show you a card that I made a few days ago, on which I've thrown everything at it -- everything except the kitchen sink, that is.  This is not one of those cards you make in bulk, that's for sure ...

I started with the adorable reindeer digital stamp from Meljen Designs, and colored it with Copic Markers.  I used Close To My Heart Stardust Glitz and CTMH sparkles on the image after I cut it into round using my Silhouette Cameo. I glammed up the reindeer with sparkle gems from my stash, and a white gel pen.
I created the scalloped eyelet circle edge on the Cameo, combining files for circles onto the scallop, sized to fit around my 4" circle. I cut it from CTMH cardstock.  I also used the Cameo to create the layers of frames (cut from paper by October Afternoon), as well as the stars next to the reindeer and the banner.
I stitched the frames using my Husqvarna Viking Designer Diamond sewing machine.  The "celebrate" on the banner was stamped with CTMH's new font stamps from the "You Are My Happy" stamping trio.
IMPORTANT NOTE:  The CTMH "You Are My Happy" Stamp Set is available exclusively through the month of September, so this is the last day to take advantage of this very special offer: $10 for the trio, with a qualifying $50 purchase. Go here for more info:
One of the things that I wanted to pay special attention to is giving credit where credit is due.  Several of my readers ask where I find my inspiration, so this is the start of revealing the contents of my "Inspiration Station" -- where I go in my Paper Jungle to stir my creative juices....
Number one on my list is MAGAZINES! 

I take a slew of crafting magazines to bed with me -- they are the last thing I'm thinking about as I drift off to sleep. Then, as I dream, I'm conjuring up new ways of creating the favorite projects I see in the magazines.
The card I feature here today was inspired by a similar one that appeared on the cover of Cards and Crafts for Christmas Magazine, published by Practical Publishing out of the U.K.   Here it is, above.
Because I rely on magazines for my #1 inspiration, you can imagine my disappointment when Paper Crafts and Creative Keepsakes -- two of the industry's leading crafting magazines -- announced they were merging and ceasing the publication of their print publications. They will be co-publishing a digital magazine ... but it's not the same. Yes, you can bookmark pages on your computer, but you can't dog-ear and carry the magazine pages around, or rip them out to put in a binder for future inspiration. Oh, I am so disappointed!
...but thank you to the magazines for years of great ideas!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Blog Candy Winner!

We have a winner of the blog candy I offered during this weekend's Scrap To Treasures Altered Items Blog Hop. 

Congratulations to follower "SHartl", who commented: "This is such a beautiful project. The rhinestone heart is so elegant and blingy!!! I am a follower and always read your blog for all the great inspiration!"

Please send me your name and address, "SHartl," so I can mail your prize promptly!  You'll be getting a beautiful stamp set (MSRP $17.95) from Close To My Heart.  

Congratulations again!



Recorded and Noted: You're the Best!

As I've posted before, I enjoy receiving my monthly cardmaking kits from Jillibean Soup's Card Kitchen, though I do enjoy making some changes to the designs to make them more "me".  Look here:

For this card, I added some yellow seam binding ribbon to add a little pop, but otherwise, the card is pretty much as it was designed by the good people at The Card Kitchen.

If your crafting mojo runs hot and cold, I encourage you to subscribe to card kits like The Card Kitchen. Sometimes you'll like to make exactly the card that's shown; other times, spread your creative juices around and change it up -- it's your card, it's up to you!

Speaking of kits, I have a very special one of my own:  My ongoing CardMonkey CardStock Club (CCC) provides 15 sheets of fantastic Close To My Heart paper that cuts like butter in your Cricut or Silhouette.

Each month for just $25 (including shipping!), you'll receive three 12x12" sheets of CTMH's featured B&T Duo papers, along with three 12x12" sheets of each of four complementing colors.  In addition, I'll pick one of those solid colors and send along an Exclusive Ink Pad in that color ($5.25 MSRP itself), and I include the Duos' Workshop On The Go Instruction Sheet.  AND I typically send in a surprise, too -- a stamp set? Sample papers? Bling?  Shhhh...this month, I'm enclosing the "A Touch of Fall" Petite Perks stamp set, for free!

Like surprises along with the best cardstock around??  The CCC is for you!  Featured in October is the beautiful Huntington B&T Duo, shown here. If you're interested in jumping on this bandwagon, leave me a comment on this post, or contact me via  There are many imitators, but no one else hosts the original and best CardMonkey CardStock Club, an innovative way to build your supply (and mine!) with the best cardstock, now available in more than 40 colors!

