May 21, 2017

You Fought For Me

Mr. Elliot, (not his real name**) sat before me in my legal aid office with his 4 year old granddaughter squirming on his lap. He lived in public housing with two grandchildren. That meant that the city owned the building in which he lived and set the rules. And one of the rules was that no one -- not the tenant or his or her guests - could possess a gun on the premises. In exchange, Mr. Elliot got to live in an apartment he could afford. It wasn't grand or particularly nice, but it was all he had.

Mr. Elliot came to me with one of the worst problems a client could have. He and his grandchildren were being evicted. One of Mr. Elliot's kids, who didn't live in the apartment, showed up with a gun and, for reasons I still don't understand, shot it out the window. This eviction would be devastating. If he got evicted, Mr. Elliot likely would end up on the streets, with his grandkids in foster care.

Mr. Elliot was a sweet guy, in his late sixties, suffering from the typical ailments that a low-income older man suffered from -- heart issues, diabetes, a few missing teeth. He handed me a piece of paper notifying him of a court date to decide his eviction. It was (of course) the next day.

I looked at the notice. "Did you get any other papers?"

Mr. Elliot shrugged his shoulders. "I don't read so good. I'm not sure."

I responded, "You realize that once the Judge rules, you and your granddaughters will have to move out?"

"Can't you do anything?"

"Probably not. But, let me think. I'll call the other side's lawyer, and see if I can get an extension. In any event. show up at court tomorrow at 9. Don't be late."

I put a call into the city attorney, hoping to stop the eviction with this sad story, but didn't hear back.

At Court the next morning, the city attorney wasn't interested in negotiating with me. When the hearing started, he went first. A police officer testified that my client's son discharged a weapon inside the apartment. Since I knew it was true, I didn't challenge it. Then the apartment manager testified. I cross-examined him and asked about the required notices.

Well, well, well, it turned out that the manager had not provided my client with any of the required notices. This is what lay people call a "technicality." This is what lawyers call a home run, due process, or whatever you want to call fairness.

I moved that the Judge dismiss the city's petition for eviction for failure to provide the required notices. Spirited debate ensued. The city had screwed up and everyone knew it, but the Judge let it go on for a few minutes. Finally, the Judge dismissed the petition. Mr. Elliott and his grandchildren had won. The city would have to provide the required notices and start the eviction process over. I had bought him some time to find a place for him and the girls.

When we got out on the street, I reminded Mr. Elliott that he needed to find a new place to live and fast. He indicated he understood. As I started to walk away, he turned to me and said some words I've never forgotten:

"Miss Jones (I guess he never quite got my name), I know I have to move. And I have nowhere to go. I don't know what is going to happen. But, you fought for me. You stood up for me. You had your finger in the air, waving it around, and you were arguing just for me. No one has ever stood up for me."

Imagine a life so hard that the only person whose ever been on your side is your legal aid lawyer. I watched him walk away, with a little pep in his step, and wondered where he and the girls would end up.

I never heard from him again.

It's been about 30 years since I saw Mr. Elliot, but I thought of him the other day. I've been in the hospital trying out a new drug. It was Dr. T's idea to give it a shot. He contacted me to say he had an idea. How often does that happen? I have too many cardiologists to deal with and feel like this is the only one who is really on my side -- who cares and gets me and my anxieties. So, I told him. "You are fighting for me. No matter what happens I'll never forget that you cared enough to try."

I don't know the ending to this story, but I know what Mr. Elliot was feeling that day. And it's enough for today.

** a few changes were made to protect identity

May 19, 2017

Another Oh Deer Christmas Card

I'm posting this from the hospital but I made the card a few days ago. Still testing out a new drug.

In the meantime, here's what I'm calling Red Deer, using the L'l Inkers Design Oh Deer Christmas set. 

Used color pencils to add color to the deer. Stamped this with a grey ink to get a softer look. Added speckles from the set onto the red cardsock in gold, white, and red but to provide a little visual interest.

And that's all I've got in my card stash. Until I get back to stamping, I may just come on here and share stories...


May 17, 2017

Magical Things in the Medical Zone

Used the so sweet Deer Christmas set from Li'l Inkers to make another Christmas card. Took an easy approach and embossed in black (Versafine ink with clear embossing powder), masked a border, and just threw some watercolors around. Added a glitter frame with Stickles. I've seen Julie Ebersole do this and that glitter frame is downright magical!!

