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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Rosette Wands for Olivia

Happy Thursday, my sweet friends! Do you know how loved you are? Immensely! :o)

A quick post (don't laugh!), as I want to share these before I ship them out today! Such a busy bee week. Last month I made a ton of rosette wands for birthday celebrations at a homeless shelter, so I wanted to make a few for Olivia. (As you probably recall, Olivia is this month's recipient of Madison's I Feel the Love Project. It fills me with such joy that she will soon be opening a box filled of crafty love from so many of you. It will be such a blessing as she continues to adjust to life on earth without her amazing mom.)

I went the Disney route this time to honor and celebrate the Disney World memories that she and our beloved Erika shared.
Mickey and Minnie are from Disney and Friends, which I am so thankful to now own. It will be such a blessing for I Feel the Love creations! :o) Mickey is on a Spellbinders Lacey Circle, while Minnie is on a Picot Edge Circle. Both are embossed with Swiss Dots and their Disney papers are trimmed in Christmas Red Stickles. To deliver extra sappy love to Olivia, I cut out Minnie's outfit with heart paper and surrounded her with red heart rhinestones. And of course she needed sparkling shoes. :o)

A closer look at Minnie and the crown rosette wand:
How pretty is that crown?! They are Spellbinders Nested Crowns, chosen for this project to go along with the Disney theme. I used foil paper for lots of shine: silver for the base crown and purple for the smaller nested crown. The detailing I kept trying to do wasn't going well, so I turned to my trusty rhinestones and covered some of the embossed areas with graduating sizes of crystals.

Just like last time, I painted bamboo skewers with turquoise glitter acrylic paint and gave them a coat of sealer for protection. Flowy ribbons are attached for Olivia's twirling delight. :o) I hope she enjoys them and feels my and God's love with every project I made for her this month. She is such an inspiring, strong, radiant 9-year-old and I know she will make a difference in this world. God has incredible plans for her!
Thank you for visiting me today! May your day be filled with blessings, love, and peace. :o)

Monday, August 27, 2012

Encouragement Card

Happy Monday, my dear friends! I hope your week is off to a sparkling start. :o)

This card is for one of my sweet friends who is in the midst of a serious trial. It is vital not to waver, so I made this to encourage her to keep her faith steadfast.

"I have set the Lord before me. I shall not be moved."
Last week I received some crafty blessings and I couldn't wait to put some to good use. I finally own a few dies from my favorite die company Cheery Lynn Designs and I love everything about them. They were worth the long wait! (Nearly a year of 'window shopping.') The exquisite butterfly is from the Small Exotic Butterflies #2 set and the beautiful leafy vine is their mini fanciful flourish... I positively love them. The butterfly is cut with pearlescent cardstock for a sweet shimmer and accented with pink rhinestones.
The Scripture is from K Andrew Designs~ Scripture Sayings, my go-to stamp set for these types of cards. It is invaluable. I have set it upon two layers of Spellbinders Fleur de Lis Squares, which are popped up with foam tape for dimension. The Paper Pizazz paper is so gorgeous that I didn't want to layer another design atop it. :o) The edges are inked with Victorian Velvet and I sewed around the base with my sewing machine. The white paper is embossed with Swiss Dots for textural happiness.

The Guipure lace and Pink Mist flowers are from Wild Orchid Crafts. Sprinkled within the flower arrangement are two sizes of rhinestones and the petals are trimmed in Star Dust for extra sparkle. You may need to enlarge one of the pictures to see those, however.

A peek inside, which I couldn't resist lining with this lovely paper... and a look at the butterfly perched atop the popped-up layer.
I am proud of her for fighting the good fight of faith and hope she always remembers that our God is greater than everything. I am eager to see her deliverance, which certainly will come. :o)

Challenges entered:
 * Cheery Lynn Designs~ Anything Goes
 * Fab 'n' Funky~ Leaves
 * In the Pink~ Things with Wings (and pink, of course!)
 * Little Scrap Pieces~ Make it Sparkle
 * Make it Monday~ Anything Goes
 * Sentimental Sundays~ Sewing or Faux Stitching

