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Friday, December 30, 2011

Cupcake Christmas Card

Happy Friday, my sparkly friends! :o)

I made this Christmas card last week for the wonderful owner and sweet employees at my local cupcake bakery. They opened earlier this year and I am thrilled they are (presumably) doing well. They always greet me and my sweetie with big smiles, know my favorites, and have been overly generous on many occasions. Making and delivering this little card is one of the highlights so far of the holiday season. :o)

"Elves at WORK!"
A giant cupcake card of swirly frosting, adorned with red, burgundy, and green rhinestone sprinkles. :o) I chose to make the "wrapper" out of fancy Christmas paper since they make fancy cupcakes. The Whimsical Designs sentiment is from the Snow Much Fun stamp set, which I love. The adorable digi stamp is from The Paper Shelter, titled Santa's Cute Helper... and the instant I saw this image I knew the sentiment was perfect for it. I colored her with Copics, added Stardust to all of her trim and sled, used tiny rhinestones for her buttons, tied some Peppermint Stick twine around her sack of goodies, and used a slathering of SnowTex for her sledding surface. (And it looks like whipped cream! Perfect!) I attached the sentiment with twine and placed it at the end of the pretty branch of holly berries and pinecones, almost like the branch is holding it. :o) The workers at the cupcakery are kind of like elves all year round!

Not only did this turn out to be one of my favorite cards, but when I delivered it on Christmas Eve it was a lovely moment. The owner was so surprised to receive this tiny gift and it was such a delight to see a smile light up her face as she kept looking at it. :o)

And THEN it was my turn to be surprised... when I went back this week for yet another one of my favorite Apple Cider cupcakes, guess what was sitting out? This card! What a shock. I am positively thrilled that she likes it so much she wanted to set it out. :o)

Thank you for visiting me today! I hope you have a wonderful and sparkly New Years weekend! Can you believe it's here? I look forward to a new year of crafting with you all. :o) Extra hugs and blessings (and cupcakes!) for another holiday weekend!

Key Recipe Components:
 * Cricut cartridge: Create a Critter
 * Cuttlebug embossing folder: D'vine Swirls
 * Spellbinders Nestabilities: Labels Four
 * Sentiment stamp: Whimsical Designs~ Snow Much Fun
 * Digi Stamp: The Paper Shelter~ Santa's Cute Helper
 * Coloring Medium: Copics
 * Paper: Core'dinations, K and Company
 * Twine: Trendy Twine (Peppermint Stick)
 * Miscellaneous: Rhinestones (Recollections), SnowTex


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Happy New Year: Whimsical Wednesday Challenge!

Happy Wednesday, my sweet friends! I hope everyone had a blessed and sparkly Christmas. :o)

This week's Whimsical Wednesday challenge is: Happy New Year! There are two wonderful options: either create a card/project to celebrate the new year OR upload your favorite card/project from this year. :o)

I embraced the option to share my favorite project so I wouldn't have to miss even a moment of precious family holiday time. As much as I love creating, I wanted to be with my loved ones as much as possible. Although this is a fairly recent project, it is my absolute favorite from my 7 or 8 months of Cricut creations and blogging. It makes my heart happy.

My winter picnic basket, created for me and my sweetheart to enjoy a lovely indoor picnic while snowflakes flutter outside:
I won't rehash most of the oodles of sappy notes and project details I shared in my original post, but if you want to re-read it (or didn't see it the first time) you can find it all by clicking HERE. For this recap, I'll simply share the highlights. :o)

"You still give me butterflies inside"
The pearl-accented Wall Decor and More butterfly is carrying the silver-embossed message, stamped from Stephanie's With Love stamp set.

"Everything is better with you by my side" 
One of my very favorite digi stamps, the Wee Stamps Winter Fairy... sharing her sparkly heart with her sweet friend. Another Whimsical Designs~ With Love sentiment makes this perfect. 

"A little treat for someone so sweet"
A touch of snowman-whimsy mixing with the elegant silver-embossed/rhinestone Christmas tree atop the fun snowy pom poms... and of course the dancing cupcakes below. Every winter picnic basket needs cupcakes dancing in the snow! And that sweet sentiment from Stephanie's Whimsical Fun~ Volume 1 is ideal for the yoke of the basket.
Lastly, another Wee Stamps image. She is technically the Silver Fairy, but to me she is always the Angel of Love. And you can never go wrong with a snowball-centered glitter bow made of ribbon. This project was such fun.. I'm thinking I should make another one soon. :o)

Picnic basket template I (mostly) followed: Created by Silvie Z Tutorial

I hope you'll join us this week by linking up your New Years card/project or your favorite 2011 creation to the Whimsical Wednesday challenge post! You can also read up on this week's prize on that post. I truly look forward to seeing what you share for this marvelous challenge. :o)

Be sure to hop on over to the other Whimsical Designers' blogs to see their fantastic projects. Thank you for stopping by today! I wish you all a beautiful day. :o)

** After two days of debating between this and my carousel, I'm adding this to another fabulous "Favorites" challenge! Oh how I've missed participating at CWC.
 * Cooking With Cricut~ Year in Review

Key Recipe Components:
 * Cricut cartridges: Create a Cricut, Gypsy Wanderings, Wall Decor and More
 * Cuttlebug embossing folder: Swiss Dots
 * Spellbinders Nestabilities: Labels Four, Picot Edge Circles
 * Sentiment stamps: Whimsical Designs Stamps (Whimsical Fun- Volume 1; With Love)
 * Digi image stamps: Wee Stamps (Silver Fairy; Winter Fairy); Colored with Copics
 * Christmas tree and the yoke snowflake stamps: Recollections
 * Paper: The Paper Company (Winter Whites Collection)
 * Fabric Buttons: The Paper Company (Winter Whites Collection)
 * Ribbon: American Crafts
 * Handle Border Punch: Martha Stewart Doily Lace
 * Miscellaneous: Flower Soft, iRock, Pearls (Recollections), Stickles

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Home for the Holidays: Whimsical Wednesday Challenge!

Happy Wednesday, my sweet friends! Thank you for your loving support over the weekend... my family and I appreciate it. You are all amazing. :o) Hugs!

