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Monday, May 30, 2011

Tall Tri-Fold Invitation

Happy Memorial Day, friends! I hope your holiday weekend was joyous, just like mine! Extra love and prayers were sent to all our troops, present and past, who serve so selflessly. I wish I could hug them all... as well as their families.

This project took on a life of its own! Originally I was going to make something semi-simplistic since I didn't have a ton of time left for entry into some crafty events... and you know how I love to play in those. But once I get an idea, I just have to go after it regardless how many hours slip away. This turned into quite a labor of love and I hope my sweet boyfriend loves it. I imagine this would have gone much more quickly if I had an E2 with the actual tri-fold feature.. or a Gypsy, which can also make them. Time spent on a blessing is never a waste, so I don't mind the oodles of hours of sunshine I missed out on. My sweetheart's smile upon receipt is all the sunshine I need. :o) (I'm sappier than a maple tree.)

One of the challenges I'm participating in revolves around the theme Grillin' and Chillin' in celebration of summer, and I instantly knew I wanted to make an invitation for a special date with my honey. I decided to make a tri-fold card (my first!) and the icing on top is the fact that two other challenges would also work with my theme! It's such fun when that happens. With that as my main inspiration, here's what I came up with!

The idea entails replicating one of our favorite activities, which is going to the gorgeous park near my house. Each 'fold' leading up to the main scene represents a different aspect of our park adventures. The card is sort of like a journey through what our date will be. :o)

First up: one of the beaches nestled within the park's sprawling grounds. We're eternally young-at-heart, so I needed to make a sandcastle. Then I decided our castle needed a shimmery moat... and if I ever had a moat, I'd use these sparkly beauties as my bridge. (My apologies for cutting off one of my favorite features of this card type: seeing the tops of each fold when it's closed. If the deadline wasn't almost up, I'd re-take the pictures.)

The middle part of our park fun: the glorious grounds themselves. The last time we went I was literally standing alongside eight deer. Thrilling! In this part, the interior tree leaves, beehive, and wagon contents are all sparklified. This sweet fawn is carrying a hint as to the ultimate destination of our date...

Now fully open, there's a whole lot of happy going on. :o) The pocket on the right holds a tag with the event details, which the sparkling caterpillar is so nobly holding up. I sparklified a lot more than the camera captured, partially because my boyfriend gets a kick out of my obsession with all things sparkly. ;) (Plus, the best marshmallows have iridescent sparkle... right?) Since I'm not a meat eater, s'mores are my "grilled" dinner for barbeques. ;)

An updated picture because the beehive from "page two" was left without a tenant. I was clearly too rushed tonight. I know it's blurry, but it's the best I could get super quick in a dimly lit room. He left the hive early to get a prime s'more making spot. ;) He's a smart baby bee.

Key Recipe Components:
 * Cricut Cartridge: Create a Critter, Classic Font (the 'graham cracker' squares)
 * Cuttlebug D'vine Swirls embossing folder
 * Paper: DCWV, Heidi Grace, Papertrey Ink, Core'dinations
 * Miscellaneous: Stickles

I'm including my date invitation in the following fun locations:
Bug Bites Bug Hop (Hidden critter from hop required)

Thank you for stopping by! I truly appreciate your visit. :o)


Saturday, May 28, 2011

Encouragement Card, Sweet Saturday, and Happy News!

Happy Saturday, dear friends! What a week. Does anyone have a gallon of chocolate milk handy? I'll share my rainbow sprinkles in return.

In addition to this new card, today I also introduce a weekly feature: Sweet Saturday. Each weekend I will feature a new delicious confection that received rave reviews from my sugar-crazed family, along with a corresponding craft as the cherry on top. It was supposed to begin last week, but my family ate it too fast. (The dessert, not the blog.) Yes, this recipe is *that* good. My dad would call it the Cadillac of bundt cakes... he's adorable like that. Upon request I've made it two times since, so I snapped a "lovely" dark picture of it... seriously, could there have been any more rain this week? Flooding and gray skies galore!

