Sunday, March 27, 2011

Happy New Baby SFYTT

Yesterday a few good friends (mostly from book club) got together to shower my bestie Sarah and her girlfriend Tiare with baby gifts - they're expecting a baby girl in a few weeks and I couldn't be happier for them! I needed to make a card to hold a gift card and I decided to use this month's Sketch For You to Try along with some yummy digi goodness to create a fun hybrid / Verve combo for the new Mamas-to-Be. Here's a look at the sketch:

And here's my (very girly glittery) creation:

I used the Love Notes stamp set and Classy Label Die to create that fun Kraft label and added some Crystal stickles all around the edge (I have NO IDEA why those stickles look green - they're the Crystal stickles though). The sentiment is from the To the Moon stamp set - all from Verve. And that yummy DP? It's printed digi paper from the Lucy Lynn digi kit by Traci Reed (Sweet Shoppe).

Here's a list of all of the supplies used on the card (because it was much more supply-heavy than is typical of me):
Stamps: Love Notes, To the Moon (Verve)
Paper: Kraft (PTI); Early Espresso (SU); Printed digi paper from Lucy Lynn digi kit by Traci Reed (Sweet Shoppe)
Ink: Early Espresso (SU)
Accessories: Classy Label Die (A Cut Above by Verve); Crystal Stickles (Ranger); Glittered Chipboard Heart (Etsy - MemrieMare); Adhesive altered rhinestone swirl (Say it in Crystals); Polka Dot Embossing Plate (PTI).

That's it! That was my Hybrid / Verve / SFYTT Baby Card!!

Oh! By the way, Verve just released a handful of adorable new stamps and dies a few days ago - be sure to stop by and check them out!!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Sweet Sunday Sketch #110

Man, this week has just flown by again! I can't believe it's already Sunday! We had a long weekend here in Hawaii - Friday was a State Holiday - Prince Kuhio Day (which marks the birth of Prince Jonah Kūhiō Kalanianaʻole) - so schools were out and Joel and I were both off work (technically I'm always off work on Fridays, but this week I actually got paid for the day off since it was a paid holiday!! Gotta love that!). Joel and Dean spent the day at the beach over on the west side in Ka'anapali while I spent the day crafting with my friend Sarah. I use the term "crafting" loosely as we didn't get much done - she spent a lot of time laying on the couch with her feet up (she's 37 weeks pregnant) while I kept her company and we watched almost an entire season's worth of Modern Family DVDs! But it was a pretty perfect Prince Kuhio Day! :-)

So anyway, since it's Sunday for most of you by now, that means it's time for another Sweet Sunday Sketch Challenge. Karen tried to torture me again this week with one of those damn tilted panels:

But I showed her! ha! I just straightened that b*tch right out. ;-)

I used my newest Waltzingmouse Stamps on my sample card. That cute little banner was created with the Bitty Banners set, stamped in Baja Breeze, More Mustard, Early Espresso and Not Quite Navy (SU). The sentiment is from the Vintage Banners set, stamped in More Mustard ink (SU). Those yummy papers are from the Stella Rose Hattie collection by My Mind's Eye (Taylored Expressions).

Be sure to stop by all the Sweet Sunday Stampers' blogs and see what they've done with this week's sketch.
Then play along with us and post your own creation using InLinkz over on today's post on Karen's Blog!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Taylored Expressions Blast From the Past Blog Hop

Hi there! It's that time of the month again - time for another Blast From the Past Blog Hop with Taylored Expressions and friends! The theme for the March Hop is "Spring" and I decided to bust out my March Key Ingredients and create a super simple Spring-y chicks card for the hop!! It almost felt like cheating, the kit just made it too easy!

Along with those fabulous Stella & Rose Gertie Collection papers from My Mind's Eye - included in the March Key Ingredients along with those green American Craft's rhinestone brads! - I used my Favorite Peeps stamp set (Taylored Expressions) for both the cute little paper pieced chicks and the sentiment. And that's it! Like I said, super simple!!

You can find more details and project ideas with this month's Key Ingredients kit on the Key Ingredients Blog. And be sure to check out the Key Ingredients Gallery for even more inspiration from the Design Team!!

That's it from me today - I'm off to check out the rest of the hop. I hope you'll take time to do the same - there's sure to be a ton of fabulous eye candy along the way!!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Sweet Sunday Sketch #109

Hi there! Super quick post as I'm headed out the door as I type this to go to Book Club and I'm running late! It's time for another Sweet Sunday Sketch Challenge and it's a fun one again this week:

I made a hybrid Easter card using some Sweet Shoppe digi papers and Taylored Expressions stamps:

The papers are printed digi paper from the new Pretty Little Thing kit by Shawna Clingerman (Sweet Shoppe). The wreath stamp and sentiment are from the Spring Wreath petite stamp set by Taylored Expressions.