This week's Whimsical Wednesday challenge is Home for the Holidays! Create any winter, Christmas, or New Years themed home decor item to play along with us this week. With the big celebration this weekend, there's still some time to make that perfect accent or centerpiece with your own crafty hands. :o) Or as is the case with mine, one with a couple of Christmassy elements, but meant to stay put beyond that glorious day.

Made for my sweet, amazing mom... snowy flowers that will never wither. :o) (And a cute stocking tag, too!)
"Warm Winter Wishes"
This turned out to be a favorite project of mine! I happened upon a paper flower arrangement during a google search a couple weeks ago and instantly fell in love. I needed to make my own version and decided on a wintry wonderland bouquet with a couple pops of gorgeous festive red. All of the paper is Core Couture, so it is indeed sparkling like winter's beauty.

I sketched out some ideas, flipped through my little Cricut cart booklets to select a few different flowers... and five million pop-dotted layers later, my snowy bouquet was complete:
The Christmas ornament (and tag) hanging by a pearly snowflake contains the beautiful Whimsical Designs sentiment, which is from the Snow Much Fun set. I embossed it in silver to match the icy silver flecks in the flowers and also embossed some snowflakes from an Inkadinkado Christmas set. I love that I always have the ideal sentiment on hand with these magnificent stamp sets! :o) They make me happy, just like these enormous flowers. Oh these flowers... I practically cleared out my stash of pop dots. They range in sizes for a more realistic appearance. The smallest is 11 layers and the largest is 19 layers, with each layer being 1/4-inch smaller than the previous. To complete the arrangement I added a few different leaves, a couple of my favorite Cindy Loo flourishes, and added some pearls that my mom adores. (And of course a smattering of snowflakes.) The flower stems are made with rolled up white paper. Straws would have been much easier, but mine are all striped or neon... which just didn't quite coordinate. ;)

One side of the Cindy Loo basket contains another ornament, given to me by my sweet friend Jayne. I'm unsure what cart it is from, but I absolutely love it and think it's perfect for this project.
I backed the opening with a swirled golden paper, then covered it in Star Dust to make it sparkle with the Lord's light. Both of the ornaments are topped with silver Stickles and hung in silver. (And a winter butterfly wanted to be a part of this gift.) I made the basket from Cindy Loo and filled it with river rocks to prevent a tumbling accident. I admit it was a bit time consuming assembling the flowers with so many layers, but it was well worth it. Plus, this project was completely enjoyable and fun. I'll be giving it to my mom on Christmas Eve, along with a massive hug.

Since this project isn't exactly wrapping-friendly, I made a coordinating tag. I used the same papers, plus some sparkly Snow-Tex, microbeads, and ribbon. Why so snowy? Because this stocking has been dancing in the snow! :o) (Although technically the rain and fog came, so they are photographed separately. So unfortunate!)
If you view it larger, you'll see the pretty microbeads on the two bottom white sections. I wanted the stocking 'snowy' in a few different forms, so I used the microbeads on the bottom (lightly pressed into Glossy Accents), embossed the top section with a snowflake folder, and added some Glistening Snow-Tex along the trim. My mom loves ribbon and buttons (don't we all?), so I finished it off with some Prairie Bird Boutique crinkle ribbon, a shiny button from a goodie box I won from my sweet friend Pam, and a Peppermint Stick Trendy Twine bow. :o)

I hope you'll join us this week by linking up your winter, Christmas, or New Years home decor project to the Whimsical Wednesday challenge post! I am excited to see your creations. :o) Our very own Whimsical Designer Nanne is this week's generous sponsor, donating a prize pack of marvelous Webster Pages scrapping supplies. Thank you, Nanne! :o)

Be sure to flutter on over to the rest of the Whimsical Designers' blogs to see their beautiful creations. Thank you for visiting me today! I hope everyone has a sparkly, joyous, whimsical Christmas. :o)

Challenges entered:
 * Die Cuttin Divas~ Holiday Decor
 * Fantabulous Cricut~ Trimming with a Tag
 * My Craft Spot~ Tag... You're It!
 * My Sheri Crafts~ Let it Snow

Key Recipe Components:
 * Cricut cartridges: Cindy Loo, Create a Critter, Florals Embellished, Wall Decor and More
 * Cuttlebug embossing folder: Snowy one from Winter Wonderland set
 * Stamps: Sentiment~ Whimsical Designs~ Snow Much Fun; Snowflakes~ Inkadinkado
 * Paper: Core'dinations, K and Company
 * Ribbon: Prairie Bird Boutique
 * Twine: Trendy Twine (Peppermint Stick, purchased at My Craft Spot)
 * Microbeads: Recollections
 * Punches: Butterfly~ Martha Stewart Small Monarch; Snowflake~ Marvy
 * Miscellaneous: Glossy Accents, Pearls (Recollections), Snow-Tex, Stickles


Saturday, December 17, 2011

Where I've been... plus a Christmas tag and a special Sweet Saturday

My sweet crafty friends,

While it's not completely foreign that I've gone a week without posting, it is unusual that I haven't visited all of your wonderful blogs, sprinkling sparkly notes about your projects. I wish it was due to the busy holiday season... but instead it has been from a fairly traumatic situation. A week ago, I was happily working on a Whimsical project as I often do on the weekends... then the next minute I was racing to the hospital. My sweet mom had a heart attack. :( Thank God it was 'minor'... though at the time, it looked anything but. Her whispered words for me to be with her "just in case" haunted me over the next several days spent in the hospital. I pondered going into a bit more detail here, but I'd rather forget it all. I'm trying to.

The important thing is that she survived, has returned home, and will soon begin rehabilitation in an attempt to strengthen her damaged heart. Prayer is far more effective than that, so we of course welcome any prayers. She cannot do much of anything as she recovers, so I am doing my best to take care of everything I can. I tried to craft once for a DT project, but never had I felt so far from creative or crafty.... just drained from a tough week. I still am. A card was just too hard.

I set it aside for later and instead made a simple little Christmas tag to put on a present for my mom. (Picture taken with my phone... sorry about that.)

