Saturday, February 26, 2011

The Spotlight's On.....

Karen Dunbrook

Karen is known as kdunbrook on Splitcoast Stampers. I have admired her gallery for a long time. Many others to also as her cards never fail to draw numerous comments. Here are 5 reasons why I am so inspired by Karen's gallery:
  1. Most of the cards that she posts are made for one challenge or another. That IS a challenge, to follow the guidelines laid out, yet she displays creativity, imagination, and variety of style every time.
  2. She nails it consistently with a clean, crisp look. There is not one card I don't like. I am particularly fond of the large, clear sentiments and the bold images. It may be a stamp from Michael's $ bin that she stamped in bright colors, cut out repeatedly and mounted across the card such as here that makes a statement. Then, on the other hand, it may be a black and white look that is just as pleasing to the eye.
  3. She doesn't over-do it with layers and embellishments--justs adds what is necessary to compliment the other elements of the card.
  4. I actually think I could CASE some of of Karen's cards which is inspiring and encouraging. Sometimes I think, "Now why can't I think of that?" like in this card Seeing Spots! What a clever way to make circles! 
  5. Karen explains the process of making her card in clear, concise terms. There are times when I wish she would go into a little more detail for someone like me who is "stampingly challenged" and wants to be like her, but most of the time, I "get it." You can see every detail because photography is obviously another one of her talents. I even look forward to seeing what background she is going to use to compliment her lovely card of the day.   
Karen is from Ontario, Canada and runs a daycare business out of her home. She has a house full of little people and has a very busy life, but somehow she finds the time to create these wonderful pieces. When she does, she says that she actually feels she has accomplished something. I urge you to visit her gallery and enjoy her 436 works of art to date! Thanks Karen for inspiring me.     

SATurday Show And Tell

Yesterday I spent a wonderful day with my sister and BIL at the Fountain Hills Great Art Fair. It is a juried fair that brings 500 world class artists together in a lovely setting, around Fountain Park and beyond, displaying their unique talents. Every hour, on the hour, the fountain in the middle of the man-made lake spews water to the height of 582 feet. 


I had a grand time taking pictures of some of the booths. I know I it’s not the same as being there, but I hope you can get a feel for the day and will enjoy.




This piccture doesn't do this art justice but I hope you can get the idea of the beauty. 

Tag says--It's not that she despises flies, she just enjoys swatting them.  

Flattened wine bottles used as spoons rests or servers.


This is the Arizona Centennial Copper Chopper handcrafted by motorcycle designer Paul Yaffe. It serves as the official ambassador for the Arizona 100th celebration into statehood and was unveiled last fall at the Arizona State Fair. It is currently on a 17- month tour around the state.

The center stage was graced by Brule, a Native American group that has been performing together for 18 years. This is Paul LaRoche who spotlights the stage on the keyboard and also chants, and his daughter, Nicole, who is a flutist. Because the Native American male in courtship plays the wooden flute, Nicole honors that tradition by carving out her own exquisite sound of the wooden flute on the steel flute. Paul’s son, Shane, plays the electric guitar, and there are two very animated drummers that were so entertaining to watch. They draw quite a crowd every half hour and Paul very graciously intermingles with the people in between sets. They were in the Rose Bowl Parade this year, performed 200 shows in Branson, MO last year, but have returned to the road this year because they miss uniting with mainstream America and promoting the Native American culture. Quite often there are dancers although not yesterday. BIG NEWS: Look for them on America’s Got Talent this year! They’ve got my vote!        

And what fair wouldn’t be complete without the dogs! (Even though the paper said –No Pets!)

IMG_1772purple hat          

The K-9 Kool Kaps booth was very popular. Remember—this is sunny Arizona! Well, yesterday it was anyway--today, not so much. I know, most of you don't feel sorry for us.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Freebie Friday

Apparently I was not the only one making ladybug cards this week. Look at these sweet cards made by Sherrie Siemens over at Card Creme: She is very talented.

