Thursday, December 31, 2009

January Stamp of the Month Blog Hop

Welcome!  This month Close To My Heart consultants are showcasing the January Stamp of the Month- True Friends.  This set is Item number D1406 and sells for $22.95.  It includes 11 images.  Did you know you can earn awesome discounts on the stamp of the month?  With a $25 purchase- earn a 25% discount ($17.21).  With a $50 purchase earn a 50% discount ($11.48).  With a $75 purchase  earn a 75% discount($5.74) and with a $100 purchase- earn it FREE!  Yep- you only pay shipping which is only $1 or 2 for this $22.95 set!

Here's my card using the new Veranda paper pack and January Stamp of the Month- colors are Creme Brulee and Juniper.  I also used a flower and butterfly from the new Just Blooms Spring Blossom Collection. My sentiment is darker in person but for some reason shows up light in the photo- it says "Side by side or far apart, true friends live within our heart"

I had my sewing machine out so I added a little stitching.. I made eight of these and just remembered my flower wasn't centered on my stem very well on this one... the others were all centered better but this was the first one I made and I really wanted that flower in that spot- so I stitched the other stems over a little bit so it all matched nicely.  I edged all the papers in Cocoa ink, to match the cocoa frame image from the stamp set. 

The stamp set includes four different frames, 4 sentiments and 3 different brackets -  The other sentiments are  "For my Friend" , "To a special friend" and "Real friends listen with their hearts"  which would be great for gift tags, cards etc.

Your next stop on the hop is a visit to Nancy Brown's blog.  If you get lost along the way due to missing/ broken links- go to Jena's blog to find an entire list of hoppers.

If you like what you see and don't have a CTMH consultant of your own- feel free to e-mail me or shop on-line at my website,

Check back January 2nd to see a combined Acrylic/ All sorts chipboard album I created for my in-laws for Christmas!



Wednesday, December 30, 2009

holiday gifts


I spent a LOT of time the last few weeks before Christmas working on gifts for our parents. My dad received a calendar that I had printed at the local Meijer store- but it was made using photos of barns that I took on a back road drive last summer. (Hubby and I like to pile the kids into the car and just start driving... we usually have a basic direction in mind- usually towards some town we've never been to - and we just see what we see along the way. That day our purpose was to hit as many back roads between our home and the Indiana border (only 30-40 minutes from home) and take photos of barns for this calendar. We did get lost that day... in Indiana... I guess they don't post "Welcome to Indiana" or "you're leaving Michigan" signs on dirt roads... wonder why- lol. While I didn't take photos of the calendar I had printed- here are 2 of my favorite photos that I included in the calendar.
Our love for "back roading" trips came from my parents- that's pretty much how we spent vacations growing up- we left when we wanted and never had hotel reservations. We just stayed wherever there was an open room. My mom and dad bought us a TomTom GPS system this year... so we don't get lost in Indiana with two little kids- especially one that requires clean bottles and diapers!

Next up today, as promised yesterday, are photos from my mom's album ( I think that's what I promised yesterday ;)...

These photos are only of the first half of the album because I didn't have time to get the rest, I have to finish 2 pages towards the end, and because the second half includes very personal letters from my siblings and I to my mother and it's certainly not my place to post their letters on-line. There are some letters here from my mom's brothers and cousins- but I don't think they are legible in the photos due to taking the pics behind plastic. I kind of took some of them so the flash blocked out the writing.
The album is 9x9 and to save time and money I used mostly the Magic Moments kit that was available several years back- they were all Level 1 pages (it was a large kit including lots of stickers and tons of pre-printed pages) I just looked at the Level 1 pages and trimmed them to 9x9 in orientations that would fit my photos. I also used some Caprice Level 1 pages and even plain old cardstock. All the papers and stickers and embellishements were things I had on hand except I did order one package of Silhouette My Stickease for use in this album.
My mom as a little girl:














My mom - the right page upper left photo is my parents on their wedding day! so cute ;)















My mom's mom- better known as GG to our children- unfortunately she passed away and while the nephews were old enough to remember her- my daughter doesn't. She lived next door to us and we always celebrated "Happy Hour" with her- lol.

