"No Peeking"
I whipstitched around the layers for some fun texture, using a beautiful vintagey Christmas twine. It and the Santa (I believe from Winter Frolic?) were sent to me by my dear friend Jayne to use on some Christmas crafts. I love them! I centered the snowflakes with pretty green rhinestones and finished it off with some dark green ribbon and beautiful Prairie Bird Boutique crinkle ribbon. I sparklified Santa with Star Dust because he told me to. (Really!) The Whimsical Designs sentiment makes me smile, both in wording and the gorgeous swirly font. (If you click on the photo, you'll see the pretty curlie-Q letters and some fabulous camera blur.) It is from the Snow Much Fun set, which I completely adore. This particular stamp was perfect because I know my mom will be trying to peek at the gift beneath this simple little tag.

I will be catching up with your fantastic blogs in the next couple of days as things begin to settle down a bit in regards to my mom. I'm doing all I can for her and spending extra time with her, but your projects make me happy. Since the storm has eased, I will be visiting soon.

I mentioned that this is a special Sweet Saturday. I've posted all sorts of sweets over the last several months. Delicious cupcakes, muffins, fudge... and of course some tasty cakes. But today is sweeter than all of that combined. I get to hug my mom today... and nothing is sweeter than that. Smoosh your loved ones extra tight. And maybe even wish them a Sweet Saturday. :o)

Have a beautiful weekend-before-Christmas! :o)

Key Recipe Components:
 * Cricut cartridge: Classic Font, Winter Frolic (I think)
 * Stamp: Whimsical Designs~ Snow Much Fun
 * Paper: Recollections
 * Crinkle ribbon: Prairie Bird Boutique
 * Miscellaneous: iRock, Stickles


Saturday, December 10, 2011

Cocoa Warms the Heart and Sweet Saturday!

Happy Saturday, my sweet and sparkly friends! :o)

Amazingly, I have a card AND a teeny tiny treat to share today! When was the last time that happened on my beloved Sweet Saturday? I was supposed to have so many treats throughout the holidays, but things simply have not gone as planned due to time constraints and my unsparkly back. But I am one day closer to being all healed up! :)

I was determined to enter one of the challenges I've been longing to participate in, so that was my main focus for this card. I zipped over to Elisabeth Bell's World a couple days ago and panicked when I saw it was a sketch challenge. Those hurt my brain something crazy. I changed, altered, tweaked, shifted, and second-guessed a million times throughout the creative process. I had to force myself to just STOP and declare it finished. And so, here is my wintry white and blue card... with one of my very first (and favorite) stamps. Finally I got to color her!

"Cocoa Warms the Heart"
A bit of a different style for me, which is why I had so much trouble. I love layered looks and mixing different borders/trims/embellishments/etc... I often admire that on so many cards. But when I try to do it, it kind of looks like my crafty area exploded onto my card base. (Which explains why this is my first time posting one of this nature.) This was hard for me! A challenge indeed.

When I began my Copic adventure a few months ago,  Willow with Hot Chocolate was in my first stamp order. :o) I love this image. When the days are chilly and personal storms are raging, there's solace in a warm mug of hot cocoa. (Or even a glass of chocolate milk, really.) I love how she just seems peaceful. The snowy battle surrounding her no longer fazes her, because she's steady in divine love and chocolate. Is there any better combination? :o) I had some technical issues as I tried to work on my coloring, but I still love her to bits and pieces.

Tying it all together is this fabulous Whimsical Designs sentiment stamp, from the "Snow Much Fun" set. I love it! :o) I held off on coloring her when I saw this sentiment would be part of Stephanie's first release. I pop-dotted the sentiment and Willow for dimension. The sparkling snowflakes are at three different heights to make it seem more authentic, and each is nestled atop a sheer flower. I added some sparkle to Willow, including the designs on her pants. Since winter is so sparkly, I used my Core Couture paper for the doily lace trim, the picot edge circle, and the snowflakes.

Challenge entered:
 * Elisabeth Bell's World~ Sketch

Who's ready for a teeny tiny treat? This would have been a great time to post my hot chocolate recipe, but I wasn't able to make it. I'll be putting the recipe inside this card, however. Given my unplanned lack of baking, near the end of this post I'll be including a recap of my previously-posted favorites that are great for this lovely holiday season. :o)

This week's treat is one of those where you have mere minutes available. One reason I like making things myself is I know exactly what's going in them. And homemade always tastes better, right? That's why I jumped at the chance to make this when I saw a reliable recipe... do you love adding chocolate syrup to ice cream sundaes? Or making chocolate milk? Or adding a splash of chocolate to homemade mochas? Then you need to try this! With only five ingredients and a tad over ten minutes, you have Homemade Chocolate Syrup!
Rich and chocolatey, with no trace of artificial taste or scary ingredients. I made it last night and have so far enjoyed it with vanilla ice cream and this glass of chocolate milk. My straw is way too big for that glass, but it was one of those mornings where you just need to use a stripey straw. :o)

A few favorite recipes that are perfect for the holidays:
 * Cappuccino Fudge
 * Caramel Apple Cheesecake Pie
 * Gingerbread Cookies
 * Pumpkin Muffins with Vanilla Cream Cheese Filling
 * Pumpkin Spice Latte Cupcakes
 * Pumpkin Whoopie Pies with Maple Cream Cheese Filling
 * Tuxedo Cake

Thank you for visiting me today! You make me sparklier than the brightest Christmas tree. :o) Have a beautiful weekend, my dear friends!

Homemade Chocolate Syrup

1¼ cups sugar
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup water
¼ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar and cocoa powder and whisk briefly to break up any clumps. Stir in the water and salt and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring frequently. Once the mixture reaches a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low and let simmer until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand for 5 minutes. Stir in the vanilla. Store in the refrigerator.