MOOD WHEN DONE = Watercolor! Glitter! Sweet image! Great Sentiment! Easy to mail! Black splatters! As my mom used to say, what more do you want?


So I am currently hanging in the hospital, even though there is absolutely zero reason to be here. I'm starting a new medication and the protocol is to be in the hospital for a few days when you start this med to make sure the stuff doesn't kill you. Apparently, there is a small chance that the med can make your heart go into a dangerous rhythm. I was chill about this until the nurse asked me this morning if I "wanted to be resuscitated should you go into cardiac arrest?"

Um, let me think on that one.

This is the same cardiac unit that my Mom used to be in all.the.time. So it's depressing, in a please let's not bring back all those memories way. Otherwise, it is sort of like being in an ugly hotel. Private room, TV, wifi, and I can wear my jeans and my own bathrobe with the hospital gown. This is critical to my happiness. No one needs to see my pasty white fluid-filled legs! Plus the nurses and techs are super nice (except for one guy who started talking politics).

Why am I doing this? There is an "outside" chance, to quote the doc, that the medication will do magical things and I won't need surgery on my heart. So here's hoping for magical things!

May 16, 2017

oh HELLO there

Got another card that fits the May Ellen Hutson Mix It Up Challenge -- to combine Essentials by Ellen and Reverse Confetti products.

Love this Reverse Confetti set, called Figure of Speech. This card has a looser style than this one that I posted last week. I added some hearts from Essentials by Ellen Oh Frappe.

Now here's where I should say something interesting, designey, or profound. I got nothing!!

MOOD WHEN DONE = Just dandy

May 15, 2017

Operation Christmas Has Begun!

As I shared before, I'm making my Christmas cards early this year. I'm calling the project "Operation Christmas" because my upcoming surgery is the reason for making them so early. Get it? HA. In any event, here is the first card I've made for Christmas 2017.

I love this image so much. It is from L'il Inkers Oh Deer Christmas Stamps. In addition to a gorgeous image, it includes a space for a sentiment (I always have a hard time with sentiments), and is only $12!

Made 3 cards so far with this set and, for this first one, I tried my hand at "no line watercoloring." Stamped the image with Distress Linen ink on watercolor paper. Masked the image and painted with Gansai Tambi watercolors. (Note:  Ellen Hutson is having a 20% off everything sale until Tuesday, May 16, 2017. Just use code MOMSDAY17).

MOOD WHEN DONE = Happy that this project is underway and I like the card.

May 12, 2017

Super Simple One Layer Copic

The longer I stamp, the more I prefer cards with just stamps, paper, and ink. Oh, I still use dies and embossing powder and other tools, but my eye is increasingly drawn to super simple. And this card is as simple as it gets.

Ran a folded card, made with Gina K 120lb luxury cardstock, through the Big Shot (I keep a clean plate just for this purpose). This is thick cardstock and flattening it with the Big Shot gives a crisp crease and fold.

Stamped the sentiment from Altenew's Bamboo Rose with Memento Tuxedo ink (my Hero Arts Intense Black ink, which is darker, is dry.) Stamping the sentiment first makes it easier to place the flowers. Colored with copic markers. Added dots from Essentials by Ellen Bokeh Dots.

This is going in the mail today to a friend.

MOOD WHEN DONE = Happy with the card. Still haven't started my Christmas cards. Maybe I'll listen to some Christmas music to get in the mood...

May 10, 2017


Love the Donut set by Jane's Doodles. (You can also find it on sale at Butterfly Reflections). I first noticed this set when Aga posted this gorgeous card. Sigh. Aga is soooo good.

In any event, I had Aga's card in mind when I made this one. Made the background with watercolor paper, an Adirondack raspberry reinker, gold gouache paint, and water. Added some black paint speckles and stamped the image and sentiment with Versafine Onyx.


Thanks so much for your encouraging words on surgery. I've got this!!!
Sort of... HA.

MOOD WHEN DONE = Hungry for a donut.

May 8, 2017

Ellen Hutson Mix It Up Challenge #2

I have a few more cards to blog while I'm working on Christmas cards. This one also fits the rules for the May Ellen Hutson Mix It Up Challenge to use Reverse Confetti and Essentials by Ellen products (I've got more coming!).

That fun saying is from Reverse Confetti's Figure of Speech set. And the dots are from Essentials by Ellen Bokeh Dots (and covered with clear gloss). The inks are from Altenew and I'm very happy with the coverage. Not all the colors stamp this smoothly first time around, but these three did.

Hope your week is going well!