Although I would have loved to have had this cute stamp set for Morgan’s birthday card, I am over
buying a set just to make one card. I don’t see myself making many ladybug cards in the future.
However, I still need a sentiment for the inside of the card, so I am going to come up with one inspired  by these two sentiments. Hmm, let’s see…
”Happy Birthday, Little Lady”
 “Sweet Wishes for a Sweet Little Bug”  might do.

Tip: If you don’t have a stamp for a sentiment that you need, computer generate one and cut it out with a Spellbinder. Mount it on a piece of colored cardstock and attach it to your card.

Today is Freebie Friday which means free downloadable links coming your way. With St. Patrick’s Day right around the corner, I searched to see what goodies I could find for you. 

                                     Coasters or Banner at Cute and Crafty

Adorable cupcake toppers through HowDoesShe 

Authentic Irish recipes from BellaOnline

Poems, songs, crafts, games, coloring sheets, and other links at

16 new stamps at Outside My Window
Easter images at Paper Scaper

Check it out and enter to win!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Pink Cloud Frozen Cherry Salad

We had this frozen salad for dinner last night which is one that I keep in the freezer quite often. It’s a nice change from a green salad and quick to pull out and cut off a square or two when preparing the rest of dinner. I have served it for company also and everyone seems to enjoy it. Several friends have asked for the recipe so I thought you might like to have it too. I believe there is a version that is not frozen, but I think it is much better this way.

Pink Cloud Frozen Cherry Salad
1 can cherry pie filling
1-8 oz. Cool Whip—fat free
1-20 oz. can crushed pineapple—in unsweetened juice
1 can sweetened condensed milk—I use fat free
1 cup (more or less) miniature marshmallows
1 cup (or less) coarsely chopped pecans

Fold together all ingredients in large bowl and transfer to a 9 x 13 pan. This should be just the right amount to fill it adequately. Spread evenly, cover well with plastic wrap or foil and freeze.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Just Poppin’ Up To Say Hi

It’s not too early to start thinking about the November craft fair sponsored by our church. The applications are already on their website. Last year was the first craft fair that I had ever participated in. It was definitely a learning experience. I did not make very many of any one item because I did not know what was going to sell. Therefore, I had quite a variety of things in my booth. Call it sensory overload—it was just too many different items! Some people took the time to look wade through it, but for many, it was just too much stuff that needed to be picked up, touched, looked at, and turned over.  

This year I have to zero in on fewer items. The problem is deciding what to make and hope I don’t get too bored making a whole lot of one thing. This is supposed to be fun!

This popcorn box was one of the items that I made last year. I made eight of them and five sold, so I don’t think that was too bad. They were filled with a bag of microwave popcorn and movie candy. Those are two popcorn-themed napkins in the back that I found at Michael's in the dollar section. I suggested that a pair of movie tickets would make a good accompanying gift.


I bought the white boxes at Walmart in the party section and I think the package of eight was under $1.50. I covered the middle part with striped paper which was a little labor intensive since the boxes were narrower at the bottom. I have since seen cute striped boxes at Hobby Lobby that would work well and you wouldn’t have to do anything to them.

Stamp: Stamp Oasis
Spellbinders: Blossom
Accessories: Ribbon, rhinestone

Speaking of popcorn, I found another giveaway for you to enter this week. Head on over HERE  and read the details about winning a whole lot of Kettle Corn. Do it now because you only have until next Monday!  Good luck! Let me know if you win.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Ladybug Birthday Wishes

There is a very special little girl who is turning two years old in a few days. The theme of her birthday this year is ladybugs, so of course, I had to come up with a ladybug card. Fortunately, I was able to find a little one in one of my stamp sets. 


