Sunday, March 30, 2008

Birthday Whimsy for Weston

I just got home from church and I'm so excited about the morning's events that I had to share them with you! I love it when a plan comes together, and we pulled off a surprise for Weston, who I serve with in the 2nd and 3rd grade room. He's 18 today, and he's the host of our large group time. The kids ADORE him, and he shows them each and every week how much he cares for them by helping them understand who God is and modeling how to follow Him as they go through everyday life. He does this despite the fact that he's a busy busy senior in high school with the lead in the musical that opens in about a month.

So, when our director told me that this is his day, I made a card for all the members of the production team that serve with him to sign, and I whipped up my sister's excellentamundo chocolate chip cookies to share with the rest of those who volunteer. All the kids started yelling "Happy Birthday, Weston!" when he came out on stage, and they serenaded him in song too. He was embarrassed (his face turned red), but he loved it, just the same.

The card was really simple. It needed to be, as I didn't get to it until 6:30 this morning! I started with an OLD OLD OLD background stamp called Happy Birthday Greetings. I inked that up with my brayer and Brilliant Blue ink. The piece is mounted on Tempting Turquoise and is larger than the base, but it still worked out well. I stamped three presents in Real Red, Yo Yo Yellow, and Only Orange--can't go wrong with the Bold Brights color family for a guy card--and cut them out. Stamped the cake in Green Galore and cut it out as well. I wasn't going to put the balloons on, but I felt the card was a little lacking without them. I stayed as far away from the pinks as I could get, but did used Orchid Opulence and Lovely Lilac for the floaters. It's hard to tell in the photo (click on it to see it in LARGER THAN LIFE detail), but there's a string tied on each balloon! I didn't want to draw them on the background. The thread's a little too lightweight, but it was all I had and I was running out of time.

People are special and not often enough to do we do things that demonstrate how much they are valued. It only takes a little time, and it communicates so much. Find someone to bless this week!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Little Card for a Little Guy

Friends of ours have a son who is 3 months old. He had a seizure a week before Easter and has been in the ICU at Children's Hospital in Atlanta ever since. The doctors aren't sure why he can't regulate his own blood sugar levels, so the family has been stretched emotionally and physically.

We aren't in this family's inner circle, but I wanted them to know that we care about them and that we're praying for little Joshua. When I saw this tutorial, I thought it would be a good one to use to send them some encouragement.

I used the sentiment from the Polka Dots and Paisleys set to remind them to look for the good things that are happening each day, and find joy in those. I used my 1/2" and 1 1/4" circle punches for the inside, and again called my stamp-a-ma-jig into play to make sure I could position the words just where I wanted them.

It's hard to know what to say and how to stand with someone during a time like this, but I do believe that prayer is powerful and that God listens. I'm also trusting that a little card stock and some stamps will communicate care and support.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Time for a Post!

You know it's time for a blog entry when your husband asks, "What's going on in craftland? You haven't posted anything in awhile." Well, the Easter weekend was busy, and I needed a break. But today is my day off, so I'm taking advantage of the time away from "coffeeland" to be in craftland.

My niece, Mikayla, turns 9 next Monday. She's very crafty, so I wanted to make her a card with lots of color and shimmer. This is a very simple card, made with the Level 3 Hostess set Time Well Spent, and I'm pleased with how it turned out. I'm not all that free spirited when it comes to coloring, though. I over-analyze color combinations and want everything to be just so. I was getting tense until I remembered that this card's for a child. She's not going to be critical; she's going to enjoy it (for 20 seconds, if I'm lucky) before she opens her present.

Gotta get this in the mail, so ta-ta!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Spilling the Beans

Several of you said that you wanted to know what the scoop was at the Starbucks shareholders' meeting yesterday. You ask, I tell. These are the things I took away from the 1 hour audio version of it that we listened to last night online. These are all initiatives that will effect you, the customer.