Up first is a very special card. Friends, it was an emotional week. Mere moments after posting my Butterfly Wishes blog last Sunday, my mom called with news that my sweet grandpa passed away. Clearly three things were in order to sustain us: faith, chocolate, and Create a Critter. We celebrated his life on Thursday and before returning home I knew I had some cards to make. I firmly believe the Create a Critter cartridge is magical. This one is for my aunt who surely can use a cute card of encouragement. I inked the clouds with silver and added silver Stickles to the embossing to reflect a silver lining. Though sometimes it's nearly impossible to find, it's always there... in this case, a reminder to be joyful that our loved one is no longer in pain. The interior Scripture was chosen because especially in the stormy days of life, we need to praise and worship Him through gorgeous music from the depths of our heart... fully trusting and leaning on Him. After the period of mourning, our rainbows will appear. :o)

For an extra dose of fun, I had two challenges in mind for this card:
Stampin' Sisters in Christ (Encouragement card with a touch of silver. My first time here!)
Fantabulous Cricut Challenge Blog (The color blue and at least one cloud.)
Both of these blogs burst with inspiration and joy. I'm so grateful for them! :o)

This was my first time using Glossy Accents! So fun. I used it to fill the puddle (mostly...) and make raindrops. It doesn't show, but the umbrella handle is all sparkle. Naturally. Also, I love Peachy Keen stamps but don't have any... so I did my best to draw one of their faces to give her some personality.

And now for the dessert star of the day! Cinnamon-Chocolate bundt cake. Have you paired cinnamon and chocolate together in a cake? I hadn't before discovering this recipe... it's divine. You know it must be amazing for my first Sweet Saturday to be anything other than cupcakes. I made this for my grandpa's wake and the chocolate brilliance temporarily soothed the saddened hearts. Behold the power of chocolate! I've made this with a dusting of powdered sugar (while humming Waltz of the Snowflakes) and also with a simple powdered sugar-water glaze. Both are yummy. I think I'll only use the glaze when I want to adhere chocolate pearls to the top. Otherwise, this snowfall of powdered sugar is more than enough for this moist, chocolatey creation. Best bundt cake we've ever had. :o)

(Forgive the picture. Oh prime lens and external flash, I need you.)

Since I didn't alter the recipe and Blogger's current instability is making me nervous, I'll simply link to my source: Cinnamon Chocolate Bundt Cake by The Food Librarian. (Side note: She has an incredible array of bundt cake recipes. I can hardly wait to bake my next choice from her line-up: Snickerdoodle!)

Lastly, I have exciting news! I'm so honored to have been featured on Patches of Pink. Jalisa and her hubby chose my Butterfly Wishes basket as their favorite entry last week. I couldn't be more thrilled! It was a lovely bit of news to receive after this tough stretch. Thank you, Jalisa! :o)

Key Recipe Components (card):
 * Cricut cartridge: Create a Critter
 * Cuttlebug D'vine Swirls embossing folder
 * Fiskars Emboss Plus Punch (corner punch)
 * Paper: Heidi Grace, DCWV, Papertrey Ink, miscellaneous
 * Scripture: Dee's Bugaboo Boutique
 * Button: My Mind's Eye Tres Jolie
 * Misc: Glossy Accents, Stickles

Thank you very much for visiting! I hope your weekend shines with blessings, love, and laughter. :o)


Sunday, May 22, 2011

Butterfly Wishes

Happy Sunday, friends! A batty week prevented me from crafting or blogging, but at last I've returned to my happy new home. I've quickly grown fond of my itty bitty blog haven and don't expect to be away so long again. I've been blessed to already encounter such beautiful people. (That means you!)

Time for the crafty goodness! (Butterflies again! I can't help myself. There's always room for butterflies.) This warrants a bit of a story, but I won't blame you if you skip the writing and zip to the pictures. ;) I promise! I understand time constraints. This is a rare instance to be so wordy and picture heavy... it's just one of those creations that came to be in a unique manner.

Before I begin, just a note that I'm including this in three fun locations since it's always fun to share. :o)

* A wonderful link-up party at Patches of Pink. (Click the pretty button to see some wonderful creations.)

Patches of Pink

 * Alex's weekly link-up party, which was a ton of fun last week! Join in if you haven't already. :o)

* The weekly challenge at the inspiring Fantabulous Cricut Challenge Blog, which requires the use of a triangle and rectangle within the project.