In my search for other ladybug-related projects, I found links to ladybug crocheted hats, cakes, cookies, and even a template for ladybug M & M’s. But I decided that you really might not care about those ideas. I did find some cute ladybug bookmarks, however, and I thought it might be fun to include a few in Morgan’s birthday card. I know, she is only two and not reading yet, but they are very colorful, and she will probably get some ladybug books for her birthday. Her mother is very crafty and will like having coordinating bookmarks, I’m sure. (wink). Here's the link  in case you want to see them. There's some black and white ones too so you don't have to go through your color cartridges.  

Stamps: SU—Very Punny, A Muse
Paper: SU Designer Paper, red glossy, white, black
Accessories: Spellbinders Labels 14, rhinestones, yarn

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Spotlight’s On…..

You’re going to have to wait until next Sunday to find out who that will be! I have decided to make this an every-other-Sunday feature. Another decision—I will be spotlighting either a blog or a Splitcoast Stamper’s gallery. I found Splitcoast Stampers about eight years ago and several of the galleries were my first sources of inspiration.

Next Sunday I will be spotlighting a gallery that I have followed for a long time. Her style is unique, yet her techniques are understandable so that one could actually CASE her cards. And I would love to CASE every one of them, because I love the clean, crisp look.

She has told me that she doesn’t think that she inspires anyone sometimes, but I assure you, she is wrong. Every card she makes brings many rave reviews.

So stop back by next Sunday and see if you share my enthusiasm for this stamper’s creations.

I’d love to see you here during the week too!

Have a relaxing Sunday. This is the day that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

SATurday Show and Tell

This is my mah jongg set. It was originally a Chinese game, but the American version has become very popular, especially in recent years. Along with crafting, this is my other form of “therapy.” I play mah jongg once a week and right now am also teaching the game twice a week One of the best things about mah jongg is that unlike bridge, you do not have a partner, so you are no responsible for anyone else. If you mess up a hand, you are not ruining anyone else’s hand, and no one really has to know!

There are 152 tiles, consisting of 3 suits—craks, dots, and bamboos, or bams. Each suit has a matching dragon—craks have red dragons, dots have white dragons (or soaps), and bams have green dragons. There are 8 jokers and 8 flowers. The last element --the four winds—north, south, east, and west.

The object of the game is to be the first of four players (or three) to assemble a combination of 14 tiles into a specific hand. The hands are on a card that each player has in front of them. A new card is published every year by the National Mah Jongg League, so everyone is playing off of the same card for the entire year. We are all looking forward to the 2011 card coming out in April to see what the new hands will be!

That is a very, very brief introduction to the game of mah jongg. It is fun, exciting, social, and makes you think. And it is not just a game played by old ladies!  

If any of you play, we certainly could have some mah jongg chatter in the future!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Freebie Friday and a Challenge

First let me tell you about the challenge over at The Cuttlebug Spot this week. The task was to make a Gate Fold card, and since I hadn’t tried one in quite a while, I thought I’d see what I could do. When I bought this paper at the scrapbook store, it reminded me of chicken wire, so it seemed only right to pair it with Stampin’ Up’s Best of Cluck.

My paper was 5-1/2 x 8-1/2. On the 8-1/2 side, I scored at 2-1/8 from each side so it met in the middle, making the finished card size 5-1/2 x 4-1/4. The layered piece is attached only to the left side so that the card swings open..

Stamps: SU--Best of Cluck (retired 2007)
Spellbinders:  Curvy rectangles, classic ovals
Accessories:  Martha Stewart lattice border punch, ribbon, dotted swiss embossing folder

Here is an example of Martha Stewart's Cookie and Treat Clip Art that I mentioned yesterday:

You guessed it. This is a CD envelope used to package a large cookie. Martha has provided several wonderful printable labels for various occasions to finish it off.  You can find this unique idea and six others

Need a really special dessert party favor? Martha Stewart has also made THIS TEMPLATE:

I can't resist leaving you with these feathered friends of a different sort than the one I began this post with. I have always been partial to owls since they were the symbol of my sorority, Chi Omega. I just think these guys from DIY DISH has so much personality that I wish one of YOU would make one of them, because I probably won't ever get around to it!

