Welcome to my blog!

Thanks for visiting my blog. As the title suggests, I love to scrapbook, stamp, and sing! I will share cards and scrapbook pages I create, as well as information about my music - Barbershop harmony.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Christmas decorations galore

I love Christmas decorating - just inside, not out.  We've never been ones to decorate outside, other than a simple wreath on the door.  But I just love my Christmas trees and ornaments!!  I've posted in past years but there's always something new to share :)

This year I have a new tree for the family room - it's a 7' slim tree which makes it impossible to layer 2 and 3 ornaments on a branch like I enjoy doing on my big ol' chunky tree.  Well, it's so much work to put up, I didn't even bother to do the chunky tree this year!  I'm really enjoying the slim tree.  I have to share a special new ornament I received from my friend Heather in Ireland.  You may remember I had the chance to visit Heather and her family in May - had the time of my life and I'm sorry I'm not there now to enjoy Heather's fabulous cooking!  Anyway, yesterday a thick package arrived from across the pond - thanks Heather!!! The cross ornament was in the package along with a bunch of other goodies:

ornament closeup

It came from Newbridge Silver which is a beautiful shop we visited when I was in Ireland.  Engraved on the cross  is the Irish phrase Nollaig shona duit = "Merry Christmas to you" according to Google Translate.  And on the bottom half it says Nollaig faoi shéan is faoi shonas duit = "December under denied under you happy" according to Google Translate.  Huh???  So I asked Heather and she says that it is a traditional greeting that means "A prosperous and happy Christmas to you."  She assured me there was no denial involved - LOL!

On the left is the Irish angel ornament Heather sent me last year - love it!  When I showed Heather the photo, she admired the red and white birdhouse - it's a Hallmark ornament, so sweet.  And here's the entire tree:

slim tree

My brother was unloading some of his decorations and I ended up with the crystal angel topper.  You can't see in the photo but she's holding a long trumpet - so gorgeous!  And can you see the umbrella at the top of the stairs?  I had to use it at the bus stop - it was 35F and raining in MN - crazy weather!!

Here's my other new item - a table top ornament holder that looks so old fashioned with its heavy embossed metal base and cookie cutter topper:

ornament holder

My other trees are similar to the past so I won't bother showing them again.  And where's a card you ask?  
Here's another card I made using the fun Hero Arts clear set Frosty Wishes.  It had a matching die set that must've gone like hotcakes since they aren't in the shop right now.  I actually wish I'd bought more die sets - you could really make a bunch at a time if you had more dies.  It's a bit of a pain to cut one twig arm at a time if you're thinking of mass producing.  Of course, if I knew how to do it, I could cut a bunch on the Silhouette....

Winter sparkle snowman

Hope you're enjoying the holiday season - I certainly am!  Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Secret Santa 2014

Well, despite a busy fall and holiday season, I still found time to participate in a Secret Santa exchange over on the Hero Arts Flickr group.  My friend Heather organized it and Cindy C. helped this year so Heather could still have a Santa. Heather organized the group which included both me and Cindy, then Cindy organized the other half.  I ended up with Cindy's name and, thanks to her, I can share this photo of what I sent her:

SS 2014 (Linda W)

On the left, miscellaneous die cuts I made - different labels and snowflakes - I was very into snowflakes this year.  The card used a new Hero Arts background "Winter Sparkle which I overstamped with the Tiny Ink Spots background - so reminds me of falling snow.  The poinsettia is also from Hero Arts and has a die to go with it.  I chose not to use the die and just fussy cut it, also layered it with part of a second one - colored with Copics.  On the ATC I used a couple of bottle brush trees from another new Hero Arts set called Family and Friends.  I stamped the Tiny Ink Spots again - it's so fun - and added lots of gems and sequins (Lawn Fawn).  The stamp and cut set I sent (got with a coupon so I didn't go over the limit, honest!) was a fun label set - bought one for myself while I was at it.... I found these cute linen covered wooden letters at Michael's or JoAnn's - don't remember which.  I had fun decorating Cindy's C by painting the edges in Chipped Sapphire Distress paint and staining the linen with Tumbled Glass Distress stain, then stamping over it and adding - you guessed it, some felt snow flakes from Hero Arts.  In the little sparkly taffeta bag was a bunch of odds and ends - snowflake buttons, some wooden bits, sequins, and ribbon.  I just wrapped it all in tissue paper and then tied it with the stretchy red and white ribbon Cindy so artfully displayed.

Laura Norris ended up with my name and I received my package on Monday (today was the big reveal so that's why I'm able to post now).  Many thanks to Laura for all the goodies she sent me!!  Here's the photo of the ATC and card she sent me:

Card and ATC

Don't you just love the darling reindeer in the red sweater?  And the card has the sweetest reindeer brad on it.  I love the white embossed trees on the rich blue!  And here are the goodies she sent:

Goodies for Secret Santa

Some fun Goosebumps, tape, labels, baker's string and a bag of little wooden items - totally different from any I've ever had.  Too bad you can't see the darling owl hiding in there!  She didn't photograph a pile of images she stamped for me to color, along with some music themed patterned paper (she knows I'm a singer!).  Oh my, Laura - you were too generous but I can't wait to get crafty with it all.

Thanks Heather for organizing and thanks Cindy for helping; it brought of lot of crafty fun to the holiday season!  And thanks again to Laura for her generous goodies and lovely ATC and card!!

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Another Scramble, another Christmas card done!!