MOOD WHEN DONE = This card was meant to be fun and loose, but it came out a little stiff. Does that make sense? I have another card that uses this same set that is more my style. Hope to blog it soon. Nevertheless, I'm happy to have made this bright fun piece AND put it in the mailbox.

May 7, 2017

Beautiful Mother

Made this for my beautiful mother in law and it couldn't be simpler.  Used Altenew's Beautiful LadyForest Glade, and Versafine Onyx inks. As my mom would say, what more do you want?  HA!

MOOD WHEN DONE = Happy! And now I turn my attention to making Christmas cards. Unless I run for the hills (and the hills are looking good), looks like I will be having heart surgery in August and I want to get my Christmas cards done before that. Priorities.

I've talked to several folks who have had this surgery and watched a million videos and gathered as much info as I can. Except for having to wear scrubs, I think I'm ready to operate on anyone!!!

May 5, 2017

Ellen Hutson/Reverse Confetti Mix It Up Challenge (and a Copic hint)

I was so happy to see that the May Ellen Hutson Mix It Up Challenge uses Reverse Confetti products! I now have an actual collection of RC stamps to go with my even larger collection of Essentials by Ellen.  So ... I made this:

I've had the gorgeous Essentials by Ellen Mondo Hydrangea since it came out a year ago, but never made anything with it that I liked. However, this time, I'm a happy stamper. I paired it with a sweet sentiment from Reverse Confetti Whole Lotta Thanks. There is a very light wash of Copic on the bottom of the sentiment strip and believe it or not, it made a difference.

Copic Hint:  I love one layer cards, but Copics bleed through cardstock.  Or so we thought....

Copics don't bleed through Gina K's Heavy Base Weight Card Stock. I have that cardstock and it is heavy and you get NO bleed through no matter what.

However, for this card, I used Michael's Recollections #110lb white cardstock, and very lightly colored the image with Copics -- there's a pale wash of very light violet with some shading near the center. Zero bleed through. I was curious and rubbed a small piece of the Recollections cardstock over and over with the green Copic and it took about 7 rub throughs before I got any bleeding at all. Good to know!

MOOD WHEN DONE = I'm good! Hope you have a great weekend!

Apr 27, 2017

Super Simple from the Stamp Market and Reverse Confetti

If you set on fire all the cards I've made lately that I hated, you could power Chicago for a week. So I decided to go super simple with this one and I love the result.

This gorgeous flower is from the Kindness Noted set by The Stamp Market. It's a large image and the set is huge. Love all of it. Stamped the flower on cream cardstock with Altenew Parrot ink. The sentiment is from Reverse Confetti's Whole Lotta Thanks.

Ink, stamps, and paper. Can't get much simpler!

MOOD WHEN DONE = I am overwhelmed by the amount of caring and support I'm getting from my readers.  Thanks so much. Oh and I like the card a lot!

Apr 26, 2017

Reverse Confetti Boho Vibes

This card is uses Reverse Confetti's Boho Vibes, a set that is perfect for graduation and encouragement cards. Nice big images and sentiments.

Embossed in gold on watercolor paper. Lightly painted the top 2/3rds of the paper with pale gray, pink, and blue.  Added the gold dots with a Faber Castell Pitt Artsist pen in Gold. It's a great gold pen, but make sure your paper is dry before using.  Added sequins and some glossy accents on the heart.

I connected with Jen del Muro, owner of Reverse Confetti, on Facebook. Jen is currently undergoing chemo for breast cancer and, in the middle of all that, sent me a big package of Reverse Confetti products. Who does these things?

Jen. I mean is that awesome or what?

If you are not familiar with Jen or Reverse Confetti, you can find out more by checking out a blog hop to support Jen that was held in February. You can read about Jen's cancer, her hashtag #beastmode, and see a lot of great cards starting here.

You'll be seeing more of Reverse Confetti on my blog (using what Jen sent and the stuff I just ordered!).

MOOD WHEN DONE = The warmth and generosity of spirit in the craft community helps me be a better person. Or at least try...

Apr 24, 2017

The Medical Zone

Come along on a trip with me. Imagine we are meeting the top experts in the world on your health problem. Imagine nice smart people with the latest research and technology all in one place giving you choices. You don't have to do what they suggest. It is up to you.

But you have no clue.

You have entered the medical zone. Run like hell and go back to your craft room!!! The medical zone is a bad place. You do not want to be here!

Seriously -- for those of you who aren't on Facebook, or cannot read my page, here is what I posted today.