Be sure to stop by all the Sweet Sunday Stampers' blogs and see what they've done with this week's sketch.
Then play along with us and post your own creation using InLinkz over on today's post on Karen's Blog!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Thank You

I am MONTHS behind in getting thank you cards in the mail to several people who have helped me through some really difficult times this past year (especially through the end-of-life caregiving and loss of my father), memorials that were made after my father's passing, and to people who helped with or made special his recent Celebration of Life. I don't know why I've been procrastinating with this - it's definitely not because these people aren't appreciated! I think maybe it's because there's a lack of words to adequately describe just how much they are appreciated and a card just doesn't seem like enough to tell them just how much their support and kindness mean to me and my family. But I need to get on it as it's getting to the point of being past the acceptable time period for such things. So anyway, you can expect to be seeing a *few* Thank You cards on the blog in the coming weeks!

And I think I'll kick things off today! LOL. Here's a quick and easy Verve thank you card I made a few weeks ago using two of my favorite Verve sets:

First, I have to say that the basic design and layout of this card were inspired by a card I saw posted awhile ago by Heather Pulvirenti (sorry I was unable to find the direct link to the card, but her entire blog is full of inspiration!). Anyway, I stamped the polka dots from Verve's Bountiful Backgrounds directly onto my Kraft card base with PTI's white ink. I then stamped the medium flowers from Dream Big in So Saffron, Baja Breeze and Rose Red ink (SU) on white cardstock and cut them out. The leaves (also from Dream Big) were stamped in Old Olive ink (SU). I added a chocolate button the flower centers and popped them up on varying depths of dimensionals. The "Thank You" sentiment is from the same Dream Big stamp set. Some simple Early Espresso grosgrain was the finishing touch!

Also, in case you missed it on the Verve Blog, there's a New Release scheduled for March 25! The New Release Team will start their New Release Spotlight Hops next week, then start revealing the new sets at our release party over in our SCS Forum starting at 9pm Eastern, Friday March 25. Don't miss it!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

March Key Ingredients

Hi! Have you all had a chance to check out the March Key Ingredients by Taylored Expressions?? It is one of my all-time favorite kits! I know it seems like I say that every month, but this time I really mean it! This month's kit features fabulous patterned papers from the Stella & Rose Gertie Collection by My Mind's Eye along with coordinating cardstock, ribbon, rhinestone brads, and wooden buttons and mini spools!

Today I'm sharing a special project over on the Key Ingredients blog. Be sure to stop by and check it out for all the details!!

If you're not yet a subscriber, I hope you'll consider joining us! Take a peek around here at the Key Ingredients blog and you'll find all the information you need to know about our kit club! Click here to learn more about subscribing or click here for our FAQ page!

And finally, be sure to check out the Key Ingredients Gallery for lots of inspiration from the entire Design Team using this month's kit!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Sweet Sunday Sketch #108 and Tsunami Update