Source: Annie's Eats

Key Recipe Components (for card):
 * Cricut cartridges: Elegant Edges, Gypsy Wanderings
 * Cuttlebug embossing folder: Swiss Dots
 * Spellbinders Nestabilities: Labels Four, Picot Edge Circles
 * Sentiment stamp: Whimsical Designs~ Snow Much Fun
 * Image stamp: Elisabeth Bell~ Willow with Hot Chocolate
 * Copics: E000, E00 (skin); E25, E31, E50 (hair); R81, R83, R85 (socks, sweater); E31, E33, E57 (pants); BV0000, BV01 (mug)
 * Paper: Core'dinations, DCWV, K and Company
 * Lace ribbon: American Crafts
 * Border punch: Martha Stewart Doily Lace
 * Pearls: Recollections
 * Miscellaneous: Fiskars scallop punch, Prima Fabric Fancies (sheer flowers beneath snowflakes)


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Winter Fun: Whimsical Wednesday Challenge! (And blog candy winner!)

Happy Wednesday, my beloved crafty friends! Are you feeling whimsical? I sure am!

This week's Whimsical Wednesday challenge is Winter Fun! Create any Christmas/Winter-themed project and include something sparkly on it. This can be by adding Stickles, Glimmer Mist, glitter, etc... or you can include a pre-made glittery embellishment. Surely you know my heart happy danced instantly. Required to use sparkle?! I'm on it! :o)

The sparkle-fest I created has a very special destination. As most of you know, I am passionate about the I Feel the Love Project created by the inspiring and talented Madison of Funky Cards. Every month she selects a particular person, family, or organization in need of any extra dose of love. In turn, we all have the privilege of creating cards to send sunshine to that recipient. To read a little more about the current collection, you can read my first Christmas "I Feel the Love" card. To read a lot more, visit the wonderful Madison.

Soon to be received by a wonderful child spending Christmas at the the Pediatric Oncology Unit at Kaiser Hospital... my very first spinner card!
I've lost track of all the laps I've given this sweet penguin! The fabulous Whimsical Designs sentiment from the "Snow Much Fun" set inspired the interactive element. (Oh how I love and adore these stamps!) As I was pondering how to make an extra special card, it dawned on me... surely a sick child would smile at a penguin rockin' around a Christmas tree! :o) That is always my goal, especially for Madison's IFTL... I just want to make these kids smile and feel my sparkling love. Keeping with the challenge theme (and my nature), I essentially sparkled everything I could. ;) I used Core Couture sparkling cardstock for the penguin, Christmas tree, and spinner track. Then I Stickled the lights in three shades. I used sparkly DCWV for the giraffe, who is wearing shades because of the super-bright festivity. I was going to add rhinestones or other fun embellishments to the sides, but decided it would be best to keep the sides open in case a super dooper little one receives this card. I'd feel terrible if tiny eager hands tore something off accidentally in their excitement to spin him like mad. So instead, I simply centered the snowflakes with dollops of Christmas Red Stickles and Studio G iridescent glitter glue.

That sweet penguin face... those of you who have been friends of mine for a while are expecting me to say I drew it. But guess what? I no longer need to draw my Peachy Keen faces! My sweet bloggy friend Nita surprised me with a fabulous birthday gift last month. I own Peachy Keen stamps! I am still in shock. (You are amazing, Nita.)

I topped the Christmas tree with a sparkling heart because it is filled with Christmas love. :o) I was worried about adding bulk near the penguin and disturbing the spinning action, but didn't want to leave it bare beneath the tree... so I flipped through my papers and was thrilled to find a little cluster of presents to carve out and adhere to my card. It's super metallic, which is fun in person. 

I loved the sentiment anyway, but I adore it even more for inspiring this special card. I used masking to make the sentiment three lines instead of two so it would fit in this Spellbinders Nestabiliity. I sponged around it in green for a little more festive fun. And there's one other little surprise to this card...

Once he or she stops spinning and opens it up, they will find a teeny tiny present. My sweet bloggy friend Jayne sent me some Christmassy goodies to use for my cards, including this special charm. (You are fabulous, Jayne.) I was originally going to use it tucked with a big ribbon bow or something on a future card. Instead, I slipped it onto some Peppermint Stick Trendy Twine for this child to use as a little decoration in their hospital room. I hope and pray this card delivers a heap of Christmas joy.
Tutorial used (and I WILL get the Stampin' Up punch they used for the track... the frustration saved will be priceless!): Thinking Inking Spinner Card Tutorial.

I hope you'll play along with us this week by linking up your sparkly Christmas or Winter project to the Whimsical Wednesday challenge post! I always look forward to seeing your creations. There is so much talent in this crafty blogging community. :o) Also, we have two wonderful sponsors this week: 

 * Our very own Nanne is generously donating a prize pack of beautiful Webster Pages scrapping supplies. Thank you, Nanne! :o) 
 * Our very own Cindy is generously donating three of her wonderful digital stamps! They are such fun to create with. Thank you, Cindy! :o)

Be sure to spin on over to the rest of the Whimsical Designers' blogs to see their fantastic creations for this sparkly challenge! 

One more thing... it's time to announce my personal BLOG CANDY WINNER from the blog hop! :o) Thank you all very much for celebrating with us during the stamp release festivities. The random winner of Stephanie's marvelous "With Love" stamp set is:

Karen of Crafted With Love by Karen! Congratulations!!! :o) Contact me at the address listed under the Contact Me tab to claim your prize and send me your address! I am ecstatic to share these stamps with you. :o)

Thank you for fluttering on by today, friends! I hope you have a gorgeous day. :o)

Key Recipe Components:
 * Cricut cartridge: Create a Critter
 * Spellbinders Nestabilities: Labels Four
 * Stamps: Sentiment~ Whimsical Designs (Snow Much Fun); Peachy Keen Critter Faces (Medium)
 * Paper: Core'dinations, DCWV, K and Company (presents), SEI
 * Miscellaneous: Stickles


Saturday, December 3, 2011

Whimsical Designs Stamp Release Blog Hop!