1) There will be a new fresh roasted signature blend coffee debuting next month called Pike Place Roast. Pike Place in Seattle is the site of the first Starbucks store, and Howard Shultz still has a key to the place. The coffee will be brewed daily at all US locations, all day long. This is being done to provide the customer who has a daily ritual of getting a cup o' joe and just wants to know that the same roast will be there to start his/her day off just right. You may or may not know this, but we have, to this point, worked off a coffee calendar that rotates us through our various blends. Now we'll have just one other coffee and a decaf option on tap besides PPR.

2) A rewards program will be launched mid-April. I don't have all the specifics yet, but there will be rewards, such as:
a free tall drink of your choice with the purchase of a pound of whole beans
free modifiers (syrup and milk of your choice) when you purchase a latte,
free refills on brewed coffee and
free wireless internet access for 2 hours daily.
This is just phase 1, and was initiated in response to comments expressed on the surveys that customers took that said that they had to switch from an espresso drink to brewed coffee because their favorite drink had become too expensive.
I know this to be true, because we had a daily customer--James: double tall soy latte--who stopped coming in daily and gave up his drink for brewed coffee because it was just too expensive.

This rewards program should allow him to be able to get his favorite drink again for about the same price as his cup of coffee, because he won't have to pay for the soy, only the shots. It's a bit confusing, but I'm sure it will be worth it to have an active Starbucks card. 1 in 7 customers pay this way, and it's time to reward that loyalty.

3) New Mastrena espresso machines will be coming to 30% of the stores by year's end and to 75% of the stores by the end of 2009, and even though the process will still be automated, these machines will harken back to the days when baristas pulled shots by hand. The amount of customization will be greater and the length of the shot will increase again (we went from 13-17 sec. length when I started to 15-19 sec. length with the 3-hour retraining last month) to 18-23 sec. length and be timed by the machine. Plus, the machines will be half a foot shorter, allowing the barista to continue connecting with customers while they wait for their drinks.

4) The technology dept. launched a new website called This is an online community where customers can tell the company--48 experts from various parts of the corporate headquarters will moderate forums and chats--things they'd like to see Starbucks do. The online community will vote on these ideas, and those with the most votes will be acted upon. There's a separate site just for partners to provide similar feedback, since our experience is a bit different than the customer's. I think this is a really cool idea, and I think it's not just a promotional tool. I believe the company designed it because it's seeking to be responsive to its customers' ideas.

5) We increased our commitment to being a good steward of the earth by increasing our support of farmers who grow coffee responsibly. The goal is to have all our coffees bear the seal of being grown according to conservation standards.

6) Starbucks purchased a company that makes an $11,000 machine called the Clover. This machine makes 1 cup of coffee at a time, and recreates the flavor of french pressed coffee with high technology. These machines will be in select stores, and customers will be able to have a cup of their favorite blend brewed to their specifications anytime they want, and in less time than it takes to make a traditional french press.

If you'd like to read a full blown press release, follow this link. All this is being done to reinvest in the consumer's experience with the company that has defined coffee for Americans, so I hope you're happy about what you've just read and what you're hearing. It's all for you.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Late Night Baby Card

I got a late start on this card tonight because Bob and I listened to audio from the Starbucks shareholders' meeting today. Some cool things are coming, folks! But that's not what you're here to read about and see.

Kristina Werner is a professional graphic designer who works at SU! and shares her wealth of design sense at her blog. Today, she posted a photo of a room and issued a challenge using this color combination: Groovy Guava, So Saffron, Blush Blossom, and Wild Wasabi.

I have a cousin whose wife is expecting their first child in a few months, and there's a shower in a couple of weeks. They don't know what sex the baby is--how refreshing!--so the card needed to be neutral. Since I'm not able to attend, I thought this challenge was the perfect nudge to create a baby card to send along with my gift.

