Jul 21, 2017

A Card for Cardmakers

Altenew has a fun set just for cardmakers called Crafty Friends.  Love it!

Sentiment stamped in Versafine black and clear embossed onto a watercolored panel. Made the panel by coloring the inside of an embossing folder with markers in a rainbow pattern.  Spritz the watercolor paper and then insert, close, and press with hands.

MOOD WHEN DONE = Happy!  Looking forward to the weekend.  Our son is visiting!

Jul 17, 2017

Lovely Lilies

Paired this gorgeous set of lilies, designed by Claire Brennan, and sold by Gina K, with a sentiment from another set designed by Claire and sold by Gina, Fine Feathers. I think it is a great way to say thank you.

MOOD WHEN DONE = Let's not talk about how many version of this card I went through yesterday, ok?

Jul 8, 2017

Stamping on Patterned/Digital Paper

Started with a lovely digital paper that I printed out on Neenah Solar White. The pink flowers on white paper is from The Lovely Studio. You could easily stamp your own pink flowers on white cardstock instead or just use patterned paper.

Stamped flowers from the Stamp Market's Watercolor Bouquet in yellow and orange onto the patterned cardstock and embossed in clear. Carefully colored the white portion of the patterned cardstock with a black Copic.

A close up of the embossed yellow and orange flowers.

Two more cards made with the same paper.

MOOD WHEN DONE = Fine! Hope your weekend is a good one.

Jul 5, 2017

Top Ten Tips on Getting Ready for Surgery

Since surgery is pretty common, I thought I'd share my super successful (so far) top 10 tips on getting ready for my heart surgery. And because we all differ, I'm offering options for each tip.

You're welcome.

1a. You can choose to be afraid, or you woman up and face surgery like the warrior you are.


1b. Drugs. Start them now. Screw the opioid epidemic.


2a. This is an opportunity to get into the best shape possible. Eat healthy. Drink lots of water. Get outside and move.


2b. Since you are going to die anyway, treat every meal like your last meal. Water is polluted; stick to diet coke, or better yet frappucinos. Stay inside -- a plane can drop on your head while you are outside.


3a. It's not all about you. Give something of yourself to others every day.


3b. You only have one life. Grab everything you can while you can.


4a.  Medical care is expensive. Be responsible. Quit spending money on craft supplies.


4b. HA HA HA

5a. Stay off google!!!! It's full of information that is going to scare the crap out of you. Just listen to what your doctors say. They know what they are doing.


5b. Did you know that you can get weekly Cardiac Practice Updates sent right to your email? I wonder if they'll go radial first when they do the caths or use the typical groin approach?


6a. Leave your docs and nurses alone. They are busy. Quit asking questions. And don't include citations to journals when you do ask questions. It really aggravates them.


6b. Your docs and nurses are busy and don't have time to keep up on the latest developments. They really appreciate it when you reach out and keep them up to date on the latest research.


7a. Shut up. Your medical issues are putting your friends (and blog readers) to sleep.


7b. Talk about the surgery all the time, particularly when out with friends. Keep your blog readers posted on every detail. Your medical issues are fascinating.


8a. Make lots of healthy meals in advance and put them in the freezer. 


8b. See tip #2b. Dead men don't eat. 


9a. Be a "compliant" patient. Do what your doctors say.


9b. It's your body!! Don't let "the man" tell you what to do. Experiment! What do you have to lose?


10a. Being a caretaker is worse than being the patient. Treat your caretaker well.


10b. Being a caretaker is worse than being the patient. Treat your caretaker very, very, very well.


Love yellow. If I had my way, the inside of our entire house would be yellow. In fact, the interior of our old house was a kind of creamy pale yellow, until the realtor walked in and pronounced it old fashioned -- "your target buyer will hate this. Repaint!" And we did, and it sold in a day.

Was inspired by an illustration by this artist. Scroll to find the black flowers with the gorgeous yellow paint splotch.

Used 3 Altenew sets -- Adore You, Hibiscus, and Halftone Circles.

MOOD WHEN DONE = Super happy!

PS. Didn't mean to post this today! 3 posts in one day is more than I want but I hit the wrong button!!

Colorful Christmas

Sneaking in another Christmas card. Loved the idea of using some non traditional colors.

Paper, say hello to just ink and stamps.