I want to give a shout-out to a fantastic challenge blog that I saw for the first time today: Word Art Wednesday. What a blessing it is! I look forward to participating each week and have already been so blessed by it. :o)

Thank you for fluttering on by! I wish you a day that sparkles with love and light. :o)

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Gift-shaped Card Set :)

Happy Tuesday, my sparkly friends! I hope you're having a wonderful week. :o)

Despite my blog silence over the past week, some craftiness has been squeezed in. :o) The gift-shaped card I made for a loved one's birthday a couple of weeks ago was so well-received that I made a set of them in varying themes. :o) I used less poofy ribbon than the one I hand delivered, making it more envelope-friendly as opposed to a box.

A rosy version was a must! (Enlarge if you want to see pearly happiness on the hearts.)
Whimsical hearts and flourishes from First Edition~Love Letters cover this gift, which I paired with Victorian Velvet distress ink and matching cardstock. I loved this shade on the embossed areas of the Spellbinders Nested Hearts so much that I decided to use two of the hearts instead of one! Pearls accent both hearts and provide the chain for them to hang beneath the bow. This card was left without a sentiment because the romantic feel lends it to be ideal for an anniversary card, as well as a birthday or Just Because card for a sweetheart. I wanted the options left open for this one.

I thought a butterfly gift would be super cute. :o)
Magnolia and My Mind's Eye papers are paired with Broken China distress ink for a lover of butterflies, aquas, or whimsy. Rhinestones serve as the chain, dangling beneath a double bow of crinkle ribbon from My Craft Spot. (Snow White and Aqua Mist, I believe.)

Everyone loved the original, so I made another one just like it, except with different ribbon.
It was hard to cut into my last sheet of this SEI heart paper, but I persevered! ;) I used Walnut Stain on the embossed areas and to lightly distress the edges. Amber rhinestones were chosen because they make me think of caramel.. and all this brown made me think of chocolate. Hehe. Instead of the ultra-poofy bow, I used beautiful ribbon I found at JoAnns. It's satiny cream with metallic gold dots. I think the ribbon could work nicely for elegant Christmas cards. :o)

Lastly, a peek at the interiors.
Spellbinders Fleur de Lis squares are cut from the same cardstock as the bows to coordinate nicely, with a simple white or vintage cream square for the message. The present cuts are from Art Philosophy, welded with my Gyspy, and all of the bows from the image are embossed with the Swiss Dots folder. The birthday sentiment stamp is from Whimsical Designs. This was a fun set to make and I hope the future recipients love them as much as I do. :o)

Challenges entered:
 * The Crafty Pad~ To Die For (Use dies/punches!)
 * Frosted Designs~ Twine/Ribbon
 * In the Pink~ Fifty Shades of... Pink!
 * Make it Monday~ Anything Goes
 * Paper Playtime~ Polka Dots and a Sentiment
 * Simon Says Stamp and Show~ No rules!

Thank you for visiting me! I hope you have a beautiful day. :o)

Monday, August 13, 2012

Wishing You a World Full of Joy: More love for Olivia!

Happy Monday, my sweet friends! I hope your week is off to a sparkly start. :o) I apologize for being a couple of days behind on your marvelous creations. I will be visiting you right after I post this! :o)

As you already know from a previous post, this month the incredible Madison of Funky Cards is honoring someone in my life for her I Feel the Love Project. Each month she highlights a particular person, family, or organization in need of some extra love. In turn, we have the absolutely privilege of using our passion for a far greater purpose. Crafting for a cause brings such joy to my heart. I love everything about I Feel the Love and am so thankful to Madison for honoring someone in my life.

The collection this month is for 9-year-old Olivia, the daughter of my lifelong friend Erika. Erika passed away last year after a long, valiant fight against cancer. Sweet Olivia is a fighter just like Erika, but facing this world without her mom has been exceptionally difficult for her. To read more about the ever-inspiring Olivia and why she and Erika are so special to me, you can check out the first card I made for Olivia

This weekend I used every spare morsel of time to make another card for her. You can never shower someone with too much love, right? I'll be making her a fun animal or Disney one soon, but before that I wanted to make her a Copic card. When I received this cutie pie last week, I knew I needed to color it up for Olivia. :o)

"Wishing you a World full of Joy"
Isn't this image adorable? It had been on my wish list for quite some time and am ecstatic to now own it. There's no better way to break it in than using it for I Feel the Love. :o) She is an Elisabeth Bell image, perfectly titled Beary Big Hugs. I stamped her on a Spellbinders Labels Four base, colored her with Copics, and used a cloud template and Tumbled Glass distress ink for the sky. I covered her sweater and shoes with Star Dust because sparkles make everything better. :o) I gave her a sweet twine bow to add a textural element.