DeFiaNtLy DiFfeReNt & CreAtiVeLy Yours,

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Scraps To Treasures: Altered Journal with Adhesive Rhinestone Sheets by TBB

I'm here today to participate in the "Scraps To Treasures Altered Items Blog Hop", with a fun project that I'm also linking up to a Design Team on which I serve.  And yes, this qualifies -- all scraps!  Here's how:

I took a journal from Close To My Heart that I've been recording my new customers' names and contact information. Very boringly, I left the journal cover blank, off white canvas.  The journal is no longer available in the CTMH Idea Book, but guess what?  You can still get it -- and cheap! -- on the Close To My Heart "While Supplies Last" list by clicking HERE.  It once sold for $8.95 and is now only $2.25!!  It has 80 lined pages inside and it has a sturdy, customizable hard canvas cover.  I'm planning on getting a few more to try different techniques on it! 

When I recently joined the Design Team for The Buckle Boutique, I was sent a box full of scraps of the cuttable rhinestone sheets as well as bridal trim. (See my post from last Saturday, where I blinged out a Phillies cap using the bridal trim.)  Here, I took a scrap of beautiful white rhinestones, and hand-cut a heart from the center of the piece I wanted.  I used the cut out heart in white to use as a template to cut the turquoise fill heart. 

While I cut both of these shapes with scissors -- quick and easy! -- you can also use your electronic cutting machine (Cricut or Cameo) to cut these fantastic sheets.  And they're adhesive and stick well.

I trimmed out the spine and top and bottom edges using scraps of ribbon from Really Reasonable Ribbon, affixed with Sookwang double-sided, super-strong tape. 

BLOG CANDY ALERT!  I have some blog candy for this hop! On Monday, 9/23, I will randomly choose one person who both comments on this post as well as follows the CardMonkey blog, to receive a beautiful Close To My Heart stamp set, retail value: $17.95.  In your comments, please leave a way for me to contact you. 

I'm the last stop on this blog hop, so I am just going to ask you to be sure you've stopped at all of the other bloggers' posts (a list follows here), and leave some love. By doing so, you'll qualify for some blog candy provided by our hostess, Robin Scott
Lissa Marie -
 Thank you again for stopping by.  Come back on Monday when I'll have another post featuring the products of Lovebug Creations. 

DeFiaNtLy DiFfeReNt & CreAtiVeLy Yours,

Friday, September 20, 2013

Laughing Lola takes center stage

We can never have too many birthday cards in our gifting arsenal, can we? 

To make this card, I used Close To My Heart's new "Laughing Lola" paper (on the top edge of this card, shown at right), which is one of my favorites.  The colors are rich and have a beautiful design.

I cut complementing paper chevrons for the bottom edge of the card -- and added one of my favorite Lovebug Creations' Rumple Ribbon, in Caddy Blue ...

And it still looked like it needed something....

So I took out a new tool introduced by CTMH this autumn, called a
"Stitch Guide." (Z1852, $12.95) and, using an embroidery needle, I punched the swirl stitch patterns on the card and on the paper pieces.  I then joined each of the holes, using a white opaque gel pen (Sakura Gelly Pen). 

Now for a message from me ...
a personal update:

I'd like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to many of my blog followers who have selected me to be their Close To My Heart Independent Consultant.  As you know, I retired due to disability in December 2012; CTMH has allowed me to modestly supplement my fixed income and retain some of the dignity of having purpose of working within my abilities.  The Craft Classes at Kathy Davis Studios also help, both financially and with that sense of purpose.

Let me give you some details, which I seldom discuss here:

I know none of us has the "brain power" we once had when we were younger.

My issues run deeper than normal aging, as I have had several brain injuries (strokes and concussions) that have affected my memory, word-finding, executive decision-making capabilities, and mood.

I battle depression, fatigue and near-constant headaches -- and while I am treating with a new neurologist to see if there's much I can do about what is likely "Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy" (CTE) -- I have found that crafting and cardmaking is the greatest therapy.

Having you, "my blog family", is self-affirming. On days when I confuse the word "upstairs" for "inside", or tell my husband I'm putting his clothes in the "bottle" instead of in the "dryer" (who knows why?!), you make me feel as if there's nothing wrong with my brain. My juicy, creative brain can do no wrong. So thank you!

Your support is vital to me, in more ways than I can adequately express. You make me feel whole, normal -- and often super-powered!  Other than my family, nothing else brings me more joy. Thank you.   

DeFiaNtLy DiFfeReNt & CreAtiVeLy Yours,

Thursday, September 19, 2013

A Hair Salon's Banner using CTMH and TBB products

I've been having a lot of fun creating using The Buckle Boutique's adhesive rhinestone sheets.  For this banner for a friend's hair salon, I cut the very fine letters using my Cricut Expression 2 and Cricut Artbooking cartridge.

To cut the letters, I referenced the tips that The Buckle Boutique's Design Team Coordinator Shawn Mosch posted on TBB's blog earlier this month.  Go HERE to see them for yourself, and make sure you read all the way to # 6 about flipping the letters. (Dohhhh, I didn't at first!) 