Sentiment from Concord & 9th's O Christmas Tree, and the branch and sparkle from Essentials by Ellen's Brushstroke Christmas.

MOOD WHEN DONE = I'm good!!

Jul 3, 2017

Using Watercolored Panels

Here's two fun cards using the entire set of Waffle Flower's Greenery dies.

Die cut white cardstock and adhered (using spray adhesive) over watercolored panels. I have a lot of those panels lying around and this is a great way to use them.

MOOD WHEN DONE = I'm good. Hope you are too!

Jun 28, 2017

Collecting Your Hopes and Dreams

source: lettertothepope.org

Thought it would be fun to give everyone a place to post her personal hopes and dreams. What's in your heart? Feel free to go anonymous if you want.  We'll put everyone's hopes and dreams in a virtual glass jar, to hold and sort and ponder and wish and pray.

My personal dreams and hopes are a few -- always for my son first, and good health for me and those I love. Oh, and the perfect adhesive!

What are yours??

Watercolored Rainbow and Different Blogging Approach

Watercolored a rainbow; added a sentiment from Right at Home. Speckled colors from the rainbow into the sky. Used Tombow Markers and watercolor paper.


I'm taking a page from Chaitali Narla (so talented and such a sweet person!), and changing the way I blog. I'll be spending less time writing up the posts -- fewer product names and links, and using my phone for taking pictures. Ask if you have any questions about products, etc.  But I'll still be writing stories when the muse strikes! Thanks!

Jun 27, 2017

Wedding Card/June Pin-Sights Challenge

Needed a quick wedding card for a fancy wedding reception (imagine over 100 women in gorgeous saris -- oh my, my black dress looked pretty drab in comparison!).  I had some pre embossed watercolor paper from Cosmo Cricket laying to which and I added some watercolors. As easy as it gets!

Set it aside to dry and stamped the inside.

Die cut the top panel with the Essentials by Ellen Diagonal Window die. This is a great all-purpose die! Adhered the layers and added some pretty gold ribbon.

A 20 minute card that also fits the Essentials by Ellen June Pin-Sights Challenge.

MOOD WHEN DONE = Satisfied!

Jun 25, 2017

A Sweet Card and Winners of the Giveaway

Made this after I saw this clever notebook on Pinterest.

Watercolored the green rind, and, while that was drying, watercolored the red and pink fruit. Mixed some very pale gray paint for the space between the green and red and let some of the paints merge. Hand painted the seeds. Stamped a sentiment from Altenew's Layered Cupcake and drew the lines with a black copic liner pen and ruler.

That was fun.

Speaking of fun, I picked two winners because the giveaway box was getting huge. Thanks to all of you who commented.

Winners:  Merry F. and Cheryl Robertson. I've sent emails to both.  Cheryl, I haven't heard back. Please check your spam folder for an email entitled "Winner of Blog Giveaway."

MOOD WHEN DONE = This is one of my favorite cards. So I'm happy!!!

Jun 21, 2017


I'm in the middle of another "deep clean" of my craft room and it's time to say goodbye to some supplies. I've got a biggish box of loved stamps (most not in any packaging), papers, and a variety of other crafty things, and I'm giving it away.

You want the box?

Please leave a comment on this post by Friday June 23, 2017 at midnight my time (Washington DC daylight savings time!). Please make sure to leave a working email or I won't be able to send the box to you.

Unfortunately, to keep down the cost of shipping, I have to limit this to USA addresses.

Good luck!

Jun 15, 2017

The Worst Client Ever

I walked in the room and sighed. This wasn't going to work. My worst client ever (let's call her Mrs. WCE) stood there, looking pretty darn good for her 70+ years. Wrapped in a dark mink coat, and wearing red leather gloves and high boots, her dark brown hair was fresh from the beauty parlor. Mrs. WCE wore bright red lipstick and a little "rouge," and was eager to get going. She was basically a nice person, but a nightmare as a client, constantly asking me the same questions over and over, and just generally annoying me on a daily basis. She had told me that she didn't think a woman could be a good lawyer and that attitude just added to my anxiety.

I'd be driving both of us to her Medicare hearing. (For those of you outside the US, Medicare is our national health insurance for folks 65 and over and some others who are disabled). Medicare had denied her claim for coverage for surgery and thousands of dollars, which my client did not have, were at stake.