What do you think? It seems a bit too airy in the middle for my taste, like the focal image is too small. I like how the letters on the large triangle corners give it a wooden block feel, and I'm pleased with my first attempt at paper piercing. It adds some nice detail. Like I shared a few days ago, I'm not a big pastels (SU! translation: Soft Subtles) gal, but this gave me another chance to work outside my comfort zone.

Stamp sets used: So Many Scallops (retired SAB 2008), Jumbo Outline Alphabet.

Check out Kristina's blog over the next few days and she'll post links to all the cards made using this combination!

Edited: Sorry! I used the wrong blog address for Kristina's website, but I've fixed it now.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Spring Has Sprung!

Those of you who live in the northern parts of the US are languishing in the dreary dregs of winter. My sister shared with me today that her husband's siblings, who live in MI along Lake Michigan, still have 2 FEET of snow ON THE GROUND. For all those ready to be rid of winter and the seasonal affective disorder that comes with it, this card's for you!

This creation celebrates the beginnings of spring here in GA. Come with me for a little mental trip to where the trees are budding, the breeze is warm, and sunlight lingers longer each day.

Besides the beauty of this day, this card was inspired by my blogger friend Amy Westerman's card, which spread some sunshine and the promise of spring, even though she's doing time in MN. I also had these thin strips of Wild Wasabi card stock in my scraps folder that I knew would come in handy someday. They were too thick to be blades of grass, but they were just right as flower stems.

The flowers are from the newly retired Sale-A-Bration promotion set, So Many Scallops. I stamped with Versamark on bold brights card stock Real Red, Yo Yo Yellow, Tempting Turquoise, and Orchid Opulence. The scallop punch makes quick work of cutting each out. The little leaves are from the Time Well Spent Level 3 Hostess set.

I wrestled for a bit with what kind of sentiment to pair with the wording in the center of each flower--"so sweet of you". At first I tried covering it up, but that didn't work, so "thanks SO much" seemed to work best. I have someone I owe a thank you card, so this will be in the mail soon.

Hope your week's off to a pleasant start, no matter the weather. Spring WILL come to your neck of the woods, I promise.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Thinking of Mothers

This is take two for this post, since Blogger can't seem to finalize things today. I made this monochromatic card for my workshop Saturday because my hostess wanted to have this card set aside for the upcoming event.

I really liked the way this came together. The From the Garden stamp is a Level 1 Hostess stamp, and the detail in it is just beautiful! I didn't want anything else to detract from the image, so I kept everything else simple.

Things were rather crazy around here Saturday before that workshop. We had several severe thunderstorms pass through our area, and a friend called me to ask if I was okay after she'd heard a report about a tornado passing near our house. We had hail the size of ping pong balls (not all of it, but some of it), and the street was running red with dirt that was streaming off the hills from all the yards, but no tornado siren ever went off. It unnerved me a bit, but we had a lull in the storms that enabled me to get to the Starbucks where the event was being held before another round passed through. Nuts, I tell you!

Gotta go get dinner started! Have a good Monday, what's left of it.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

The Cutest Little Basket Ever!

I'm not a girly girl. Don't like lace, don't like cutesy, and I don't go for pastel ANYTHING. But, as it is a woman's prerogative to change her mind, so here's today's project: girly, cutesy, and pastel. Maybe I'm having an out of body experience.

The genius for this little favor basket came from crafter extraordinare Nancy Morgan. When I saw it on her blog and she described the size, a 2"x2" square when finished, I knew I had just the paper.

The link to her blog shares the details. I stuffed these with goodies for the gals at my workshop this afternoon. It's raining and hailing and there's a tornado watch east of where we'll be meeting, so I'd say that's excellent weather for a party, wouldn't you?

Happy weekend!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Life Happens and so do Birthdays

There are days when I wish for time to stamp. Be careful what you wish for, especially if there's a deadline involved!