I adhered the rhinestone letter to a white cardstock cut in the same size, and popped it with cardboard underneath, to raise the letters up. 

I made the rest of the banner using a Close To My Heart pre-cut Mini Banner (discontinued) and covered it with "For Always" CTMH designer paper called B&T Duos. I made the rosettes using a Silhouette Online Store file (on my Cameo, using another B&T Duo, "Laughing Lola". 

I tied the banner pennants together using CTMH black tulle ribbon (also discontinued). There are chains at either end to hang it -- and those chains are from a CTMH Base & Bling Necklace that I cut apart and used every last link! :) 

I hope you like it --  I'm sure my friend, Chris, will too! 

DeFiaNtLy DiFfeReNt & CreAtiVeLy Yours,

Monday, September 16, 2013

An Enchanting Halloween Card


Did I scare you, or simply enchant you?  We monkeys are not only a crafty bunch, but also magical and enchanting, don't you know?  We release the inner (flying!) monkeys at Halloween, so the holiday is special to .... ahem ... us. 

I made this Halloween card using a file I modified from the Silhouette Online store.  The original file is for a pop-up greeting card of some sort, but I just wanted the neat subway-art-looking "Trick Or Treat To You" framed and set upon some neon papers. I fussy cut the witch, bumpkin and ghost (and the bat, at left) from Bo Bunny Halloween paper and highlighted each icon with mesh.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

The Cat in the Hat and other tall tales ... of BLING!


Other than having a place to chit-chat and show off my creative endeavors, having a blog and being active in social media has allowed me to meet the absolute nicest people in the world. People I'd never have a chance to meet otherwise ... women who have expanded the horizon of friendship across the miles and smiles.
When one such wonderful women -- Shawn Mosch -- told me that she was picked to coordinate the design team for The Buckle Boutique, I knew I wanted to be "in"!  Don't let the name fool you -- The Buckle Boutique offers SO MUCH more than buckles.  They offer fantastic bridal trims, rhinestone sheets (including those you can cut with your Cricut!), rhinestone pins, iron-on rhinestone sheets ... if it blings, it's carried by TBB. 
And today, The Buckle Boutique's Design Team is hosting a Bling Party! 
What is a Bling Party? It is our way of showing you all of the different ways that you can use the products from The Buckle Boutique to add some sparkle to your crafting projects.  

When I was named to The Buckle Boutique's Design Team, I got a wonderful package of samples from the owner Cathie. In there was bridal trim that would make even the most shy bride sparkle on her special day ...

But ... hmmmm... why should glitter be reserved just for lovely brides?  How about for those of us baseball fanatics who want to show our team enthusiasm in style?!  Here's what I made -- not just for the hop, but to actually wear:

This hat got its test run last week, when I wore it to a Sunday home game of the Philadelphia Phillies versus the Atlanta Braves. The whole family went as part of my birthday celebration -- hubby John and I, daughter Emily and her (Braves fan) hubby, Josh, and of course, my 2.5 year old granddaughter, Charlotte.

That's me with my (hatless!) daughter, Emily
John was a bit -- shall we say -- chagrined to see his hat looking rather ... ummm, attractive ... and he actually tried to pay me $20 not to wear it.  Twenty bucks!?  He could do better than that!  Besides, I LIKE it!  :)  And it DID attract a lot of attention, and all of it good.

For instance, we walked in the main gate and headed to our box seats when we were stopped by representatives of the Phillies front office. As it turns out, at every Sunday home game, they randomly select nine (just 9!) children from the attendees to be what they call the "Starting 9."  Would we allow Charlotte to be one of the nine?

Charlotte with "her" ballgirl, Madeline
The Starting Nine
The selected children (and no parents or grandparents!) would be escorted into the press room before the game where they'd meet all of the starting Phillies and the mascot, the Phillies Phanatic. 

They'd then be escorted to the field -- of a major league game! -- and stand with their assigned player at his position for the national anthem. 

Here's Charlotte, at home plate at Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia:

Charlotte was assigned to be at home plate with starting catcher Erik Kratz.  After the anthem, the player autographed a team ball for each of the kids, and they each were returned to their seats, star-struck! 

OH, and their picture and name went up in lights on the HUGE Jumbotron! 

... and it was all because of the HAT, imagine THAT!  (Okay, and it helped to have a cute kid with me.)

So now that you've found out how magical The Buckle Boutique's rhinestone trims can make your life too, why not try to win some to use on your next crafting project?
Simply enter our giveaway for
$25 store credit at The Buckle Boutique! 
You'll find the Rafflecopter entry form on the next stop of this Bling Party, at
And don't forget to visit the blogs of my DT sistahs, Shawn and Lori to see how they've used the fabuloso TBB bling to make their projects more magical, too. Here are the links:
The Buckle Boutique’s Links Listing
The Buckle Boutique’s Website . . . click HERE
The Buckle Boutique Blog . . . . click HERE
Facebook Page . . . click HERE
Twitter Page . . . click HERE
Pinterest Page . . . click HERE

I hope you've enjoyed the story of my blinged-out Phillies cap. I plan to bring you many more ideas for using the fantastic products of The Buckle Boutique.  Watch this space and have fun with me!