Update: Went to Boston last week for another medical consult. The bottom line is that I have a choice between open heart surgery or living with symptoms, and side effects, from my medication. I have no idea how to decide this stuff, but grateful for options. There are thousands of people with the same condition and no health insurance or means to get even basic treatment.

Sometimes when stuff like this happens you learn who your true friends are. I have learned that my friends and family are as fantastic as I always knew they were. And I've experienced the kindness of strangers -- stampers who I did not really know but reached out (and sent stuff!), and fellow heart patients who talked with me about their surgery experiences. I thank each and every one of you from the bottom of my @#$^! heart.

 MOOD WHEN DONE = Life's a trip

Apr 14, 2017

So Very Kind

Used two of the flowers and the sentiment in Watercolor Bouquet by The Stamp Market to make this soft card. There's a Blizzard Nuvo crystal drop in the center of the pink flower, and for some reason I think it is so very important that you know this!

Speaking of things worth knowing, did you see that the owner of the MISTI got a patent? I'm so happy for her -- a former customer who has now sold MILLIONS of these things and making serious money (did a little googling and found that number in some legal papers)!!!! Good for her.

MOOD WHEN DONE = If you saw the cyclone of tried, but discarded, cards in my craft room right now, you'd know I'm sighing with relief that I made something I like!

I'm headed back to Boston on Sunday for another medical appointment, where I hope to get some final answers. I'm a little (ok, a lot) frustrated so I'm trying my best to keep perspective.  I've got a pretty good gig going, life-wise, so I'm taking some deep breaths, and making believe I'm chock full of maturity and wisdom. Thanks so much to all of you who are holding my hand virtually!

If you celebrate Easter, I hope it is a a good one!

Apr 13, 2017

Fresh Inspiration


Looking for some paper inspiration other than traditional stamping blogs?

Here are a few places that are chock full of paper-related eye candy, and there just might be one that catches your fancy.

The Paper Chronicles -- great source of information and ideas.
Paper Crave -- all things paper including free printables
All Things Stationery -- all about a perfectly furnished desk
Stationery Trends -- wonder how all the stamp companies come out with pineapples or owls at the same time? research! this is a great place to learn about the latest trends.
Crane & Co Blog -- simple, classic ideas
Oh So Beautiful Paper -- widely popular
Noted by Fine Stationery -- more information and inspiration
Italian Stationery Blog -- the features on rich Italian papers are my favorite
May Designs  -- not a blog, but a shop with great inspiration

Apr 12, 2017

Two Fun Cards

Both use The Stamp Market's You are My Fave set (polka dots from Essentials by Ellen Bokeh Dots).

Watercolored the backgrounds, stamped and embossed the sentiments, trimmed, and added twine. Both base cards are hand stamped. (My fave is always polka dots!)

Love every single set that a new company, The Stamp Market (linked above), is releasing. Sigh. More goodness! How do all these companies stay in business when there are so many of them??  I wish them all well.

MOOD WHEN DONE = You know when non crafters ask you why you have so much stuff and why you've set aside an entire room, or part of a room, and why you spend tons of time making cards that maybe you don't send and maybe spend too much on the entire thing?  My answer: I spent 3 hours making these cards (several ended up in the trash) and I was relaxed while I was making them!  So grateful for this hobby.

Apr 8, 2017

Stamping for Autism Awareness (and a Soapbox on Graduation)

So happy to receive an invitation from Veronica Zalis to participate in a blog hop to raise awareness for autism. Spent a fair amount of my career working on special education law, so it's a topic near and dear.

You can find Veronica's post about the blog hop here.  Here's my card.

 Since I don't have any kid themed stamps (what's wrong with that?) I decided to use this wonderful quote from an old Technique Tuesday Stamp set, Loving Words. Painted a blue and white background, using an easy technique that I saw on Kymona's blog. You can find her directions here.

I used white and blue gouache paints, let them dry, and embossed the sentiment in white. The sentiment came out a little wonky, but I've decided it goes with the mixed media idea. The nice thing about gouache is that, unlike watercolors, there is no need to add water and if you don't go crazy, plain cardstock will not warp.

Soapbox on Children with Disabilities and High School Diplomas

If you live in the US, and want more information about the services to which your child is entitled, a good place to start is the US. Department of Education's website. You can find information about the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) from that agency here.