My mom's dad.

















My mom's family

















My mom and her siblings. The large photo on the right is from just this past summer when my parent's hosted her family reunion. Why didn't I do a page on the family reunion? Maybe I'll add that to the book later.

















My Mom's grandparents (Her dad's parents) She has the most memories of this side of the family and we had LOTS of photos of them.



















This last one has photos of my Grandmother's mom (I didn't have any photos of my Great-Grandfather) and my mom with several cousins- two of whom also wrote letters to my mom!.
I didn't get any photos of my pages and sibling pages of our children etc... We'll see if I remember next time...
Hope you enjoyed that little snippet of my mom's book. The letters to her were all so nice and made her a little teary- she wouldn't look at the book till the house was empty.. literally. We left the day after Christmas to take the kids out to lunch and shopping at her local mall- she finished perusing it while we were out.
Remember- tomorrow is the Stamp of the Month blog hop- it starts at 9pm EST but you may want to wait till New Year's Day to hop through to make sure all the links are up and posted.






Tuesday, December 29, 2009

winding down...

What a busy few weeks! It was hectic to say the least and now that I'm enjoying a quiet week off with the kids I'm doing some major cleaning and catching up the blog... I'm also mailing out Spring Idea books and getting ready for upcoming classes, parties and crops... I wonder how much I can really get done in one week? I'll find out soon enough.
For now though I thought I'd post a couple of cards I made for the holidays.

This first one is along the same lines as my Candy Cane Card. I used my Copic Markers to color her in but everything else is CTMH... and all paper is from my scrap bin- I used a LOT of scraps over the holidays for my cards and projects but you know... there were so many to start with that you can't even tell- I hate when that happens!

This particular card went to the woman who works in Addie's Young 5's class as well as the Kid's Corner program where Addie goes after school. We gave her a Barnes and Noble gift card which slipped into the pocket nicely.


The second card uses an absolutely adorable stamp I purchased from La La Land Crafts the day after Thanksgiving. I'd never purchased from them before but they shipped quickly and I was happy with my purchase. I happened to see a card on another blog (I'm so sorry I didn't keep track of which blog and it was the day after Thanksgiving so it would take forever to go back and track it down) and instantly ordered the stamp! My dad grew up on a dairy farm and my parents bought the farm from my grandparents when I was going into the 5th grade. While we never raised dairy cattle- we did raise beef cattle and this stamp was just too adorable to pass up. I am planning already to use it on my family Christmas cards next year.

I used more scraps from my bin on this card and colored with my Copic Markers- except the black marker is CTMH because I somehow misplaced my brand new Black Copic marker... darn it! The paper and black ink are all CTMH. I made two of these cards and gave them to two co-workers with whom I exchange gifts with. I'll post the cards they gave me later- I forgot to get photos of them.

Speaking of gifts... I hope your Christmas was great- my hubby (and everyone else!) spoiled me this year. I got a Nintendo DS and my first game- Professor Layton and the Curious Village... I finished the game but I think I missed a couple puzzles because I didn't find the last couple of items for the rooms at the Inn... I may try to go back and fill in a few things if I can. Golly the puzzles were fun!!
My kids had an awesome Christmas- my daughter was even an angel in the Christmas pageant at my parents church!
Here they each are- playing with their gifts from Santa-




















I'll be back tomorrow showing off a few pages from an album that my sister and I put together for my mom. Thursday is the CTMH consultant blog hop using the January stamp of the month and Friday I'll show you an album I made for my in-laws using photos of all the grandkids... so stop back in when you get a chance!



Thursday, December 17, 2009

school parties...

Today is the big day for both kids, with holiday parties at school and daycare. My daughter needed a small gift for each of her classmates and we went with the snowflake crayon idea I posted previously . We changed things a bit so we could make one crayon per kid by adding several different colors per snowflake.
Addie helped unwrap and break crayons- plus she wrapped them all! It was a fun project- I think next year we'll try soap!


Friday, December 11, 2009

a little sneaky peek!



In the midst of holiday crafting I needed to make a retirement card for an admin who is retiring in January... about the time i needed to get it finished- my order of new product arrived!