The thought of losing made me sick to my stomach, particularly since I wasn't feeling confident. I had left my legal aid job years earlier, but had agreed to take on this case "pro bono." Medicare has an unbelievably thick set of regulations, rivaled in complexity only by the IRS regulations. I just didn't know much about Medicare. I had never represented the elderly when I was at legal aid, as there was a lawyer there who only handled elderly clients. I tried to study the regulations, but every time I thought I understood, I'd find another exception. So I was pretty nervous. Heck, I was terrified because, deep down I knew that, for this matter, Mrs. WCE had the WLE (worst lawyer ever). I'd just prove to her that women couldn't be good lawyers.

Mrs. WCE had had her eyelids lifted. She needed this operation, not to look younger, but because her drooping eyelids were obstructing her sight and she couldn't drive safely without the operation. The plastic surgeon did the procedure, knowing that Medicare covered such medically necessary matters. But Medicare declined coverage, claiming that the surgery was "plastic" surgery and not medically necessary. The doc was looking for his money. I put him off, explaining that the matter was under appeal and that I wasn't charging Mrs. WCE any money for my representation.

Litigation is a show and details mattered, particularly when you aren't sure about the law. I didn't want Mrs. WCE looking like she cared how she looked. Plus, I didn't want it took look like she had any money, especially since she, in fact, did not have any money.

"Could you please take off the makeup and ditch the mink?"

Mrs. WCE looked unhappy. "Why? I love this coat. I never get to dress up. And, I don't want that Judge thinking I'm an idiot."

Apparently, Mrs. WCE equated wearing a decades old, no longer politically correct, mink coat with looking like a non-idiot.

So I told her, "Well, if you wear makeup, it might look like you care about how you look and got your eyes done to look better. And I don't want the Judge to think you can afford to pay this bill. It might influence him. Better to look a little desperate."

Mrs. WCE looked at me for a moment and said, "That's sneaky. I like that in a lawyer."
She left and came back, face clean, with no mink and no red leather gloves.


The hearing room was a windowless room, furnished with a cheap table and some chairs. The administrative law judge sat at the head of the table. In these administrative matters, there is no "other side." It was just the 3 of us. It wasn't a formal trial, and when  if we lost, we could appeal to Federal Court, where Medicare would be represented. That was what I was counting on -- by then maybe I could find a lawyer who had a clue.

The judge had a pen and some paper in front of him, with tons of books on a shelf behind him. I had a binder summarizing the Medicare regulations, and assorted other books and notes and my questions for my client. I could feel myself shaking. Mrs. WCE sat there smiling.

The judge indicated that I should begin.

I turned to my client and said, "Please state your name and address."

Mrs. WCE burst out laughing.

The judge turned to me and said, "She's your mother?"


The judge laughed and said, "I figured. Our parents just can't see us as anything but their kids. Go on."

And I did, getting my Mom to explain the reason for her surgery, cutting her off every time she tried to explain about having to drive to go to Bingo because I wouldn't go with her, or how her head still hurt from the surgery. We got out her story. The judge didn't say a word.

Finally, it was my turn to make my argument, explaining how Medicare was in error. This wasn't going to be pretty. But, before I could say a word, the Judge interrupted.

"Hand me the bills and the Medicare denial."

I did. He looked them over, turned around, and picked up his volume of regulations. After a few moments, he said, "The doctor coded this wrong. He coded it as plastic, not medical. It's a clerical error. I'm overturning the denial. Medicare will pay."

Mrs. WCE let out a shriek. "Joan is so smart! I didn't think she could be a very good lawyer, but she is so smart."

I looked up at the judge, and didn't say a word.

The judge looked at me and smiled. He didn't tell my Mom that I had done nothing to help her other than file the appeal and drive her to the hearing. Rather, the Judge said, "Yes, your daughter is very smart. You are lucky to have her. She did a terrific job. Have a nice day!" Before I could say a word, he left the hearing room.

On the way home, my mom and I celebrated by getting ice cream sundaes. Before we finished, my Mom said, "I know when you went to law school I told you I would never want a woman lawyer. But today I changed my mind. You did a good job. I was foolish back then."

I thought about telling her the truth. But, I just said, "Thanks, Mom. And you were the best client ever."