Well, what a week we've had! I will get to the Sweet Sunday Sketch in just a bit. But first off - thank you for the e-mails I received from a few of you concerned about us the last few days during the Tsunami. We are OK. Our hearts and thoughts go out to our friends in Japan who are dealing with this terrible disaster. Hawaii has very close ties to Japan and this hits close to home for many of us. It was a little too much excitement around here. Our sirens started blasting around 10:00 p.m. Thursday night and continued to blast every hour until the first waves hit Maui around 3:25 a.m. I did not sleep at all Thursday night and finally got about 3 hours of sleep around 8:30 a.m. Friday morning. We did not have to evacuate our house as we are outside the evacuation zone - we live a few miles from the ocean in Kahului. My Mom lives very close to the ocean (about 200 yards) in Kihei and her house is actually right on the line of the evacuation zone. She debated for several hours whether or not to evacuate. She did not want to leave as she has 5 cats (yes, she's one of THOSE people), 3 of which were roaming around outside and she did not want to leave them. Civil Defense knocked on her door around midnight though and she was forced to evacuate. So she loaded up the 2 other cats and came to our house. In the meantime, we had started filling our bathtub with water along with every Sigg water bottle, empty glass juice bottle, camel pack, and a few Homer's buckets (from Home Depot) we could find, and we each took a shower around 12:45 a.m. just before they turned off the sewer system (Maui's sewer system / water treatment plant is in the Tsunami Inundation Zone, so there was a very good possibility of it being damaged, so the County decided to shut it down to try to minimize damage as much as possible). I was facebooking like a madwoman in between conversing with neighbors - about half of whom stayed put and half of whom decided to drive up the mountain to higher ground (we stayed put). I had sent Joel to the gas station as soon as we heard they had issued a Tsunami Warning - along with everyone else on the whole damn island - he waited in line for over half an hour to fill up his car and several gas cans (and that was BEFORE the lines got really bad - and for the record we've been paying about $4.27/gallon for regular gas on Maui for over a week now!! ugh.). Fortunately, we had just made a Costco run earlier in the week so we were stocked up on Toilet Paper and other necessities that seem to fly off the shelf in Hawaii at the mere mention of impending weather or possible disaster. (There is good reason for this as we have a fear of our harbors being damaged. We live on a small island and receive almost all of these goods by boat. If the harbor is damaged, we can't get those supplies and that is BAD. This goes for toilet paper, food, and gasoline). So finally around 2:00 my Mom had arrived with her cats, all of our preparations were done and all that was left to do was wait. We were glued to the TV (well, I was. Somehow Joel and my Mom managed to fall asleep and pretty much slept through the whole thing, waking periodically for me to give them updates), just waiting for it to arrive and to see how bad it would be. So the Tsunami did arrive and we did have damage to all of the islands - it seems like Maui and the Big Island probably got it the worst. Although it's hard to tell as the reports have been conflicting. I've heard in Kahului harbor (where we live) anywhere from 7 ft to 12 ft. But water came inland about 1/2 mile. On Maui some homes and businesses were flooded, our harbor sustained damage (and remains closed as of Saturday night - which is not good as I mentioned this is how we get all of our supplies), there was damage to infrastructure, a couple of very large (70 lb) sea turtles were found washed ashore about 75 yards from the ocean, and it continued to surge most of the day on Friday. Friday everything was pretty much shut down. The Kaiser clinic where I work was closed, schools were all closed, Joel's offices were closed, all state, county and city employees were told to stay home (actually everyone was told to stay home), even the post office was closed!! The Big Island got it worse with several homes being destroyed and a couple of houses being completely swept off their foundation and out to sea. It was all very scary. Fortunately though there were no injuries or loss of life. People in Hawaii take these things quite seriously and don't mess around! It was somewhat reassuring to know that in general we seem pretty prepared. And even though there are upwards of tens of millions of dollars in damages, really it's more of a mess than anything. And looking at the situation in Japan we are reminded how much worse it could have been, especially being on such a small island!!

OK, anyway, that took up a little more space than I had planned. Sorry! Now, on to the real reason you all are here - It's time for another Sweet Sunday Sketch Challenge!! I have to say that the sketch Karen created for us this week just might be one of my all-time favorites! I was intimidated at first, but once I got to playing, I quickly realized how AWESOME it is!!

Here's a look at my birthday card sample using a bunch of neglected PTI supplies:

I strayed a bit from the sketch, but I think it's close enough to count! I used a Smoky Shadow (PTI) card base and the circle is actually a Parisian Lace Doily die cut (PTI). I added some pom-pom trim from my stash and then instead of a rectangle panel, I went with a die-cut Mat Stack 1 shape with the outline stamped from the Mat Stack 1 Collection stamp (PTI) set in Versamark ink and clear embossed. The sentiment is from the Simple Sentiments stamp set (PTI). I added some swirly bling from my stash, another one of those glittered stars from Etsy (MemrieMare), and a felt rolled 3-D flower cut from a Sizzix die. That's it!

Be sure to stop by all the Sweet Sunday Stampers' blogs and see what they've done with this week's sketch.
Then play along with us and post your own creation using InLinkz over on today's post on Karen's Blog!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Aloha and Happy Birthday Reenee!!

Happy Birthday Reenee! Or, as we say on Maui - Hau'oli la Hanau! (it seems appropriate, given the card I created for Reenee). Reenee, co-owner of Clear and Simple Stamps is celebrating her birthday today and a group of special friend, past and present CSS Design Team members are getting together with a very special Blog Hop in Reenee's honor! Hop along for some birthday fun, inspiration, a fabulous prize for one lucky winner (details at the end of this post) and a special 15% off sale so everyone can celebrate right along with us!! (just enter coupon code birthday15 when checking out to receive the discount).