It was Scramble time again, our 99th, over on the Hero Arts Flickr Group.  Natalie had the fun theme of using older Hero Arts stamps.  I should be embarrassed -- I used a set from 2011 that I bought then but hadn't used until today!  Here's my card:

Joy tree

The older stamps were CG466 Be Jolly - such a fun background I've used many times - and CL547 Happy Holidays - that's the one I'd not had a chance to use before and it's sooooo cute!  I stamped Be Jolly tone on tone with Festive Berries Distress ink and then added the JOY from Happy Holidays in Pine Needles ink.  Tied a May Arts ribbon around and popped it up with foam tape onto a green card base stamped tone on tone with the Tiny Ink Spots background - that's not a Christmas stamp at all but a fun one from 2012.  Added some gems and the stamped Christmas tree that I fussy cut and added a gem star from Doodblebug.   Now all I need is a sentiment inside and another Christmas card is done - yay!  I'll never get enough for my card list but I've got more than usual.  I will use Hallmark cards once the handmade ones run out....

Hope you're having a crafty day!  Thanks for stopping by! 

Sunday, November 23, 2014

It's been a while!

As usual, I'm slow to post - it's been a busy Fall!  I sing in the City of Lakes Chorus and we recently returned from Baltimore where we competed in the Sweet Adelines International Chorus Competition.  I'm thrilled and proud to report we came in 6th (we were 7th in 2012; we couldn't compete in 2013 since you have to "sit out" a year).  For our semi finals round we performed "My Foolish Heart" and "That's How You Jazz & The Jazz Jam Medley".  See it here.  If you watch the video, I'm in the fourth row, a couple people to the right of center from the audience viewpoint.

Here's a photo of me with my former quartet members in our chorus rehearsal room wearing our semi-finals costume.
xChords in Baltimore
After landing in the top 10, the chorus was eligible to perform a 12 - 15 minute finals package to determine the final standings.  Our package revolved around the story of Rosie the Riveter, doing that song plus two contest songs and a reprise.  The cast included Rosie and her two friends and Harvey, the factory boss (played by director Scott).  We had a lot of fun with this package.  See it here.

Here's a photo of me with my friend Connie as we were leaving for the finals.
2 Rosies
In the video you will find me in the same place in the chorus.  My friend Connie's former quartet 4-Star Collection (the 1997 Sweet Adelines International Quartet Champions) has a cameo in the reprise.

We had such fun in Baltimore!  We stayed at the "headquarters" hotel, the Hilton which is attached to the convention center - so convenient!  Other than rehearsing and competition, we don't have time for too much else but we walked around the harbor, did a bit of shopping, and ate at a wonderful family restaurant in Little Italian called Sabatino's.  We all ordered 1/2 size portions and they were still too much to eat for one meal!  Of course, that was after we shared an order of garlic bread - to die for!!

The Melodeers of Chicago won the chorus contest and the quartet champions are Bling! - both were amazing and will represent our organization well over the next year!

Well, back to reality of work and getting Christmas cards made!  Yesterday, I participated in a Scramble on the Hero Arts Flickr group.  The theme offered by Theresa, the host of the event, was Snow.  Perfect - a chance to make another Christmas card!  Here's my card:

Snow and snowflake

I used the Hero Arts Tiny Ink Dots background, inked in white, as snow behind my white embossed snow flake.  This Dazzling Snowflake isn't being sold on the Hero Arts website right now, but I do see it here at Simon Says Stamp.  The sentiment is from a fun current Hero Arts clear set "Friends and Family" - just love the trees on that one!  Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, September 15, 2014

A Personal Scramble - Frosty Snowman

About every two weeks, over on the Hero Arts Flickr Group, we have Scrambles.  These 90 minutes sessions can bring a spark to one's creativity; you have no time to overthink a design - just go for it.  Well, I've tried having "personal" Scrambles when I need a jump start to get a card done.  I think of a theme and off I go!

Today is a regular day off work and I decided to have such a Scramble.  My theme - to use an embossed background I just received from my friend Heather.  It's a beautiful snowflake background on a soft blue card stock - thanks again, Heather!  I just received an order from Hero Arts which included three of their Special Bundles.  The one I used today contained a clear stamp set CL800 Frosty Wishes and a die set DI105 Snowman Die Cuts.  I just love this darling snowman and the dies made it super simple to put together.  This card was made in less than an hour.  I must admit the Stickles on my snowbank weren't totally dry when I took the photograph... And if I was Scrambling for real, I would've had a problem because my photo software wasn't cooperating!

Here's my card:

Frosty Snowman
I stamped the snowman on Copic paper and added a light border inside the black stamping using Copic Marker B00.  I stamped the scarf using Salty Ocean Distress Ink, then added some B00 over it.  The Stickles on the snowbank photographed a bit pink, but it's really Diamond white.  The holly embellishment is by Jolie.
Heather and I were trying to make 2 Christmas cards per month throughout the year so we wouldn't be so pressed and stressed come December.  Well, I got behind immediately but managed to catch up a bit - I now have 14 cards made including this one - Woo Hoo!  Just 4 more and I'll be caught up through September.  How are you doing on your Christmas cards?  Do you wait until a certain month or do you try to do a few at a time throughout the year?  Whichever way you work - hope it's going well for you! 
Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, July 4, 2014

Happy 4th of July and an OWH Virtual Card Making Party

Happy 4th of July to all celebrating!  I can hear the fireworks going off at the park about a mile from my house.  But where I am?  Blogging about the OWH Virtual Card Making Party!!