I carved out some creativity time this weekend to make a fun project. This is special to me because it represents something exceptionally gorgeous. It's one of those beautiful instances when three of my passions combine into one glorious moment. The inspiration for this design came about while I was frolicking outdoors with my trusty camera. I was still reveling in joy at the unexpected news that I just might return to dancing soon'ish... this very summer or autumn, after so many years of waiting in the wings. Hope was dancing through me when I happened upon a tiny treasure trove of wishes. Such flawless timing. 

The wind tried its best to deter me, but I dropped to the ground and semi-patiently waited for calm. I only had a few seconds of cooperative weather, so I snapped away and pleaded with my simple kit zoom lens to perform beyond its technical ability. I'm fairly new to photography, but have high aspirations... in time my skill and equipment will catch up to my visions. So much patience required at the beginning of a journey. It's thrilling to capture a moment like that. Seemingly simple on the surface, but so much more fiery if you dig deeper. Nestled alongside a flower bursting with hope and wishes, my love of photography melded with my ultimate passion for dance, which in turn propelled me to *this* cherished creative outlet. I  needed to attempt to create something to emulate this moment of sunshine.

I came up with a basket to encourage and sustain my "butterfly" wishes. I refer to them as such for two primary reasons: to reflect the graceful aspect of dance, like a butterfly whimsically fluttering across her own stage... and also as a symbolic messenger to carry my prayers heavenward. When any moment of doubt creeps in or the inability to dance cuts too deeply, I'll take out one of the tags tucked inside. There are a couple themes, as you'll see. Additional tags may be added when time permits. 

(Disclaimer: A gargantuan bumble bee was very interested in me and my basket, so I didn't have time to experiment with capturing the best pictures. He wasn't as cute and friendly as the one on the Create a Critter cartridge.)

The two tulle flowers on each side of the basket make me think of ballet costumes, though I love them in their own right. They're lovely accents without shouting that they're there.

Three tags list a few of my favorite ballet roles and classical compositions, and when I choose one of those I'll listen to the stunning orchestration and watch the accompanying ballet choreography.

Half are Scriptures to remind myself where my focus needs to be and the power that is already at work within me. 

The final one is extra special. It's a reminder of what awaits me. This tag contains three of my favorite songs, which will be my first three choreographies when I can dance again. They've already begun in my heart. :o) (And you can finally see the sweet butterfly at the back of my basket.)

It's only appropriate to conclude this post with the aforementioned inspiration. Make a wish...

... or several, thanks to this abundance. :o)

Key Recipe Components:
 * Cricut cartridges: Cindy Loo, Florals Embellished, Create a Critter, Classic Font
 * Paper: SEI, DCWV, Heidi Grace, Papertrey Ink
 * Sentiment: Digital stamp from Playing with Paper
 * Ribbon: SEI, Offray, and miscellaneous
 * Flowers: Prima Fabric Fancies
 * Buttons: My Mind's Eye Tres Jolie
 * Heaps of diamond Stickles

You are beyond angelic for taking the time to share in my story. Thank you for visiting and I wish you a sparkling Sunday. :o)


Monday, May 16, 2011

Waterfall Card with a Special Purpose

Happy Monday, friends! I hope your week is bursting with sunshine and smiles. :o)

I'm including this card in "Made It Myself Mondays," which is a new (and fantastic!) link-up party hosted by Alex at You Had Me At Craft. Join in the fun! There's inspiration galore and great blogs to discover. :o)

This weekend I made my first waterfall card! I consider it a waterfall of love and blessings. :o) I am relatively new to cardmaking (I've only had my Cricut Expression since last month), but have been intrigued by this sweet concept since I first saw it. This card has a very special destination, which made this creative process even more delightful. It is going to a fellow papercrafter (Krafty Katsy) who is battling some serious health issues. The good news is that our Lord and Savior is far bigger than any obstacle... so along with all of our prayers, a large collection of cards is being sent to her. It's inspiring to encounter so many beautiful hearts throughout the crafty blogosphere.
Edit: Julie posted about Katsy tonight, so if you would also like to send a card, please visit Julie's blog for details.