The layout for this card was sketched and waiting all day, so pulling it together wasn't all that difficult. One of the things that deterred me from becoming a demonstrator for so long was having to measure and cut pieces and pieces and more pieces of paper. That's what this entire day has been about! Glad that's done and over...

This uses the Outlaw DP that was in the Fall-Winter Collection. They've revamped it with a new color palette and call it Western Sky in the Spring-Summer Collection. This is just 4 simple rectangles and a square in the middle. The saying is from Full of Life, which is in the new Occasions Mini. I think this is a good sentiment for a birthday, since they seem to sneak up on us while we're making other plans and going about life. I'm going to allow each stamper the choice of whether or not to make it into a birthday card by adding the phrase on the inside. If she doesn't choose, I still think it's an interesting "what's up?" card to send. The base is Creamy Caramel and the sentiment is stamped in Chocolate Chip on Very Vanilla.

The last card (hurray!) is a birthday card that features the Birthday Whimsy set that can only be earned with a $50 purchase of anything in either the Spring-Summer Collection or the Occasions Mini. The base is Certainly Celery, the background for the main images is Blue Bayou, and the strip along the bottom is Soft Sky. I like that I can stamp short or tall presents just by inking up only half of the stamp. As you could probably tell, I couldn't decide where to put the message, so I placed it in several places to give my stampers some ideas. The Stamp-a-ma-jig came in handy once again as I was placing these. Intrigued by the little flower on the ribbon? It's a ribbon slider and it's part of the new Silver Hodgepodge Hardware set that's in the Occasions Mini. Cool little item.

I'm very pooped (and a bit whiny) and I have paper to cut for this last card, as well as for the workshop I have on Saturday. I really need to plan better next month! Oh, and there's dinner in the mix too...this really wasn't a day off from anything, was it!

Oh the Pressure (March SAS Card #3)

I don't know what was effecting my creativity when I went to the craft table this morning to create another card for the SAS tomorrow, but getting to the finish line with this card was like giving birth!

It all started out innocently enough when I saw this ensemble in the Title Nine clothing catalog. I was drawn to the color combination of gray, khaki, and light blue. I wanted to apply this layout by Patty Bennett (who was inspired by Cami Turnbow--what goes around comes around) to my color combo with the newly released Friendly Flowers stamp set. This turned out to be akin to trying to get all the planets and stars to align! It was discouraging me greatly because I really liked each of the elements I was trying to marry.

After about 45 min. of trying to push a round peg into a square hole, I abandoned my color palette and came up with this. Same layout, but a completely different color scheme featuring East Coast designer paper. The base is Whisper White stamped in Tempting Turquoise with two of the flowers from the set. It looks a little bit like some sort of wild island print to me! The focal image is the largest flower from the set. The designer paper's double-sidedness (is that a word?) works well and creates a flap underneath the flower for writing your message inside to your friend.

Okay, time to clean up from that and start thinking of the next one. 3 down, 2 to go.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

March SAS Card #2--Felt Flowers with a Flap

I saw my good friend Lydia use these felt flowers on a card, and I thought that I should introduce my gals to one of our newest accents and embellishments.

This card is fairly straight forward. The base is Old Olive, and the style of card is called a matchbook flap. Turn it 90 degrees in your mind and you'll get what I mean. It's secured with eyelets, but I may switch and use brads to match those on the flowers. A different way to open a card, I thought.

Anyway, the Very Vanilla base is stamped in River Rock with my Linen background stamp, and then the swirly image from Baroque Motifs is layered over it in Old Olive. It looks like a vine or foliage, doesn't it? All I did then was layer some flowers together, secure them with a brad and popped them up with dimensionals.

The sentiment is from a new set called Full of Life. There are seven really good sayings in this set that cover everything from friendship to congratulations to a new baby. I'm always looking for sayings to complement the stamp sets that don't include one, so this was a must have for me.

Well, I need to make dinner and go to the grocery--ugh. The only thing that makes the latter task palatable is that Bob's going along. More tomorrow!