The IDEA provides critical special education and related services to approximately 12-15% (varies by State) of students. Many of these children have autism or are considered to be "on the spectrum." Personally, I think we have a long way to go before we will really understand autism and all of its variations (however, we do know that there is no scientific data linking autism to vaccines). In the meantime, it's up to parents to be informed and to advocate for what they believe is best for their kids.

You may be very happy with the education and services your kid is getting now, but keep your eye on the end game -- it is never too early to think about what will happen when your child is no longer a child. While the IDEA provides for transition services (services to assist in the transition from high school to college, other training, or employment), those services do not kick in until late in the game.

While many children with disabilities go on to college, most do not. This is in part because the high school graduation rate for children with disabilities is around 63%, which is shockingly low.  These graduation rates are supposed to include only kids who graduate with a regular high school diploma. However, more and more States are adopting "special" diplomas, and including kids who graduate with a special diploma in the graduation rate (it's my view that that is why you see so many stories about the increase in graduation rates.) So, this means that 37% of kids with disabilities are not finishing high school with any diploma (in some States the rates are much worse). 

It's important for parents to know about the options for their kids. Suggest you find out what the graduation rate for children with disabilities is in your State. Ask, before high school begins, whether your child is on a path to receive a "regular" high school diploma or a special diploma. It is important to make sure you understand the implications before agreeing to a particular curriculum. For example, will a special diploma permit your child to enter the military or be accepted by colleges? You may conclude that a special diploma is the perfect option for your child, given his or her particular circumstances.

However, if you believe that your child is capable of receiving a regular high school diploma, advocate for it, and for any necessary supports and services that will help your child achieve that goal. It is hard, but I believe that the majority of kids with disabilities are capable of receiving a regular high diploma -- if they get the special education and related services to which they are entitled. But, if you wait until your child is already in high school before planning, you may unnecessarily limit your child's options.

MOOD WHEN DONE - Soapbox out!

Apr 5, 2017

Foolproof Coloring: Using Solid Circle Stamps

Here's a quick and easy way to add color to outline images -- stamp solid circles over the image.

This Bamboo Rose set from Altenew is perfect for coloring (and has some great sentiments, too). But I wasn't happy with my results, so I reached for a classic set, Bokeh Dots from Essentials by Ellen. It's just dots and outline circles, but comes in handy all the time. Stamped different sizes of dots with Altenew Frosty Pink, Buttercream, and Frayed Leaf inks onto the flowers and leaves.

Added a line stamp under the sentiment and a few clear sequins and walked away.


Mar 31, 2017

What Feedly Knows About Susan

This morning I woke up to read this post from Simplicity's Susan Raihala. If you haven't read it already, go read it, and then come back here.

Thank you.

Right off the bat I have to tell you that Susan left out critical information in her post. I'd call her a politician, but that would be too horrible. But, before I explain, let me give you some background.

Susan and I go way back as crafty fellow bloggers. We read each others blogs and facebook posts and have connected on the internet the way some crafty folks do. I love her cards and her view on life. I got to meet Susan for lunch one day when she was visiting DC. It was so fun to finally connect in real life and confirm that she isn't some 11 year old sitting in his parent's basement assuming various online identities.

But, there's more. For some crazy reason, my feedly account on my phone defaults to Susan's blog, Simplicity. Whenever I click on feedly, the first thing I see is a random Simplicity post. It is never her most recent post, but an older one. I have no idea why feedly does this, but I am starting to wonder.

What does feedly know about Susan?

So, it's no surprise that when I woke up this morning, I read Susan's blog. I sort of have no choice, as feedly makes me! I was shocked to read that Susan was accusing me of enticing her to spend money on stamping. HA! I would never do such a thing. We all know that, despite claims from stamp companies that we will use their products "over and over," in fact we sometimes never use what we buy because they entice us with the next new thing before we can even get the last new thing out of its packaging. Therefore, when I told Susan during our phone call that I had items I hadn't used yet, that was my way of saying "do not ever buy anything ever again."

Is it my fault that Susan chose to misinterpret me?
I don't think so.

But the real outrage in Susan's blog post was the KEY FACT that she deliberately omitted. I hate when authors do that. They go on a tirade about something and leave out the most important thing, the thing that puts it all in perspective. They show pictures of awesome looking stamp purchases, but leave out critical information. They blame me for buying a set with an octopus in it when they have never had any interest in buying an octopus.

Susan is guilty, and she knows it, but she will never tell you that KEY FACT.

So I have to do it.