Happy Saturday, my sparkly friends! :o)

Welcome to the Whimsical Designs Stamp Release Blog Hop! You should have arrived here from the fabulous Cindy at Cindy's Scraptastic Designs. If you just happened to stop by or you got lost along the way, start at the beginning at Stephanie's blog. :o)

Since we are celebrating Stephanie's stamp release, I wanted to make something extra special to showcase a few of them. Her fantastic stamps played a huge role in how this project played out. The inspiration for my project idea itself came from my relationship. My sweetheart and I do our favorite things year round. We go to Christmas stores in the summer, make s'mores over candlelight in the winter... and now, we can have a little indoor picnic while snow piles up outside because I made us a sweet winter picnic basket!
Oh my, was this ever a fun adventure! It had some bumps along the way since it was my first time trying this, but this basket is already loved by many. To properly show you all sides, I need to share a few additional pictures. Click for larger views, if you'd like! Just pretend you don't see my mistakes. ;) Ready to be whisked into a sappy winter wonderland?

"You still give me butterflies inside"
One of my favorite sentiments in Stephanie's release, from her With Love set. I heat-embossed it in silver and surrounded it by a whimsical butterfly of sparkly white, icy blue, and a smattering of pearls. The papers and fabric buttons throughout this project are all from The Paper Company Winter Whites collection. They are heavyweight, double-sided, and possess a gorgeous sheen. I added a few snowflakes, a rhinestone path, and trimmed the panel with white pom-pom ribbon to resemble snow. We love snow. :o)

"Everything is better with you by my side"
This could not be more true. Everything is better with my sweetheart by my side... I knew this sentiment, also from the With Love set, was going to make an appearance. I used my Copics to color the adorable Wee Stamps Winter Fairy. Not only because it's precious, but also because the sweet birdie and little girl make me think of us. :o) I used Flower Soft in Fuchsia (yes, I clearly love that stuff) for her earmuff, as it perfectly coordinates with her rosy pink and purple outfit. I covered her wings, snowflake wand, and the snowy ground in Stardust Stickles. I thought it needed a smidgen more sparkle, so I grabbed my iRock and added crystal snowflakes in the sky. As is the case on all sides, I centered some of the snowflakes with pearls or rhinestones. Also, this is one of the better shots of the handle. I used my Martha Stewart Doily Lace punch on both sides to make it a little fancy.

"A little treat for someone so sweet"
How sweet is that sentiment?! It is from Stephanie's Whimsical Fun- Volume 1 set. I heat-embossed a couple snowflakes on either side of it to decorate the yoke of the basket. For the panel, I heat-embossed a Recollections Christmas tree stamp in silver to make it an icy outdoor tree, and then of course added a few rhinestones. I made a snowman to frolic beside the elegant focal point because there's always room for a little whimsy. :o) I gave him garnet rhinestone buttons, a sparkly green scarf, and Peppermint Stick Trendy Twine to make him spiffy. I added a layer of Stardust for the ground above the poms... just because.

You may have noticed the sweet little cupcakes on the two shorter sides. This is a picnic basket after all, ready to be filled with treats of all kinds. I cut out and embossed some cupcakes, topping them with sparkly white 'snowy' frosting. I nestled them in a layer of Stardust. I made the ones on the outsides slightly angled because they're happy dancing. They love this winter picnic idea! ;)

Lastly... a simple scene surrounding my angel of love.
Another Wee Stamps image, this is the Silver Fairy, colored in red because she's bursting with love. Although she's technically a fairy, I always think of her as an angel. I made the flowers in her hair a textural bouquet of Flower Soft (I know, I know... I can't stop! Three times in two days of projects!). I sparklified her wings and placed her atop a coordinated Winter Whites paper. See the white scroll across the Spellbinders Picot Edge Circle and the silver scroll across the base? For this picnic basket, I like to think of those as our memories being journaled. :o) To complete this side, I made a flower out of sheer glitter ribbon and centered it with a snowball. Ha! That tickled me pink for some reason.

Regrettably I do not have interior pictures... but it will soon be stuffed with treats for my sweetheart and I to share. One of those treats just might make an appearance on my blog very soon! The two nearly-square panels are the lids and the big fabric buttons serve as the openers. Ideally you could use something like the recommended Tim Holtz hitch fasteners if you have them. The template for this basket can be found here: Created By Silvie Z Picnic Basket Template. I (mostly) followed the instructions found in a Magnolia Ink magazine from this past summer. :o)

And now, are you ready to see Stephanie's fantastic stamp sets?! I am so excited to share these with you! I absolutely love them. :o)

With Love:
Snow Much Fun:
Whimsical Fun-Volume 1:
Everyday Sentiments:

Aren't they wonderful?! :o) I love the varied fonts, sizes, and the inclusion of sweet little images.

And now, because I'm all wrapped up in this festive atmosphere, I am offering up some BLOG CANDY! One random winner (via will receive the With Love set of Stephanie's new stamps! I am ecstatic to share these incredible stamps with you! It was difficult to decide which set, but my sappy side won out. ;) To be eligible to win, simply leave me a comment on this post! I do not require that you become a follower, but of course would love it if you do! The more, the sparklier! I will select and announce the winner on Wednesday, December 7th! :o)

There is also a GRAND PRIZE for this hop! :o)

One random winner will receive one Whimsical Designs stamp set of your choice, along with a fabulous prize pack that includes two Stampin' Up ink pads (Black and Chocolate Chip), one Stampin' Up medium sized acrylic stamp block, and one pack of Stampin' Up White Card Stock. In order to be eligible for the grand prize, you must be a follower of the Whimsical Designs blog and leave a comment on all of the Whimsical Designers' blog hop projects. You have until Sunday night at midnight to leave your comments. :o)

For extra chances to win the grand prize:
1. Advertise the Whimsical Designs Stamp Release Blog Hop on Facebook and then go to the Whimsical Designs blog to leave a comment that you did.
2. Blog about the Whimsical Designs Stamp Release Blog Hop and leave a comment at the Whimsical Designs blog saying that you did.
You must include the links to the posts in your comments.