The papers were chosen because of the fluttering hearts, so whimsically delivering my love to Olivia. The glittery swirls seemed perfect for her, too. I thought it would be fun to make her a super girly card, so I used a Martha Stewart heart border punch, a bunch of sparklified Wild Orchid Crafts roses, extra bows, and oodles of rhinestones. A tiny butterfly is resting atop one of the petals of the largest rose. The sentiment is from Lili of the Valley, which I attached to a Spellbinders Lacey Circle. I colored in the butterfly to match the stamp and centered the two little flowers with tiny rhinestones. The gingham papers are lightly inked with Victorian Velvet.

My friend Charlotte of A Little Bit of Detail made a card for this cause, in which she had Olivia's sweet name scrolled across the front in a beautiful font. It reminded me how special it is to personalize cards, especially for little kids. So I made a banner with my Art Philosophy cartridge and used small alphabet stamps to personalize this card. The banner is pop-dotted for dimension and lined with twine. I couldn't resist securing each end with a bow. :o)

There is still time to make a card for this deserving little girl, so I hope you'll consider joining this month's I Feel the Love collection! :o)

Sweet Olivia on Christmas morning, 2010.... a few short months before our beloved Erika passed away.
Challenges entered:
 * Cooking With Cricut~ Card Outreach
 * Divas By Design~ For a Female
 * I Feel the Love~ Cards for Olivia
 * In the Pink~ Fifty Shades of... Pink!
 * Little Scrap Pieces~ Use Your Bling
 * Make It Monday~ Anything Goes
 * Fab 'n' Funky~ Pearls or Rhinestones
 * Simon Says Stamp~ Bingo! (Ribbon-Free-Blooms)

Thank you for fluttering on by! I hope your day is filled with all things beautiful. :o)

Key Recipe Components:
 * Cricut cartridge: Art Philosophy
 * Spellbinders Nestabilities: Labels Four, Lacey Circles
 * Paper: Core'dinations, Heidi Grace
 * Sentiment stamp: Lili of the Valley~ Dreamy Days
 * Image stamp: Elisabeth Bell~ Beary Big Hugs
 * Copics: E000, E000, E00 (skin); E23, E25, E31, E50 (hair); R81, R83, R85 (sweater, shoes); B91, B93, B95, B97 (jeans and bandana thingy); E31, E33, E35 (I think.. for the bear), YG17, YG23, G28 (grass)
 * Flowers: Wild Orchid Crafts (Pink Mist)
 * Border Punch: Martha Stewart Lace Heart
 * Crinkle Ribbon: My Craft Spot (Petal Pink)
 * Twine: My Craft Spot (Blossom, Blueberry Blue)
 * Miscellaneous: iRock, Stickles

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Sweet Saturday: Peanut Butter Mini M&M Blondies (and blog award thanks!)

Happy Saturday, my dear friends! I hope you're having a wonderful weekend! :o)

After far too many missed weeks of this little feature, I'm happy to have a Sweet Saturday to share! (And one ready for next week, too! Jackpot!) I cannot believe how little I've been able to play in the kitchen this summer. Since I adore baking for my loved ones, I hope to pick things up a bit to deliver extra smiles. :o)