I stopped over at the Hero Arts Flickr Group and spotted a comment about the OWH party.  Off I went to check it out.  The party page listed some challenges by times so I picked the time closest to when I actually visited.  This brought me to JoAnn Ross's blog - a new one for me.  Besides being a talented card maker, JoAnn is a best selling author!  Will definitely have to check out her books, especially the ones set in Ireland - given my recent visit there!!

JoAnn's challenge - to make 2 winter cards, one with traditional holiday colors and another for use any time during the season.  This was a great challenge for me, given that Heather and I decided to make a few holiday cards a month (oops - I'm way behind, but now I have 2 for July!!).  Here are my cards:

Holiday duo

For the card on the left I used the OWH sketch #191 mentioned in JoAnn's challenge.  I stamped the card base with Hero Arts Envelope Liner Background (CG361) using Pine Needles Distress Ink.  The patterned papers are fromTeresa Collins' 6x6 paper pad Santa's List; I stamped the Santa rectangle with Ho! Ho! Ho! from a Hero Arts clear set Holiday Sayings (CL343), a favorite of mine.

For the card on the right I cut a Hero Arts design (Snowflake card) for the Silhouette.  I put one of HA's snowflake gems in the center and matted the panel in white.  I white embossed the sentiment, also from Holiday Sayings.  All three blue dots are Hero Arts metal decor - love them!!

And speaking of Ireland, I still have more to share about the trip Heather and I took into the countryside.  No time for that today but I'll pick up later from when we left our little B&B in Adare.

Thanks for stopping by!!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Some birthday cards and a bit of Adare, Co Limerick, Ireland

Well, I'm back again after some busy weeks, including one without my Internet service.  Can you believe I fixed it myself by switching out a bad cord?!  I cheered and did a little happy dance in my family room!

Anyway - once back online, I headed off to the Silhouette online store to search for fish images.  Yes, fish - my uncle likes to fish so I wanted one for his birthday card.  A real fish, not a cutesy fish, and I found one in the Hero Arts portfolio.  Here's my card:


I cut the fish (Design ID 17454) on Hero Arts Grass Layering paper, then cut an offset of the image on Pine Layering paper, then flipped the offset and cut it for the back. The back piece is scored by the tail.  I stamped the happy birthday using Versamark and white embossing powder, then overstamped the Envelope Liner Background (a Hero Arts cling stamp) to simulate the scaly texture.  Then I inked the edges and some of the cuts with distress markers for a bit more definition.  Popped it with foam dots onto the card base - done!  Since it was for a guy, I resisted adding pearls, sequins or stickles - it was hard not to do it!!

Here's another birthday card using a Lori Whitlock Silhouette file (Design ID #60412).    Made it for my sweet 16 niece, Abby:

Birthday flower Abby

Just loved mixing all the fun Hero Arts flowers and gems!  Sentiment is from Hero Arts too - a clear set called Circles (CL674).

And now for the next installment of my trip to Ireland back in May.  Heather & I headed from Killarney to Adare County Limerick on Day 3 of our junket into the countryside.  What a sweet little town featuring some quaint thatched roofs (fire hazard, anyone?).  Here's a photo I took in the evening after our long day of travels:

Thatched buildings Adare

We walked into town after checking in at the Coatesland House B&B, where Mr. & Mrs. Hogan made us comfortable.  Here's my room:


Heather had a similar one in different colors on the other side of the staircase.  Heather's tea pot didn't work so I fired up mine and popped down the hall with it; we had tea and biscuits before calling it a day.  Here we are eating breakfast the next morning:

Breakfast in Adare

Mrs. Hogan was disappointed that her garden wasn't nice yet - they'd had a hard winter.  But the food was divine and so elegant!  Well, there was a lot more of Adare but I'll save that for a later post!

Thanks for stopping!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

More from my Ireland trip

Sorry it's been a while since my last post.  I had some catching up to do following my fabulous trip to Ireland in May.  Just tuning in?   This is post #4 about my trip to visit Heather.  I'm relating all the fun of a little junket Heather and I took into the countryside.  On day 3 of this trip we started out with a lovely breakfast at The Harp B&B.  The Harp, like other B&Bs, offers "the full Irish breakfast" but I asked for scrambled eggs on toast, receiving quite a mound of eggs!  Of course, there was tea aplenty.  While I'm a decaf espresso drinker typically, I grew to enjoy a cuppa with Heather. 

We packed up and headed back to Killarney National Park where we were rained out the previous day.  While it sprinkled rain on us off and on, it was so much better weather!  Due to the recent rains, Torc Waterfall was gushing water.  Here's my shot of it:

Torc Waterfall

It's a short walk from a parking lot up to the falls via a crushed rock path.  The foliage was amazing - so many ferns and tree trunks covered with moss.  Then we headed up the road to Moll's Gap, a pass on the R71 road between Killarney and Kenmare.  Across the way, Ladies' View - a jaw dropping view of the lakes of Killarney National Park, so named because Queen Victoria's ladies in waiting were brought here for a view of the lakes.  Heather took my photo and I took hers at this overlook:

Ladies view Ladies view Heather

Then we head up the road, walked out onto some rocks, and I zoomed in a bit on the lakes for this photo:
Another lake view

With the rainy weather, we decided not to make the entire drive of the Ring of Kerry, a 179 km trip along narrow, winding roads.  Instead we just drove to Sneem, on Kenmare Bay just off the Atlantic Ocean.  We walked around quite a bit in Sneem, known as the knot in the Ring of Kerry.  I just loved this little cottage we spotted on our rambles:

sneem cottage

On the way back to Killarney we stopped at the Avoca Shop and Café at Moll's Gap where we had a Rocky Road bar and I tried the vegetable soup (not as delicious as in Ardmore but still quite good) and yummy brown bread.  Then we headed over to Ross Castle; here's  one of my shots of it:

Ross Castle

Thank goodness it wasn't raining and we got some great views of the lower lake, including this one:

Killarney lower lake
Then we headed up the road to Adare, a Tidy Towns winner and a a quaint little spot.  Since this post is getting rather long, I'll save talking about Adare for the next installment :)
Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, May 31, 2014

More fun on the Emerald Isle!