DeFiaNtLy DiFfeReNt & CreAtiVeLy Yours,

All Aboard the Babycakes Express! "It's All About Baby" Blog Hop, Sept. 14

It is my pleasure to participate in the It's All About Baby Blog Hop, hosted by Miranda at Nana's Scrap Spot. As I'm the last stop on this great event, I'll make this a "linger longer" sort of post to describe my project in depth.

I thought of this project when considering what to make for a monthly "scraps to treasures" blog hop. I'd recently emptied a cylindrical container that held Panko bread crumbs -- and if you're like me, you'll relate to this: I looked at that container and instantly thought, "What can I make from this?"

...and don't ask me WHY, but I thought of a train, using Close To My Heart's newest "Babycakes" line of paper. Here is the finished project: 

Starting with the engine, I covered the clean can with a wrap of the dotted Babycakes B&T Duo. I trimmed it out with the zip-strips on the edge of the designer paper.  I made the engineer's house just by guessing the measurements ("eyeballing"). I decided to make windows all the way around, and cut them out using an X-Acto knife. I lined the windows with scrap acetate, to give the structure body.

Here's a view of the front of the Engine:

I decided to make the "nose" of the Engine using rosettes that I stacked on top of the removable plastic can lid, leaving the can empty for a gift onesie for baby. If I was feeling really industrious, I'd design and make the matching onesie -- maybe later!

On the tip of the "nose", I put a beautiful rhinestone gem that I cut from some scraps from The Buckle Boutique.  I'm newly appointed to The Buckle Boutique's first Design Team ... you can see my first post for them by clicking HERE.  (It's a whole different project that I'm featuring today! Talk about industrious!!  I've been BUSY!!)

I crafted the hinged roof over the engineer's house, punching the edge with a CTMH new scallop edge punch. (Love that thing!!) 

TIP:  Oh, let me give you a hint on the rosettes:  Normally, I'd make these using hot glue to hold them securely. But this year, CTMH introduced Adhesive Dots that are super-duper strong and WAY easier to use for rosettes. Really! Try them!

The wheels are also made with rosettes, these cut from CTMH "Whisper" cardstock.  The monkey hanging from the roof is from the "Wild Things" CTMH stamp set.  I dubbed the train the "Babycakes Express" and set the little sign on my computer, trimming it and inking the edges in CTMH Exclusive Ink in Sunset color.

Moving on to the Cage Car:

This car was cut on my Silhouette Cameo using a file purchased from the Silhouette Online Store. 

I had to manipulate the file a little bit -- and the Silhouette Designer Edition software makes this super-easy! -- to be the right size.  Again, the wheels are rosettes cut from CTMH Whisper cardstock. 

The adorable giraffes (love them!) are from the Cricut Create a Critter cartridge, cut in 7.5".   I inked the edges of the giraffes, and also tied bows on their necks using yellow seam binding ribbon.

For the "box car", I further manipulated the file for the cage car (above) by running the Cameo's digital "eraser" through the horizontal center of the cage. I joined the sides together digitally, added the word CIRCUS, and dropped the flourishes onto the swirled top edges.

Pardon my pun (but I'm like that!), but since this is a "box car", that is what this car holds -- a dozen 1.75" cube boxes that can hold candy or other baby gifts like socks, gift cards, binkies, etc.  The back of the car has intentionally off-center stacked layers under a sign that says "It's about to get Wild Around Here!"  I tied some giraffe-stained ribbon to the sign. It's wild!

The only other detail that I want to show you is how I opted to link the rail cars together. I cut apart a CTMH "Base and Bling" Necklace to use the discs to be attracted to magnets I put on the railcar perimeter. Nifty, huh?


If you care to comment on my post here, and also choose to become a follower of my blog, I'll put you in the running for my delicious BLOG CANDY!  You see, writing this post in this yummy brown color has gotten me thinking about ... CHOCOLATE!  And I have an extra Close To My Heart "A Chocolate Affair" stamp set to give away to a randomly picked person who comments/follows this blog.

As I mentioned earlier in the Hop, I'm the last (and not least) stop on this fun Hop. So there's no one to send you off to -- I'm just going to say THANK YOU for hopping along with us.  Do come again!

P.S. -- If I can help you purchase any Close To My Heart products, it would be my honor to be your Consultant.  You can find an online catalog at

Defiantly DiFfeReNt & CreAtiVeLy Yours,