Now, as for the hop - if you made it here from Heather's Blog, then you're on the right track. If you just stumbled onto my blog first, you'll want to head back to the beginning of this special birthday hop and start at Clear and Simple Stamps.

Now, how about a look at the card I created just for Reenee?

The Aloha / Surf theme seemed appropriate since it's coming to her all the way from Maui! LOL. I used one of my favorite CSS stamp sets, Surf - coloring each of the four surfboards with Copics to match my patterned paper. The "aloha" sentiment is from the same set. I also used some Dish All the Dirt Brown cardstock and Kraft Like a Rockstar cardstock on this card - CSS cardstock is some of my favorite! The patterned paper is printed digi paper from the I Like Love You digi kit by Dani Mogstad (Sweet Shoppe). Some brown grosgrain and zig-zag machine stitching were all the embellishment needed to finish it up! Sweet and Simple - just how I like it!

Now, be sure to head on over to the next stop along the hop, Susan Raihala, to see what kind of fabulousness she's created!

Now, I know you're all wondering about those PRIZES I mentioned earlier, right? Well, the powers that be at Clear and Simple Stamps have picked out a few of Reenee's favorite products and will send them out to the lucky winners. Each package will be valued at $50! In order to quality for the prize, participants must leave a birthday wish for Reenee on the CSS facebook page and / or the CSS blogpost. TWO winners will be chosen - 1 from facebook and 1 from the CSS blog!

Have fun! Below is a list of all Hop Participants with links to their blogs. Enjoy.

And Happy Happy Birthday Reenee!! We love you!

Master Hop List:
Jen Tapler (That's me!)

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Sweet Sunday Sketch #107

Happy Sunday everyone! That means it's time for another Sweet Sunday Sketch Challenge! Karen created another fun sketch with a bunch of those little squares...

I have a tip for you if you struggle with figuring out what size to cut those little squares - what I do is save the sketch image and open it up in Photoshop, and open up a new 8.5x11 document in Photoshop too. Drag your sketch image onto the new 8.5x11 document. With the sketch image layer selected, increase the size of the sketch (you can do this by "dragging" one of the corners of the sketch to make it bigger) until it's the exact size you plan to make your card. I usually put the sketch image up in the very top left of my document so I can use the ruler up at the top when I'm increasing the size. You could also just change the image size before you drag it onto the new document, but either way works. Then, print out the 8.5x11 document and just use a ruler to measure those little square pieces!(I hope that all made sense). All the work is done for you before you even start cutting!!

OK, so anyway, on to my sample - I created another fun and easy hybrid card this week:

There's no stamping on this one and it literally came together in about 10 minutes! Gotta love that! Other than the Kraft and Soft Stone cardstock (PTI), all of the other paper, the sentiment and that adorable bug image are printed digi goodies from the new Bug Out kit by Dani Mogstad and Traci Reed (Sweet Shoppe). My only embellishment is some Old Olive ribbon (SU).

Be sure to stop by all the Sweet Sunday Stampers' blogs and see what they've done with this week's sketch.
Then play along with us and post your own creation using InLinkz over on today's post on Karen's Blog!

Verve Sympathy / Thinking of You

A dear friend has had a rough time recently, losing a close family member, and I wanted to send her a special card to let her know I was thinking of her and her family. I have to admit that I find this type of card the most difficult of all to make and often struggle to find the right balance of too little / too much when it comes to papers, embellishments, etc. I decided to keep things pretty simple with this one without too many layers or patterned paper - my goal was to design a simple and elegant card using a layout that draws the eye towards the Thinking of You sentiment. I was also inspired by a similar card I saw several months ago designed by Lisa Johnson (sorry I don't have a direct link, it was awhile ago and I didn't save the link, it just stuck in my head)...

I used several of my favorite Verve sets on this one. I started by stamping some of the leafy sprigs from Great Friend in Old Olive ink (SU) directly onto my main card front layer. The layered label was created by stamping the label from Love Notes onto Soft Stone CS (PTI), then cutting around the inner outline with a hobby blade, then using the Classy Label Die to cut out a 2nd label from Kraft and layering the two. The sentiment, stamped in Early Espresso ink (SU) on Kraft, is from the Accent Notes stamp set. The flowers, from One Person, were stamped in Crumb Cake ink (SU), on Lavender Moon bitty box DP (PTI) and shaded with Copics (V12, E44, and O) then cut out with a hobby blade. Finally, I added a few adhesive rhinestones around the leaves as well as some Crystal Stickles around the edge of the label as my only real embellishments. And that's it. Hopefully this will let my friend know she is in my thoughts during this difficult time.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Verve Diva Inspirations March Blog Hop