Fáilte - welcome!  Back again for pt 3 of my trip to Ireland....

I'm picking up with the "into the countryside" trip Heather and I began Monday 5/19.  We stayed at a B&B in Cork that night, had a wonderful breakfast on Tuesday and headed off for Killarney.  What a gorgeous morning - sunny with blue sky!!  Our first stop, just northwest of Cork - Blarney Castle (no, we didn't kiss the Blarney Stone) built in 1446.  What impressed me about this attraction (their word) were the grounds - so green, lush with flowers, and well-kept.  Here's a favorite photo taken as we approached the castle:

Blarney Castle

Besides the Castle, there are extensive walking paths, gardens, and a manor house.  Here are some favorite foliage shots:

Blarney Castle grounds Blarney Castle fern garden

After leaving Blarney Castle, we continued northwest to Killarney. Our beautiful sunny day left us for heavy rain showers as we visited part of Killarney National Park, one of the most beautiful parks in the world, not that I could tell through a thunder storm!!  We took refuge from the storm on a tour of the Muckross House, a 19th century manor where Queen Victoria spent a couple nights (after weeks of preparation) back in 1861.  You can't take photos of the interior so visit the website to see some of the grand rooms.  Here's a shot of the exterior:

Muckross House

We stayed at the lovely The Harp B&B in Killarney.  After settling in, we headed back out in the rain to have dinner at the Sika Restaurant, fine dining adjacent to the Victoria House Hotel in Killarney.   They also served the typical stuffed ham/chicken dish Heather had the previous night so I tried it - delicious!!  It came with a side dish containing mashed carrots, potatoes and peas. 

Thanks for stopping by to read more about my wonderful trip to Ireland!  More to come....

Thursday, May 29, 2014

More Ireland adventures

So, I've been recounting my trip last week to Ireland.  In my previous post I told about arriving and Scrambling with Heather on my first day there, then going to Wicklow National Park the next day.  I know I surprised Heather with how quickly I adapted to the 6 hr time difference - I think the trick was sleeping very little on the planes over.

A bit on that - I flew from Minneapolis to Amsterdam, leaving at 7:22 pm on Friday the 16th.  I spent most of that 8 hr trip watching movies on my little viewer.  My layover in Amsterdam was nearly three hrs; I basically sat like a zombie and tried to read a book!  Then I hopped an Aer Lingus flight to Dublin - by this time I was quite tired and slept away most of the 70 minute flight!!  Arrived in Dublin airport at 1:40 pm and zipped right through customs.  Heather and her hubby were waiting for me in the "Arrivals" area - I knew ahead of time from Heather that it was by a little shop named Spar.  I recognized Heather right away and was delighted to meet her and Philip.  Then we traveled down the "motorway" to Heather's house in a town southwest of Dublin.  I met Heather's two boys, Mark and Adam, and the dog Toby - my new buddy.  After stashing my suitcases, we sat and visited, then had dinner - dinner at the Doran home is a family affair.  Everyone gathers around the table and actually dines - I typically don't do that so it was refreshing.  We did a quick clean up and got ready to Scramble.  After the Scramble Heather prompted me to email my family back in the US to say I arrived safely - I was totally not thinking by this point and had forgotten them.  Oh well....  I slept pretty well and got up bright and early for our trip to Wicklow on Sunday (see previous post).

Picking up with Monday the 19th, Heather and I began our travels out into the country.  I teased Adam, asking him if he was going to make dinner while we were gone.  He was quick to say, "no, that would be Mark" - LOL.  Heather drove her car - with me calling it driving on the "wrong" side of the road; I'm so politically incorrect - it should be the "left hand side" of the road.  They have a lot of roundabouts in Ireland - you really have to pay attention to the signs posted everywhere.  A side note on that - everything is listed in English and in Irish.  My knowledge of Irish is zero, and my accent is terrible (but not as bad as others, I'm told).  Anyway, as navigator I was supposed to keep us on the right road; Heather always had her little crib notes though, just in case I screwed up.  Heather's car has a stick shift so that guaranteed I wouldn't be driving (I was a stick shift drop out in driving class).  Probably a good thing not to have me forgetting and going onto the right hand side!!

Our first stop - Waterford, Ireland's oldest city and home of Waterford crystal.  The city was established by the Vikings, possibly some of my ancestors - LOL.  We visited the House of Waterford Crystal Visitors' Center and got a demo of how the pieces are made.  The guide explained that 95% of the cut work is done by hand we got to see an artisan at work - amazing!!  We also saw some machines doing bits of the more intricate work on heavy pieces.  I took this photo for Philip who loves American football (I brought him a Green Bay Packer t-shirt; sorry Vikings - I'm from Wisconsin originally):


Just look at all those intricate cuts - so gorgeous!!  Well, I didn't buy anything since even a paper weight was a bit "dear" as they say over there - I'd say pricey.  Really wanted that purple vase though - maybe, next time! 