Does this card look big to you? It is! I folded an 8 1/2 x 11 inch sheet in half to make this card! But that's not all! We are talking about a well-loved admin who has been involved in a LOT of teams at work - paired with co-workers who tend to write more than "nice knowing you" lol!


This isn't just a card... it's a book! plenty of space for writing.


And what are these awesome products you ask? (are you asking?) The pretty printed die cut paper is from the Beautiful Felicity pack that is part of the National Papercrafting Month which begins later this month through January ( that paper was a die cut circle with the fancy edging all around and the flowers on the paper are pre-printed- it's gorgeous!) I paired it with Colonial White and Desert Sand Cardstock underneath along with Desert Sand and Bamboo under my paper flowers. Speaking of paper flowers- This is a BRAND NEW set of Just Blooms by Close To My Heart which includes flowers and BUTTERFLIES in Tulip, Buttercup and Colonial White (available to customers starting January 1st)!! They are awesome!! The three buttons started as Colonial White but I added color to two of them with Copic Markers so they added a little more color!


My "book" was created by trimming 1/2" off each end of 2 sheets of colonial white cardstock. I lined the short sheets up centering them inside my card "cover". I used my crop-o-dile to punch small holes on each end- maybe about an inch in. I used a cutting knife to cut a 1/4" slit in the center- lined up with my holes (holes and slit on score line of card fold).


I used some sorbet ribbon to bind it all together- I did not take photos so I'll try to explain. On the outside of your card... put each end of the ribbon into the punched holes so both ends are now on the inside of your card. Feed each end through the center slit that you made with your cutting knife- and pull each end on either side of the ribbon on the outside of the card. Tie the ends into a knot around the ribbon "spine". This secures your book so the pages are in tightly in place and don't slide around. If you need a picture of this- leave a comment and I'll add one over the weekend. I did add two more pieces of ribbon for decoration.


My flowers and buttons were all adhered with liquid glass. The word is stamped in Tulip ink and that alphabet stamp set is part of the Felicity kit (the stamps also have a pretty flourish and neat designs like birds and a flower that matches the flower design in the paper! Watch for more details on that kit soon as the special starts around Dec. 15th or so!!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Noel banner



Hello! I had planned to post a treat holder today but as I write up that post I realize I need some tutorial type photos or you will never understand it!! Since school is closed today for snow... I will work on those photos today. In the meantime- here's another project for your perusal.



This banner is so dang cute and I first saw the design from Melissa Laverty's blog. Most of the other consultants who used this kit for a banner used 6 letter words "Joyful" is what I saw most often but I opted for "Noel" so I could sell my kits for a little bit less at craft fairs. I do have 3 kits left if anyone is interested. They are $12 plus $5.00 for priority mail. They have everything you need plus printed instructions (in color!). If you are local to the Kalamazoo, MI area and are willing to meet me for delivery- then there's no cost for shipping.


The chipboard letters were made with my sizzix using the CTMH chipboard sheets. You can't tell in that photo but they are a little sparkly. Here's a close up of one letter. You can see some silver embossing powder stuck to the letter- I sponged each letter with versamark and embossed with a mixture of clear and silver emb. powder with prisma glitter mixed in. You can see that the letter and tree are pop dotted. The banners are really pretty!

If you are interested in purchasing a kit- e-mail me at tracikeagen@msn.com . I do take paypal!

Monday, December 7, 2009

more holiday cheer!



see.. I told you I'd be posting more often! I am having a blast creating projects for the holidays. I was able to spend considerable time in my craft room this weekend and can show you a few of those projects (some will have to wait till Christmas!). Until I get those photos taken...here's a card I made last weekend.



Part of my holiday creating rule this year is to use scraps as much as possible... This card was perfect for using up a lot of small pieces- I actually made two of them! The snowflakes are more of the paper snowflakes that I die cut previously and used on the gift card holder candy cane card I posted a few days ago. The "Joy to the World" is from the Festivities stamp set by Close To My Heart. The center of each snowflake is dotted with liquid glass and prisma glitter. For some odd reason I'm stuck on cards that open "up" right now- like this one. Just in the mood for something different I guess. The design is similar to one that was in my idea pile...
have a great Monday and I'll be back with more soon!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

you wouldn't know it...