Here Ya Go!

Today has been non-stop since I was jolted awake by the numbers on the clock that said "7:23". Michael had to be at school at 8, and he wasn't awake yet either, so needless to say, it was a rushed morning. Then it was off to work and home 7 hours later. BUT I have managed to get a card made! Finally!

This was inspired by Kristina Werner's blog. I love her simple, clean designs, and this one's no exception. I ordered this cool Pumpkin Pie candy striped ribbon, but I didn't order the designer paper I wanted to coordinate with it. So, the gals will be seeing Bali Breeze DP again. Not a bad thing, though. Seeing different uses for the same item just increases the case for purchasing it, in my mind, since multiple applications demonstrates its versatility. The stamp is from the Sale-A-Bration set Lots of Thoughts. There's still time to place an order and get this for FREE. That's the only way you can get your hands on it, so think about it!

I'm not going to linger here and chat. More to make and show you! I may be back tonight, but I'll definitely be back tomorrow. No work...lots of cutting of paper!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


Life is getting in the way of being creative. I have several ideas brewing for the cards at Friday's SAS, but can't seem to get there from here due to life getting in my way. Work, grocery shopping, piano lesson chauffeuring, and crafter's block (similar to writer's block, only with stamps) have all conspired and I have nothing to post.

I work until 3:30 tomorrow, so we'll see what I can come up with after work. Thanks for your patience.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Getting Back to Work

My parents left this afternoon so that they could split up the 12-hour drive home over two days. We had a good visit; not perfect or without its moments, but still good, nonetheless.

This afternoon I was able to get back to work on a project that needs my attention. A gal I work with is getting married in September and mentioned that she wanted "Save the Date" postcards to send to some friends and family in advance of the wedding invitations. I told her I could help, and here's what we've come up with:

The postcard is a combination of printed text and stamped images and letters from the Jumbo Outline Alphabet (initials) and the Mark the Date and Full Calendar sets. The bride's colors are red and brown, and the postcard reflects this. I had a horrible time getting the text positioned, even with the HUGE help (thanks, Heather!) of a friend with tech savvy, but I think the end result is worth the trouble.

I had to use the Stamp-A-Ma-Jig extensively on this to make sure that everything was placed exactly where it needed to be...and straight! If she approves the proof, I'll be making 50 of these before the month's end. Then I'll be helping her design invitations.

My order comes tomorrow from SU! that contains the stamps, etc. I'm going to highlighting at my SAS on Friday, so stay tuned for photos of freshly designed cards!

Friday, March 7, 2008

Birthday Card

I have 2 events next week, and I wanted to get a head start on getting prepared, so I spent some time yesterday afternoon and today putting together a card that I know everyone needs--one for a MAN!

This one uses the color combination from the Jersey Shore designer paper: More Mustard, Real Red, Tempting Turquoise, and Wild Wasabi. Nothin' girly about those choices! I was drawn to the argyle pattern immediately, although there are also stripes and polka dots and some solids on some sides of this pack.

The card pairs the Mark the Date, Full Calendar, and Lots of Thoughts sets. The first two are in the main catalog, and the third is one of the Sale-A-Bration sets that can be chosen with a $50 merchandise purchase.

This is a simple, straightforward layout, and I hope the guests at my friend's class that we're hosting at a Starbucks with a conference room will find it fun and easy!

Still enjoying the time with my folks, and Michael's doing okay adjusting to his braces. He only got the uppers put on, but didn't allow me to post the picture I took for posterity (and the senior slide show) to be posted here. He's very 13!

Happy weekend, all...

Thursday, March 6, 2008

March Stamp-A-Stack

Hey! If you're inside reading this right now, you are either trapped at work or crazy! It's INSANELY beautiful today, and this is the high point, gals, so get it while the gettin's good! Nearly 70 right now, but it'll be a high of 45 by the weekend--we're not in the clear of winter officially until March 20 or 21.