This week I'm sharing a recipe that my family fell in love with at first bite. It was my first time baking blondies... and certainly not my last! For your sweet enjoyment today: Peanut Butter Mini M&M Blondies!
Oh my, are these ever tasty! I love bar desserts for their ease and portability and these are a new staple in my baking repertoire. They'll make such cute, colorful gifts in handmade treat boxes. Plus, these use mini M&M's! I love the miniature version even more than the original. These blondies are rich without being overwhelming, packing a serious dessert punch without requiring hours in the kitchen... sometimes there just aren't hours to spare. I originally searched for this recipe after my mom and I fell in love with the M&M Blondie Blasts at Starbucks. Homemade versions always taste better and save bucks, so I was determined to find a standout recipe. As it turns out, we gravitated to a peanut butter version instead and love them even more. (And did I mention there are mini M&M's?) I hope you'll give these a whirl because they are sure to delight. :o)

Also, I would like to thank Gloria of Purpleglo Creations for awarding me the Liebster Award! I am so grateful to be receiving this award again, recognizing smaller blogs with less than 200 followers (and spreading crafty love and joy in the process). Gloria is sweet and talented and I hope you will visit her fantastic blog. You will not be disappointed! :o) Thank you, Gloria! Huge hugs for you!

Thank you for visiting! I wish you a sparkling, beautiful day! :o)

Recipe Note: Due to supplies on hand, I used 2½ cups all-purpose flour instead of subbing part of it with whole wheat flour.

Peanut Butter Mini M&M Blondies

½ cup unsalted butter
2 cups brown sugar
¾ cup peanut butter
2 cups all purpose flour
½ cup whole wheat flour
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 eggs
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
1½ cups mini M&M's

Preheat oven to 350º F. Grease a 9x13'' baking pan and set aside.

In a medium-sized pot, melt the butter and brown sugar over medium heat, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat and stir in peanut butter. Allow to cool for 10 minutes until mixture is slightly cooled.

In a large bowl, combine the flours, baking soda, salt, and baking powder. Set aside.

Stir eggs and vanilla extract into peanut butter mixture (it may be very thick). Pour peanut butter mixture into flour mixture and combine well. Fold in 1 cup of the mini M&M's.

Pour batter into greased pan. Top with remaining ½ cup of M&M's, lightly pressing the candies into the batter. Bake for 23-25 minutes or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. Allow blondies to cool completely before cutting into squares.

Source: Itty Bits of Balance

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Birthday Card

Happy Wednesday, my crafty friends! I hope you're having a great week. Thank you for the sweet and loving comments on my last post. You make my heart sparkle brighter than a Christmas tree! :o)

Tomorrow is the birthday of a sweet family member! I am so excited for the celebration. :o) I decided upon a shape card for the festive occasion.
I have longed to make a gift-shaped card, as they're just so adorable. The gift cut is from Art Philosophy, of which I welded two together with my Gypsy for the base. Since the greatest gift is love, I went with a heart theme... and I like to think of all the brown as a nod to celebratory chocolate. ;) The 'wrapping paper' for the base is one of my favorites from SEI's With All My Heart collection. The brown polka-dot paper is from First Edition's Love Letters.. for some reason, I always love dots for birthday cards. Maybe because I liken it to confetti! :o)

A bit difficult to see in the picture is the sparkly trail of amber rhinestones "hanging" from the puffy, gold-rimmed ribbon bow. It leads to one of my favorite Spellbinders, the Nested Heart. Since this is all about giving the gift of love, a fancy heart needed to be the focal point. :o) The embossed areas (and all paper edges) are inked with Walnut Stain Distress Ink and the Whimsical Designs sentiment is from Stephanie's Everyday Sentiments stamp set. The dark brown ribbon section of the gift cut is embossed with the Swiss Dots folder to coordinate with the polka-dot papers.

Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture of the interior. :( It has a dark brown Spellbinders Fleur de Lis square, which pairs nicely with the filigree embossing on the Nested Heart. A vintage cream square sits atop it, where my sappy message will be written. I hope it brings a smile to the beautiful heart we will soon be celebrating! :o)

Challenges entered:
 ** Craft Your Passion~ Anything Goes
 ** Crafty Ribbons~ Seeing Spots and Dots
 ** DL.ART~ Happy Birthday Blog Hop challenge
 ** Fun Friday~ Birthday
 ** Krafty Girls~ Get in Shape
 ** Make It Monday~ Anything Goes
 ** Papertake Weekly~ Anything Goes
 ** Really Reasonable Ribbon~ Bling and Ribbon
 ** Tuesday Alchemy~ Bingo! (Pearls/Bling-Free-Dies/Punches)

Thank you for twirling on by! I wish you a day that sparkles with love and cupcakes. :o)

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Awning Card for a Special Little Girl

Happy Saturday, my crafty friends! I hope you're having a gorgeous weekend. In lieu of the Sweet Saturday recipe I had lined up to post, I'm sharing a card that is far sweeter. (And a wee bit difficult for me to write about.)