... from this card but it is cold and white outside. We weren't bombarded with heaps of snow but at times yesterday- it was hard to see outside!!

This card is part of a set I'm making to give as a gift- I have one other done but want to make a few more so I'll post the rest together.


I messed up my shadow a little- but the person I am giving it to won't notice... it's not bad and I love the rest of the card enough to forget!
{supplies: from Close To My Heart: Tulip and White cardstock; Jingle Level2 paper pack, Black ink pad; chocolate ribbon from Stampin' Up: stamps all markers are from Copic}


Thursday, December 3, 2009

first gifts!



The kids received their first gifts of the season... their annual Christmas ornaments from "Aunt Vickie" My friend Vickie paints ceramics and each year she paints ornaments for quite a few kids- including mine! This year baby Kaden was included and we have two new ornaments hanging from our Christmas tree!



Addie loved hanging the ornaments one by one this year- one of her all time favorites is last year's! Can you see all the sparkly pink glitter on the ears and toes?
I've been a stamping fool the past few days so check back in over the weekend as I'll be posting a few more things!



Tuesday, December 1, 2009

It's looking a little bit like Christmas!



golly I've been busy! Now that my clubs and parties are over for 2009 (yes.... I take the month of December off from actual events- but I do spend the month planning my spring events, clubs, gatherings etc as well as contacting past hostesses to book shows and signing up for crops and vendor shows... By January 1st my plan for Jan- April is all laid out!)




where did I leave off... oh yes- I've been busy working on cards and gifts for the people whom I make presents for (most of my store bought gifts are done- having started that way back in August or September since I like to think out my gifts and not buy at the last minute and end up giving gifts they aren't fond of...) ok... another tangent.




Here's the card I made for someone ( this one will either go to daycare or my daughter's teacher.


It's a gift card holder and I LOVE it!! I would have used a chipboard snowflake but had cut all of these snowflakes out and had to start using them up. Using the Jingle Creative Basics striped paper to create a candy cane and then using a snowflake to decorate said candy cane certainly wasn't my original idea... but the finished product is mine for sure! I had a lot of fun with this one. I created the pocket base with Desert Sand cardstock and the green pattern is the back side of the second pattern in the Creative Basics set (the first being the striped paper)

I drew a candy cane on white, cut it out, traced onto the stripe, cut and adhered them together for extra thickness. The snowflake and tag were both diecut with sizzix dies. I used liquid glass and prisma glitter on the snowflake and white daisy ricrac for decor. Stitched up the sides and a small circle punch at the top made a nice little opening for my insert tab.
The second photo shows the insert. I adhered a white punched circle to the back of Desert Sand cardstock as my "pull out tab"
I die cut white cardstock with the Top Note die from SU! and cut it in half- only one half was adhered and it was only adhered on the top, bottom and left side. The right, straight edge is loose so you can slide a gift card in. It works really well and my hubby was quite impressed... considering he rarely comments- he must have really liked it!



Monday, November 30, 2009

December Stamp of the Month blog hop


Wow... Thanksgiving is already over- I hope yours was a great one! Now that December is upon us it was time to tackle another Stamp of the Month. December's set is called Notice the Details and has 41 stamps!!! My first thoughts on this set is that it would be great for scrapbooking... but I have not had time to scrapbook so I had to come up with something else.

Those of you that know me personally know that I am a scientist... I work in a research lab by day and dabble with stamping and scrapbooking whenever I can sneak away to the basement at night. When I'm working at my lab bench... I often think of things I know I'll forget if I don't write them down... whether it's a list of supplies to order for work, the steps of an experiment I just set up that need to be recorded in my lab notebook... or sometimes- a card design that popped into my head- lol...


I always keep pads of paper at my bench and I used to always buy the seasonal ones at the dollar store- just for something fun. For this month's blog hop- I used a couple of stamps from the Notice the Details set along with some snowflakes from another stamp set (Holiday Trinkets) to design my own pad of paper for my lab bench at work.