Susan left out that she is goodness on earth. She left out that the real reason we were talking on the phone was not to discuss stamping. She left out that she had reached out to me and gave me her phone number so that I could talk to her about my annoying, never ending, medical crap. So when I read her blog this morning, I remembered how much that conversation meant to me. It wasn't what she said during our chat, but the fact that she had reached out to me that mattered.

We all have tough moments in life. I know that every single person who reads this blog has had, or is having, some rough times, times that would sadden and surprise me if I knew about them. But I'm not giving out my phone number and encouraging you all to give me a call. I'm living my own life, wrapped up in my own stuff.

Not Susan.

Susan has her own life, but she reached out to me because she is a special person. Susan is the kind of person who takes the time to give a bit of herself to others, the kind of person who sets aside her own stuff to listen to your stuff.

Indeed, Susan is the kind of person whom even feedly knows is goodness on earth.

MOOD WHEN DONE = grateful

Mar 24, 2017

Using Older Sets and the Perfect Orange Ink

Don't know about you, but when I'm anxious I tend to spend money on stamps (and eat, but that's another story). Given all the health stuff going on, I've had a steady stream of packages coming (until the husband suggested I start trying to win contests instead of buying. HA!).

So, I decided it is time to put down the credit card and pick up some older sets and actually use them. These stamps are from a Hero Arts My Monthly Hero Kit from last summer. It is no longer available, but that's no reason not to use it. The sentiment is from Altenew's Halftone Circles. [By the way, I usually link to Ellen Hutson's shop because that is where I shop. However, of course all of these stamps are usually available at a variety of places.] Used Altenew inks -- Warm Sunshine, Buttercream, Mountain Mist, Lagoon, Emerald, Sun Kissed and Orange Cream.

Altenew's Orange Cream is the perfect true orange. I've looked all over and even had friends send me orange ink pads, but they all had a brown undertone or something that didn't ring true. I'm happy with Orange Cream. It's crazy how happy this made me.

Stamped on linen cardstock because I thought the texture showing through the ink would be fun. Added White Blizzard Nuvo Crystal Drops.

MOOD WHEN DONE = Wishing I was at the ocean....

Mar 22, 2017

Health Update

As you may recall from this post, I had a defibrillator (known as an ICD) implanted last September due to a recently diagnosed heart condition. In February it went off my mistake. My doc encouraged me to keep it on. A second doctor (the device doctor) wouldn't turn it back on as she said it would continue to shock me for no reason. She advised surgery to remove the old one and put it a new one.

After spending 7 million hours researching the issue, I remained convinced that my medical condition did not warrant an ICD.  So, my husband and I went up to Boston earlier this week and met with an internationally respected expert on my heart condition.

Bam!  I'm a medical genius, so of course he agreed with me, and said that I did not meet the criteria for having the ICD. In plain language, I didn't need it in the first place and there is no reason to return it back on or replace it at this time.

MOOD WHEN DONE = Let me know if you need a cardiologist. My fees are reasonable!

Mar 21, 2017

Take Joy

A sweet, simple, card to brighten someone's day.

Stamps are from Altenew's Beautiful You and the sentiment is from a Clear and Simple set called Butterfly Garden I.  Used Versafine Onyx and a few Zig Clean Color brush pens.

MOOD WHEN DONE = hanging in there!  I'll be back later in the week with an update on my visit to the specialist in Boston. Still processing!

Mar 18, 2017

Colored Background

Happy Saturday! Hope you are having a good weekend.  I started mine off by making this card.

I've seen a lot of cards lately with black and white flowers and a colored background. I tried making a background with Copics and found it difficult. Watercoloring the background turned out to be a lot easier, especially since I wanted the color darker on the top with a gradual fade.

I started this background with Inktense watercolor pencils on watercolor paper but quickly switched to Zig Clean Color markers (much better for this technique). Added a few "water drops" and a frame. No masking, just careful with the paint brush...

This card is going to my fantastic mother in law. I love how it turned out! 

Image and sentiment from Altenew's Best Mom.


Mar 17, 2017

Finally, Balloons!

I never make balloon cards, because the strings always mess me up. Decided to ignore the number of strings.  So, three balloons, one string?  Yes, it was the only way to make this fun, colorful, card work.

If you look closely at the balloons, you'll see that the paper is see through, which works great for balloons. It is from W R Memory Keepers Oh Goodie! Glassine Paper. Love the fun bold prints.