One more thing before I share a few pictures... this creation reminded me that all art forms are forever a learning process. Isn't that exciting? The learning never stops, whether it's a new technique altogether, new twists, or simply more effective ways to do things. While my perfectionist self can get frustrated during the learning curve, particularly when the result has an extra special mission, I've re-learned a valuable lesson. The love behind every card, cupcake, and choreography more than makes up for any technical flaws. I've jam-packed as much love and faith as possible into this tiny blessing, which is the most important aspect of creativity. :o)

I don't have any picture stamps, so instead of using this card type's typical route, I relied upon my faithful Cricut friend. The Storybook cartridge is full of lovely nature and butterfly images, so I used four to create a cascading waterfall of pure beauty. I was tempted to add more pearls to the top butterfly instead of just along the body... which still may happen before this hops in the mail. Some of those tiny dots are begging for a morsel of pearlescent or sparkly delight. ;) (The DCWV glitter stack was perfect for the lily and daisy.) I love the simple beauty.

Key Recipe Components:
 * Cricut Storybook cartridge
 * Autumn Leaves (flourishes on the scallop backgrounds) and Inkadinkado (sentiment) stamps
 * Recollections pearls (a snippet of a flourish)
 * Making Memories jumbo pebble brad
 * SEI, DCWV, Papertrey Ink, and misc. paper
 * Ribbon from Target dollar bin collection (jackpot!)

In fact, this was such fun that I'm fluttering off to make a waterfall card for my sweetheart. :o) Thank you for stopping by and I hope you have a gorgeous day!


Friday, May 13, 2011

I Pick You!

Happy Friday, friends! Given blogger's current issues with deleting posts and such, I'll keep this short and sweet. Which is ironic, because the recipient of this card is also short and sweet. ;) Not only is this tiny blessing heading to the east coast for a dear friend, it is also my entry into a NSD challenge at Mary's Cardz TV. It is my first time participating and I'm excited! She's beyond lovely. :o)

The sole requirement was to use fruit, so I settled upon a basket of juicy strawberries. As a last minute tweak which doesn't show all that well in this image, I made them sugared berries. Big surprise, right? I love sugared berries in decor (and sugared pumpkins in the fall!), which is why the idea popped into my head. The basket's main background and the berry that escaped are pop dotted for some dimension. It didn't really escape the basket, though... it's to symbolize picking this particular friend to share my life with. I couldn't be more blessed. :o) (Also, I'm in love with my new white gelly roll pen. I wanted to doodle all night, on everything in sight! It made up for my love-hate relationship with this gorgeous edge punch. If I make it *almost* lined up, it's cause for a bubbly celebration.)

Key Recipe Components:
 * Cricut Simply Charmed, Storybook, and Create a Critter cartridges
 * Cuttlebug Polka Dots and Swiss Dots embossing folders
 * My Pink Stamper Even More Punny-licious stamps (I combined three of them to make my sentiment)
 * Martha Stewart Doily Lace Edge punch
 * My Mind's Eye Tres Jolie button
 * Prima flowers
 * Papertrey Ink and DCWV paper
 * Offray ribbon

I hope everyone has a beautiful (and crafty) weekend! Thank you for visiting. :o)


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Banana Bling

Down to the wire I go! This is my final submission for Robyn's beautiful National Scrapbook Day celebration at My Pink Stamper. Challenge #6 required the inclusion of a tag on the project. I decided the happiest tag holder is the tail of a pop dotted monkey swinging to a rhinestone-studded banana. Naturally! This cutie pie was fun to make (I love the bananas still hugging the tree), but my monkey's sweetness didn't ward off mishaps. Only when I'm rushing with a time-sensitive creation does the ink pad fall out of its holder while I'm edging, thus dashing me to the Cricut to re-do items. (Though I decided against inking in the end, of course! The Stickles were calling me.) There was also an incident with rhinestones exploding out of the container all willy-nilly, but I didn't so much mind that one. ;)

This card is for a dear friend who is struggling with a few battles. I think a sparkling banana should cheer her up, don't you? She's as unique and lovely as a fluttering snowflake... and truly is one in a million. :) The only potential negative with this card is that it has made me yearn for banana cream pie. Or a banana split. Or even better: banana split cupcakes, topped with extra sprinkles!