Waterford has its round tower, Reginald's Tower.  Ugh - the photo of Heather impersonating a Viking didn't turn out so great so I won't share it; she has a similar one of me - maybe she'll share... An aside - Heather doesn't like her photo taken.  My nickname for her is going to be Aunt Marie because my aunt is the same way!  Anyway, by the end of my week Heather was getting used to my camera in her face!!  So here's a photo of the Reginald's tower that I took from across the street along the waterfront:

Reginalds tower

There is so much history in Ireland - I'm glad I have little brochures from the places we visited as I'll never remember it all!  Our destination for the day was Cork where Heather had arranged spots in Decie's B&B but I saw that the town of Ardmore wasn't too far off the route.  Anyone who knows me well knows I love anything written by Nora Roberts.  She has set many novels in Ireland and one series, Gallaghers of Ardmore Trilogy, is set in Ardmore.  Off we went to see the town!  Oh my, how lovely - we walked all around and saw yet another round tower and the ruins of the Ardmore Cathedral with its serene cemetery.  Here's my favorite view from the corner of the cemetery looking towards the sea:

Ardmore round tower

We also had a lovely lunch of the best pureed vegetable soup with brown bread in a sweet little cafe with art gallery.  The server made a delicious latte too!  Then we headed on down the road to Cork to our little B&B.  After dumping our luggage we went off to find dinner in a pub - yummy food!  Heather had a traditional meal of a piece of ham with stuffing on top, topped with a slice of chicken and gravy.  I had a burger and some chips (fries).  Another great day in Ireland and I'll share more of our adventures later.  Thanks for stopping by!!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Two sistas meet - in IRELAND!

Just arrived home last night from Ireland so I'm bursting to share all about it!!  First and foremost I was able to meet dear friend Heather and her family.  Then I was introduced to an amazingly beautiful country to which I can't wait to return!

Where to begin?  I guess I'll start in 2009 when I was new to the Hero Arts Flickr group.  Many people were so welcoming but I became good friends with Heather Maria.  We bonded over cardmaking and baking; I think it was a recipe exchange on the group that started us Flickr mailing back and forth.  Then in 2011 we became Hero Hostesses together (along with Sally, Anita and Sharon) and began hoping we'd meet someday. 

Knowing me, that "someday" would've stayed just that, a future non-plan.  But with Heather's help, the "someday" became "2014" and we had a firm plan with both Heather and I taking off a week of work.  My idea was for me to stay at a little B&B near her town so we could run around together but Heather wouldn't hear of it.  She invited me to stay with her and her family!  We had never met in person until I arrived at Dublin airport on May 17th but immediately I felt so comfortable with the entire family, including sweet Toby the dog.  The Irish are known for their hospitality (fáilteachais in Irish) and I got plenty of it at the Doran's home.  Here are the two of us - I'll let Heather share the family photo if she wants.

Two Hostess Sistas meet in Ireland (Linda W and Heather)

After settling in - sorry, the crafty space had to make way for my suitcases - we Scrambled on the Hero Arts Flickr group with Barb G. as the hostess.  Here's the card I made after traveling over 12 hrs:
Scramble Owl

Barb's theme was a one-layer with no embellies which was difficult!  All the materials were from Heather's stash - I used a new Hero Arts clear set CL756 OWH Missing You and a branch from a woodblock set LP140 Just a Note Bird.  I must've been tired as, even with a clear stamp, I managed to stamp my owl a bit above the branch.  Oh well, I just filled the space in with a bit of green marker.  It was fun to Scramble with Heather in the same room - I felt bad though because she had to find things for me instead of working on her own card.  But we both managed to get done and have fun doing it!!

Next day, it was off to one of Heather's favorite places - Wicklow Mountains National Park with Glendalough, the gorgeous valley of two lakes.  I didn't realize how rainy the weather in Ireland is.  Well, it rained plenty on us at the park but we managed to walk all around the easy trails.  There are many other more strenuous hikes in the park - Heather has been on many of them but I'm not much of an outdoor gal.  I thought I was doing pretty well keeping up with Heather who's 10 years younger than I am! 

Here's one of my favorite photos of this area, taken from a scenic overlook above:

Wicklow Natl Park

Notice the yellow flowers which are Gorse - the bushes are very thorny and you see them all over, sometimes in long hedges bordering farm fields.  We won't tell how I ended up being punctured by barbed wire - luckily it was pretty new wire and not too deep a cut on my finger.  I had plenty of first aid stuff in my purse (must be the old Girl Scout training) so I cleaned it up right away.

Besides the beautiful scenery, there is a monastic city from the 6th century with a round tower, ruins of a church and abbey.  Here's a photo taken as we walked toward the round tower; it blends in a bit with the trees behind it but hopefully you can spot it:

Wicklow round tower

I will share more of my amazing week later.  Right now, my body thinks it's 6 hrs later than MN time and I still have things to do to get ready for the week ahead.  Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Scramble Time!