Stamped the scallops (think clouds) from Essentials by Ellen Wonky Backdrops with Altenew Sea Glass ink. The balloon stamp and die are from Essentials by Ellen Up the Happy. All images designed by Julie Ebersole. Balloon string hand drawn. Sentiment from an old Hero Arts messages set. Envelope from Paper Source.

MOOD WHEN DONE = Well, happy!  (BTW, my medical appointment in Boston was rescheduled because of the snow.  I'll be there next week, I hope!)

Mar 10, 2017


Thought it would be interesting to make the same layout with opposite colors.  They use Altenew's Botanical Garden.  Not sure where the sentiments are from.

White card:  Stamped on Strathmore Bristol paper and used Zig Clean Color markers to add some color.  Tried my hand at a thread nest.  WHY?

Pink card:  Stamped same flower on same paper and colored around it, first Zig Clean Color marker and then, after it dried, with a Copic.  See that black under the sentiment?  It's glitter paper.

MOOD WHEN DONE =  Happy. Going up to Boston next week for a second opinion on my health issues. I'm grateful I can do this and that I got a quick appointment with a top notch expert.

Mar 8, 2017

A Card With A High Intersection Score

When I was in high school, some outside group came in and gave us a reading test. It measured speed and comprehension.  If someone didn't do well, their parents were encouraged to sign them up for some type of extra help from the outside group.  I think it might have been a scam.  In any event, I did fine, thank you very much.  In fact, I had the highest intersection score, meaning my combination of speed and comprehension was the best.  Others were faster, and others had higher comprehension scores, but apparently I could skim and understand enough to get by.  This talent has proved to be no talent at all, as skimming is dangerous when you are practicing law.

In any event, this card has a high intersection score.  Although there are cards that are faster to make and are prettier, this one was quick to make and is pretty.

Gold embossed the bouquet from Altenew's Celebration set and a sentiment from Tiny Sentiments by Right at Home.  A quick watercolor wash, some gold ribbon, and the card was done.  To make sure it was good and flat, I ran it through my Big Shot before I put on the ribbon.

MOOD WHEN DONE = Happy!  Hope you are too.

Mar 3, 2017

hi, there or hi there?

Used the same paper that I watercolored, and used here, to cover the front of this card. Stamped the circles from Essentials by Ellen by Julie Wonky Backdrops (currently sold out).  Added some silver foil to the centers of the circles.  Makes a nice all-purpose card.  The yellow envelope will brighten someone's mail!

The sentiment. Do we want the comma? I think I prefer no comma and am debating sentiment surgery.  Opinions?

MOOD WHEN DONE = Just fine!

Mar 1, 2017

Need a Hug?

Love everything about this sentiment from You Are My Fave by The Stamp Market.

Watercolored green, yellow, and blue circles onto Bristol Paper and die cut with the largest of the Essentials by Ellen Folk Heart dies.

The Bristol paper is a bright white and can handle light watercoloring without warping too much. Works very well with the Kuretake Zig Clean Cut markers that I used to make the circles.  Added the sentiment and a little white twine bow and adhered to a pale blue card.

MOOD WHEN DONE = Having an excellent day!  Hope you are too.

Feb 27, 2017

You Mean So Much

Happy Monday!!  Last day of February and thought I'd end the month with another card for the February Altenew Inspiration Challenge.  Completely inspired by this card and this card, both by the uber talented Aga.

Used Altenew Beautiful Day and a sentiment from ??? (put it away before I could write it down because I'm trying to be organized...).  Color by Tombow markers.


Feb 25, 2017

Ellen Hutson February Pin-Sights Challenge

Love when a card is just paper, stamps, and ink -- so easy to mail!

As part of my stamp buying binge last week, I got Essentials by Ellen by Julie Wonky Backdrops.  This was my favorite part of the recent release and expect to use it a lot. The circles and triangle are from that set. The sentiment is from All Inside and the tiny dot from Bokeh Dots.

Used three shades of aqua ink by Altenew because I knew I wanted to participate in the February Essentials by Ellen Pin-Sights Challenge.  Here's the inspiration photo.  Gorgeous!



Thanks for your thoughts on my previous post.  Very helpful and appreciated.

Feb 23, 2017

Hello Rock, Meet Hard Place (A Life Update)

Eleven days ago, I decided to make one of those cauliflower dishes that mimic mashed potatoes.  And by "mimic mashed potatoes" I mean add a bunch of high fat stuff and make believe that the dish is both healthy and tasty.  So I pulled out this mondo size cauliflower and rested it on the counter and got a couple of knives out of the drawer.

