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.