First off - WHAT!? March already? ugh. This year is going by way too fast! And second off, Welcome to the March Verve Diva Inspirations Blog Hop!! The Inspiration Team is getting together today to start your month off with a ton of fabulous Verve Inspiration! You'll find the Master Hop List & Links below my project photos and blah blah blah - be sure to stop by and leave some lovin' on each of the blogs - We've hidden a little mystery prize on one of today's hop spots, so be sure to leave a little comment love as you hop around. One lucky commenter on the mystery hop spot will win a $30 gift certificate to the Verve Store! The deadline for comment entries is Saturday, March 5. If you're on the right track, you should have made it here from Jen d's blog.

Now, about my project...I have to tell you that I finished this LATE last night. That's not like me. I normally like to work ahead, but March just snuck up on me. February was an absolutely CRAZY month for us and when I sat down last night to create something for this hop I have to admit I had NO mojo! I mean, I was freaking out. I don't know. Maybe it was the pressure of a looming deadline, but I e-mailed my friend Michelle around 8:00, having a mini meltdown, complaining that whatever I came up with was probably gonna look like crap anyway. And then I told her I was just going to go with my old Verve stand-by, Happy Days, and probably drive Julee crazy because I was using it AGAIN (it's probably my most over-used stamp set in my possession) and make a boy card for my son Dean (something that for some reason usually comes easy for me). And ya know what? Julee's just gonna have to deal with yet another Happy Days card in my Verve Gallery, because that darn set did the trick (and some new MME Stella Rose Hattie papers didn't hurt)!! I somehow managed to create one of my favorite cards I've EVER made!!

Seriously, I love this thing! And I don't say that very often about my own work. But this card is PERFECT for Dean. I've started this little tradition with him (he just made 4 yrs old in December) where I create a special card for him every few months and fill the inside with all of my thoughts and feelings and hopes and love for him at the moment - they're little keepsakes that I hope he'll someday treasure. (now I just need to make a cute little box to store them in). So anyway, this card is for him. And that "dare to be different" sentiment from Bountiful Backgrounds is perfect for Dean right now - like lately he's really into taping a feather (torn out of a cat toy) into his hair with scotch tape while he dances hula and wrapping a shell lei (the free ones you get every time you walk into a Hilo Hattie's store) around his head like a haku lei while he paints and each time I ask him a simple yes / no question he insists on answering it with "if I hold up 2 fingers the answer is yes, if I hold up 1 finger the answer is no" and then holding up either 1 or 2 fingers, but sometimes deciding to throw me for a loop and holding up 3 fingers for no apparent reason. These are just a few reasons this sentiment is so perfect.

But I also love all the other little details on this card - the zig-zag stitching and the buttons are pretty standard for me, and I've been know to bust out the pom pom trim from my stash. But do you see all that fun sparkly splatter? That is TOTALLY new for me. I don't usually mess with time-consuming techniques like that - something I have to sit and wait for it to dry. But I couldn't resist. I've had that shimmery paint from Tsukineko for like 2 years and the seal hadn't even been broken! I used an old toothbrush to splatter it on. I cut out the cool retro surf-style frame from Happy Days (stamped in So Saffron on cream cardstock) with my hobby blade and popped it up on dimensionals so it slightly overlapped my flagged sentiment strip, then added that glittery chipboard star I purchased on Etsy (MemrieMare) and called it good. What do you think? Pretty cool boy card, huh? Or is it just me?

So anyway, that was quite a bit of blah blah (sorry)! I wonder how many people actually read all that!? Here's that Hop List you've been waiting for.

1. Julee6. Michelle
2. Betty7. Lynda
3. Dawn8.Shannan
4. Jen d.9. Sony
5. Jen T.10.Susan

And that's not all! There are actually a few other opportunities to win some fabulous Verve prizes this week as well, including participating in a Verve Fan Blog Hop with another $50 and $30 gift certificate up for grabs!! All of the participation and entry details can be found on the Verve Blog. We've got some new Verve coming later this month that's sure to put a spring in your step and a gift certificate just might come in handy! *wink*

Also, since it's a new month, that means Verve's got a new Stamp of the Month to reveal. This month we're featuring Blessings, an elegant set of flourishes and Irish proverbs perfect for St. Patrick's Day, but also versatile enough to be used throughout the year! Blessings is 30% off during the month of March, while supplies last.

Now, head on over to Michelle's blog to check out her fabulous Verve creation!!