Jun 14, 2017

Black and White and Aqua

Julie Ebersole posted about the color trend of pairing black and white with a pop of one color. So, I made this card, which uses a soft aqua ink -- Mountain Mist from Altenew -- for the stripes, plus black and white.

The flower (Bloom With Hope) and sentiment (Bows For You) are from The Stamp Market. Partially inked a striped background called Brushstrokes from Stampin Up.

Showed this to my husband, who actually said, "Well, the design structure is fine, but the colors are meh."  What does he know?  HA!!

MOOD WHEN DONE = No complaints here!

Jun 12, 2017

Two "Reaching Out" Cards

 Fell in love with this frame of flowers by Avery Elle, from Love Birds. The first card uses a sentiment from that set and a banner stamp from Simon Says Stamp.  For the second card, I flipped the frame on its side and used a sentiment from a great set by Reverse Confetti called Posted Note Sentiments. Watercolored the frames and added some shine.

Here's a closer shot of of the second card.  There's a die that cuts out the frame. I don't normally buy the dies but I love this popped up.


ps. thanks for the warm comments on my last post.

Jun 11, 2017

Strawberries on a Warm Day and More Talk

There are fresh, local, sweet, strawberries everywhere this time of year. On Sundays, there's a farmer's market just around the corner from our home. In takes just a few minutes to hold a quart in my hands. We eat them plain, but really, they are so good with added sugar on top of a sweet biscuit with just a dollop of whipped cream. Sigh.

However, rather than indulge in a sweet shortcake, I made this card, using Beautiful You by Altenew and a sentiment from The Stamp Market's Bows For You.

The striped paper is from a digital collection from the company formerly known as Pink Petticoat. It closed up shop, but I was delighted to see that the owner/artist has reopened under the name, The Lovely Studio. Gorgeous designs. Just wish the designs were stamps!  I lightly watercolored right over the striped paper.

MOOD WHEN DONE = Happy to be back stamping. Between health stuff and traveling, I've been out of the loop for way too long.

Speaking of health stuff, it's official. I've turned into someone who pretty much just talks about her health. Mike and I are trying to have "medical talk free days," because, honestly, I am so boring that even I am tired of the subject.

Nevertheless, here I am on the blog talking about it anyway because that's what this anxious person does. The short version is that the medication I took in order to avoid heart surgery ultimately did not work. Surgeries are scheduled for August.

The boring version (warning -- log off now) is that the surgeon will remove a piece of my heart that is blocking some of my blood from going to my lungs. This should make it possible for me to walk without being short of breath. No guarantees that it will be successful, but I am very optimistic. (Or else why would I do this?)

A few days later, there will be a "small procedure" where they'll remove the defibrillator that I had put in last year and put in a pacemaker (and possibly another defibrillator -- I just can't go there right now). The pacemaker is necessary because the first surgery will block the electrical current on the left side of the heart and, since I'm already missing it on the right side, my heart will be unable to beat without a pacemaker (there is some mechanism to keep it going between surgeries). Do I trust medical device companies to keep my heart beating? I'm shocked that my MISTI is still working, so what do you think? Eeeek.

Ok, my mind just wandered into a million other medical facts, so let's end this NOW. I'm thinking some strawberry shortcake would be a great distraction....

May 31, 2017

On My Mind and an Update

Getting back to stamping, which is a delightful way to relax. I started by "painting" a quick turquoise background with a Zig watercolor brush. Stamped Altenew's Botanical Garden and a sentiment from a super old set by Technique Tuesday (name unknown). Added a little gold to the center of the flower to try and mimic the gold glitter tape.

MOOD WHEN DONE = Pretty good! And now, after weeks of neglect, I need to clean up my craft room. I'm sure you understand!

Thank you for your kind comments and emails. I spent 5 days in the hospital trying out a drug to see if I can avoid heart surgery. First, I have to give a shout out to Inova Fairfax Hospital's Progressive Coronary Care Unit. Wow, those nurses are amazing. I think someone checked in on me every hour -- and yes, they wake you up for medication and vital signs all night long. Secondly, so far the drug is working well. About a third of the time it works, but then fails, so I'm cautiously very optimistic.  In the meantime, I'm climbing stairs and walking with minimal shortness of breath. I literally had no idea that was possible! I'll decide on the surgery in a few weeks.  Eeek.

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

from kingofwallpapers.com

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.