While I was standing there debating which knife to use to get the cellophane wrapper off* the cauliflower, an enormous blast erupted in my chest. Loud and painful and scary as hell. For a split second, I wondered if I was dead. Since heaven will include actual potatoes and not cauliflower, I quickly nixed that idea and realized that my ICD** (implantable cardioverter device) had gone off.  I started screaming and crying, and pretty much kept that up, on and off, for about 12 hours.

Ambulance, emergency room, and it was quickly clear that the ICD had "misfired," meaning it had tortured me by mistake as opposed to saving my life.  My heart was fine, but my head was not. Spent a night in the hospital and did not move except to go to the bathroom. I sat upright in the bed, afraid that the ICD would go off again.  I insisted that they turn off the ICD and one doc after another declined to do so.  Finally I heard from my own doc who tried his best to convince me to keep it on, but I persisted, and eventually they turned off the ICD.  (They use some type of magnet and software).

The Rock:  So now I have this thing on the inside of my body with a bunch of wires near my heart that is there for no reason at all.  Maybe I'll go into cardiac arrest, but the ICD won't save my life.  I'll never finish Stamping Destroyed My Life and we'll never learn what happened to M.  To quote my doc, "you'll die when you could have lived."  (Sounds harsh but he's been unbelievably nice about the whole thing.)

The Hard Place:  On the other hand, if I let them turn it back on, I will sit in a chair afraid to breathe, walk on the stairs, stamp, drive, take a shower, or go to sleep.  Eventually, I'll die of boredom from re-watching every episode of Law and Order and might even have to watch Law and Order Criminal Intent, which is a seriously creepy way to go.  I start to shake just thinking of turning it back on.

I have an appointment next week with my other cardiologist -- the "device doctor" -- and will try and get the courage to turn it back on, if she can explain to me why it misfired and why it is unlikely to misfire again (some folks have a series of misfires -- it goes off every 30 seconds for 5, 10, 20 times or more. I shudder.)  Not sure I can do it though.

In case you are wondering why I'm writing about this on the blog, I will tell you it is my way of processing the decision and coping with the anxiety. I do not know what I will do, but in the meantime, guess how much I spent on stamps, inks, and dies in the past eleven days?***

I'll let you know what I decide....thanks for listening!


* Interestingly, Mike tells me that he found the cauliflower unwrapped on the counter.  Apparently, the shock took out some brain cells.

** As I mentioned here, I have a heart condition that could cause sudden cardiac arrest.

*** A lot.

Feb 21, 2017

Altenew's February Inspiration Challenge

Squeezed a few drops of dye reinkers onto pieces of watercolor paper and then spritzed some water -- more on the paper on the right.  Dabbed a piece of paper towel on the paper on the left. Stamped flowers from Altenew's Adore You, making sure to leave white on the flowers.  Repeated for the leaves.  Love this variation of colors.

Removed the back layer of the watercolor paper so it was nice and thin and trimmed out the flowers and leaves.  Assembled onto a soft gray card that I had speckled with black paint.  Look closely at the top photo and you might see that the card is scored every half inch.

Was inspired by Altenew's current inspiration challenge.

Here's the inspiration photo:

And one more look at my card....  This will be hard to mail so it will be hand delivered to a friend.

MOOD WHEN DONE = Happy.  I have plenty of flowers and leaves for more cards.

Feb 11, 2017

Cards for Non Crafters

Mike likes to look over my shoulder while I'm browsing the internet.  He's spying on me in plain sight!  Every once in awhile I'll point out a card that I love.  First, he only likes bright colors. Second, he pretty much doesn't like anything that looks "too crafty."  So I tried this same experiment with some non crafty friends (an experiment I ran a few years ago).  Same result (except for his obsession with color).  Cards we love may leave non crafters cold.

So I decided to make a few cards that I hope my non crafty friends will love -- literally just paper and ink (my favorite kind to make!). Plus they are so easy to mail.

Used a bunch of inks (cubes make it easy to get different colors).

I used You Are My Fave, a fun set in a great font from a new company, The Stamp Market.  (Can we handle a new company? I guess so!)

MOOD WHEN DONE = Colorful!

Feb 10, 2017

A Cry for Help

Hero Arts Destination Washington DC and Altenew Bold Alphabet Die. 

Not sure what kind of help we need, but we need it!

MOOD WHEN DONE = Worried.  There's a lot I'd like to say, but I can't think of anything to say that would be helpful. So for now, this card.