There is a video showing you just how to put these cute pin cushions together.
 I think this would be a great craft fair item.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

A Keeper Recipe with 3 ingredients!

Last week-end when I was in Trader Joe’s, they were offering samples of this Asian salad. It reminded me a lot of the Oriental coleslaw made with ramen noodles that's been around for several years, but this had a slightly different twist and couldn't be easier to assemble. It was very tasty and I think definitely worth passing on to you.

                                   Trader Joe's Asian Salad
1 bag Trader Joe’s Stir Fry vegetables—found in the cooler section, not frozen
1 bottle Trader Joe’s Sesame Soy Ginger Vinagrette dressing
1 bag Trader Joe’s Roasted & Salted (50%) Cashew Pieces

1. Place vegetables in a salad bowl and add sufficient soy ginger vinagrette to coat generously.

2. Add 1/4 cup or more cashew pieces.

Optional Extras: Add 1-2 cups diced or shredded chicken or Trader Joe’s fully cooked taillless shrimp.

It would be great for a luncheon or to take to a picnic or a party. Hope you enjoy!

And one more thing while we're in the kitchen. There's a chance for you to win the Martha Stewart Cookies cookbook by going HERE and leaving a comment by Sunday, Feb. 20th at midnight EST. You have just a good a chance of winning as anyone else, and you never have too many cookbooks, now do you? Besides, you never know when you'll need a new cookie recipe, and you'll have over 175 to choose from if you're the lucky winner!

AND--when you win, or even if you don't, and want to find a creative way to package those babies up for gifts, Martha offers wonderful free downloadable clipart that I've give you the link to tomorrow on Freebie Friday.   

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Clean and Simple Challenge—Thoughts of You

I hope you all had a happy Valentine”s Day. Although I used a heart on today's card,  don't think it's a left-over valentine. Hearts are good all year round, and this is a nice sentiment for any reason or no reason at all. I always like to have these kind of cards on hand. It’s made with a stamp from the Michael’s $1 bin. Don’t you just love it when you can pick up such a versatile stamp for only a buck?

I made the card for the sketch challenge over at Clean and Simple.

The card itself is pre-made from a set by DCWV. These boxed sets went on sale a few years ago and let's just say that umm--I have a surplus--that I'm trying to work my way through. Should make it in about ten years if I stick with it. 

Surely this has never happened to you.

"Never get tired of doing little things for others.
Sometimes, these little things
occupy the biggest part of their hearts."

(What a shame we don't know who to give credit to for this lovely thought.)

Have a wonderful day.

Sunday, February 13, 2011


My Sunday feature will be to spotlight a blog that in my opinion is outstanding and one from which I have drawn much inspiration. 
 Charlene Driggs is the creator of Paper and Ink Playground and these are
FIVE REASONS why I am so impressed with her blog: 
  1. First and foremost, I like her style of cardmaking. Many of her cards are clean and simple, but she also layers and does some coloring. Although I don’t use copics as she does, I can appreciate her talent, and because she also uses markers, I am not completely intimidated by her coloring techniques.
  2. She mixes things up, varying her projects. Some stampers are just talented colorers (for lack of a better word.) Besides cards, Charlene also does neat 3-D projects, and often features an ensemble of coordinating pieces in one post. One example of that can be found here. Now that takes time and a lot of effort! I’m beginning to realize that as a new blogger.
  3. She has some great tutorials on her blog..They include good pictures and the instructions are easy to follow.
  4. On the right sidebar of her blog, she lists all the challenges offered during the week by different bloggers. This is helpful if you are wanting to participate and need to know where to look for them.
  5. She has some good recipes on her blog from time to time. This is a nice break from stamping once in a while and one I plan to incorporate on my blog.
Perhaps you have not found Paper and Ink Playground yet and would want to check it out to see if you like it too!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

SATurday Show and Tell

The downtown area of Mesa, AZ has a very interesting permanent sculpture collection, most of which are bronze. I thought you might like to see some of these pieces and hear the stories behind them.