Thank you for playing along with us! Your next stop is the marvelous Star at Star's Paper Passion. Happy whimsical hopping! :o)

**APRIL 13th EDIT**
Linking up in a Favorite Project challenge:
Getting Cricky with K Andrew

Key Recipe Components:
 * Cricut cartridges: Create a Cricut, Gypsy Wanderings, Wall Decor and More
 * Cuttlebug embossing folder: Swiss Dots
 * Spellbinders Nestabilities: Labels Four, Picot Edge Circles
 * Sentiment stamps: Whimsical Designs Stamps (Whimsical Fun- Volume 1; With Love)
 * Digi image stamps: Wee Stamps (Silver Fairy; Winter Fairy); Colored with Copics
 * Christmas tree and the yoke snowflake stamps: Recollections
 * Paper: The Paper Company (Winter Whites Collection)
 * Fabric Buttons: The Paper Company (Winter Whites Collection)
 * Ribbon: American Crafts
 * Handle Border Punch: Martha Stewart Doily Lace
 * Miscellaneous: Flower Soft, iRock, Pearls (Recollections), Stickles


Friday, December 2, 2011

Whimsical Designs Stamp Sneak Peek (Day 2)!

Happy Friday, my sweet friends! :o)

Welcome to the Whimsical Designs Sneak Peek, Day 2! In case you've not yet heard, Stephanie of Whimsical Designs has a new line of stamps coming out! Today all of the Whimsical Designers are sharing sneak peeks of two stamps sets. (Yesterday we gave sneak peeks of the other two!) Tomorrow morning at 7:00am EST is the stamp reveal blog hop! (See note below regarding this time change!) All of the stamp sets will be available for purchase on Stephanie's blog in her new shop. :o)

For my project today, I used Stephanie's stamp set Everyday Sentiments. As I have expressed oodles of times, I love these stamps. They are such a joy to use, which is what crafting is all about. They have already proven to be a source of inspiration to me, including this sweet card:

"May all your wishes come true"
A little closer look at main scene:
Not only was this a blast to create, but it is one of my favorites ever. (I will miss her when I give this away!) I love this sweet digi stamp from The Paper Shelter and was determined to give her a festive and magical backdrop. I used Flower Soft to make a fuzzy carpet for her to rest on as she waits for Santa. I love how Christmas trees look in front of a window, so I decided to make one. I cut out a section of K and Company paper that had this lovely Santa scene and placed my frame atop it. To make it more realistic (and super fun in person), I filled it all in with Glossy Accents and embedded microbeads in the corners to mimic built-up sparkling snow. I also coated the glass of milk with Glossy Accents after coloring the stamp with my Copics.

Given my love for this fuzzy and happy scene, I knew I had to resist adding a million things around it. (It was so hard for me!) I wanted to keep the focus on the center, so I chose two of my favorite Christmas/winter papers and topped it with a layer of wide ribbon. There's a good amount of dimension to this, as I used mounting tape for the center scene and pop-dotted the digi stamp. To complete the card, and fully capture its purpose, I stamped the beautiful sentiment onto a slightly lighter section of the snowflake paper. The tree is filled with Stickles (though the sun somewhat washed it out!), including a super thick layer of gold for the garland. Sparkly, textural, dimensional, and full of Christmas wishes... and so appropriate that it was created to celebrate Stephanie's new journey. :o)

Who wants some blog candy?! All of the designers will be giving away one stamp set for the sneak peek week. I am giving away the incredible With Love set, which I used in yesterday's project. In addition, Stephanie is giving away the entire release to one person. That is a total of 11 prizes! :o)

In order to be eligible for the prizes above, you must leave a comment on all of the designers' blogs on both sneak peek days. This is the adorable header for the set I'm giving away!
Want two extra chances to win? Post about the two-day Sneak Peek and the Stamp Release on:
1. Facebook~ Then return to the Whimsical Designs blog and leave a comment under the sneak peek post, saying that you did.
2. Your Blog~ Then return to the Whimsical Designs blog and leave a comment saying that you did.

Note: Blog Hop Changed to Tomorrow Morning!
In order to give everyone more time to leave comments under the posts for the two-day stamp sneak peeks, the blog hop will start tomorrow, December 3rd, at 7:00am EST. You have until 12:00am EST tonight to leave comments under all of the designers' posts for the sneak peeks from yesterday and today. All of the winners of the stamps will be announced, along with the winner of the entire stamp release, tomorrow morning on the Whimsical Designs Blog.

Be sure to skip on over to the rest of the Designers' blogs to see their marvelous creations using Stephanie's fabulous stamps. :o) Thank you for swinging on by and sparklifying my little blog with your mere presence. Have a beautiful day! :o)

Challenges entered, because it's so fun to share:
 * Crafty Catz~ The colors of Christmas, with the option of Sparkle
 * My Craft Spot~ Christmas through the Window
 * The Paper Shelter~ Anything Goes! 

Key Recipe Components:
 * Sentiment stamp: Whimsical Designs (Everyday Sentiments)
 * Coloring medium: Copics
 * Paper: DCWV, K and Company
 * Flower Soft in Fuchsia


Thursday, December 1, 2011

Whimsical Designs Stamp Sneak Peek!

Happy Thursday, my dear friends! :o)

Welcome to the Whimsical Designs Sneak Peek Day 1! In case you've not yet heard, Stephanie of Whimsical Designs has a new line of stamps coming out! Today all of the Whimsical Designers will be sharing sneak peeks of two stamp sets, and then tomorrow morning we'll be giving you sneak peeks of the other two sets. Tomorrow night at 7:00pm EST is the stamp reveal blog hop! All of the stamp sets will be available for purchase on Stephanie's blog in her new shop.

For my project, I used Stephanie's stamp set With Love. (How perfect is that for my sappy self?) Not only do I love the stamps in general, but I love the versatility. They certainly are not solely for card-making. I made a 'gingerbread house' out of a Sweet Tooth Boxes house, which will be filled with recipe cards and given as a gift. Given the nature, I need a few pictures to show you its entirety. :o)

(Side note: Forgive the frustratingly dark photos. I was forced to battle indoor photography... I WILL be making a light box next week.)
"Sprinkled with Love" (and a sweet cupcake)
Stephanie's sweet stamps inspired me to create a gingerbread house filled with recipes that are sprinkled with love. Just like the window boxes filled with gumdrop flowers... the extra sparkly tops I gave them are those heartfelt lovey dovey sprinkles. And the twine lollipops I made with gorgeous Trendy Twine. I used Peppermint Stick, which is perfect for a confection swirled with love. I chose this sparkly and fun Bo Bunny paper particularly for this project, as the colors made me think of a gingerbread house covered in snowflakes. I used sparkling Core Couture paper for the snowy bottom (since this is a REAL gingerbread house, after all), embossed it with snowflakes, and inked the trim in sparkling blue. Naturally this house has a heart button for the knob on the embossed door... it is secured in love! (I'm like a walking marshmallow. Endless sugar shock from all my sappiness.)