Anyway, I'm inside because I wanted to post here the sets I'm going to be using for this month's SAS and remind you of the change in day and time. I did this to try to accommodate those for whom Saturday is busy with soccer, baseball, errands, or work to participate.

DATE: Friday, March 14
TIME: 6:30-10pm
PLACE: my house
RSVP: Friday, March 7--THAT'S TOMORROW!

There are many new and exciting things to share, like the new Occasions Mini Collection, and there will be 5 beautiful projects that will showcase the following sets:

Full of Life (pg. 22 of Occasions Mini)
Friendly Flowers and Lots of Dots (pg. 10 of Occasions Mini)
Lots of Thoughts (pg. 6 of Sale-A-Bration catalog)
Flower Fusion (felt flowers! from pg. 177 of Spring-Summer Collection)
and East Coast Prep designer paper (pg. 168 of Spring-Summer Collection)

Follow this link to check out the sets I've referenced above, as well as see all the wonderful stuff in the Occasions Mini!

I have some great ideas for these cards, so you don't want to miss out. Remember, RSVP by TOMORROW. You can do so right now by leaving me a comment. Sandra, you're already on the list!

Now, get outside as fast as you can! My dogs want someone to throw the ball, so I'm gonna go do that.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Looky Looky!!

In 2006, after I embarked on this stamping endeavor as a business, it became apparent that paper storage was going to be my biggest challenge. By this fall, I was in desperate need of proper storage for my 8.5" x 11" card stock and 12" x 12" designer papers. Everything I'd found in the marketplace had 2" inserts for holding paper, and I thought that was just too wide for my needs. Also, they were either made of cardboard, which made them unreliable over the long haul, or they were made of wood, which put the price point higher than my little business could afford.

Enter my husband and my dad. My father retired last March from the insurance business, and began applying his energies to his hobby of woodworking. Bob knew that my dad, given the dimensions and the specifications I had in mind for storage cubbies, could come up with something marvelous. At Christmas, I received a little note telling me that I would be getting storage for my paper! Yesterday when my parents arrived, these lovely beauties arrived with them!

Aren't they wonderful?! I had a stamp camp at my house last night, and I showed the gals who came. The first comment one of them made was what I told my dad would happen. She said, "Can he make me some?" Yes, my dad is a talented man, and yet he's not interested in being in "Santa's workshop" year-round! He will share the dimensions and the materials list, if anyone's interested.

They still need some finishing strips on the fronts, which you iron on and he didn't want to do until after the shelves were put in, but I couldn't wait to load them! All 48 of the colors in the SU! palette are in the one on the left, and the right holds the DP that I own. Before, these were stored in makeshift hanging file folders in a portable storage box, and in a shoebox in the closet! Now just the neutrals and specialty papers, like vellum, metallic papers, etc., are in the portable hanging file folder box.

Dad said he'd make me a second of the 8.5" x 11" size so that the card stock isn't doubled up in it, but I think I'm fine with it the way it is.

Today's the day Michael gets braces on his teeth! Oh boy, oh joy...I think he'll be a trooper about it, and I think my parents' presence will be a bit of a distraction. You better believe he's getting Tylenol and ibuprofen in advance, though! If he'll let me, I'll post a picture...for posterity, of course!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Keeping You in the Loop

Hey all! I know several days have passed without a missive from me, and today is going to be a quickie with no photos. If you stop reading right now, I understand! Here's what's going on: I have a stamp camp tonight and my parents are arriving a day early to spend a week with us. Thank goodness I had a burst of energy last night and washed their bedding, cleaned their bathroom, vacummed the house, and mopped the floors! I feel pretty ready for their arrival, but I still have paper to cut after work this afternoon for tonight's class.

We'll see how much time there will be to play in the next week, but if I don't share much, don't despair. I'll be back! Thanks for understanding, and keep crafting!