The artist, Dan Hill, from Salt Lake City, Utah, was inspired to create this piece after seeing a  ten-year-old girl named Erica who just couldn't put down a copy of Harry Potter.

Entitled They Are Waiting, this bronze was created by the Nigerian-borne artist Ninandi Okonkwo of Orem, Utah. He says, “ It seems like everyone was waitng for something to happen. People were waiting to graduate, waiting to get a job, or waiting to get married. In the sculpture, I use these three women to interpret this in a more universal way, showing that in life, people wait. We’ve all gone through periods of intense waiting.”  

Okonkwo chose women because he likes the fluid lines and arrangement of these large, round shapes to depict order, balance, and beauty. Women are highly respected in Nigeria.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Need A Quickie?

Did a catch your attention? I hope so! What I meant was if you need a quick valentine here is an idea for you.

As I have said before, I love when I can use a freebie that is offered to me. If you sign up to receive the e-newsletter from Amy over at THE VINTAGE WORKSHOP you will receive free images and projects. At the beginning of each month, she sends a vintage image, usually pertaining to a holiday, that you can download and use to your "hearts" content. (get the pun.)

 The sentiment inside is a Penny Black stampSuch a lovely thought 
expressed by Georgia O'Keefe.
She was not only good with the brush apparently.

If you need some special ready-to-print childrens' valentines this week-end or want some love notes to put in lunchboxes on Monday, go HERE and HERE.

As for me, I think I'm valentined out. But--You ARE one of my nicest thoughts.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Yet Another Challenge

It's been a busy week but I'm back now. Yesterday I led the discussion at my monthly book club and I always dread when that day comes around once a year. I feel so inadequate because I am not nearly as well-read as the other ladies in the group. I never feel that I have enough material to discuss the book for two solid hours. The book was The Postmistress by Sarah Blake. It made for a good discussion because some liked it better than others. I would say that the general concensus was that it was an ok read and had some compelling parts, but that overall, we would not recommend it to our friends. There are too many other great books out there, such as The Help, by Kathryn Stockett. If you have not read that yet, you should!

The challenge I tackled today was from Mark's Finest Papers. You have until tomorrow at 3 PM Eastern Time to make a card with a self-made flower--so no flower stamp can be used. Find another way to make a flower. I got busy with my small and large oval punches from Stampin' Up and came up with this:

  • I started with a pre-made card from a pack by DCWV from Michaels.
  • The strip is also cut from one of these pre-made cards.
  • Ric-rak is from a long pack but it no longer has the label.
  • Center of flower is made with small oval punch.
  • Leaf and petals are made with large oval punch.
  • Sponge edges of center and petals.
  •  Cut stem free-hand. 
  • Stamp sentiment from PaperTrey Ink--Green Thumb  on paper;
  • then punch it out with SU label punch.
  • Assemble card, overlapping petals of flower.
  • Pop up label with pop dots. Place Floral Accent (Spellbinder) behind it.

Tip: It is much easier to first stamp the image or sentiment on paper, then punch it out or use a die cut--than the other way around.  That way, it is always positioned correctly on the paper.  

                                                         A friend may well be reckoned
                                                               the masterpiece of nature.

                                                                    -Ralph Waldo Emerson                                          

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Using Another Freebie

I don't know about you, but I love taking advantage of all of the freebies that so many women generously share on their blogs and websites. They don't expect anything--they just do it because they love their craft and get satisfaction from sharing their talents for others to enjoy. I am very impressed and appreciative. I used another valentine pattern, this time a hanging heart basket, found on Marilyn Scott-Waters' The Toymaker, a site filled with free paper toys, holiday cards, baskets, bags, origami and ephemera. Now I should say that Marilyn does advertise her books and make public engagements, but there is still a lot of FREE stuff on her site. And it is evident that she really loves her craft and is happy to share it with other crafters. She says her wish is to amuse and delight. How fun is that? Her patterns are precise and easy to put together.