See that super cute gingerbread sweetheart? She's a digi stamp (Gingerbread Cutie) designed by my friend Cindy of Cindy's Scraptastic Designs. I had colored her recently, but needed to do it again. I love her! This time I dressed her in my Copic wintry blues and gave her a belt of pearls (reminiscent of dollops of icing) and Blueberry Trendy Twine for hair bows. She is appropriately frolicking in the snow alongside the all-important sentiment. Nestled inside a heart is the key to this box's contents. Everything is indeed sprinkled with love. Every recipe that will be inside and every hour spent on decorating the exterior. My favorite stamps are the ones that inspire me.. the ones that you don't use because it happens to fit, but you use because IT filled your heart with a creative vision. That is the case with these fabulous Whimsical Designs stamps. (And the cute cupcake is her stamp, too! It's vintagey and aged in appearance.. cupcakes are a classic! Get it? Faded with time, but still decadent. And chocolatey, since it's brown.) To complete the main scene, I shaped two vintage red and green candy canes into a heart. It just felt right.

Not captured well is the window interior. It is a beautiful golden scene, like the warm glow of a fireplace... and a festive metallic Christmas tree. And one final note on this creation: The filigree brown backdrop of the other windows and the roof... that's all fabulous chocolate. I would totally live in a house with a chocolate roof laced with icing. I used ric-rac ribbon to emulate the icing, but once again had little luck adhering it. Is it even possible?! I've tried everything. I wanted to sew it, but that's a little challenging without a sewing machine. And all my needles are covered in Stickles and Glossy Accents from jammed nozzles.

Who's ready for some blog candy?! All of the designers will be giving away one stamp set for the sneak peek week. I am giving away the With Love set, which I used today! In addition, Stephanie is giving away the entire release to one person. That is a total of 11 prizes! :o)

In order to be eligible for the prizes above, you must leave a comment on all of the designers' blogs on both sneak peek days.

Even the header cards are adorable! See?
Want two extra chances to win? Post about the two-day Sneak Peek and the Stamp Release on:
1. Facebook~ Then return to the Whimsical Designs blog and leave a comment under the sneak peek post, saying that you did.
2. Your Blog~ Then return to the Whimsical Designs blog and leave a comment saying you did.

You will have until Friday, December 2nd, at 5:00pm EST to leave a comment on the blogs. All winners will be announced during the Stamp Release blog hop.

Be sure to flutter on over to the rest of the Designers' blogs to see their fabulous creations using Stephanie's wonderful stamps. :o) Thank you for visiting me! Have a sparkly day. :o)

Key Recipe Components:
 * Cricut cartridge: Sweet Tooth Boxes
 * Cuttlebug embossing folders: Snowflakes and Plaid from Winter Wonderland pack
 * Sentiment stamp: Whimsical Designs (With Love)
 * Coloring medium: Copics
 * Paper: Bo Bunny, Core'dinations, K and Company, Recollections
 * Twine: Trendy Twine


Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Whimsical Wednesday Challenge: Layer It!

Happy Wednesday, sweet friends! :o)

Today kicks off a sparkly stream of whimsical fun! This week's Whimsical Wednesday challenge is to use layers on a winter or Christmas-themed project. Aren't layers such fun? Whether only a couple or overflowing with them, they are always marvelous. For my project, I made an easel card to carry a message of peace in a backdrop of winter's simple beauty. :o)

Each part consists of three base layers: A sparkling Elegant Edges scallop, a Spellbinders Picot Edge Circle, and an embossed circle (to look like gently falling snowflakes). It had been far too long since I've played with ribbon, so I layered the top with a big flower made from burgundy velvet ribbon. I centered it with a Tim Holtz fanciful button. Partially for fanciness and partially for the snowball-look, I went nutty with my pearls! I added one to every scallop and made a little flourish for the flower. You can never go wrong with them, right? :o) 

The bottom holds a gorgeous swirl-embossed dove and olive branch, which is a Cuttlebug combo die that cuts and embosses that I won from my sweet friend Pam. The swirls are sparklified and I used an itty bitty pearl for the eye, which you can only see if you enlarge the photograph. I added a layer of tiny pearls to coordinate with the theme and to make the branch look snowy... heavenly peace can be reached in the midst of a storm, after all. :o) I cut out the Peace from Cindy Loo, which I think is my first time ever cutting out a word! I slightly rounded it and sponged it with the same ink as the picot circles, but with a lighter hand. (And let me just say that this ink was NOT the color I anticipated. I thought it was a super deep burgundy.. not an almost pinky burgundy. That made me feel matte, as opposed to sparkly.)

Here is the tutorial I followed for the flower... once I stopped staring at her gorgeous ribbon supply! :o)

I hope you'll play along with us by linking up your Christmas or winter layered project to the Whimsical Wednesday challenge post! I would love to see your creations. Our fabulous sponsor this week is our very own Nanne, who is generously donating a prize pack filled with gorgeous Webster Pages scrapping supplies. Thank you, Nanne! :o)

A few reminders:
 * The Add Texture challenge is still open, where one random winner of the challenge will win all four of Stephanie's stamps sets from her release! Amazing prize. :o) It closes at noon on Friday.
 * The Whimsical Designs Stamp Release Sneak Peek days are tomorrow and Friday at 7am. So much excitement!
 * The Stamp Release Blog Hop is FRIDAY at 7pm! Isn't this badge adorable?
I love these stamps, my friends. They are a pleasure to create with and I am ecstatic to share my projects with you beginning tomorrow. I am certain you will love Stephanie's stamps, too. :o)

Be sure to flutter on over to the rest of the Design Team's blogs to see their fabulous creations! Thank you for visiting me today! You make me happy. :o)

Key Recipe Components:
 * Cricut cartridges: Cindy Loo, Elegant Edges
 * Cuttlebug embossing folders: Dove duo, Swiss Dots
 * Spellbinders Nestabilities: Picot Edge Circles
 * Paper: Core'dinations, DCWV
 * Ribbon: Celebrate It (from Michael's)
 * Button: Tim Holtz Fanciful Buttons
 * Pearls: Recollections
 * Miscellaneous: Stickles


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Whimsical Designs Reminders!