See these lovely people?
This is Olivia (now 9 years old) and her mom Erika... they mean the world to me. Erika and I met on the first day of kindergarten. The first day of a lifelong friendship. We gravitated to each other and I'm pretty sure the HUGE 5th graders felt our fear as we huddled in the kindergartner hallway. As it turned out, we lived in the same small neighborhood. The memories we shared from that day forward are permanently etched upon my heart. It is a blessing to grow up with someone and never lose track of each other.

Over the years we shared everything from school desks to dreams, from first crushes to forever loves. Sometimes when we were little my mom would have to send us to my room when we'd get in trouble with my older brother, scheming around the house... but it was fun punishment because his room was next to mine, so we sent notes back and forth through the register vent thingy. Ha! Kids can always find a way. ;)

I'll never forget the day Erika shared the news of her cancer diagnosis. I didn't know how to handle it. She was not expected to live long, but she is a fighter. Against all odds, she battled that wretched disease for years to make memories for Olivia and in the process showed us all what inspiration truly is.

Erika passed away last year. I was devastated, angry, and sadder than I'd ever been in my life. Sweet little Olivia has had a hard time, but she is a fighter like her mom. Shortly after our dear Erika passed away, Olivia founded Kids Involved in Cancer Research. At merely 8 years old, she was determined to do all she could to fight the disease that took her mother at such a young age. She is strong, loving, and inspiring... just like Erika.

Many of you know Madison of Funky Cards, the creator of the I Feel the Love Project of which I faithfully participate. Each month she highlights a particular person, family, or organization in need of some extra love and sunshine. This month she is honoring someone in my life... and words still fail me at that incredible blessing. Olivia is the new recipient for August and it fills my heart with indescribable joy that cards will be created just for her. Knowing that people are thinking of her will be such an encouragement when she opens that box of crafty love (and long after).

I certainly will be using some Create a Critter cuteness on another card for her.. those critters are magical. But I had it on my heart to create a new-to-me card style first. I made her an awning card, as if she and I are strolling downtown, enjoying the summery sunshine, and stumble upon a sweet bakery for cupcakes and hot cocoa. (It's never too hot outside for any form of chocolate.)
The interior and a peek at the "shelf/counter" that sticks out below the goodies, as well as the love I tucked below the awning:
The creative process was extra special and I pray that Olivia feels healing love in every millimeter of it. My heart was even sappier than usual. Since the story behind this took quite a bit of space, I'll only give the bare minimum in terms of details here. The images in the 'bakery' are from Whimsical Designs sentiment stamp sets, which I colored with Copics. I made the cupcake stand with pretty pink rhinestones, used glittery SnowTex for the cocoa's marshmallows, and sparklified the cupcake hearts because my love for her and Erika will forever sparkle.

I used a Spellbinders Fancy Tags Three die for the Whimsical Designs sentiment and added some cute Blossom twine from My Craft Spot. The bottom is lined with Wild Orchid Crafts sweetheart blossoms, as though the flowers are along the walkway of the bakery. The final touch was the little butterfly resting atop the awning... clearly drawn to the beautiful heart and fighting spirit found in Olivia.

Challenges entered:
 * Crafty Catz~ Use Pink
 * Die Cuttin' Divas~ Anything Goes
 * Divas by Design~ Flowers
 * DL.ART~ Happy Birthday Linky Party and a chance to win Pretty Pennants. Happy Birthday, Diana! :o)
 * I Feel the Love~ Cards for Olivia
 * Make It Monday~ Anything Goes
 * Moving Along with the Times~ Summer (downtown walks in the sunshine!)

Thank you for fluttering on by! I hope your day is filled with love and blessings. :o)

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