Hi everyone - hope you're having a lovely Easter weekend if you celebrate it now.  I hosted today's Scramble (#82 - can you believe it?!) over on the Hero Arts Flickr group - theme was paper piecing.  I made these two cards for samples:

Paper pieced Tall Flowers
Paper pieced image here is Hero Arts Tall Flowers cling stamp - so perfect for piecing but it did take quite a while.  If I was thrown this Scramble theme, I wouldn't have grabbed for this stamp - I really had to race to complete it within 90 minutes.  Why, you ask?  A Scramble is 90 minutes so when I do sample cards, I keep within the time myself.  I'm not going to offer a sample that took 5 hours to make (as some of my cards have!!) when the players only have 90 minutes.
Well, I must confess I didn't count the time it took me to find my Tall Flowers - it wasn't where it was supposed to be!!  The timer on the stove was ticking away so when I finally found it (20 minutes later) I added this time back.  If I'm a Scramble participant, I normally grab whatever is close at hand from my stash - LOL.  Oh - the die cut is from Spellbinders - one of the Resplendent Rectangles - love, love, love this set!!  Anyway, I stamped the Tall Flowers right on it using green ink, then proceeded to cover the green outline blossoms with little flowers I cut from 5 different Basic Grey Kneehighs papers.  Some of the papers were too similar in their white backgrounds so I colored them with a Spun Sugar Distress Marker.  The teeny pink flowers were stamped with pink neon ink onto patterned paper.  I had some ink blobs I had to cover up (the darned stamp press slipped) so I cut some extra flowers and leaves - in case you're wondering why this doesn't match up with the Tall Flowers image.  The sentiment is from Say it All, a Hero Arts clear set, and the background is stamped with the raindrop pattern, a older Hero Arts design wood block.  I plan to give this card to Mammy for her upcoming birthday so hope she's not checking my blog!!
Paper pieced Kite

This card was much simpler - I stamped the kite on the background paper, then on 4 patterned papers (BoBunny and Authentique).  The kite is from a Hero Arts clear set Picnic - just love this happy image - and the sentiment is from For Your Kindness, a newer clear set.

And here's an Easter card I made yesterday for a couple of friends who invited me to Easter dinner tomorrow:

Happy Easter 2014

The speech bubbles and "hey" are from Hero Arts cling set Psst! and the Happy Easter is from an older clear set that I just love - Celebrate Everyday.  The bunnies are from Imaginisce - just got them at Anchor Paper a couple weeks ago.  In the foreground, you see a chocolate bird's nest made from chow mein noodles mixed with melted chocolate chips and peanut butter.  The eggs look real, don't they?  They are Cadbury mini milk chocolate eggs with a candy coating. I'm taking a bunch of these for table favors at our Easter dinner.  Now I just have to bake the cake I'm taking.

Hope you have a wonderful Easter!!  Thanks for stopping!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Spring Card Class with Scraps of Love

Hi everyone - I hadn't been to a store card class in quite a while but I wanted to do something with my sister Tami who's been getting more into card-making.  We went to a class at Scraps of Love, a fun stamping and scrapbooking store in Peoria AZ.  Tami lives in AZ full-time but I enjoy visiting when the weather gets too cold in MN!  I was there from 3/1 - 3/13 so we got a lot of card-making done!  Plus I basked in the warm, sunny climate!!

The class involved water coloring and all the images were pre-stamped by the instructor.  I don't know who manufactured all the images but I know the little girl image was from Penny Black, called Kisses.  Of course the store was out of them by the time I got out of class!  Here are the cards:

Scraps of Love class

Sorry - don't know who manufactured the papers either.  Just loved them though, plus the fun trims and ribbons she brought.  We brought our own pencils so I had just a limited set of Prismacolors I keep in AZ at Tami's house.

After class I couldn't resist one of Penny Black's critter clear sets, Critter Time.  I end up with one of these every few years because I can't resist - her hedgehogs, mice and cats are adorable!!  I had to make a card right away with this set - loved this little mouse.  Here's the card:

Mousy Thank You

The "grass" was repurposed from a sushi tray from my local market; I added this when I got home since something seemed missing without it.  I always rinse off this fun plastic "grass" and save it, just for cards like this - thought it looked so cute.  I sent the card to my brother and sister-in-law who took me to the airport and picked me up when I returned. Thanks D&D! 

Something I don't mention enough, my Sweet Adelines singing.  My chorus City of Lakes had a retreat last weekend which is why I cut my AZ trip short.  We worked with the amazing Joe Connelly, a four-time quartet Barbershop Harmony Society champion, most recently with Old School Quartet.  We are getting ready for a show on April 5th, featuring Love Notes, the current Sweet Adelines International champion quartet.  Can't wait for some gorgeous ringing chords - if you're in the area, come to the show - details on the chorus website.

Hope you're having a crafty weekend!  Thanks for stopping!!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Virginia's new Challenge Blog!

Hi all - Virginia has a new Challenge Blog & I'm happy to have some crafting time to play along for Challenge #1 Watercoloring!  I pulled out my Tim Holtz watercolor paper to make the background for this card:

Happy Birthday butterfly

I took Distress Inks - Picked Raspberry, Iced Spruce, and Frayed Burlap and applied to a craft sheet.  Misted them with water containing Perfect Pearls and swiped the watercolor paper through the mixture.  The mist gives a lovely sheen - I'm surprised the photo picked it up pretty well.  Once dry, I stamped 3 Hero Arts woodblock stamps using the same colors: K5376 Hydrangea, K5503 Bird Collage, and K5354 French Post.  The butterfly is one of a set:  LP215 Three Artistic Butterflies; the sentiment is from a clear set CL759 Enjoy Today.

My mom asked me to make a birthday card for her sister Carol.  So here it is!  Hope Tia isn't looking at my blog before her birthday!!  Thanks for stopping and I hope you're having a wonderful crafty day!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Valentine's Day!