Hello, my sweet friends! How I miss blogging... but I've been hidden away with my crafty supplies every moment possible, creating fun projects for the celebrations this week!

Excitement is fluttering around this Whimsical Designs Stamp Release week! Our Sneak Peeks are Thursday and Friday mornings, bright and early at 7am. Friday night at 7pm is our celebratory Blog Hop! My crafty friends, I am positively thrilled for these events! :o) Inspiration and prizes will abound... and a whole lot of love as we share in this incredible journey with Stephanie. :o) I hope to see you there!

Have a sparkly happy day, my friends! (And eat some chocolate!) I'll be back tomorrow with my weekly Whimsical Wednesday project! :o) Keep smiling!


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Whimsical Wednesday Challenge: Add Texture! (And exciting news!)

Happy Wednesday, my sweet friends! :o)

I have incredible news to share with you! Stephanie's new stamps are coming out so soon that we are having a celebration NEXT WEEK! The Whimsical Designs sneak peeks will be on Thursday (December 1st) and Friday (December 2nd) at 7:00am EST. The stamp reveal Blog Hop will be on Friday, December 2nd at 7:00pm EST. One random winner who enters this week's challenge will win all four stamp sets in Stephanie's very first release! How exciting! Want to see a sneak peek photo? I thought you might...
This week's challenge will not be two weeks long, but rather will be remain open until Friday, December 2nd at 12:00pm EST. The random winner of all four stamp sets will be announced during the stamp release blog hop that night. My sweet friends, I have seen all of these sets. You know how much I already love them, as I've been bursting at the seams to use them. I have even held off on two special cards I've been longing to make because two of her stamps will be perfect. Once I saw them, I knew I had to wait. I truly love these, as her beautiful heart shines through them. I know you will love them, too! I am honored to be a part of this journey with her. :o)

And now onto the challenge! This week's Whimsical Wednesday challenge is Add Texture! Create any card or project, in any theme, with texture incorporated into it. Like so many, I love this quality in handmade cards. There are so many ways to add texture, from a small accent to a primary focal point.

I decided to embrace the textural element in all its glory. In a recent newsletter from the scrappy store I visit, there was a basic white card with one element: a simple rosette Christmas tree. I fell in love and knew I would quickly be doing my own take on it. With my mom in mind, I designed with a Victorian theme and fancied things up to suit her taste. My textural elements: oodles of half-rosettes, flowy ribbon, a dollop of pearls, and a little embossing.
This wall hanging will soon be given to my mom, who loves greens, Victorian, and vintage. She loves to add festive decor, but doesn't always have a ton of space... or smaller scale items that she can nestle in those tinier areas of wall space that yearn for something. I chose pretty vintage-y green papers for the rosettes, using my Martha Stewart Doily Lace punch once again to make them fancy, and inked them in brown so the layers would stand out a bit. She absolutely adores long ribbon, so I topped the tree with a big bow and then added some extra to cascade down the sides. And if she could, she would totally top her tree with pearls to complete the shape. So I did that for her here. :o) I love the look of a rosette tree and will surely make another one this season. I may cinch in the tops of each layer to give it more of a shape between layers like the newsletter did... we'll see! I like both looks. As far as adhering these to the paper, Zip Dry Paper Glue was my best friend. I expected to be attacked by the pretty rosettes once I let go, but they stayed put! Miraculous product.

I used cream and vintage purple for the green tree's background because it is such a lovely combination, though I don't think I've ever used it. The Recollections "The Ballet" stack I received as a gift provided all of the patterned papers, including the sparkly snowflake divider. Even if it didn't contain ballet images, this would be my new favorite. I think I need a second stack already. ;)

I certainly couldn't give my mom a Christmas tree with no present... so I selected one of my favorite digi stamps from Cindy's Scraptastic Designs! The cute little puppy bursting out of the present is appropriately titled Sweet Gift. Isn't he adorable? I colored him with Copics and sparklified his Santa hat, the box ribbon, and ornaments with four shades of Stickles. (Ha! I'm not addicted... really.) I wrapped gold ribbon around the corners to make the wall hanging look like a present in and of itself, too. :o) At first I wasn't sure about using brighter colors for my stamp (given the rest of the design), but then I realized it's a great way to represent how animals brighten our days. :o) He's a pop of Christmas cheer!

I would love for you to play along with us this week by linking up your textural cards/projects at the home of the Whimsical Wednesday Challenge: Whimsical Designs. (You'll also find information on this week's prize on the challenge post!) I am excited to see your creations. And guess what? We are nearing Stephanie's stamp release... one week closer! I am eager to create with her wonderful stamps and am sure you will love them, too. :o)

Be sure to skip on over to the rest of the Design Team's blogs to see their wonderful projects! Thank you so much for visiting me today... you make my heart ultra sparkly. Have a whimsically beautiful day! :o)

Challenges entered:
 * Winter Wonderland~ Awwww, what a cutie! (Hehe! LOVE this theme!)
 * Lollipop Crafts~ Anything Goes!

Key Recipe Components:
 * Cricut cartridge: Elegant Edges
 * Cuttlebug embossing folder: Swiss Dots
 * Paper: Bo Bunny (green mat), Papertrey Ink, Recollections
 * Stamp: Sweet Gift from Cindy's Scraptastic Designs
 * Copics: E31, E33, E57 (puppy); R22, R24, R27 (bow); YG11, YG13, YG17 (box); G28 (pine needles); Y11 (ornaments)
 * Punch: Martha Stewart Doily Lace
 * Pearls: Recollections
 * Ribbon: stash
 * Stickles: Christmas Red, Diamond, Gold, Stardust

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