The "Important to Remember" and date box are stamped in black and the snowflakes are first and second generation Crystal Blue and Twilight- leaving the writing area light enough to be able to read what you write.


You could also turn this into a kitchen tablet by adding a magnet to the back and sticking it to your fridge.


Hope you enjoyed my quick peak at December's stamp of the month.


The next blog on the hop is: Krista Ritskes - go check out the artwork she's showing off!


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

You color my world...

I love this project!! so simple, no stamping, easy peasy and fun too!

Here's a cute idea for the kids in your life. You'll need a silicone baking tray- don't spend $10 on a wilton brand unless you have to have a particular design because you won't want to use it on cookies after melting wax in it! I went to Target and found some cute silicone baking trays in their "Dollar spot" near the front entrance. I picked up a snowflake tray and a Christmas tree tray (each only $2.50 and 6 sections to make 6 crayons at a time in either tray)
You'll also need some broken crayons (or new crayons... it'll just up the price of the project)

simply break up some crayons... toss them in the silicone tray and heat them about 5-10 minutes at 350 degrees (basically just till the crayons are all melted down). I used a couple shades of each color for interest in the crayons. Somehow I forgot to add a second blue to my blue snowflake crayon so it's the only one without variety but it is still cute!

After you remove the tray from the oven... let it sit for several hours or overnight till the wax is fully hardened. Pop the crayons out and you're ready to color! If you're not in the coloring mood you can continue on to the next steps and pretty them up for gift giving.

You'll need a ziploc sandwich bag. Zip those crayons up and create a bag topper. I used Desert Sand cardstock cut to 6 1/4 inches by 4 inches. Fold in half. Cut patterned paper in a nice bright color to 5 3/4 x 1 1/2 inches - adhere to the Desert sand cardstock.

Next : I printed the "you color my world" title using a Close To My Heart Font CD. The solid letters are CTMH Stumlin' Along and the outline text is printed with CTMH Alpha Power. FUN FONTS!! I love the fonts on our CDs.
I colored the "color" with a variety of Copic markers (BG72 Ice Cream, B24 Sky, G24 Willow, R08 Vermillion, Y08 Acid Yellow, and V04 Lilac)
If you're interested in what fonts are found on either of the two font CDs we carry click here. When you follow that link you can click on either CD to see the fonts included. My only disappointment in the CD I purchased is that I misplaced it for a year before installing the fonts! I find myself using it more and more all the time!


Sunday, November 15, 2009

a little inspiration..

I needed to make a card for my friend Tonia's birthday this week. I decided to go through my stash of inspiration (a ll the pages of cards or projects from magazines that I liked and ripped out and stuck in a basket!) This card was inspired by some cards made by Michele Boyer for a Papercrafts issue (can't tell you which issue because they don't print the month/year on their pages like other magazines do- or at least not on this particular page I ripped out.


Here's the card:
Colors: Vineyard Berry, Blush, Olive and Desert Sand
Stamps: Treasure Life by CTMH and the sentiment is from Papertrey Ink (I'm not sure the name of the stamp set- it's the garden set with rainboots, strawberry's, the grasshopper etc. I'll look up the name later and add it to the post when I get a chance!)
The Desert Sand was sponged on. This card was super fun to make and turned out so pretty in real life!

Monday, November 9, 2009

It's almost time...

{* NOTE- I'll be changing the links in my Nov. Stamp of the Month blog hop post tonight so they take you directly to that person's blog hop post - if you are receiving e-mail updates as to when I update my blog- please note that you may receive another tonight when I update those links but I will not be adding additional artwork so you can ignore that!}



to deck the halls. This is a layout i created for a class in September- I was cleaning out my picture file and realized I hadn't posted this yet. Before I get to it I thought I'd mention that I sat down and thought about this blog this weekend and realized that I really miss posting lately- so I'll be making a greater effort to get some artwork up more often. My goal is at least twice a week and hopefully more!




On to the layout:


I love the new Jingle paper- I'm hoping to use this layout for some of this year's photos.