Hi everyone - hope you're having a wonderful Valentine's Day!  I enjoyed my day soooo much, starting at 6am with a call from dear friend Heather; she called from Ireland to wish me a Happy Birthday - how cool is that?!  I also received several other special birthday phone calls - dear friend Ferne called from California, sister Tami called to sing, Aunt Carol called to sing, Mom & Dad called and sang a duet.  Heather wouldn't sing but we nattered (her cute word) for about an hour before I had to race off to do Singing Valentines. 

The past few years I've been out of town on my birthday so I've missed doing the Valentines.  I have so many great memories of amazing experiences we've had over the years.  My chorus, City of Lakes Chorus, does these as a fund-raiser.  Quartets, either organized (like I've been in over the years, including Chord Company with whom I sang for 16 years) or pick-up (listened to by the chorus's Music Team to find a good blend of voices), go out into the community to sing for the gifter's loved one.  We bring a card and a box of chocolates and sing two songs:  "Somebody Loves You" and "Cuddle Up a Little Closer".  Today I had a pick-up group with my former tenor from Chord Company, Elaine, and two ladies from chorus who've sung together in a quartet, Ellen (on lead) and Mary (on bass).  I sang baritone, as usual.  We also send Valentines by email or telephone but it just isn't as much fun as the in-person visit.

We did two Valentines in Minneapolis - one at a paint company and one at a nursing home - and one in St Paul at a school.  Then, since we were out and about anyway, we swung over to Mary's mom's assisted living home and sang for Betty and some of the other residents.  Hey - found a birthday twin, one of the students at the school (we were singing for one of the teacher's aides).  We sang Happy Birthday to her and she enjoyed it so much!  It's always such fun to see the smiles and sometimes tears of the recipients.  Betty used to sing in Sweet Adelines but can't anymore - the look on her face as she heard our harmony was just precious.  Here's our foursome at the school - the staff had made this little photo booth with balloons and things for the students - well, we borrowed it for this quick snapshot :)

L to R: me, Ellen, Mary, Elaine
Can you see Ellen's shoes?  They have hearts all over them!!  Plus she had glittery jumbo heart earrings too - very glam! As the Valentine Birthday Girl, I think I need both of those fashion accessories!  Speaking of birthdays, my friend Lynn has her birthday today too.  She tries not to rub it in that she's a year younger than I.  Well, here's the Valentine Birthday card I sent her.

Happy Bday Lynn 2014

It features a Decorate It! set LP269 by Hero Arts that I found at Target last year (with the little heart cards and the Valentine sentiment, among other stamps and a couple inks).  I stamped the heart with the Hero Arts cling Canvas Background using Sugar Distress Ink for a soft texture.  I stamped XOXO on the inside then punched a hole and tied it shut with some May Arts ribbon.  The birthday sentiment is from a new Hero Arts clear set Messages with Flourish.  I white embossed it and added a few dots with a white gel pen.

Hope you had a wonderful Valentine's Day!  Thanks for stopping!!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Guest spot at Die Cut Divas

Hi all - I'm excited to be featured this week at Die Cut Divas!!  My friend, Hannah Nicole, whom I met at the Hero Arts Flickr group almost 5 years ago invited me to be a guest.  So, check it out if you have a chance.

Now, I have tons of dies - I just don't use them as much as I should.  The die on the card below is from Impression Obsession, called Floral Lace Heart.  I just found it at Anchor Paper the other day and thought it would be a nice addition to my stash.  I glued it to a piece of patterned paper, cut around it and then matted it on red and cut around it.  Pop dotted it onto a Bo Bunny doily.

Valentine heart

The background is a Hero Arts cling stamp for Basic Grey's Kneehighs collection called the Tiny Heart Background sent to me by sweet Tami Hartley - thanks again, Tami!!.  Oops, it's upside down - so hard to tell when you're stamping at 1 a.m. LOL!  Ah well, I got it right when I made another card...  Patterned paper is from Authentique.  The sentiment is from an absolute fave clear set by Hero Arts called Celebrate Everyday.  So handy with all the holidays in this set!  The little grey enamel hearts are from My Mind's Eye and the silver metallic accents are from Hero Arts.

Thanks for stopping and be sure to stop by Die Cut Divas if you get a chance.  Thanks again to Hannah for inviting me to be a guest and to Arlene and Dawn and all the other Divas!!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Scramble time

Hi all - if you're looking for my Hero Arts Hostess Blog Hop post, go here.

Cold but sunny day in Minnesota - perfect weather to stay indoors and do Leni's Scramble!  We on the Hero Arts Flickr Group enjoy these every couple of weeks, taking only 90 minutes to design, create, photograph and upload a project based on the host's theme.  Today Leni threw out the theme of Wood - it could be woodgrain paper or stamping, tree images, things made of wood, etc.  I ran immediately for my Hero Arts Woodgrain pattern (had to dig a bit through my design blocks but I found it - yay!).  Stamped it on the sorta minty green paper from Basic Grey's True Love collection, using Picked Raspberry Distress Ink.  I just bought some wood veneer heart pieces by Studio Calico so those were handy.  I swiped the heart with Picked Raspberry Distress ink and heated it to set quickly.  I stamped and clear embossed the sentiment also using Picked Raspberry ink.  Decided to add a strip of patterned paper (also from True Love) and a bit of ribbon from Hero Arts.  Oh - Bazzill white card base which was cut - just had to score and fold.  I had just finished using the other 1/2 of the cardstock for another card (will share that in future...) so the white was handy!  Love when that happens!!  So here's my card:

Scramble with wood

I am a fast Scrambler usually - I think quickly, create quickly and then settle back to comment as the others submit their projects.  This card was done in 20 minutes - would've been quicker but I always fiddle with the ribbon!  Don't you love the sequins?  They are Christmas ones from Lawn Fawn but who would know? 