I used a Spellbinders Fancy Labels and an Anna Griffin stamp,
from a sentiment set that had been terribly neglected--
pushed back in a corner and never before been touched by ink.
It was so happy to feel useful.
Don't you feel that way sometimes?

Speaking of freebies, stop by DIY  for a chance to win a
free craft night for you and 10 of your closest friends!
 (Rita, I'm counting on you for this one! This is right up your alley!)
There's also a free valentine downloadable on the same page.
 Don't you just love it?

All that is worth
cherishing begins in the
heart, not the head.  

 Suzanne Chapin

Saturday, February 5, 2011

SATurday Show And Tell

Saturday is my day to share something other than a card. So far, I have shown you a purchase from a consignment store, a gift that someone else had made, and last week a special place that I had visited. So this week I am going to tell you about a product that I really like. I plan to designate the first Saturday of every month  to a product recommendation. BTW, I am not getting paid to endorse this product or any other that I will tell you about.
I was introduced to Watco Danish Oil over 25 years ago by the man who made our
 kitchen cabinets and all the other wood built-ins in our home.
It it a wood stain containing some varnish so when applied
there is a soft sheen to it. Scratches on furniture and woodwork simply
 disappear when you apply Watco with a soft cloth.
You can also use it to give your kitchen cabinets a face lift by giving them a
 light once-over with a soft cloth.  
Watco comes in a variety of tints to match any type of wood and the colors can be mixed.
It can be purchased at Home Depot and Lowes and comes in a smaller size can also.

I sold residential real estate for 25 years and told many, many of my clients about this product when they were preparing to put their home on the market.

It can really make a difference in the appearance of your wood. 
If you try it and like it, I'd love to know about your experience. 

Hmm, I could use a Watco day around here! But not today.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Squeezing in One More Challenge

Thought I'd get in one more valentine this week and use it for the Sweet Sunday Challenge Sketch 102.

I took the liberty of flipping the sketch as I had an image that I wanted to use. I don't think that is against the rules. If so, I still enjoyed making the card and someone will be receiving it next week. 

If you're wondering about this sentiment, it is not a stamp. It is part of a free pdf. printable that I found here. This is a pretty cool website. Check it out!
Here are some other things that I did with it. The possibilities are endless!  

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Crazy about Cupcakes

I am crazy about cupcakes. I just think they are so darn cute! When I saw that Hot Off the Press had a template to make 3-D cupcakes I just couldn't resist. They are fairly labor-intensive, but I made them while watching TV and once I started it was hard to stop!  We've all been making paper roses, so why not cupcakes?

   I am using them as my entry for the
   Etsy Challenge 124 this week. The store
   is Too Cute Kawaii  featuring
   polymer clay jewelry.

Stamps: Just Rite
Paper: Misc DP
Accessories:Prima flowers and others, scor-tape, brads,
Spellbinders scalloped circle 2-5/8

If this is making your mouth water for the real thing, go to and click on "cupcake" for an archive of these sweet little treats. You can whip up something fantastic just in time for Valentine's Day!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Love Letters

I would like to take credit for the design of this card, but I cannot. I made it in a stamping class many moons ago and it has always been one of my favorites.
  • Red CS 4-7/8 x 7-1/2. Fold in half.
  • Stamp flowers in versamark and clear emboss.
  • Mount on black CS: 4-1/4 x 5-1/2
  • Prepare letter fronts (4 x 2-1/2). Use real postage stamps if you like.
  • Tie with string or twine and attach to card. 
Stamps: Hero Arts, SU

Tip: The black thread used was purchased at an upholstery shop very inexpensively. I have had the bolt for years and it is quite handy to have around. It came in many colors. You can find all sorts of hardware there also.

If you like to write your own love letters, go to this site for a variety of printable valentine letterheads. You can also find love quotes and messages if you need some help to get the love juices flowing!  
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