{supplies: Jingle Level2 paper pack, Twilight , chocolate, and Olive ink, Chocolate alphabet(large), Twinkle brads}


In the grand scheme- it uses very little in supplies. The tree is just free handed. The tree and trunk are sponged with ink and a piercing tool was used to punch my brad holes.




I've really made an effort this past week to start using all of these layouts i've created for classes - to try and catch up some of my own work- so i'll be taking lots of photos tonight to start working on my goal of posting more!





On a personal note- the weather here in Michigan was beautiful this past weekend! There are plenty of years when we've had snow by now. This weekend it was in the 70's! It was a great opportunity to get some photos at the park! We took photos for our Christmas cards and then let our daughter feed the ducks! It was so much fun!






This picture isn't the official card photo but I like this one because it shows off the beautiful sweater my friend Tonia made for Kaden! Isn't it nice!









Sunday, November 1, 2009

November stamp of the month hop...

Hi there! Today is November 1st.. which means it's time for a new Stamp of the Month for our faithful Close To My Heart followers! I'll admit- I was excited about this set from the get go... then when I received it- I really didn't know what to do with it. Then I created a card that I really Really like... for a swap... that I mailed... without taking a photo AGAIN!! So I quickly whipped up this cute little gift idea to show you today.



So.. If you're joining the hop by visiting my blog first- you'll want to visit Jena's blog to start at the beginning(you may want to bookmark her site as the entire hop list is there so if you get stuck along the way- her post will help you out!). If you're coming from Caren's blog- you're heading in the right direction. When you're finished looking around my blog- hop on over to Dawn's blog to continue the fun.



I thought I'd share a gift idea with you today... because frankly I'm on card and layout overload at the moment and needed a break. I have a boatload of art to share with you as quick as I can get it all posted but I hope this will do for today:

I was hoping to make it look like a gingerbread house because what you can't see are the gingerbread men cookies in the bag on the inside. I used the new Twinkle glitter brads for some sparkle around the handle and in the crocheted flower to add the "fun" accent - Gingerbread houses make me think of sparkle and fun (and candy too but I didn't have anything that would work and wasn't real candy!)
The stamp set comes with a little wooden post type of stamp and so I used that to create the post on my sign. There is a great stamp that says "home" and if I'd have thought of it sooner I would have stamped" Home for the holidays".

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

October club

Nothing like waiting till the last minute... My club meets tomorrow night or Saturday morning (thier choice) and here are the projects they can choose from (they choose to make the layout or the cards... it's up to them)


The layout: I love this layout! Colors: Desert Sand, Vineyard Berry, Indian Corn Blue and Olive. There's no title- the layout would work for lots of fall events and this way they can create a title that reflects the photos.



The leaves are stamped using the Autumn Splendor stamp set in the same color ink as the paper (Olive, Desert Sand and V. Berry). Embellishments include Colonial White ric rac and buttons from the Holiday and Basic Collections.
Some of the Vineyard Berry cardstock was scored and sponged along the score lines with Desert Sand. Desert Sand was also used to ink distress most of the paper.


Cards:
I'm really excited about the cards as well this month. We're using some fun colors and products.



The group had requested sympathy and get well cards so this month we're making one sympathy card and I'll add some more into the mix over the next few months.


Colors: Black, Grey Wool, Colonial White and Blush.
Stamps: Butterfly Kiss and Comforting Thoughts... Just a simple card as you'd expect for a sympathy card. The ribbon is from the Colonial White Ribbon Collection.

The second card was obviously made while I had all the supplies out for the layout.

The only addition is the "Thinking of you" from Rustic Flowers stamp set.


And lastly, a Christmas card. I'd actually designed this card for the Fall Stamp and Scrap I co-hosted in September, but I loved the card so much that I thought we'd make it at club as well. I haven't cut the paper for this one yet so the green pattern may be slightly different- not sure if I have enough of that one or not. The stamp set is from the new Autumn/ Winter book and is called "Stocking Style". The glittery brads are homemade by mixing prisma glitter with Cranberry embossing powder and embossing the color onto pewter brads. It's hard to tell but the stocking "cuff" is fun flocked for a velvety feel.

Hope you enjoyed seeing all of these projects as much as I enjoyed making them!