Key Recipe Components:
 * Cricut Create a Critter cartridge
 * Stickles
 * iRock and Brenda Walton rhinestones
 * Papertrey Ink and Core'dinations cardstock
 * Ribbon from Target

There's a plethora of inspiring and gorgeous paper crafting projects linked up to Robyn's site, so I highly recommend taking a gander through some of the entries. I hope your week is off to a blessed start! :o) Lots of love!


Sunday, May 8, 2011

Surprise Pop-Up Slider Card

The National Scrapbook Day celebration spilled over into today, which certainly isn't a bad thing! This is for Challenge #9 at My Pink Stamper, which necessitated glitz, glam, and glitter. I might be pushing the boundaries of glam here... but there's oodles of sparkle, pearls, and swirly flourishes. Plus, the pink cardstock and ribbon are called Raspberry Fizz. Surely that makes my butterfly glamorous.

This project began as a gift card holder, but I soon realized I had no gift card for inclusion and therefore needed a new plan. Details, details. So I searched for different takes on slider cards to try and stumbled upon a great tutorial for surprise pop-ups from Dawn at Dawn's Stamping Studio. Perfect! I *love* this idea. My creative process was a comedy of errors, made even funnier by the fact that this is not complicated. At all. I'll chalk it up to late-night sleepy crafting and a less-than-stellar Mocha Frapp. (Such devastation.) Regardless, this was a ton of fun and I will be making many variations in the future. :o)

Key Recipe Components:
 * Cricut Storybook cartridge
 * Autumn Leaves, Inkadinkado, and Hampton Art stamps
 * Brenda Walton rhinestones
 * Studio G glitter glue
 * Papertrey Ink and DCWV cardstock
 * Papertrey Ink and Offray ribbon

Love and blessings to all on this beautiful Mother's Day! Love you, Mom!


Saturday, May 7, 2011

Cupcakes are Turtley Awesome

I could blissfully write about my love of cupcakes, but today it's all about National Scrapbook Day! My Pink Stamper is hosting a full day of festivities and I'm excited to participate. My pokie little puppy self finally completely Challenge One, which required anything cupcake! My heart melted like a marshmallow destined to be a S'more.

This card has a special purpose! I made it for the lovely owner of my local cupcakery. I even ate one of her Black Forest Cupcakes during its creation. This location only opened a month ago, so I'm mailing an anonymous card to congratulate her on a successful beginning and wish her the sparkliest future with this adventure. I hope it incites a smile brighter than a dancing moonbeam.

Key Recipe Components:
 * Cricut Create a Critter cartridge
 * Cuttlebug D'vine Swirl embossing folder
 * My Pink Stamper Even More Punny-licious stamps
 * Papertrey Ink, DCWV, and Core-dinations paper
 * American Crafts ribbon

Happy Saturday, friends!


Friday, May 6, 2011

An Artistic Choreography

At its sparkly core, that’s what this blog encompasses. I originally considered making it one-dimensional, centralized on a single creative outlet, but my heart denied that option. This needs to include every gorgeous art form that sparkles within me. Just as each avenue of creative expression enriches my life, so too they enhance one another. Photography enlivens my writing. Making cards for charity can truly inspire a dance. All it takes is realization upon who will soon hold that tiny morsel of kindness. Even a cupcake, with love swirled on top via cookie dough butterceam, can spark something delightful. Dividing them would be like making a hot fudge sundae without sprinkles… you just don’t do that.
Collectively, my artistic passions weave together to form an intricate choreography of love. A dance that simultaneously expresses and reveals my innermost being. Every craft is its own beautiful sparkle. But together they portray every joyous beat of my heart in a bouquet of kaleidoscopic color... like shimmery sunbeams engaged in a ballet upon a sunset-clothed ocean. The pattern changes and the emphasis shifts, but that’s what makes it lovely. The dance is only known by One, and I’m learning it a tiny bit at a time as I seek, explore, and create.
Heartfelt creations are made even better by sharing, which is why this blog has been launched. A spirit bursting with love needs to give, after all. That’s why the best boxes of popsicles are the ones that come with two per wrapper. I’ll always share my popsicle with you.

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