The great thing, my two sisters have been working on cards in Arizona today.  I told them they should Scramble too & I texted them the theme.  Well, sorry to say that Tami pooped out but Kari came through with this beauty she calls "Wooden Clock":

Wooden clock

She used our favorite string twine by May Arts and some lovely papers from CM Wieland Printery collection.  The Hero Arts stamp used is the Flourish Design Block - so pretty, tone on tone.  And she loves her pearls - love how they accent her papers!

Finally - just have to send warm birthday wishes to my Hero Hostess Sista, Sally - her birthday is TODAY and luckily the card I sent her across the pond to England, reached her in time - yay!  Here's the card I sent:

Sally bday 2014

I used another new Hero Arts 2014 set:  Messages with Flourish - love the font for the beautiful sentiments in this set!!  The flower is from another clear set Things We Love and the background is dry embossed with a Sizzix for Hero Arts folder - Flourishes (swiped it with Hero Arts soft pool ink).  Well, that's it for today - thanks for stopping! 

Friday, January 24, 2014

Hero Hostesses 2014 Catalog Blog Hop

Welcome to Day 5 of the Hero Arts Hostess Hop, featuring fabulous stamps from the new 2014 release!  I'm stop 2; if you've been following along, you’ve just arrived from the super-talented Virginia Lu's blog
I love Virginia's style and her sense of humor!!

If you find a broken link, please find the master list of Day 5's links 
at the Hero Arts Club Blog - here and also report it to:  blog@heroarts.com
Missed a day?   Please start at the Hero Arts Blog to see all
the amazing projects from the rest of this exciting week:
We Hero Hostesses have had such a great time creating with all the bounty of new stamps from Hero Arts!!  Many thanks to Aaron and all the other wonderful folks at Hero Arts for this opportunity! 

First up today, I have a thank you card featuring the Thanks Blackboard woodblock stamp and a banner from the For Your Kindness clear set.  I've been working on some Valentines using paper from Basic Grey's True Love collection.  I thought they would be perfect for a thank you card!  I love the look of the blackboard stamped with Tim Holtz' Distress Ink (Festive Berries) on the soft pink Basic Grey paper.  I stamped the banner in black, then shaded it with a Copic marker (W1).  I added one of the mix & match sentiments from the same clear set using Fired Brick Distress Ink.  I finished the card with some fun sequins; I popped a crystal heart from the Sparkle Gem Hearts set into the large sequin, bottom left.

Guess I was hungry when I made this next card - LOL.  When I was out shopping for new 2014 Hero Arts stamps I passed by the set Dude I used for this card.  It didn't make my cart on that first go around since I had so many others.  But it worked on my brain and every time I saw it in the store, I saw more and more possibilities.  After a couple more trips, into the cart it went.  When I saw the little pizza slice I envisioned a pie with a missing slice - weird, huh?  Here's my card:

I stamped the pizza slice on creamy paper and then made a mask on thin paper.  Masked and stamped around, leaving a blank spot for the sentiment.  Colored with Tim Holtz Distress Markers and put stickles on the pepperoni.  I stamped the sentiment in Hero Arts Neon Green ink but it seemed too light so I overstamped, off-set a bit, with black.  The card base is stamped with an older Hero Arts cling, the Canvas Background (still a fave).  The pizza seemed lonely so I added the washi tape.  The black stars ended up on there for 2 reasons - one, had to cover up a stickle blob I made and two, given Hero Arts supports Operation Write Home with this set, I liked the stars for the military feel.  Anyway, I was happy with how this matched my vision.

I also made a few mini-Valentines (3x3 inch) for some special friends using several new clear sets.  I apologize in advance for posting these before I even mail them!  First I made feminine and masculine cards for a friend and her hubby, a big football fan:

On the left, I used the same banner set as above, just using a different mix & match sentiment for the bottom half.  The background is a fabulous new woodblock stamp:  Pattern Stripes which I stamped in Hero Arts Neon Pink ink.  Love how feminine this looks in that color!  On the right, I used two sets that Hero Arts created supporting Operation Write Home:  Dude and What a Guy.  There are soooo many possibilities with these two OWH sets.  In fact, here are a couple boy mini-Valentines using the Dude set:

For some reason, when I saw the strip of bacon image in Dude, I thought of making the word Hi.  On the inside it says "more than bacon" - I need to find out where "I like you more than bacon" comes from....   Love the classic car image from Dude.  The heart on the left comes from another new clear set You're So Kind and the mini outline heart on the right comes from Messages with Flourish.  I just love it when the sets include little versatile images!

Thanks for joining us on the Hero Hostess Blog Hop today!  Before you go, be sure to leave a comment - Hero Arts will be awarding ***PRIZES*** from randomly drawn comments.   For a chance to win, simply comment on ANY of the stops along the hop on ANY day, including each day’s starting post at the Hero Club Blog. The more comments you leave, the better your chance of winning!  See the Hero Arts Blog post today to get the deadline for entry.

Your next stop on the Hero Arts Hostess Blog Hop
is the sweet and creative Vera Ruhay.